How to Find A Babysitter While Traveling

Babysitters while moving from place to place every few weeks?

It’s not easy.

In fact, in some places, it just never happened.

Ryder and I are almost always together. And in the 5 percent of the time we’re not, 99 percent of that time he’s with Jacob.

I have met some traveling families where this is a problem. They love their kids—but it is too difficult to be with them CONSTANTLY.

I don’t blame them at all for feeling that way. Full time travel can be difficult emotionally for everyone involved, especially if you are used to more private time and personal space. In the end, I think it builds stronger and closer relationships because of the quality time that is spent together, but especially initially, it can be a learning curve.

Ryder has spent time in Mexico, the United States, New Zealand, Tahiti, Australia, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Indonesia, China, Guatemala, and Scotland.

Here’s how we found babysitters in each of these places.

In Mexico: Although we never got a babysitter while in Mexico, we had several options. First, we could have asked one of the nannies of our friends there. Having nannies is common in Mexico City for the gringos. Second, we could have asked our friends themselves, offering a night out in exchange. But for the most part, he was a newborn in Mexico, and no babysitter was needed.

fathers day[3]

All dressed up with nowhere to go in Mexico City

In the US: Family. How nice was it to get to sleep in a little bit while Ryder played with his grandparents at Christmastime…wow, to think a lot of people have this luxury whenever they want…


With Papa and Grandpa in Texas and Missouri

In New Zealand: We asked around a little bit, and found two German girls who were living with a lady in New Zealand working at her shop. Since it was his first babysitter ever, we felt better about the fact there would be not just one, but several people looking after him. We paid them to watch Ryder while we tubed through glowworm caves.

german girls

Ryder’s first babysitters. He seemed to like them.

When we went bungee jumping and zorbing, we just left Ryder with the workers at the bottom (we could see him from where we were.)

In Tahiti, we had a French neighbor who was a full time nanny and who agreed to be Ryder’s once-a-week babysitter on the side so Jacob could take me out on his motorcycle and go bodysurfing.

Also, to hike some waterfalls, we left him with our friend’s mother, a grandma herself.

tahiti babysitter

Parlez-vous Francais?

In New Caledonia, we had people from Jacob’s LDS mission babysit him for us while we went hiking with friends.

In Vanuatu, we made friends with our hotel’s receptionist/housekeeper who also had a little boy. They would ask if Ryder could come and play so that gave us lots of free time!


Ryder’s Skype friend now

On Tanna, we left Ryder with the hotel workers—who were incredibly sweet (after all this is Vanuatu) so we could hike the volcano.

to the volcano

Don’t think Ryder would have cared for the boom, doom, and gloom of Tanna’s volcano

In Australia, babysitters were $20 per hour. That meant that just to go see a movie would be like $100. So we never got one. When my family came to visit, Jacob and I were able to go to see an opera. That was a wonderful reprieve! Jacob did an above average amount of babysitting in Australia—mostly so I could go get my hair done.

nonna bird

Uh oh, better watch out for Nonna, is she feeding Ryder to the birds?!

In Indonesia, we had a full time nanny for $3/day. We had gotten to know her already through our hotel, In Da Lodge. She didn’t speak a word of English, only Bahasa, but Ryder loved her. Before finding her, we used our friend’s nanny.


Rocking little Ryde to sleep while Jacob and I attended a dance performance

In China, our visit was too brief to need a babysitter.

In Guatemala, once our apartment’s housekeeper babysat him (for $1.50 per hour). Besides the fact she was sweet, the workers at our apartment had been there for 10 years and it was quite a cush job in comparison to others in the area so they wouldn’t want to do anything to lose it—meaning we felt good about her. Then, after I made friends with a local, she and I would do babysitting exchanges.

There were many offers here from locals to be a nanny. They really love kids in Guatemala. Also, to go zip lining we used the hotel’s nanny service.


Zip lining at Atitlan Nature Reserve in Panajachel

Note: One of the traveling families I met here had NEVER gotten a babysitter—and her daughter was five years old! I think that is pushing the limit. It is important to have one-on-one time with your spouse. And some activities just can’t be done with kids.

In Scotland, we have yet to find a babysitter. They have creches here, (creche, by the way, is the British term for childcare center) but the ones I have visited you have to be at least two years old. So he just comes with me. It’s not difficult here. The bus system is very good and very easy to bring strollers on.


Taking a nap at the Leith docks and Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh

II’s scary to think about something happening to your kid, especially with so many strangers around! But sad as the statistics are, your child is most likely to be abused by someone close to him who “grooms” them to become a victim.

At one point a male housekeeper picked Ryder up from our front porch and took Ryder along with him-presumably to clean with him. He would do the same with another little boy at the hotel. I watched through the window as it happened and chased after him. It shook me up and I complained to the owner of the hotel about it. He told the housekeeper in no uncertain terms never to do it again, but he also explained that in other cultures, such as Balinese culture, it is very common for men to have equal roles in childcare and that it is difficult for them to understand why a woman can play with a child but a man can’t.

Despite the cultural differences, for me there is no question, men can’t be alone with my child. Wait. I guess for me it’s okay, if it’s the dad of one of Ryder’s friends. That happens sometimes. If this is important for you as well, be sure to stress to your babysitter that under no circumstances can your child be picked up or watched by anyone else but her.


Ryder’s friend’s dad was great with him

As soon as your child is old enough, explaining appropriate behavior and touching is a no-brainer. Jacob and I are wary about this topic but at the same time we feel it is important and beneficial for Ryder to be exposed to people of different skin color, language, and temperament.

Obviously the most important thing with the babysitters you choose are how you feel around them and how they treat your child.

So to sum up: when traveling you can beg your family to come visit, make friends and use their recommendations or exchange babysitting nights, use your hotel’s services, ask your neighbors, or … just suck it up and bring them along!

Kalli Hiller

Article by Kalli Hiller

Kalli Hiller is a voluntary vagabond who, with her husband Jacob, has traveled full time for the last eight years.

Kalli has written 372 awesome articles for us.

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