Ironing out the Details...

Received Thursday, January 6, 2011
Opinion 4 I will be traveling with the family that I used to work for full time and now I work for them on a very part time basis. I love them and I am so excited to be going on this trip to Hawaii with them but I have no idea what needs to be worked out. They are covering all costs for me getting there and for lodging, that is all I know at this point. I want to be prepared for when we do sit down and talk so any advice would be great. There are 4 children in the family; twins (6 months), 3 year old and 5 year old. They are awesome parents and I know that they will be spending time with the kids and that we will be doing some juggling of kids, me with babies while they hang with big kids, me with big kids and no babies and sometimes probably all of them. I make $15/hour when I babysit for them. Any advice is greatly appreciated :)


Blythe said...

How fun! I love traveling with "my" family. The way we do it is this: They pay for flight, accommodations, and food (this sounds like what you have already worked out). In terms of paying me for my time, I am paid my usual hourly rate. The first time we did this, we tried keeping track of which hours I worked but that got tricky fast. Vacation is just different than being at home. What worked best for us in the end was aiming for a certain number of hours of work a day (generally 10), and paying me for that. I'm sure some days I worked more, and some less, but I got paid for the hours we aimed for. I hope that's helpful!

Have fun!!

bostonnanny said...

Are you the same OP as the one with the pet sitting issue?

on the road again said...

Things to ask:
1. Will I be sharing a room with the children?
2. Will I be responsible for childcare during the flight?

They should pay for your accommodations and flight, and any meals you take with the family. General advice is to ask for your regular hourly rate for the hours you work during the vacation. It's also reasonalbe to expect an overnight rate for the inconvenience of being away from home and basically at their beck and call. But the amount will depend on the answer to question 1 (Mine would range from $25 per night if I had my own room to $150 if I was sharing with infant twins, but people might be different). If the answer to question 2 is yes, you should be paid hourly for the flight.
Sometimes nannies add up those figures and start to think, "That's too much to ask for." But it's a luxury to take your nanny on vacation with you and paying for kids club + resort sitters isn't so cheap either (and they don't have the rapport with the kids).
Finally, don't expect it to be a vacation for you, no matter how much you love the family. As someone said in another post, if you have a nice time, that's just a bonus.

Fawn said...

You are being taken advantage of. So ridiculous. Do you know what hotel sitter services cost? And how hard it is to get your kids to stay with new sitters and to trust the sitters? Plus the new sitter will have to be trained and will have a million questions. The time that you are away from your home/family/friends does count for something. At a minimum, you should be paid $35 an hour for each overnight. That is a minimum as suggested by a low brow agency to me in 2007.

Kitty said...

1) Will I be allowed to drink on the flight?
2) Will I have any free time? When?
3) Will I be in the room with the children?
4) Will you be dining out alone every night?
5) What time of the day will I need to start?
6) If I am working from early AM through the evening, I would like a three hour break during the afternoon, is this acceptable?
7) My overtime rate is....
8) My overnight rate is....
9) Do you have any objection to me wearing a bikini?
10) Will I have adequate time to dress for dinner or meals? (This is important-my sister used to run her nanny ragged. She would have to keep the kids out on the beach while my sister and her husband got ready and then she would have to get the kids ready and then bam... they would expect her to be ready.
11) I need the address and phone number of the hotel for my emergency contact as well as all flight details.
12) If I am expected to be with the children, may I plan activities for the children and I? Is there a budget for kid's activities?
13) what about snacks? Drinks? It's hot in the sun. I don't want to go in to debt ordering $4.00 snapples all afternoon.
14) What kind of privacy will I have. I need to know specifically what kind of room and if anyone else will be in said room. Also, please let me know your proximity to said room.
15) What if a child gets up in the middle of the nights or is ill during the night, who is expected to take care of the child? Am I off at any time or am I on straight through?
16) What if my lady's days arrive during our trip?
17) How many suitcases am I permitted to bring?
18) Should I bring reading material?
19) When will I be paid?
20) Upon our return, will you allow me extra time off to recover. (This is mandatory if they don't allow you- "you time").

Vacationpro said...

Don't take pictures during the vacation or post trip information or photos on Facebook or other places on the internet without asking the permission of the parents.

NannyAnn said...

Re Kitty's Question 1: I don't think it's appropriate for a nanny to be drinking alcohol in front of the children, including teenagers.

Allie said...

They way the family I nanny for and I do it is like this: I get my usual salary, and then for the hours that I work I make half my hourly rate- so worked hours come to time an a half for up to my normal set hours. Any extra hours are paid at 1.5 my rate and if I do overnight care/share a room with the kids, then I get an extra $75-125 peer night. Of course, all hotel/travel/meals with the family are paid for. I also get an extra meal "stipend" because eating out is much more expensive than at home- this doesn't cover everything, but makes it so I only spend the amount I would spend on food during a regular work week....

Since this won't quite work for you, you should make sure that travel and room are paid for. If you share with kids you should get paid extra for that, especially if you need to do any kid-care for the nights. You should ask for a little extra per hour, maybe $20 if you normally make $15 or to get a meal stipend. You want to make sure you aren't spending more money than your normally would while at home- obviously souvenirs/extra "fun" expenses don't count in this... ;) If you will actually get free time on this trip then, maybe your normal rate is worth it to you because it will be fun for you as well- but make sure you find out what hours will be free for you before you leave.

Things to ask:
Will you be working during travel hours?
Will you share a room with kids or do any night-time care? If so, how will it be paid?
What hours will you work (is a number guaranteed? Is there a max number per day or for the trip? Or will more than x amount be paid at a higher rate?)
What hours will you have free for sure?
What will you do for meals when on your own- are you responsible, will they give some money, or can you order room service on their account and just pay for meals when you are out by yourself?
Will you have car access, if you are in a place where you might need one?
Basically you want to make sure you will be getting paid for the trip to be worthwhile (if you get real vacation time, them money won't be as big of a deal, but if you are working a lot, you will want to get paid enough to feel that you shouldn't have just stayed home) but you also don't want the family to be shocked when they write you a check at the end- or one of you guys will be unhappy with how it turned out and any future work....

Have fun!

nycmom said...

We have traveled with several different nannies and sitters on a variety of trips. It was a learning process for me too.

Someone has already posted a great list of questions, so I'll just give a rough outline of how we set things up.

Like Blythe, we found it too difficult and constraining for both sides to do set hours. I actually am usually a big fan of set hours in any childcare setup, but on vacation do it differently. We pay our nanny her regular hourly rate from 7am-9pm, so 14 hours a day. We start this from the minute we leave our home including all travel time. During the flight, all 3 adults work together taking care of the kids and try to give each person a couple of hours of dedicated rest. Now, she doesn't work 14 hours a day and has a few of those hours of each day without fail. But we find it is easier to just pay for the entire time, rather than keeping track of details. This also works instead of overtime for us because there are lots of paid, unworking hours. This is a decision I have come to mutually with both my long-term nannies after finding other methods were less appealing to both sides.

For overnights, we have 2 hotel rooms. Our little guy (now 3yo) sleeps with my husband and I. My 8 and 10yo share a room with our nanny. She gets her own double bed, one of them gets a double and the other gets a hotel single cot (which is actually a regular movable twin bed). Occasionally our nanny brings her now 9yo daughter alone and then her daughter either sleeps with nanny or with our daughter. We do not pay our nanny anything extra for overnights, but if kids wake at all at night they come to us and the adjoining door is kept partially open at night. I've always discussed this with our nannies and occasional sitter and all have been fine with it. At times we rent a house with extra rooms, they get their own room. They have always had the option of coming on trips or not, and always chosen to come along.

Overall, we just try to be considerate of each other when traveling. We take turns getting ready for meals, share the work with the kids, and try to work as a team. My husband and I rarely do anything without our kids except for getting a few hours extra sleep in the morning. The rest of the day is spent with all 3 kids or just the older two. If our nanny needs a break beyond what comes up, she asks, and we accommodate without question. I guess a lot of the success of traveling together is having a good working relationship, being generally thoughtful, and communicating about details before travel so there is no dissapointment.

We do, of course, pay for all travel costs and all meals whether dining with us or alone, and this includes unlimited access to room service for our nanny (who never abuses this). We also pay for any souvenirs our nanny wants to buy or unexpected costs that come up such as needing a new swimsuit, tshirt, toiletries, etc. We do not provide any kind of extra daily salary. However, when our nanny's one or more kids comes along we cover all their costs also. In regards to having her period, I can't imagine any nanny ever bringing this up - just as I can't imagine ever bringing this up to my boss. I suppose if you have a medical condition with severe menstrual pain, you might raise the issue, but I imagine that would not be a new problem since you had previously worked during your period during regular workdays.

Over a 7-day workweek, our nanny earns roughly double a regular 5 day week. In addition to paying for the 14-hour days, we also do some comp time for our nanny. On average we try to give her off the day before we travel and 1-2 days upon return.

This is what has worked for our family. You need to figure out what works for your position. We've done 7-10 trips with 4 or 5 different nannies (on occasion, for local driving beach trips we have taken two caregivers because they were friends or related). So our setup has evolved over many years and much practice!

Chrissy said...

Why in the world would it matter if the nanny got her period on the trip? Take some Advil, use a tampon. That is just bizarre to me.

Blythe said...


While I certainly understand and appreciate your point of view, I don't feel taken advantage of. I love travelling with the family and getting to spend time with the kids. I think you make an excellent point-- the OP is well within her rights to ask for overnight pay. I didn't think of that.

For me, though, I really am quite happy with the arrangement, as naive as it may be!

Anonymous said...

Who gets up with the children at night?

I think this is basically going to be a nanny on call situation. And I would charge a fixed amount per day. I wouldnt go for less that $250 a day, flat rate. That averages out to 16 hours a day at $15 an hour, and I think even at that rate, they are getting a deal.

If you don't like the idea above, then I would assume I'm working all the time. When the parents don't need you, then you can sign OUT. That way it will be clear when you are not working. Then I would charge your flat $15 an hour, and an overnight charge of $75-$150 if you are the one getting up with the twins. This second option will make them JUMP at the first option.

Don't let them take advantage of you. This situation has the opportunity for them to do so written all over it. And agree to terms before you leave. If they balk, say thanks but no thanks. Sometimes you have to walk away from a deal to get a fair price.

Not THIS OP said...

Im the OP from the other blog and nope this one isn't mine.

I currently work for my family, it's not a past family that's taking me to Hawaii with them

Canaan said...

$250 a day sounds VERY fair.

Travlin' Nanny :) said...

Thank You so much for all the advice!!

I will be meeting them in Hawaii so one leg of my trip is solo. Drinking is not an issue I would never have a drink while working. I appreciate all the questions to be asked, I am looking forward to hanging out with "my" kids in the sun and getting some amazing pictures.

I will definitely be taking these ideas to the table when we sit down to chat more in depth about the trip. Thanks again to everyone who offered advice!

snowing said...

Trust me its not going to be a vacation for you. I made that mistake and went with a family to Florida. Basically, the whole time there I worked while they went out.

So just keep that in mind. I would ask for a certain rate for the week. If its five days at least $250 per day.

p.s. of course they are covering all your cost for the trip. They are not doing you a favor. You are doing them the favor.

Just My Two Cents Just Now said...

If I were a parent who was taking a nanny on a trip, I would try my best to make sure she gets some free time as well. Perhaps a night off to go clubbing or some free time during the day to sightsee, buy souvenirs and take photos. Even though it is not typically a vacation for the nanny, the right thing for the family to do is to let the nanny enjoy the location as much as the family does. After all, how many times in one's lifetime do we get to visit Hawaii???

I've been there! said...

When I was offered my first full-time, live-in nanny job, I interviewed for the job and got it almost 6 months before I actually started. During that interim period, I was invited by the family to go to Hawaii with them for 2 weeks, as a 'get to know you' trip. As the dad said, "that way, we can get a feel for you, and you can get a feel for us, in a day-to-day kind of setting." I'm happy to read that you're going on vacation with a family you have already worked for, because I wouldn't recommend doing what I did. Going on vacation for 2 weeks is not a normal day-to-day setting! In my defense, at the time I was just out of college and just getting by on my own, so the prospect of going to Hawaii for 2 weeks with my airfare, hotel, and food paid for, was a dream come true. I did the research-- I would NEVER be able to do that on my own, at least at the time. I knew I wasn't going to get paid, but I figured, well, I wouldn't be actually working yet, right? Wrong. (Of course.) I was informed before the trip that I would have to share a room with the one child, a toddler. I told them I did not mind, I mean they were paying for me to go to Hawaii, right? (My older, wiser self is shaking her head right now.) What I soon discovered on this trip is that this little girl woke up crying every night. EVERY NIGHT. And instead of letting her cry it out, the parents would rub her back to soothe her back to sleep. Now, I don't want that in of itself to start a debate, but I've been taking care of kids long enough to know that self-soothing is not a bad thing. But parents don't have a lot of patience these days. Not only that, but when she would cry, one of the parents would barge into the bedroom to soothe her. I often only had a moment to cover myself up before they did (I wasn't naked, but it still felt like an invasion of privacy.) After a couple of nights, I was asked to take turns with the parents soothing the little girl when she woke up during the night. I naively figured, "oh good, they don't want to barge in anymore, they probably realized that I was uncomfortable with that." No, of course not. They just didn't want to get out of bed. During the 1st week, on Maui, we stayed in a condominium. It had 2 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, a kitchen, and a killer view of the ocean. Although I had to share a room with the little girl, when she wasn't sleeping (or crying) I could have the room to myself, and one of the full bathrooms was mine alone. I tagged along with the family to all of the sightseeing and activities they did, most of which were free, and what wasn't, I had to pay my admission for. I figured, I would have to pay for this myself if I were on vacation, and they already paid for my airfare and hotel, so I its ok. (Again, my older, wiser self is shaking her head.) The 2nd week we headed to Oahu, and I was told we were checking into another condominium. Great! The convenience of a kitchen and living room really make the difference. Too bad I had my expectations set so high: as we walked in the door of our condo, the first thing I noticed was, "why is there only one bedroom?" The dad replied, "you get the pull out sofa." Oh, fantastic. I've heard those are really comfortable. (ha, ha.) It was probably the worst "bed" I've ever slept on in my life. Compound that with the fact that the kitchen had no utensils or pots/pans, there was a huge ant infestation in the room (which the parents never complained about and chose to ignore), and the fact that the little girl still woke up crying almost every night, that by the end of that second week, I couldn't WAIT to go home. (con’t….. )

I've been there! said...

During the entire 2 weeks, I also had the responsibility of watching the little girl in the morning while the parents went for a run, on 3 nights while they went out to dinner, and on 5 afternoons while they went and got massages or had time to themselves. I wasn’t informed that I would have to watch her for that amount of time before we got there. If I had known, I probably would have asked to be paid. But because I was already there, and felt I needed to just go with the flow, I agreed. (Again, shaking my head.) At the end of the trip, the night before we were leaving, the parents sat down with me after the little girl was asleep, and discussed with me how I felt about working with them. They asked if I felt comfortable with day-to-day life with their family, and wanted my feedback. I, of course, gushed about how much I felt like we had clicked and I felt comfortable and confident that I would work well with them. They expressed the same, but stated how they were concerned that I had ignored their daughter at the beach one day and instead was listening to my iPod. I discussed that day with them, and we came to the conclusion that it was a misunderstanding. (But really, we go to the beach, you sit yourselves 5 feet from me, you watch me as I put my iPod in and my sunglasses on, don’t interact with me for half and hour, and THEN choose to walk by with your daughter when you obviously know I’ve dozed off?) Looking back, that was the first of many red flags with that family.

So, if I could give you any advice, it would be this: sit down with the family you nanny for, and discuss with them EXACTLY what your role/responsibilities will be when you're there, and discuss compensation as well. This will be work, not just a vacation. If you have to share a room with any of the kids, mentally prepare yourself. I would also highly encourage you to ask the parents for one night or afternoon off during your trip, even if all you do is sit on the beach and read a book. You'll be in Hawaii after all! I truly hope you enjoy your vacation more than I did.