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Top 10 Tips – Au Pair Guide to a Successful Working Vacation With Your Host Family.



Top 10 Tips – Au Pair Guide to a Successful Working Vacation with your Host Family
Prepared by Joan Barth, Orientation Leader, APIA

Traveling with your host family can be a wonderful adventure and significant part of your
cultural exchange experience. When it is a ‘working vacation’ (you do not have a choice about
participating) there are some things that you and your family can do to help the vacation go
smoothly for all.
10. Vacation Stages: Think about a working vacation as a three-part experience and that you
have a role in each stage. The parts are: Pre-Vacation Preparation, The Vacation, and Re-Entry.
Going on vacation is great, but there’s a lot of work on either end. You are part of the vacation
9. Pre-Vacation: Think about how you can help the host parents, how you can prepare the kids
and how you can prepare yourself.
8. Helping the parents: Can you pack for the children? Can you prepare snacks? Can you
entertain the children while the host parents pack? Can you do some errands for the parents?
7. Preparing the children: It’s more than packing. Can you be an educator and get books or go
online to research the area you will visit? Can you help the children to organize/collect their
media and entertainment for the trip? How about making a busy bag for smaller children?
Involve the children in deciding on and preparing snacks for the trip.
6. Preparing yourself: Ask your host parents for information about the trip. You will feel
better if you know the details. Those details might include: the exact dates of the trip, location
and contact information, will any other friends or family members be joining, is special clothing
or equipment needed? More questions: are there any special events (anniversary celebrations,
reunions), what about the work schedule, how can I plan for my free time? Take care of
business: International Travel? Check on visa and DS2019 requirements. Notify your counselor
of your travel plans and ask your counselor to connect you with a counselor in the area you will
visit so that you can meet other au pairs. Research the area so that you can fully enjoy your free
5. Good to know: Program rules for hours, free days, and pay are the same when you are on a
working vacation. However, it’s also important to recognize that a change in location and
schedules may require some flexibility on everyone’s part.
4. General Safety Issues: Everything is different when you are en route to your vacation
destination and at the destination. Therefore, everyone (host parents and au pairs) need to be
very clear about who is responsible for each child AT ALL TIMES. Do not make any
assumptions about this. Be sure to have a very clear discussion and system for assigning
responsibility at all times. Have a safety plan for amusement parks and other activities. If
everyone is in charge, then no one is in charge – and that’s when problems occur. When you
arrive at your destination be sure to conduct a safety review of the hotel room or cottage with
your host parents. That might include checking that doors, windows and electrical outlets are
safe for your little ones.
3. Water safety: You must always be with your child. Be certain that you, your host parents
and your older children have a clear understanding of water rules and expectations for them, too.
Don’t forget sunscreen for your kids and that it needs to be reapplied. And, of course, don’t
forget sunscreen for yourself!
2. Travel safety for you: Please remember that this is a new location for you, too, and it’s
important to follow basic safety rules. Ask your host parents for advice about areas you might
visit and how to safely get to them. What’s the best/safest transport? Let people know where you
are going – we care about you. A stranger is a stranger, even in an exotic location.
1. Re-Entry: Travel is fun and it’s exhausting for everyone – please remember to offer help
unloading the car, unpacking, putting in some laundry or keeping the children entertained while
your host parents attend to these tasks. And, of course, saying thank you goes a long way.

Vacation Information for Au Pairs

Vacation Information For Au Pairs

Planning a holiday while you are enjoying time in the USA as an Au Pair is exciting. There are a few things to keep in mind to allow your travel to happen smoothly.

Begin to think about your holiday astravels soon as you have settled in with your family. Every Au pair has 11 days of holiday, unless you were in rematch. An Au pair in her second family will have her vacation pro-rated between the two families. If she did not take any vacation with her first family, she will be paid for those earned days. The total 11 days will be lessened by this amount for the second family. It is usually best to take two smaller vacations instead of one long vacation. You can think of one holiday per every six months. You will plan to back up your five days off with your weekend off, giving you a longer holiday.

Start talking with other Au pairs about their travel plans. A group trip can be a great way to travel and save money. Trek America, and Cultural Highway have wonderful pre-planned trips.  You can also find great deals through the internet, especially on cruise lines. Try www. vacationstogo.com. As soon as you have an idea, you will want to talk it over with your host family. They will need time to arrange for alternate childcare or to arrange their vacation at the same time. It might not be possible for the family to accommodate a certain date. Often, a family will know in advance when they want you to take your vacation. This works well, if everyone knows in advance, at least three months.

There are special papers and in some cases visas that will be needed, if you plan to travel outside the United States. These can take up to four weeks, so plan ahead. Refer to the Au Pair In America website for more details about travel outside the USA. There is even a link to your country’s consulate if you have special questions. Canada and Mexico travel is discussed on the web site. You will also need to get your DS-2019 form signed by Au Pair In America for travel outside the USA. You can learn how to go about this on the web site. When mailing your DS-2019 form to Au Pair in America, you need to use UPS or Fed Ex. These mailing services can track a letter and find where it is, in case it gets lost. If you send it regular mail, you cannot “find” it if it gets lost. An Au Pair in the thirteenth month or in an extension term cannot travel outside the USA. For more information see https://www.aupairinamerica.com/resources/travel_and_flights/travel_visa.asp

It is not necessary to return home to renew your visa to extend your program year. You will be granted a new DS2019 form by the State Department, giving legal status to stay within the USA for up t0 12 months. Au Pairs are advised against saving up your vacation days to renew a visa. Many times the new visa is denied. The Au pair is not allowed to re-enter to finish the program when this happens. https://www.aupairinamerica.com/resources/travel_and_flights/travel_visa.asp

Sometimes vacationing can be confusing. If you go on your host family’s vacation with them, it is not your vacation. It should be thought of as a regular work week with a schedule. All travel and hotel expenses should be paid for by the family. If you have time off during the vacation, your personal expenses are your responsibility. Taking a separate vacation from your family is an important break for you. This allows everyone to benefit. A little fun time away should leave you refreshed and once again ready to give your best to the children in your charge.