Working While on Vacation

Nannies and Au Pairs Traveling with their Employers’ Family

In the July 2009 Be the Best Nanny Newsletter we discussed traveling on summer vacation with your employers’ family.

One perk of being a nanny or au pair can be traveling with your employers’ family. Traveling while working can be an opportunity to see new place you might not be able to visit otherwise.

But, while the family is on vacation you are being paid to work. While the family may be relaxing you still need to be prompt, professional, and reliable.

Before agreeing to travel with a family on their vacation discuss the schedule, accommodations, and pay rate. Typically it is easiest to keep the hours and pay rate about the same as a normal work week. But, sometimes that is impossible when traveling. You ought to be a little flexible with hours while traveling with your employers’ family.

All expenses including food, board, and travel should be paid by your employer. You should expect to pay for some personal expenses though. But, the price of food, lodging, museums, attractions, admissions, and taxis are the parent’s responsibility.

Be sure to ask the parents:

  1. Will you be working more hours than usual?
  2. Will you have your own room or be expected to share a room with the children?
  3. What will your role be? Will you be accompanying the family as an extra set of hands, or will you be solely responsible for the children during the day while the parents are out?
  4. What are the spending guidelines?

Do you have any advice to share with nannies and au pairs about traveling with their employers’ family?


  1. I applaud this important exploration of travel with parents. Love your suggestions. For many nannies travel is more of an obligation than a luxury because things are not clarified before departure. One other question I would raise is "Who to approach for communication while on vacation?" Itis vital to be able to review how things are going whether you are travelling abroad or summering on Nantucket.Marsha Epstein

  2. I hate to admit it but I do not like traveling with the families I work for. If I can avoid it I do at all costs. It is just very difficult and I don't like being that close with the parents for that long.For those who love traveling it can be wonderful. But I have heard previously to never accept sleeping in the same room as the kids. You are an adult and deserve separate room. But, I suppose when visiting a small family member's house that may not be possible. My first advice would be not to travel with the family.Second advice would be to get your own private room.Nanny Kelly, Atlanta GA

  3. I think traveling with the family while working as a nanny is a great opportunity to see new cities and places. I have always enjoyed traveling with the families I work for. The parents I have always worked for are hands on and do a great job helping out. They never have taken advantage of my time or hours and they always pay me more than usual. It has always been a win/win situation for me, the parents and the kids, I think.

  4. I have done this 2 different ways and was happy with both experiiences.With the first family I worked for I was given a lot of freedom and time off. We made sure that I did not work overtime and was included in all daily family activities. I hardly felt like I was working, just traveling with the family. I basically babysat at night so the kids could sleep and parents could enjoy evenings out. I watched movies and read books and the parents were thrilled to have date nights knowing the kids were safe and happy with me.Second family they paid me $300 per day and I just went with the flow. They never expected me to work 24 hours straight of course and didn't treat me like a slave at all, but I spent a lot of time in the hotel with the baby while the rest of the family was swimming and seeing the sights. I didn't love every moment in a hotel room with the baby during the day, but it wasn't bad either. If I felt cabin fever I just remembered that the were paying me handsomly. They were very appreciative. Imagine how much harder it would have been to travel with the baby everywhere the rest of the family wanted to see? Not only did I get $300 per day I had a suite to myself and good hours too. Also, they gave me two paid days off. One day I visited with a friend in the area and the next day the parents paid for a free spa day during the trip which was great bonus. Both situations were great! Every nanny and family is different so the nanny just has to be honest if the situation would work for her or not.Nanny AngelaBay Area

  5. I have had both good and bad experiences traveling with employers. My best advice is if you do not want to get paid to travel with the family than say that. Don't get stuck doing something you don't want to do.

  6. I personally do not travel with families. However, if I did I would expect some extra compensation for rooming with the kids. If you are working regular hours at home – you don't take the kids with you when you leave. That arrangement seems ludicrous to me…but that's my opinion.However, I did hear recently that a family taking their nanny to Colorado with them told her that she would be getting less than her regular rate. She went for it?!?!?!? Some employers are ridiculous and give the good ones a bad name!!!

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