Vacationing with Your Nanny

The Windy City Nanny in a park

5 tips for traveling with your nanny

Spring break will be here before we know it and you’re probably starting to think about a trip with the family. Sure, you want the destination to be kid-friendly, but don’t forget that this is a vacation for you, too! Having an extra set of hands around will help you and your partner get some much needed R&R.

Before you ask your nanny to join in on the vacation, here are all of the factors to consider—and a few best practices so that your nanny has a good time too.

1. Be Upfront About Pay

Whether you’re flying across the country, around the world or just headed to the lake house for a long weekend, this is personal time that your nanny will be sacrificing for your family. Because of that, you have to be willing to pay him or her competitively. Just like determining a nanny’s salary, your vacation rate will depend a lot on your nanny’s responsibilities, how many kids they’ll be looking after and any expenses he or she will have to cover themselves.

Time and a half is standard for having a nanny on vacation, but tracking hours while living the vacation life can be tricky. Plus, after being out of school for however many years now, math is hard. You might prefer to offer your nanny a flat rate for the entire trip and negotiate the price from there.

2. Consider the Accommodations

Like I said, your nanny is completely entitled to their own room. If you can’t offer that to them, then you shouldn’t invite them to come because they’re going to feel pressure to say yes even though they’re uncomfortable with the living arrangements. However, if you’re just headed to the lake for a weekend, their own room isn’t going to be such a deal-breaker. Ask your nanny what they think, and don’t be offended if they turn you down.

If you’re headed out of town or across the country, you need to cover your nanny’s travel expenses, just as if it was a mandatory office retreat. Anytime he or she is with your family and caring for your kids, they’re your employee and shouldn’t be paying to be at work. Taking the bus to and from your house is different—they’re not on the clock then and are just commuting to work. Airfare is a non-negotiable, so make sure you can budget for another round trip flight!

3. Set a Daily Schedule

With any luck, your vacation will be vastly different from your daily routine. You’ll have more time to spend with your little ones and to see your nanny in action, which can also create some obstacles. Just like moms and dads who are at home when the nanny is around, you’ll need to set crystal clear expectations of who’s going to be in charge. Do you want to be hands–off and let the nanny do their thing, or would you like them to support you? How will that look? Think about it, then bring it to your nanny. Remember: as the parent, you get to set the rules, but your nanny will appreciate feeling like part of the decision-making process!

If you can, try to put together a day-to-day itinerary. Getting a sense of what kind of excursions you’re thinking about will help you decide if you want some alone time with your kids or your partner. Try to pick one or two adventures your nanny will be responsible for, and one or two that you and your partner will have as family time.

4. Cover the Extras

Another thing to keep in mind is any out-of-pocket costs like meals and excursions. You should absolutely pay for your nanny’s meals during the trip. My rule of thumb is that if you’re eating it, you should pay for your nanny to eat, too! That means breakfast, lunch and dinner. Nonessentials, however, are his or her own responsibility. That can be anything from a souvenir to a vending machine snack.

As for excursions, if you’re not paying, the nanny’s presence should be optional. So, if you want an extra set of hands at the theme park, the tab is yours to pay. If you’re inviting them along as a courtesy, make it clear that it’s an optional excursion. Think about what you’re willing to pay and ask your nanny what they’re willing to pay. But remember, they’re coming on the vacation as your employee, so you should try to cover as many of their expenses as you can.

5. Give the Nanny Free Time

Plan a few days into your schedule when you’ll look after the kids and give your nanny a little time to rest and regroup. You won’t be responsible for covering their expenses during these windows. Chances are, they’re going to want to just sit poolside and soak up the sun, anyway! But if they do decide to head out on their own, make sure they know that they will be responsible for any out-of-pocket costs.

Having your nanny around is going to make your family vacation go way smoother. However, that ease comes at a cost, so be sure you’re able to budget for your nanny and compensate them for all their hard work and sacrifice!

Have Courage and Be Kind
Florence Ann