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Tips for hiring a babysitter while on vacation

Parent’s Night Out – Hiring a Babysitter on Vacation

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Do you ever feel like you need a little couple time with your spouse while on your family vacation? It had never occurred to me to hire a babysitter until we took a vacation to Disney World. Friends advised me that the Disney Magic could get a little overwhelming, and we might need an adults-only evening on our week-long trip.

At first I was hesitant to even explore the option. I mean, it was supposed to be a family vacation and quality time to be spent with my kids. I weighed the options and decided to book one evening of babysitting with an agency that came highly recommended by several of my friends. It ended up working out so well, that we have booked babysitting services on subsequent vacations. Here are some things to think about ahead of time if you decide to get a babysitter while on vacation.

Finding a Service

For our trip to Orlando, we were fortunate enough to have a friend’s recommendation for a babysitting service. If you don’t have a personal recommendation, call ahead to your hotel’s concierge. Babysitter recommendations for vacationing families are not as unique of a request as I initially thought, and the concierge may know a few companies that hotel guests regularly use. If your hotel has a Kids Club, sometimes staff that your kids may have played with during the day can be booked after hours for a set fee through the hotel.

Of course, trusting your kids to an unknown babysitter’s care can be a little nerve wracking. To minimize that, I stalk, er, check out the company’s website to check that they are licensed and insured, and read any TripAdvisor and Better Business Bureau reviews prior to booking.

Once you have found the babysitting service that you are going to book, call the company, and set up your booking. I recommend requesting  references for the particular sitter that has been assigned for your family. Many services also set up a phone call for you and your sitter to speak prior to your vacation. I always do this so that I can give the sitter an idea about my children’s personalities, likes and dislikes, and what our evening schedule looks like.

Preparing for Your Night Out

In my experience, the babysitter usually brings some cool games or crafts that are age appropriate for the kids. Just in case though, we pack a stash of new coloring books or small toys for the kids to play with while we are gone. We also allow the kids to pick their dinner option — their favorites are ordering pizza delivery or room service.

When the babysitter arrives, we make sure that we have each other’s contact information, recap the routine we previously talked about on the phone and make sure that my kids are acquainted with their caretaker for the evening.

As an extra precaution, when we depart the hotel room, my husband and I will then go downstairs to the hotel bar to have a drink, and make an unannounced visit on the kids before our dinner reservation. It’s always nice to see what fun activities the sitter has planned for the kids, and it helps us to gauge the atmosphere for the evening before we leave the premises.

When you’re out and about on your dinner date, don’t feel guilty! With all of the activities that we have planned for our kids during vacation, staying up late is really hard for them after a full day of fun. They’re most likely going to have a blast with the babysitter while you have the opportunity to spend quality time with your spouse. Having a night out can also give you a second wind for the rest of your family vacation and help you to be more rejuvenated and relaxed when you return home.

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Couple photo by David Russo / CC BY 2.0

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Rachel is from Peoria, Illinois. She works full-time as a software implementation consultant in the healthcare field. Her family includes her husband Justin, also an IT professional,…

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