Five great ways for Au Pairs to travel on the cheap

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As we all know, travel can get expensive. And for au pairs getting by on a relatively small budget, spending a lot of hard-earned money on travel isn’t an option for most. So here are a handful of practical ways to help you travel affordably during your time as an au pair:

  1. Book travel EARLY – Planning ahead is not a core strength that all of us possess, but really – the sooner the book the more you save. It’s just that simple. Especially with discount airlines such as EasyJet – if you book weeks – or even months – in advance, you can find flights for ridiculously low prices. And chances are that your host parents will want you to plan your trip in advance anyhow, so as soon as you decide when and where to go, go ahead and book any flights or train tickets. You’ll be glad you did!
  2. Shop around – Don’t book the first offer you find. Travel comparison sites such as Kayak, my personal favorite, will list a variety of offers to help you compare and see which would work best. Keep in mind, however, that budget airlines, such as EasyJet aren’t normally listed on the larger travel sites so you will need to check them separately.
  3. Find a travel buddy – Not only can traveling with a friend be a lot more fun than solo travel, but you can save a lot of money. Splitting costs on everything from hotels and rental cars to food can save you a lot of money, so if you’ve got one or more good friend you can travel with then look into it for sure. Sharing expenses might mean that you can had a little bit more luxury to your trip too – think splitting the cost of a decent hotel room 2 or 3 ways, rather than slumming it in a youth hostel on your own.
  4. Look beyond hotels – Gone are the days when hotels, guest houses, and hostels were the only places for travelers to lay their heads at night. Websites like airbnb and couchsurfing make it possible to stay in private homes and apartments for cheap or even free. Totally worth checking out both.
  5. Try car sharing – Many countries have ride-sharing organizations where you pay to ride with private people traveling to specific destinations. This can be more affordable than public transportation, as well as more enjoyable and faster at times. Prices vary, of course, but are very reasonable. One one German ride sharing site, for example, you can catch a ride from Berlin to Prague for as little as 16€.

So! I hope this is helpful, and that you are able to enjoy what is left of the dog days of summer this year … as well as plan ahead for the fall and winter that lie ahead. And I’d love to hear other ideas and ways you travel without spending a lot of money. Please leave your tips in the comment section below!

 

Au Pair Ebook Sale Extended

Writing

How nice it would be to write poolside in peace!

(photo courtesy of dreamstime – free stock photos)

So, what is bad news for me may or may not be good news for you: I am extending my the sale of my eBook, The Girl’s Guide to Being an Au Pair, through September 1. So if you have been wanting to get it, it will stil be on sale for five bucks for the next few weeks.

Why the wait? Well, it isn’t by choice, believe me! But what was expected to be a calm summer with time to write while my children played in the sun has turned into a rainy season with my kids cooped up inside our little Berlin apartment. Seriously – today was the first bit of blue sky we have seen in weeks!

So yes, I am still working on the updated version of The Girl’s Guide, and I will have it completed by September, so that we can all move on with our lives. 😉 In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the summer, especially if it is warm and sunny where you are!

I’d love to hear about your summer – have you traveled, with our without your host family? Is anyone heading out to start au-pairing soon?

au pair summers

Summertime usually means fun, vacation, travel, and more … Some au pairs get to take their vacation this time of year, and will enjoy getting to see more of the country they are living in, and maybe even get to visit other places as well. If you are one of them, enjoy your time away. Bask in the sun, try new foods, make new friends, and enjoy your time off – you definitely deserve a break from day to day life with children and work!

For those who don’t get to get away from their work during the summer, there are other ways that you can enjoy a semi-vacation. If you host family is going on vacation and invites you along, then consider takingthem up on the offer. Often you will not have to work while they are on vacation, and even if you do, the hours will likely not be what they are normally. If families vacation with friends and family, you will benefit from having other built-in helpers for the children.

If you can’t afford – or take off the time – to take a ‘real’ vacation, consider taking a short day trip or getting away for the weekend. Talk with your host family as well, as they may be willing to work with your schedule if you’re really itching to escape for a bit. They may be able to switch work days around, freeing up a long weekend or even a couple of weekdays in a row. Depending on where you are working, you can probably find good deals on transportation for last minute trips, which are perfect for the au pair budget. Trains offer specials in the summer, and budget airlines (think Ryan Air) also offer great deals on flights to many different places. For a complete listing of budget airlines outside the U.S., see attitudetravel.com.

If there is no possible chance of getting away this summer and vacation for you is a long way off, then be sure to take advantage of the special summer activities that are offered this season. Many towns and cities host summer festivals of all sorts, and they can be loads of fun. You can also check out local pools, go to a nearby lake for a picnic, or host a grilling party (of course, run this by your host family first!). There are many ways you can enjoy the hot summer days, so take advantage of the season.

Whatever you end up doing this summer, remember to have fun and enjoy!