We are headed to New Zealand next year for a wedding and as the fabulously organised parents that we are, we have the bookings done and dusted. The last remaining hurdle though is figuring out babysitting details for the night of the wedding. So, as I am not a huge fan of leaving my son with a stranger, I asked the lovely Julie Warner from Julie Warner Travel Plans to help me with some ideas on finding babysitters when you’re on the road.
As I suspected, the tips were really good, so good in fact that I decided to share them with you 🙂
Finding Babysitters When You’re on the Road
Finding babysitters when you’re travelling presents unique challenges, whether you’re a parent who just needs a night out or you’re looking to find a babysitter on a regular basis. You need to find a childcare provider for your little one, but you have to do so in an unknown community. When you don’t know what resources are available to you or which businesses and people are worthy of your trust, how do you even begin to search for a quality childcare provider?
A good starting point is to check with your hotel when you make your reservation to see if they offer child minding services or can provide you with a list of recommended babysitters. Always ask about what types of pre-screening the hotel has in place for babysitters to qualify to be on their recommended list. Allow time when you arrive to meet with the candidate/s so you can assess personally their suitability for your childcare requirements – gut feel always plays an important part in these decisions, make sure you trust yours!
Do some on-line research, there are various babysitter sites available covering many destinations around the world that allow you to search their databases, advertise a position and view profiles of potential candidates. If you have a selection of candidates before you depart, conducting interviews via Skype will allow you a good insight into the best match for your family’s requirements. This could be a good way to introduce your child to the sitter so they are familiar with their face and voice so meeting them in person won’t feel like they are strangers.
You can also check out local parent bloggers, family related companies/services/magazines and reach out to them on Twitter or Facebook for a local recommendation.
Check your destination’s local phone book for a babysitting agency or child care service before you leave on your trip. If visiting friends or family, use word of mouth and ask if they know someone suitable or can refer you to a reputable agency. If in a more remote location, try contacting the local playgroup, pre-school or primary school and ask if they have any staff that offer babysitting services or can recommend any local sitters.
Five Questions You Should Ask At A Babysitter Interview
To ensure you hire the best possible candidate for your child, it’s helpful to be prepared. Here’s a list of five questions you should ask at a babysitter interview.
- Ask what experience your babysitter has had and whether she has any experience with a child in the same age group as yours.
- Ask for references that include past babysitting jobs that a candidate has had.
- Find out your babysitter’s schedule and availability, making sure it coincides with your needs.
- Find out if your babysitter has had any first aid training and is familiar with what to do in case of an emergency involving your child.
- Ask what type of philosophy your babysitter has in taking care of children and that you are comfortable this will work with your child.
- Above all else, whichever way you locate your babysitter, allow plenty of time beforehand in your selection process so you are comfortable with your choice and can actually relax while you are away from your child. Perhaps schedule a short visit before your main outing to allow your child to meet and start building some trust with the sitter. This will also give you an insight into how they interact with each other and a greater level of comfort when you are away for a longer period of time.
The final and most important step – Go out and have a good time!
Do you have concerns with hiring babysitters? Tell us more in the comments section below.
Till next time….
Have you ever stopped to consider how technology has impacted our lives, especially the way that we travel? The information that we have at our fingertips via the internet not only make our travels easier, more comfortable and enjoyable, it can also help keep us safe. But did you REALLY know just how much is available out there for the frequent traveler? Here are four useful travel sites and resources that I have come across:
iTranslate: iTranslate is a universal translator for your iPhone that translates words, phrases and text into over 50 languages. http://www.apple.com/webapps/productivity/itranslate.html
SeatGuru: Run by Trip Advisor, SeatGuru is the ultimate source for airplane seating, in-flight amenities, and airline information. This website features aircraft seat maps, seat reviews, and a colour-coded system to identify superior and substandard airline seats. http://www.seatguru.com/
MileBlaster: MileBlaster frequent flyer miles and points tracker is the ultimate frequent flier tool. It’s available for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch as well as on the web. https://www.mileblaster.com/
FlightAware.com: A useful site for the frequent business traveler, FlightAware provides live Tracking Maps, Flight Status, and Airport Delays for airline flights, private/GA flights, and airports all over the world. http://flightaware.com/
For further travel advice and resources, visit us at www.juliewarnertravelplans.com
Package holiday deals sound amazing when you see them advertised on T.V. or in the newspapers, but often they are very difficult to secure at that bargain price on dates you want to travel and are they really as great a deal as they first appear?
The packages usually include as a minimum airfares and accommodation and then there are the additional items that may or may not be included. These are: transfers, meals (1-3 per day), drinks, resort facilities and activities or special shows etc. It is important if you have quotes from a few different travel providers or websites that you clarify that they all include
the same items so you know you are comparing apples with apples.
Start your own research by getting prices on the basics of airfares and accommodation options and see how that compares to the package price. It is always worth checking with the resorts direct as well as websites and agencies that specialise in your destination. Then look at the cost for adding on any meals that may have been included and see if there is a significant price difference to the package price.
I have had a personal experience recently where to just add breakfast for a family of 2 adults and 2 children under 10 was going to add $600 for 7 days. This was for a resort in Vanuatu and the four of us actually ate out with large cooked breakfasts for $40-$50 per day (so only spending around $300 for the 7 days) and we could try out different restaurants/cafes each day or prepare our own in our room (warm chocolate croissants and local Tanna coffee – yum!).
The same goes for lunch or dinner options that can be included in the all inclusive packages. You have to way up if you want to be committed to always eating in your resort or want the flexibility to try other places. Also, do you want 3 large meals every day or perhaps you prefer just 2. These all need to be considered before you book & pay for something you may not actually need.
It is also worth looking at the transfer options as well. You can often save quite a lot on these if arranged independently. The hotel you book with can offer options and costs and you can easily find out on-line the cost of taxis, shuttles, busses etc available at your destination.
These costs all add up and the more you can save on getting there and staying, the more you have to spend doing fun things when you get there (or on some retail therapy).
Sometimes the package deal on offer is truly a bargain and you should snap them upquickly – but just do a bit of checking before you do to make sure!
If this research sounds all to hard and time consuming – Contact Us Now for assistance: www.juliewarnertravelplans.com
Travel insurance is a very important part of any holiday (particularly when going overseas) and the saying “If you can’t afford travel insurance, then you can’t afford to travel” is certainly a very valid one. You just don’t know what can happen once you are on the road and with the natural disasasters we have witnessed in the past few years causing massive travel delays and disruptions, the fine print of policies certainly need to be read well so you know exactly what coverage you have.
With that said though, the cost of travel insurance does seem to have sky rocketed in the past years which means shopping around to find an affordable policy that covers your needs has become more of a challenge.
We personally have a very comprehensive policy through our ANZ Platinum Visa card that only requires us to spend $250 on any part of our holiday before we travel, so airfares, hotels, car hire – whatever to do with our holiday and the policy is activated to cover all 4 of us.
So, check if you have any insurance cover with your existing credit cards or it could be worth joining up with a card that has a travel insurance policy to save some money when you next travel. Please check that the cover these cards come with is comprehensive enough for all your requirements.
Other places to research for good value is with any other companies you already have car, home, contents and health insurance policies with as you get discounts for having multiple policies with many companies.
There are a number of comparison websites that allow you to put in the areas you will be travelling to, for what period you require cover and all the inclusions you require and they do all the hard work for you searching the most suitable policies available. As always, you need to ensure you read any policy carefully before signing up so you have complete coverage for your requirements.
Let me know your travel insurance tips or experiences?
For more information contact us now at www.juliewarnertravelplans.com or Phone: 02 8850 4908
6 Top Frequent Flyer Reward Programs
ezRez Software and the IdeaWorks Company this week launched an annual guide for understanding and maximising loyalty marketing after conducting a global survey which looks at airline reward seat availability.
SYDNEY – Virgin Blue is the best Australian airline at making reward seats available to its customers, according to this new survey as they finished fourth place overall.
Some frequent flier programs make good on their promise, to customers and the sponsoring airline whilst others create as much trouble as they do benefits for customers and for the airline.
These loyalty marketing programmes have become a crucial tool to reach the best customers, encourage consumer retention and generate millions in revenue.
Reward seat availability is a key measurement that the top customers use to assess the value of a frequent flier program. When reward seats are lacking in availability consumers grumble in protest to friends, co-workers, and members of the media. Coming in just behind a la carte fees, reward seat shortages have become the number one complaint among savvy travelers worldwide according to survey results.
When Reward seats are plentiful, the love is returned many times over as consumers brag about their good fortune and heap praise for the gift of travel received from a favoured airline.
The survey results were:
Overall Reward Availability
1. Southwest 99.3%
2 Air Berlin 98.6%
3 Air Canada 93.6%
4 Virgin Blue 90.0%
5 Lufthansa/SWISS/Austrian 85.7%
6 Singapore Airlines 77.1%
10 Qantas 72.9%
12 United Airlines 68.6%
14 Cathay Pacific 67.1%
15 British Airways 65.0%
19 Emirates 36.4%
22 US Airways 10.7%
It certainly pays to shop around for the benefits of any Rewards program you are considering joining.
For further information on how you can utilise your current Frequent Flyer Rewards please contact
Try these ideas to get double duty out of a pair of pantyhose when you are next travelling:
1. Blister stopper for men and women — Cut the feet off of a pair of pantyhose at the ankles and wear them under your socks. They’ll cut down on the friction between your shoe and your foot, thus reducing your risk of blisters.
2. Lint mitt — Slip your hand into one leg and brush it against clothing to remove lint or deodorant marks. (It works just as well as a lint brush but it’s smaller and lighter to pack.)
3. Shoe shiner — Pantyhose are soft enough yet sturdy enough to gently polish your shoes.
4. Chigger, insect, and jellyfish sting protector — Wear pantyhose under your shorts or hiking pants to protect against chiggers or insect bites. You can also wear them in the water to protect from jellyfish stings if you’re swimming, fishing, or clamming.
5. Clothes line — Tie each toe of your pantyhose to something in your hotel room and use them as a clothes line… or slip a wet shoe into each leg and then hang your shoes over an air vent or open window to dry them out.
6. Pain reliever — Fill part of a leg with rice and use it as a microwaveable heat wrap for sore muscles. (Be sure not to microwave it too long and check that it’s not too hot.)
7. Camera lens filter — Stretch pantyhose over the end of your camera lens to create a blurred, “dreamy” effect. This won’t work for stock photos, but can make fun, fine art shots or portraits.
For further travel tips and ideas visit www.juliewarnertravelplans.com