Travel Sitters: For a Vacation from Your Family Vacation

Yes, you did sign up for the whole “family vacation” thing. Your kids are the center of your trip and your family, of course. And no, you’re not looking for a summer au pair. But maybe you need a night alone to relax, escape from parenting, or explore a new place by having “big-kid” fun. What’s a parent to do!?

Reliable childcare professionals are all over the place, whether you’ve used them or not. Have a little faith and back it up by a lot of research – or just read on to find some options.

Hotel Childcare

Some family-friendly hotels offer a childcare service or can recommend a babysitting service. Call ahead, but you can usually expect these services from premium brands like Westin and Four Seasons. In-house childcare programs might act like a daycare, so call to check the hours, group sizes, and activities offered.

If your hotel recommends babysitters or a babysitting service, call ahead to ask about the service’s screening standards and to check the references of individual sitters.

Ask a hotel employee or concierge for a personal recommendation, if they have kids and use a babysitter. Hotel staff, who are necessarily locals, can be wonderful resources.

Make a Friend for Life

Consider bringing your kids’ favorite babysitter from home. For the cost of airfare, most babysitting teens would jump at the opportunity to join your vacation! If you and your kids already like and trust the sitter, leaving your kids with her for a few hours will feel natural. In return, she’ll get a whole new adventure and probably some time to wander and explore.

Talk to the teen’s parents to lay down some travel ground rules before you make the offer.

Resort-Style Vacations

Incorporate a family-centric locale like Disney or Universal resorts into your vacation. Or, stay at an all-inclusive Club Med or Beaches resort if you’re looking for in-house drop-off points for your kids from time to time. Las Vegas, believe it or not, is another resort town with hotels that frequently offer adults the alone time they need.

Call ahead to ask about ages and activities. Many resorts require that kids are toilet-trained and over the age of four.

Let the Good Times Roll

Remember that the operative word in “family vacation” is “family.” Even if it means just grabbing a bottle of wine and shutting yourself on the balcony to escape the child-sound cacophony, this is what you signed up to do. Plan on age-appropriate, child-friendly destinations that will have plenty to keep your kids occupied, and allow yourself to engage in some of the same fun your kids are having.

Once you’ve calmed down and let your own screaming out on the balcony, you can relax, take a deep breath, and return to the chaos.

Have you – or would you – use a travel sitter on your family vacation?

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