Tag Archives: vacation

Making Plans for Future Travel

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:

  • Save money
  • 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.

Road trips can be the ultimate adventure. You set your own pace and stop to see what you want. The journey can be as much fun as your destination.

  • Road Trippers is an app that helps you plan the ultimate road trip. It helps you determine your route and find interesting stops along the way.

We won’t be stuck inside forever. Once travel resumes, be ready with your plans!

Photo: Natacha R. from France

Camp Au Pair Week #10 – Pirate Adventures

This week’s Camp Au Pair theme is Pirate Adventures

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.

Image: Casey Hugelfink

Camp Au Pair Week 9 – Backyard Safari

This week’s Camp Au Pair theme is Backyard Safari.

Crafts, recipes, activities, and games can all be found here on the Camp Au Pair – Backyard Safari pinboard

Field Trips can be a great way for kids to learn and have new experiences. While we don’t have any animal safari parks near us, we are fortunate to live near two of the top zoos in the United States.

Webcams – You can do a google search for websites with webcams that allow you to observe nature.

Videos – Look for fun videos about African animals on YouTube.

Books – Stop by your local library and look for books on animals you might find on a safari or in the zoo.

Image: Jumble Tree

Camp Au Pair Week #8 – Nature Exploration

This week’s Camp Au Pair theme is Nature Exploration.

Crafts, recipes, activities, and games can all be found here on the Camp Au Pair – Nature Exploration pinboard.

Field Trips can be a great way for kids to learn and have new experiences. You can start observing nature at any local park or your own backyard. If you want to take it a step further,  here are a few other local places to go, that fit this theme:

Webcams – You can do a google search for websites with webcams that allow you to observe nature.

Videos – Look for fun videos on YouTube about nature.

Books – Stop by your local library and look for books on nature.

Image: toddleratplay.com

Camp Au Pair Week #4 – Cars & Trucks

This week’s Camp Au Pair theme is Cars & Trucks.

Crafts, recipes, activities, and games related to all kinds of vehicles can all be found here on the Camp Au Pair – Cars & Trucks pinboard.

Field Trips can be a great way for kids to learn and have new experiences. Here are a few places to go, that fit this theme:

  • Go Kart Raceway in Crofton has double karts where an adult can drive a child (age 2 & up). To drive their own kart, kids must be age 8 and 54 inches or taller.
  • Smithsonian Musuem of American History has an exhibit with cars and trucks from a variety of different time periods.
  • Port Discovery in Baltimore has a fun gas station exhibit where kids can pretend they are driving a car and filling it up at the gas station.
  • Amusement parks like Six Flags America have lots of rides where kids can give driving a try.
  • Look for construction areas where the kids can observe big machines in action. Kids should observe from the car or a safe area.
  • Keep an eye out for the trash truck and let them watch the truck in action.
  • Playseum in Bethesda or Annapolis has fun interactive activities for kids to try.
  • Go to a drive-through car wash or let the kids make their own car wash at home.
  • Touch a Truck is a free, family-friendly event taking place at the Bowie Baysox stadium on August 3.

VideosAmazing Big Trucks is a kid-friendly video showing big trucks in action. Look for fun videos on YouTube about cars and trucks.

Cars, Cars 2 & 3, Turbo, Bumble Bee, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang & Bob the Builder Mega Machines movies all fit this theme.

Books – Stop by your local library and look for books on cars & trucks.

Image: funlearningforkids.com

Water Safety Tips for Children

When hot summer weather hits, the pool and beach are popular places to cool off. Here are some tips for host parents and au pairs to keep everyone safe when supervising children around water.

Water Safety Tips

  • Never leave a child unattended near water.
  • Drowning is silent; keep your eyes on the children at all times.
  • If in the pool with a young child, never be more than an arm’s length away.
  • Make sure the fence around the pool is closed properly.
  • If you have an above-ground pool, remove the ladder when not in use.
  • Swim at the beach or lake only when a lifeguard is on duty.
  • Children over 4 years old should learn how to swim.
  • Designate a specific person to watch the children.
  • If boating, always wear a Coast-Guard approved life jacket.
  • Keep a phone close by in case there is an emergency.
  • If you leave the area for any reason, the kids go with you.
  • Consider taking a water safety course.

Here is a video with info on how to spot when someone is in trouble in the water.

 

 

 

Make this the Best Summer Ever!

4133298507_b0f2fecd9a_nWhen the kids are out of school on summer break there are soooo many possibilities. But, if you don’t make plans, you will often end up in the house with bored kids getting into trouble and arguing with their siblings.  Make plans!

Having lots of ideas ready can minimize those problems.

Looking for fun activity ideas to get the summer started off right with your host kids?

The Au Pair in America Summer Fun Pinboard is a great place to start. Together, create a Summer Bucket List. Talk with the kids about things they would like to see and do. Even toddlers and preschoolers can contribute to the conversation. Run these plans by your host parents and clear things like how much you may spend and when is best to do some of these activities.

Check back here next week for information on Camp Au Pair in America: a weekly blog series with themed weeks for the entire summer break.

Photo: MissMessie (Flickr)

Holiday & Vacation Reminders

 

Holidays and vacations are a great opportunity to rest, recharge and explore the U.S.

Memorial Day Weekend (last weekend in May) is the unofficial start of summer travel season. Here are some reminders about program rules regarding holidays and vacations.

Holidays

  • Host families are not required to give au pairs any specific holidays.
  • Each host family will make different arrangements on holidays, some au pairs will be off and others will be required to work.
  • As holidays approach, it is helpful for host parents to let their au pair know if they will be off or not, so plans may be made.
  • Au pairs should not make plans for holidays without checking with their host family first.

Vacations

  • Au pairs earns 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 au pairs travel with their host family, it should be discussed in advance whether this is the au pair’s vacation or if they’re working.
  • If au pairs travel with their host family to work, the host family is required to pay for the au pair’s transportation, lodging and meals.

Travel Outside the U.S.

  • Au pairs in year one, are allowed to travel outside of the U.S. and return, however there are some important steps to take.
    • Au pairs must have their DS2019 signed (travel validation) PRIOR to their departure from the US.
    • More information and the travel validation request form may be found here on the Au Pair in America website.
    • It is essential that au pairs make their travel plans to return to the U.S. prior to the expiration date listed on their visa. This date can sometimes be earlier than their actual year end date.
  • There are limitations on travel outside of the U.S. for au pairs in year two. Please speak with Christine or Lisa, prior to making travel plans.

Photo: Canva.com

Create a Spring Break Game Plan

“Game plan” means a strategy for how you are going to accomplish something.  In the case of keeping kids from getting bored and/or into trouble, the best way to prevent it is to keep them busy with safe, fun activities.

When there are days home from school, letting kids sit around watching TV or play video games is not the best use of their time.  Providing fun alternatives will make it much easier to pull them away from the screen.

You need to make a plan of what you will do with them each day and prepare for that. Planning is very important.  You don’t want to tell them you are going some place fun, only to arrive there and see they are not open that day or you needed to bring something and you don’t have it.

If your plan includes a craft or cooking project, make sure you have:

  • all the ingredients/supplies
  • recipe/directions

If your plan includes an outing to someplace fun, figure out:

  • How will you get there?
  • When you should leave?
  • How much it will cost?
  • What will you do for lunch?

Use some of these online resources to find activities and recipes:

Have a wonderful Spring Break!

Photos: vmiramontes (Flickr) & tasty.co

Holiday & Vacation Reminders

With Memorial Day almost here, I wanted to remind everyone about program rules on holidays and vacations.

Holidays

  • Host families are NOT REQUIRED to give au pairs any specific holidays.
  • Each host family will make different arrangements on 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 your host family FIRST.

luggage maliasVacation

  • Au pair earns 2 weeks of paid vacation during the course of her year.
  • The host family can pick a week and the au pair can pick a week, if an agreement is not reached.
  • All vacation 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 a ticket.
  • If an au pair travels with their host family, it should be discussed UP FRONT 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.

Important: An au pair MUST have her DS2019 signed PRIOR to her departure from the US. More information about this can be found by selecting the Resources tab on the top of this page and looking under “Travel Links for Au Pairs.”