Holidays and vacations are a great opportunity to rest, recharge and explore the U.S.
Memorial Day Weekend is the unofficial start of the summer travel season. Here are some reminders about program rules regarding holidays, vacations, and international travel.
Host families are not required to give au pairs off on any specific holidays.
Each host family will make different arrangements for holidays, some au pairs will be off and others will be required to work.
Au pairs should not make plans for holidays without checking with their host family first.
During the pandemic, it is important that au pairs and host families discuss what travel and activities are an acceptable level of risk before plans are made.
Au pairs earn 2 weeks of paid vacation during the course of their year.
Vacation time should be mutually agreed upon.
All vacations should be preplanned (at least 4 weeks in advance).
All au pair’s friends and/or family visits/vacations should be pre-approved prior to purchasing tickets.
If an au pair travels with her host family, it should be discussed in advance whether this is the au pair’s vacation or if she is working.
If an au pair travels with the host family to work, the host family is required to pay for her transportation, lodging, and meals. Regulations still apply while on vacation (i.e. not working more than 10 hours/day and 45 hours/week, minimum 1 1/2 days off, and private bedroom).
Travel Outside of the U.S.
Check out this blog post with current information on international travel.
Field Trips can be a great way for kids to learn and have new experiences. Get permission from your host parents before any outings and be sure to take all social distancing precautions. Some museums are requiring advanced tickets or have reduced hours due to the pandemic.
Videos – On YouTube you can find many great videos of about the Olympics.
Books – Stop by your local library and look for books about the Olympics.
Some good ones include: Olympig!, G is for Gold Medal: An Olympic Alphabet, How to Train with a T-Rex and Win 8 Gold Medals, Wilma Unlimited, America’s Champion Swimmer: Gertrude Ederle, Way to Go Alex!, Touch the Sky, Pele: King of Soccer, A Picture Book of Jesse Owens & Babar’s Celestville Games.
You may also find some of these books read aloud on YouTube.
Fun Fact: The Olympic symbol consists of five interlaced rings of equal dimensions, used alone, in one or in five different colors, which are, from left to right, blue, yellow, black, green and red. The Olympic symbol (the Olympic rings) expresses the activity of the Olympic Movement and represents the union of the five continents and the meeting of athletes from throughout the world at the Olympic Games.
Field Trips can be a great way for kids to learn and have new experiences. Get permission from your host parents before any outings and be sure to take all social distancing precautions. Here are a few places to go, that fit this theme:
Kid Museum is a hands-on learning space for kids in Bethesda
Toys – Many kids have dinosaur toys already. See what your kids have and think of fun, new ways you can play with these toys with them. Imagine taking a plastic dinosaur and making footprints in play dough to form your own fossils.
Webcam – This NPS Paleontology Lab offers a webcam where you can watch paleontologists remove rock from around fossils. The cam is normally working 9 am-5 pm PST, so 12-8 pm our time.
Videos – Look for fun videos on YouTube about dinosaurs and fossils. Here are a few to get you started.
Movies – The Good Dinosaur, Land Before Time, and Ice Age are all great family movies that fit with this theme. For older kids, consider movies like Journey to the Center of the Earth and Jurassic Park (which is rated PG-13).
Books – Check your kids’ bookshelf for books on dinosaurs.
Television – The Discovery Channel has an annual Shark Week. This year it will be July 11-18, 2021. Much of the programming will be too scary for younger kids, but for nature-loving tweens and teens, it could be a great way to get them interested in sharks and other ocean animals. Check out 15 JAW-some Activities for Shark Week with lots of fun ideas for kids in grades 5 and up, but a few for younger kids too.
If your kids are a little older, check out 10 Crazy Facts About Sea Turtles (below).
Books – Stop by your local library and look for books on sea creatures. The Rainbow Fish is a classic children’s book, your kids may already own. If not, you can find videos like this of it being read aloud.
With the COVID vaccine production steadily increasing, we are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel with the pandemic. That is wonderful news and reason to be optimistic! However, Au Pair in America is still strongly discouraging travel at the moment for two reasons: CDC recommendations against travel and the constantly changing rules and restrictions for international and even interstate travel.
When travel is resumed for you, it will also depend on your specific host family circumstances. It is very important that you and your host family have very clear, honest communication about your plans and that you are both comfortable with the plans.
What can you do right now? Research and figure out where you want to go and what things you want to see and do there. Being a spontaneous traveler can be fun, but without planning you will often waste some of your precious vacation or weekend time figuring out things you could have looked into before you started your trip.
These ideas are to help you make general plans. You shouldn’t book any tickets or make any financial commitments until you know when travel will safely resume.
Planning can help you:
Make the best use of your time
Fit in more adventures
Visit places you might not have heard of before
It also extends the joy of the travel time. Planning all the thing you will do, gives you something to look forward to. We can all use things to look forward to right now.
If you are looking for travel inspiration and ideas or a place to keep your travel ideas organized, Pinterest is a great place to start. You can browse other people’s travel and bucket list pinboards. You can create your own pinboards for places you want to go and ones you have already visited.
These three apps are all trip planners and offer the ability to research places and create your own itinerary. Each one has its own look and feel and slightly different features. Download them and see which one is the best fit for you.
Trip Advisor (One of the best features is the reviews and tips from real people.)
Crafts, recipes, activities, and games can all be found here on the Camp Au Pair – Pirate Adventures pinboard. Since there aren’t that many pirate-themed places to go in our area, this theme is best played out in your own home and back yard. This pinboard features lots of great ideas to bring the pirate theme alive for kids.
Field Trips can be a great way for kids to learn and have new experiences.
Videos – Look for fun videos about Pirates on YouTube.
Movies – Hook, Muppets Treasure Island, Peter Pan, Treasure Planet, Return to Neverland, Veggie Tales the Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything, Treasure Island, Goonies and Pirates of the Caribbean are all movies that fit in great with this theme. Check the ratings to make sure they are age-appropriate for your children.
Books – Stop by your local library and look for books on pirates.