Kidsit Founder, Editor, Illustrator, and father of three beautiful kids in Sydney, Australia.
Traveling alone with your partner and leaving the kids at home isn't an option for most people. It can be a real struggle to find a family member or friend who is willing to watch your child for a week or more! So if you want to get in some date nights and adult activities while you're on vacation, you're going to need to find a babysitter!
How do you find a babysitter while you're on vacation? The best babysitting solutions while on vacation are to holiday at a family-friendly destination, book accommodation that offers a childcare service, hire a local sitter once you arrive, drop your children off at a kids club for the day, or to bring a babysitter or travel nanny with you!
In this article, we’ll explore these methods and more for finding the best childcare while on vacation and having the best, relaxing break possible.
For the longest time, I never considered that hiring a babysitter while traveling was even an option! But if you're looking to do any activities like scuba diving or rock climbing that aren't well suited for kids, or even going out for a nice romantic dinner together, then finding some holiday childcare is a must.
One study found that 42% of kids on vacation feel like their parents are ignoring them. So by using a babysitter to get some time of your own, you can make sure your kids are getting your full attention during the time you spend together.
Vacations are a great opportunity to create some lasting memories with your family and spend some time bonding. Plus they give you a chance to get away from work for a bit and leave your normal home routines behind. But if you end up spending your entire vacation chasing your kids around, it's not going to provide you with much rest and relaxation!
Parents need some vacation time by themselves without their kids. Not only for romance and a chance to reconnect, but just some downtime to relax as well. Kids often appreciate a break and a chance to be a kid without their parents constantly watching too.
Even if you're only leaving your children with hotel staff for an hour or two, you still need to be safety conscious.
Take a bit of time to ask some questions and find exactly what the childcare situation is like before you leave your kids behind and go off on your travels.
If you're leaving your kids at your resort or hotel, ask the staff how they interview their childcare providers, where they find them, and what kind of reference and background checks they run. Find out where they actually watch the kids as well. Do they just watch them in a hotel room or a public area, or do they have a specific childcare facility on-site?
Any trustworthy childcare service that you find while on vacation should be happy to let you inspect their facilities to make sure they're safe and clean, and answer any questions that you have.
Part of babysitting safety is running background checks on any sitters you're looking to hire. Learn how by reading our complete guide - How to Run a Background Check on a Babysitter.
Your search for a babysitter or childcare options should start as soon as you begin planning your trip. After all, figuring out what you're going to do with the kids is logistically a pretty major part of any vacation you could take.
Even if you're traveling internationally, many hotels will specifically advertise their babysitting services on their website. Resorts are often specifically geared toward families and have all the amenities needed to go along with it. It will vary from hotel to hotel how much you need to pay for childcare, or if you need to pay at all. Some places may include 4 hours of babysitting services per day for no extra charge.
Once you start looking, you might be surprised how many hotels can accommodate children. Although perhaps it's not that surprising, considering how many people have children and need to travel with them.
Even if your resort or hotel doesn't offer childcare themselves, they can often point you in the right direction. Tons of parents will want childcare options while they're on vacation, so it's likely to be a frequently asked question that they're quite familiar with.
The hotel might partner with a local daycare or other organization to offer babysitting or petsitting services. Or they might even have a list of trusted private babysitters that you can book to come babysit for you in your room while you're out.
Like with any other vacation babysitters, you can ask for background information on your sitter or childcare provider to make sure they're someone you feel comfortable leaving your child with.
If your kids are old enough, you can give them their own room. Generally kids ages six and up are old enough to be trusted in an adjoining room by themselves. Even if your kids aren't old enough to leave by themselves in a room while you go out, it gives you some separate space with your partner in the evenings.
Once your kids are teenagers, you might even feel comfortable leaving them with a room card and letting them spend the day at the pool by themselves while you go out on an excursion.
If your hotel doesn't offer childcare and isn't able to offer recommendations on someone to use, then you'll need to hire a temporary babysitter on your own.
Babysitting websites are a great place to look. If you post a job in the zip code you'll be traveling to well in advance before your trip, you shouldn't have trouble finding a local babysitter at your destination, especially if you're travelling in your own country.
When you make your job posting, you can give some context by letting applicants know that you're only looking for a short-term babysitter. Even though you're only going to use this babysitter a couple of times, you'll still want to interview potential candidates on a Skype video call, check references, and do the usual background checks just to be safe.
I would highly recommend sticking to babysitting websites to find your vacation sitter, and not posting on general online classifieds boards like Craigslist, Kijiji, or Gumtree.
While your hotel might not specifically offer babysitting services, they might have some children's activities during the day where you can drop your kids off for a few hours and spend some time for yourself.
These free, supervised activities will keep your kids looked after while you do something else on your own. These kinds of activities are normally offered during the day, but some places may have morning, afternoon, or night sessions. Or all three if you're lucky!
Some kid's clubs will only be available for kids who are a bit older, so you might not be able to use these services if you have a baby. But some will look after children as young as 3 years old.
Not all resorts or hotels include these kinds of services for free. You may need to pay around $50 per child to keep your kid busy for two or three hours. But if it gives you time to get away for a couple's massage, it's probably worth it!
Kid's clubs are especially common at larger resorts if you're going to a tropical destination, although you'll find them located at hotels all over the place.
Be sure to include looking for hotels that offer free kid's clubs as one of your criteria when you're considering where you want to stay.
How many children can one childcare provider handle? Learn here - How Many Babies Can a Babysitter Watch?
If you have your own vetted babysitter or nanny at home already, they may be willing to come along with you on vacation. Especially if they're someone that you employ full-time already.
Depending on their other commitments, you might not be able to convince your regular babysitter to come along on holiday with you. But if they can, it's a great way to make sure your kids are taken care of by someone that you already know and trust. That way you can completely relax and enjoy your vacation, knowing your kids are in good hands. Plus many sitters and nannies would be excited to get a free all-expenses-paid holiday out of it!
The cost of getting a babysitter to come along with you on your trip will vary a lot depending on where you're going, how long the trip is for, how many hours per day they'll be expected to watch your kid, and other factors. But definitely, don't expect it to be cheap!
In addition to their usual hourly rate, expect to also pay for all of your babysitter's meals, transportation costs, and accommodations. Since you're going to be taking up their time 24 hours per day for the duration of the trip, you may also need to pay a lower "downtime" rate when they're just sleeping or relaxing. After all, they've probably made some sacrifices including potentially leaving behind a family of their own to come on holiday with you.
It might be cheaper to negotiate a lump sum to pay them for the entire vacation, instead of itemizing everything.
Still struggling to find childcare options? Check out these 13 sitter alternatives - What to Do When You Can't Find a Babysitter?.
If you either can't or don't want to hand your child over to strangers while on holidays, there are some other creative ways to get some time alone while you're on vacation.
One way is to book a room with a large balcony. That way, after your kids are asleep, you can sneak out on to the balcony with your partner and a bottle of wine to relax and enjoy the sunset. It's one way to squeeze in a bit of extra alone time.
If you're booking a house or cottage to stay in for your vacation, you have a similar option of sitting outside in the backyard or on the porch once the kids have gone to bed. Just make sure to check on them regularly, especially if they're younger, and don't stray too far from the house in case they wake up.
Just like resorts and hotels, there are some cruise ships that specifically cater to families with children. They offer all kinds of care options, as well as fully supervised activities for kids which give you lots of opportunities to sneak off for some alone time.
Just make sure to check the minimum age restrictions on the cruises that you look at. Some allow children all the way from newborns up, while others are more specific.
The Disney Cruise Line is one kid-friendly cruise that immediately comes to mind. It offers plenty to do for younger kids, tweens, and teens alike.
If you're nervous to take your little one on a trip all by yourself, bring along some family members to help out! You can plan a multigenerational vacation and bring parents, aunts and uncles, siblings, or whoever you like.
In exchange for having a family member babysit for you during a couple of nights on the trip, you can offer to cover some of their travel costs.
If your child regularly spends time with your family members, then there's no better peace of mind then having your parents or someone else close to you look after your kid while you go out to enjoy some more adult-oriented aspects of your vacation!
Nowadays with families often being spread in different cities all across the country, a trip is a great way to reunite and get everyone to spend some time together. Instead of just heading to grandma's house for Christmas, why not take everyone somewhere tropical instead? It will really make for a trip to remember if you can get everyone on board.
If you never went camping with your family growing up, then you missed out! It's a classic family vacation experience. Sleeping in tents and sleeping bags, roasting marshmallows around the fire and telling ghost stories, and relaxing in nature is something everyone should do with their kids at least once! Even if you hate the outdoors, your kids will probably really enjoy it.
Many family-oriented camps will offer supervised activities for kids and have dedicated childcare options available.
Some forms of camping are more secluded and will just be you and your family on your camping spot. While others are more communal and offer a more all-inclusive experience. Some will even have a dining hall where you can eat your meals without needing to worry about cooking the food yourself!
Camping offers a bunch of different options depending on what your child's interests are, and it's quite flexible so you can choose exactly how much time you either want to spend together or apart.
If you're traveling somewhere where you already have friends or family members, then you can ask them for recommendations on where to find a babysitter. You might even be able to use their personal babysitter during your trip. So reach out to anyone you know in the city you're going to ahead of time, and see if you can plan to get someone to watch your kids while you do a bit of sightseeing on your own.
You might even want to reach out to friends of friends if you can't find anyone you immediately know. They may be able to recommend vetted caretakers like teachers or daycare workers in the area you're going who can babysit for you, without having to go through an agency.
Just because you don't live in a particular city doesn't mean you can't take advantage of drop-in daycares and other childcare options that they have available.
More and more cities are seeing drop-in childcare centers pop up. They can provide you with a convenient and cost-effective alternative to hiring a babysitter or other childcare options.
Personally, even if drop-in centers exist, I wouldn't want to leave it to the last minute. Find a daycare or childcare center in the area you'll be vacationing, and reach out to them in advance. That way you can make sure you have a spot reserved and you can fill out all of your paperwork and registration forms in advance before you ever leave the house. Be sure to check out reviews online and other resources to vet any prospective facility before you decide to work with them!
If you're going on vacation for several weeks or the entire summer, you might even want to look into full-time daycare options. Particularly if your child is still too young to enjoy the trip anyway. That way you completely free up your time for vacation activities during the day.
After a good vacation, you should be headed home feeling recharged, rested, and ready to go back to the challenges of everyday life. Family vacations can also have long-lasting impacts on your child's happiness!
Make sure you have proper childcare sorted out before you leave for your holiday, it is crucial to getting the time you need to unwind. You’ll want to have a babysitter or childcare solution for your trip that you can trust. You won't be able to fully unwind unless you have the peace of mind that a good babysitter offers. Vetting your holiday childcare providers can help you feel more confident that your children are in good hands, even if you're using hotel or resort staff.
There are plenty of babysitters out there who are more than willing to help you get a well-deserved break. You just need to know where to look in order to find them!
Written & Illustrated by:
Kidsit Founder, Editor, Illustrator, and father of three beautiful kids in Sydney, Australia.
Published: 11 September 2019
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