A family vacation is about fun for every member of the family. And sometimes that fun involves co-parents enjoying some grown-up time together… ALONE. Maybe a fancy dinner, going out dancing, or even just relaxing beach-side sans enfants.
But that couple time can’t come at the expense of the safety of your children. So, how to find a great vacation babysitter or arrange child care on holiday? A vacation babysitter you’ll feel good about so you can actually enjoy your grown-up time?
Book hotels with kids’ clubs…
In my pre-parent days, I completely looked down my nose at those who dropped their children off at kids’ clubs. Memories of my Mexican honeymoon include noticing two very bored-looking kids and their equally bored-looking teenaged babysitter, making sandcastles almost every day. “Why bring the kids?” my (then) new husband and I would scoff as we snottily wondered which of the swim-up-barflies were the kids’ parents.
Flash-forward and both of my children became kids’ club aficionados who’d cry when we pick them up, rather than when we’d drop them off. Crushed egos aside, we’re continually impressed with the resorts that focus on their supervised children’s programming. The fact that it’s often included in their hotel rates means it’s one less thing to budget for as well.
There are a number of resorts with baby clubs in the Caribbean and Mexico, where guests as young as 12 weeks-old are looked after and well cared for while their parents take a break.
A favourite of ours is Franklyn D. Resort in Runaway Bay, Jamaica. Yes, it’s the resort with the nannies! And the Beaches resorts in Jamaica and Turks and Caicos are renowned for their excellent (included) care for kids as little as three months-old. Select Club Med resorts offer Baby Club Med supervision at an extra cost.
Use local resources…
Peruse online local classifieds and use local services without actually being local. Nanny agencies often pre-screen their applicants, so all you need to do is post your job and sort through the prospects. Hotel concierges will either refer you to local agencies or they may have a list of locals they know and trust. If your hotel books babysitting for you, the prices may seem very high – or at least inflated – with restrictions on the number of children and hours booked. If you can cut out the middle man, you’ll usually save money and be somewhat certain your caregiver is actually keeping the money she earns.
Using social media, you can get creative in your search for a vacation babysitter. Send out a query on Facebook or Twitter – you may get a personal referral from someone in your network. One of my travel clients was quoted over $35 per hour for a sitter from her hotel. I found her a local caregiver on St. Kitts, who charged much less, by searching through recommendations from someone renting their St. Kitts villa.
Every now and again I’ll come across an article touting the latest and greatest in vacation babysitting advice and options. Honestly, you’re not going to find an airline nanny via social media. Also, if you can afford to bring your nanny or teen-aged niece on vacation to look after your kids, chances are you’re not reading this article 🙂