How to Become a Travel Nanny (+ Secret Tips for Success)

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This guest post was written by Flick Frankish, a vacation nanny who loves getting paid to travel.

“Rosie, Jenna, quick the plane’s boarding now!” 

I hustled the children towards the already very long queue and settled in behind their parents. Each parent took one of the girls’ hands, while I scrambled to gather up their toys which had been emptied across the ground. 

It was a déjà vu moment.

We had only flown back from Ireland to London last night, where I enjoyed one night in the comfort of my own bed before jetsetting off again—this time to Portugal. 

Living the life, right? 

Well…almost. 

The travel was great, yes. 

But it came with two young kids and very little downtime.

In this guide, I’ll show you how to become a travel nanny and what life is really like taking care of kids in exchange for free travel…

The good, the not-so-good, and the downright exhausting.

The Perfect Opportunity to See the World

I always dreamed of traveling the world.

I wanted to see the sites of Paris, taste the delicacies of Italy, and immerse myself in other cultures.

The problem is, I’m not the backpacking type and I didn’t have a huge bank account to support me. I needed to find jobs that allow you to travel.

And that’s exactly what I did.

I bought a ticket to London and landed myself a job as a nanny shortly after arriving—five days a week of looking after two gorgeous little girls. 

And it was so easy to travel. 

On my weekends off, I would jump onto a train to Paris or a flight to Budapest, and I’d be back at work bright and early Monday morning. It was all about the balance.

city view of croatia
Nothing like a quick trip to Croatia!

For two months out of every year, the family I worked for headed back to France to visit relatives. The idea of two months without work to fund my travels didn’t sit well with me, so I starting looking into alternative options. 

I still wanted to travel—there was much more to see. But I needed those all-important funds.

And that’s how I fell into my role as a travel nanny.

What is a Travel Nanny?

So, what exactly does it entail?

Well, think about it—when you go on holiday, you want to relax. You want to enjoy yourself and unwind. But with kids, that’s a little tricky. 

The flight is hands-on, the meltdowns are unpredictable, the days are long…

Where’s the break for parents?

This is where the travel nanny comes in to save the day. 

You are that extra set of hands on the big travel day, and once you arrive on holiday, you’re all hands on deck.

With your help, the parents get to enjoy their holiday with the kids around as well.

making a little girl laugh during a travel nanny job
You have to be an expert entertainer to cut it as a travel nanny

Travel Nanny Salary: How Much Can You Earn?

As a travel nanny, your flights and accommodation are covered. And yes, you get your own room. Food is also included as well—or you may receive a food allowance to spend as you wish. 

On top of all this, you earn “pocket money” for the time you work—generally a bulk sum you’re given at the end of the trip that is agreed upon before you go. 

I earned 300 pounds per week traveling with them—so 600 pounds in all. This was several years ago, and rates can be even higher today.

Remember, this is pure profit because all your other expenses are paid for. Plus, you get to visit some amazing places!

But it’s not all butterflies and daffodils…

Other awesome guides:
How to Work a Ski Season in Canada
How to Become a Traveling Waiter (or Waitress) in Australia
Is Workaway Safe? How to Avoid Workaway Horror Stories
How to Travel After College With No Money

A Day In The Life of A Vacation Nanny

The hours are long. Kids are up from sun up to sun down.

I was lucky enough to look after two little girls aged 5 and 3. They were happy, energetic, and up at 5 am every morning…and so was I. 

The beginning of the day is always spent fixing up breakfast and trying to keep them as quiet as possible so mom and dad can enjoy their sleep. 

That often meant heading outside straight after eating so the noise wasn’t an issue.

If you’re heading out for the day, you’ll be responsible for organizing the kids’ snacks and bags so they are all prepared. I had them dressed and ready to go before mom and dad even woke up.

Of course, when you travel, kids don’t bring all their toys from home. This means you’ll spend a lot of the time with imaginative play. 

We built forts, fought dragons, transformed into princesses, and met princes. And this was all before 9 am.

little girl looking out window
This teddy bear was all I had I to work with—good thing kids have great imaginations!

On some days, the parents would go out on their own and I would stay back for hours more of imaginative play with the kids. 

Other days, we all went out together. 

We would sightsee in the morning before stopping in a café for lunch. My job was to keep the kids endlessly entertained.

Keep in mind that not all travel is full of sightseeing. 

Our first trip was to Ireland to see the mom’s family. We stayed with her father in an amazing house. There wasn’t much sightseeing for this week. It was adventure games in the huge backyard balanced with TV.

We went back to London for a day, and then onto Portugal. This trip was full of sandy beaches and sightseeing.

I worked 6 out of the 7 days, then had one day to myself to go and explore by myself. 

I soaked up every minute of it. 

I saw amazing places (and got paid to do it). But at the end of the trip, I was completely exhausted.

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How to Become a Travel Nanny, Step-by-Step

Still not scared off yet? Here’s how you can become a travel nanny too.

It’s actually fairly easy (especially in London).

There are two ways to find jobs—through an agency or using classified ads. 

Let’s take a look at both.

Iceland scenery
Exploring stunning Iceland scenery during my time off

Finding Vacation Nanny Jobs Through An Agency

There are a number of nanny agencies in the UK (and all over the world). In fact, nannying is quite a big career path over there with many families seeking out carers. Here are some of the top agencies for you to choose from:

  • Tinies: Matchmaker for school holiday nannies, both in London and abroad. Perfect if you’re looking for a short-term role around this period.
  • My Travelling Nanny: Specialized holiday nanny agency for both trips abroad and evening babysitting.
  • Vacation Nannies: Provide nannies for vacations.
  • Royal Nannies: Offer travel nannies for holidays.

If you’re outside the UK, you can do a simple Google search for “holiday nanny”, “travel nanny”, or “vacation nanny” in your country. 

This is exactly how many parents find a nanny, so by signing up with one of the first agencies to pop up in a search, you’re in a good place when it comes to getting a job!

For example, Adventure Nannies is a popular agency in the U.S.

Here’s how the agency process works:

Head to the agency website and take a look at their minimum requirements before going any further. 

Every agency is different, so to avoid wasting time, make sure you’re qualified.

Some agencies will want you to be based in the country they operate from, some want qualifications, and others are just looking for experience with children. 

If you meet their requirements, fill out an application. 

Many agencies will want an interview next, which is why it helps to be based in their country.

They want to make sure you’re the right fit for their agency. After all, it’s their reputation that is at stake if they pair you with a family and it doesn’t work out.

If the interview goes well, they will put you on their books. Let them know your availability and what type of role you’re looking for, and they’ll be in touch if anything suitable comes up.

You’ll often be going up for jobs against other nannies from the agency, so you will still need to go through the same interview process with each family.

girl posing at oktoberfest
Oktoberfest, baby! (Who said nannies can’t drink beer??)

How to Find Temporary Travel Nanny Jobs with Classified Ads

This is the method I used.

Craigslist, Gumtree, and other similar classified ad websites let you cut out that middle man. This can make it both easier and harder, depending on your situation. 

For one, you have to sell yourself since you don’t have the agency’s reputation doing the hard work for you. There are tons of nannies out there looking for jobs, and the perks that come with being a holiday nanny can make it extremely competitive.

Here are some tips to help you stand out:

Include a photo in your CV. This gives families an idea of what you look like. If you have photos of you with kids, that helps even more. First impressions are important!

Be willing to meet them. One of the best ways to win a family over is by getting the chance to meet them face-to-face. Let them know in your application that you’re happy to pop over at a time that suits them to meet the family.

Talk about your loves and interests. Families want to know about you and why you’ll be a good fit for their family. Sharing your loves and interests makes it easier for them to work out whether or not they think your personality is right for them. If they drop any hints of what they like in their job posting, try to tie them into your application (always be honest, though).

Follow directions. Make sure you read the job ad thoroughly and answer any questions they have upfront. 

To give you an example, here is a holiday nanny job posting I recently found on Gumtree:

screenshot of travel nanny job posting

What Qualifications Does a Nanny Need?

Honestly, you don’t need any. 

However, if you’re looking at going through an agency, then it helps to have qualifications backing your experience. This helps you stand out from the crowd of other nanny candidates. That said, not all agencies require them.

What’s more important is actually meeting with the family and seeing the kids. 

They want to know that you love kids and are confident around them. 

Qualifications can’t hurt, but I didn’t have any. I did have plenty of experience taking care of children though. 

Before getting hired, I went over to the family’s house three times so the mom could see what I was like with the kids and whether or not they warmed to me. These visits were paid, so it worked well for both parties. 

My visits were enough to convince her I was the right fit for the job—qualifications didn’t matter.

5 Travel Nanny Tips For Newbies

Here are five tips that will make your travel nanny experience WAY more enjoyable.

#1.) Come prepared. Jot down some games and ideas to keep the kids entertained. You will have to think hard about this one. You don’t realize how many hours in the day there
actually are until you have to entertain kids without toys or TV.

#2.) Meet the kids first. If you’re going to be traveling with this family, you need to meet first to do a babysitting trial. You want to know that they are used to having a babysitter and are receptive to you. If not, you will have a miserable time traveling with them.

#3.) Establish ground rules. When discussing pay, be sure to clarify what hours you’ll be working. It’s murky water as a travel nanny. I worked from wake up to bedtime with the kids, with two hours off in the middle of the day while they slept. Of course, the eldest didn’t sleep most days and I ended up looking after her, which meant the break we agreed on didn’t exist.

#4.) Pack light. You’ll be helping to juggle the kids’ things in transit, so it helps not to have huge bags of your own to cart around as well. You want to free up your arms to help with their belongings.

#5.) Research your itinerary. You won’t want to waste any of your precious free time. Research the destination beforehand so you know exactly where you want to go and what you want to do with your downtime. It will help you get the most out of the trip.

There you have it!

Whether you’re looking for cheap ways to travel after graduating college or you just love kids, becoming a travel nanny is a super budget-friendly way to see the world.

Mitch's Travel Recommendations:
Travel Planning Resources - Everything you need to plan your trip on one convenient page.
Safetywing Insurance - This cheap travel insurance has saved me over $15,000 in medical bills.
Booking.com - Book accommodation without adding your credit card (in case you need to cancel).
Skyscanner - Find cheap flights.
Trusted House Sitters - Take care of pets in exchange for free (sometimes luxury) accommodation.
Flexjobs - Find remote jobs without having to sift through crappy ones.
Skillshare - Free trial to take unlimited classes that teach digital nomad skills.
Anytime Mailbox - Virtual mail service that can handle your mail while you’re away.
Wise - Send and receive money abroad cheaply (great for freelancers).

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