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!

 

the most wonderful time of the year

Christmas is coming up, as well as the New Year, and possibly other celebrations, depending on which country you work in. This can be an amazing time as an au pair, since you get to experience some of the best holidays in a completly new place. Be sure to take advantage of this, and enjoy the various holiday offerings in your host country.

If you get the holidays off from your au pair duties, you can especially enjoy them. Days away from your host family (or even with them, if you aren’t working), can be a great time to relax and take it easy. If you’ve been working hard, or longer than usual, take advantage of the down time. If you’ve managed to save some of your au pair money, this might be a great time to splurge on a holiday shopping trip, stocking up on gifts for family and friends back home, or buying something special for yourself! You deserve it after toughing out the au pair job…This might also be a good time to go sightseeing, especially if there are places you haven’t had a chance to visit yet.

If you are going to have to work through the holidays and are not looking forward to it, try to remain in good spirits. You can have a lot of fun with your host family, and if they’ve been including you in their family activities up to now, they’ll also treat you as one of the family over the holidays. Even if you would rather be somewhere else, have a good attitude about working on holidays. And don’t forget, you can always go out and join friends after your babysitting duties, so you shouldn’t be missing out on too much!