What to Pay a Traveling Sitter

ETIQUETTE ABOUT WHAT ELSE TO PROVIDE

  • A plane ticket, and room and board. If you're taking a sitter on vacation with you, you must cover her travel expenses and accommodations. Otherwise, you'll never get her to get on the plane (or in the car)!
  • All of her meals. Even if you won't be spending the day with the sitter, you should still plan for her meals. This may mean giving her lunch money for herself and the kids, or making an extra hamburger at the beach barbecue. It doesn't have to be expensive—buying in bulk from the local grocery store is a great way to make sure you don't constantly eat out and spend the extra cash when you don't have to.
  • A small daily allowance. Just as you may have to give her lunch money, don't send the sitter anywhere with the kids without some extra cash in her pocket. You never know when she'll want to reward the kids' good behavior with an Italian Ice from the vendor on the boardwalk. This money is also a big security blanket and a great thing for the sitter to have at her disposal in case she needs it for an emergency. I suggest providing around $50 per day, which might not even have to be replenished each day.
  • Her own room. Etiquette dictates that your sitter should get her own room. Not only does this provide a nice safe haven for her to escape to at the end of a long day, it also helps make the trip seem more appealing. Inviting her on vacation and then sticking her in a bunk with the kids isn't the best idea—remember, you want to give your sitter incentives to come on the trip, not reasons to decline. At the same time, when you're already spending a ton of money just to go on a trip, it might not be practical to provider her with a separate room. If that's the case, communicate with your sitter and ask her if she feels comfortable with the sleeping arrangements—and definitely do this before you book her travel arrangements, because she may very well decline.
  • Some time off each day. To help your sitter recharge, give her two to three hours off each day or night. Whether it's so she can go on an early morning jog, take an afternoon nap or so she can skip putting the kids to bed to make sure she wakes up before they do, this is absolutely essential to provide so she doesn't get burned out. Plus, it gives you some one-on-one time with your kids as a family, which is even better!
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