Family Vacation With The Au Pair – On Duty Or Off Duty?

This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)

It’s summertime. That means it’s time for vacation. School is off for a few weeks and the kids can enjoy the free time in the sun, at the pool, in the garden or on the playground.

And when it’s holidays for the kids it means that the host parents need the au pair to work more than usual. Now the au pair has to find activities for kids for the whole day until mum and dad come back home.

At least six weeks of summer vacation also mean that the host family is probably planning to go somewhere. A camping trip would be nice, or a few days in a theme park. What about renting a house at the beach or an all inclusive trip at a resort, so everybody gets something out of that trip? Most host families ask the au pair to come with them. Sometimes because the parents want to spend some time without the kids too, sometimes because they just want to include the au pair in all family activities. This is a topic to talk about, because the expectations of this trip might be totally different for both parties.

There are different kinds of trips:

A working trip of the host parents

Both parents have to go to another city to work or e.g. attend a conference. They take the kids and the au pair with them. Especially if both of them have to leave overnight, the au pair has to go with them. ¬†In most countries and especially the ones with an official au pair program, it’s not allowed to leave the au pair alone with the kids for the whole night. During these trips the host family provides the au pair with a schedule just as it is the case at home. If the host parents have some free time, he/she can join the family or plan something alone to be able to explore the new city.

A working vacation

The family is on vacation, but the parents need the au pair to work some hours so they can go out for dinner or even enjoy a day or two together. It is very important to make the expectations really clear in that case. How often will the au pair¬†be needed to take care of the kids and what is the plan once she/he is off? In this case the host family covers the expenses for flight, accommodation and meals. If everybody goes on trips together to visit a museum or a theme park, it’s important to talk about who is going to pay for the au pair. If the host family invites the au pair to go to activities with them, it’s nice of the family to pay, especially when this is something that the au pair normally wouldn’t do. Talk openly about what the au pair would like to do. The family should understand if the au pair wants to explore the area alone. Then the au pair should pay for anything that she/he is doing during those days by herself/himself.

An optional vacation

If the host family doesn’t need an au pair to work, but would enjoy their company and would like to show them around the au pair can be ask to join the family and the au pair can either agree or decline the invitation. It’s important to talk about if the au pair has to take her/his days of vacation for that trip or if these are extra days of vacation. It is also important that the sleeping arrangements and any costs that might be involved to join the family are clear. The family does not have to pay for everything, but should let the au pair know about the costs to come with them, so she/he can plan in some money. If she/he doesn’t want to spend money for that vacation, but would rather like to spend it on another vacation, she/he can stay home.

Whenever the family pays something for the au pair, she/he should show gratitude to the family. You can’t ask the au pair for anything, like a night of babysitting for free though.

Communication about the trip is very important, because the au pair shouldn’t be left alone with costs that they didn’t know they would have to take care of by themselves.

If you are thinking about becoming a host family, you can register on and find your match today!






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