How to Get a Travel Nanny Job
4 tips for finding a job as a vacation nanny.
Are you exploring your options for nanny jobs? Have you ever thought of becoming a travel nanny? You can combine nanny duties with an interesting location. But before you pack your bags, here are tips for deciding whether this job is right for you and how to find the right position.
Be Honest With Yourself
Being a travel nanny requires a specific kind of personality. First, you need to decide if you have it.
Katie Vaughan, founder and CEO of Westside Nannies, says being a travel nanny is all about attitude. Families, she says, look for candidates who are energetic, enthusiastic and positive. The best travel nannies are those who take initiative and can create a solution without being asked.
Not only is positivity key, but patience is crucial. Vaughan says, “Things are always changing when travel is involved, and you should be highly flexible, able to adapt quickly and not get overwhelmed by details. Loss of sleep shouldn't bother you either -- as a travel nanny you won't have time to recover from jet lag -- you will be working!”
Donna Robinson, a Texas-based nanny and founder of The Traveling Nanny, agrees that flexibility is an essential quality employers look for when hiring a travel nanny. Because unexpected events -- a canceled flight, a child feeling out of sorts while on a different schedule (and in an unfamiliar environment) -- can crop up during a vacation, you need to be able to “roll with the punches when nothing goes to plan”, says Robinson.
Further, parents will expect you to be proactive and intervene when things go awry, whether that means speaking to an airline representative about alternate travel plans, tending to a fussy child, or stepping in to help ease tension and anxiety in any other situation. When it comes down to it, notes Robinson, the ideal travel nanny is an optimist that doesn’t see problems, but rather “unknown solutions.”
Have the Know-How
You know you’re the right type, but do you have the expertise? The job is travel nanny; half of the equation is travel. Prior experience traveling with a family (both domestically and internationally) is a great asset to have when trying to nab the job.
Before you step on the plane for your first job, you should already be a travel expert. According to Vaughan, “travel nannies should be pros at keeping children happy on long flights, know how to quickly research and find local activities around the globe, be expert suitcase packers, not get intimated by different cultures and be extremely safety conscious.”
Plus, you should have the basics covered: an up-to-date passport and a flexible schedule. Could you leave for two weeks in another country? If you have your own kids to care for, this job may not make the most sense for you. And are you comfortable with all different types of travel? If you're afraid to fly or have foods allergies that may be difficult to accommodate in other countries, stick to a nanny job closer to home.
Start Your Search
Because the specifics of travel nannying can vary greatly depending on an individual employer’s needs, preferences and expectations, performing thorough research will serve you well in your quest to find work. First, decide whether you’re interested in short- or long-term positions. A job could be a single vacation or an on-going arrangement with parents who travel often for work or split time between residences.
Mention in your Care.com profile that you're available for travel and apply to jobs that talk about this need. And flex those networking muscles, says Robinson. Don’t hesitate to contact an experienced travel nanny for insight into their job search approach. They may also be able to direct you to other useful contacts in the field.
And be prepared to articulate your qualifications to these contacts. Suzanne Royer McCone, president and placement founder of Annie’s Nannies, Inc., says that you’ll want to make sure your resume shows past child care experience, as well as specific instances in which you took the initiative in planning interesting and engaging activities. Have you ever traveled with a family on day trips? Highlight that information when you apply to jobs.
No experience as a travel nanny? Brainstorm ways to grow your resume. Talk to families that you babysit or nanny for. Ask if they have any vacations coming up and would they like you to come with them. Maybe you could offer a reduced hourly rate to sweeten the deal and help you get the credentials you need. Even a long weekend of acting as a travel nanny could help you get that experience and let you know if this job is right for you.
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Keep this advice in mind, and you’ll be juggling plane tickets and suitcases before you know it.
Alexandra Kadlec is a freelance writer. When not writing, doing crossword puzzles or playing competitive games of Scrabble, she is known to get effusive about modern art, Jane Austen and karaoke.