When you are traveling with your kids, you may be wondering about finding babysitters online. I’ve tried a number of services and can tell you the process is not always easy. From Care.com to services like Sitters In A Second, Inc., I’ve had a range of success. Here are my tips on how to find a babysitter while on vacation.
Sitters In A Second, Inc.
The best company model I have found for hiring a babysitter while on vacation is Sitters In A Second, Inc. In business since 1994, Sitters in A Second, Inc. is currently in 10 cities throughout California and Florida. Most recently, they’ve expanded to Naples, Florida. I’ve used them 4 times in the past two years.
Where this company differs is in their hiring practices. Each babysitter is professionally screened through their unique screening process. The difference is that the screening doesn’t stop there. Instead, the company constantly checks in on their sitters and plans events where company leaders and sitters all spend time together.
Where the company really excels is in their selection process. They allow parents to request sitters who will be a perfect fit for their kids. Whether you need someone with experience in something like Autism or prefer a sitter who is a strong swimmer.
I’ve always felt incredibly comfortable leaving my kids in each sitter’s hands and have used 4 different sitters. Each sitter was a skilled swimmer and my kids loved each of them. I was a little nervous about the kids entering a lazy river with our last sitter. After watching her head into the water with them and seeing how attentive she was, I completely relaxed. When I returned back to the room, the kids were disappointed to see me and asked if I could come back a little later. Our room was filled with crafts and drawings and most importantly the television and all electronics were still turned off.
Bottom Line: While Sitters in A Second, Inc. may not be in every location, I always check their website after booking a trip to see if they will be available to help out.
This is a service I’ve tried a few times in a few cities with a success rate of 0%. Care.com works by trying to match you with caregivers in the area you live or the area you are visiting.
Let’s start with the facts. The fees to join Care.com are pretty hefty if you are using the service sporadically to find a babysitter while on vacation. Care.com also absolves itself of all responsibility for sitters before you even hire them. Essentially, you are responsible for making the right choice. Care.com does not verify the accuracy of the information caregivers post on the site. You can find out more in the safety section of their site.
While I’ve searched in a few cities and paid the fees a few times, I’ve never had any success with finding a sitter. Either the people who responded seemed off the wall crazy or something else was a little off for my liking. A few times, I simply had no responses at all.
Bottom line: Proceed with caution.
Hotel Kids Clubs
There are a lot of hotels out there with really great kids clubs. Luxury chains like the Four Seasons tend to have incredible options for childcare. I find the more expensive the hotel, the more likely the kids club is included in your stay. Still, whether you have booked a 3-star resort or something like Beaches family resorts, you will want to know what to look for in a hotel kids club. My first check is general cleanliness. If the club isn’t visually clean, there are probably other issues at play. Next, I check the sitter to child ratio. Sure it may be great when there are 2 kids but how do the handle 10+? After that, I ask about electronic usage. Although I don’t mind a movie night, I don’t like to pay for kids clubs that rely heavily on electronics to entertain my kids. Bonus points go to hotels who have the capacity to explore the property with the kids.
Bottom Line: Try and find hotels with an all-inclusive kids club. It’s a great perk.
In Hotel Care
Hiring a babysitter at a hotel can be as easy as speaking to the hotel staff or concierge if there is one. Big resorts tend to have one company they stick to. Local hotels may have staff who will offer their services. In Ireland, I was able to hire a babysitter who was a nanny in the past and now worked at the front desk of the hotel during the day. After her shift, she simply came upstairs and watched the kids for a few hours. The plus to finding a sitter this way is that they are employed by and known to the hotel. The fallbacks are that this type of sitter is usually based entirely on luck and you have no idea what hiring process they went through to work at the hotel.
Bottom Line: Doesn’t hurt to ask.
How to Find a Babysitter While on Vacation
Leaving your kids in someone else’s hands is never easy. The key takeaway to how to find a babysitter while on vacation is to check the vetting process the sitters go through. Simple background checks and interviewing processes help weed out those who may not have the best intentions or the skills required to ensure your children’s safety. As someone who has gone through the process many times, I can tell you there are great sitters out there waiting to give you a much-deserved break.