au pair

Who’s responsible for the Au Pair’s travel expenses?

⏱ Reading time: 5 min.
Au Pairs are generally responsible for the travel expenses to the host country. Host Families may decide to contribute and cover these costs entirely or partially, but should keep some important points in mind. Both the Au Pair and the Host Family should discuss all points of the Au Pair contract in detail and add the information regarding who’s going to cover the travel costs of the Au Pair to the host country.
Au Pair travel expenses
One of the most confusing points for both Host Families and candidates is who is responsible for the Au Pair's travel expenses. Many Au Pairs believe that once they find a Host Family, the family will buy them a one-way ticket so that they can join them and begin their experience abroad. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and Au Pairs are responsible for covering these expenses. However, there are exceptions.

Is the Host Family responsible for the Au Pair's travel expenses?

Although we encourage Host Families to assist Au Pairs with travel expenses, it's not their direct responsibility to do so. During the video interview, we suggest that the Host Family ask the Au Pair if he/she can afford to pay for the transportation. It is important to consider this aspect and discuss it immediately. It will then be possible to discuss refunding the ticket once the Au Pair arrives in the host country. In any case, the Au Pair is responsible for purchasing the ticket in the first place. 

USA and China exceptions

Although generally speaking, the Au Pair must cover the travel expenses, these two countries represent an exception:
  • In the USA, the outbound flight is paid by the Host Family or the full-service agency. The return flight will be paid upon successful completion of the program. Remember that to be a legal Au Pair in the USA, you need to apply to a US Government-designated Au Pair agency. Choose your agency and ask them for detailed information regarding the travel costs to the USA.
  • In China, the Host Family is responsible for covering the travel expenses entirely or partially, based on the length of the Au Pair's stay. In any case, the flight will be refunded upon successful completion of the program.

Should Au Pairs buy a return ticket in advance?

To be able to obtain an Au Pair visa, many Au Pairs from several nationalities will need to buy a return ticket. This is to ensure the authorities that the nature of the cultural experience is being respected and that, after the period stated in the contract, the candidate plans to return to her/his home country.
Moreover, buying a round-trip ticket is most of the time more convenient than buying two tickets separately. We prepared a table for you to understand how much a round-trip ticket to the most popular Au Pair destinations costs. Click here or keep reading until the end of the page to learn more. 

If the Host Family buys the return ticket as a gift

After spending many months together with their new family members, many Host Families decide to cover the costs of the return ticket as a gift. Again, this is not mandatory, but it is certainly a nice gesture that Host Families can decide to do freely and that Au Pairs always appreciate. If the Au Pair already bought a return flight, the Host Family can decide to refund it.


To have a safe Au Pair stay and to avoid any misunderstandings we encourage both the Au Pair and the Host Family to take some time to discuss in detail all the aspects of the program and to carefully fulfill the Au Pair contract. To be sure that everything is clear and to avoid even the smallest problems, it is important that you sign the contract before the start of the program - it means before the Au Pair arrives in the host country. 
Many of the misunderstandings originate precisely because of the travel expenses. That’s why we recommend you add to the contract who’s responsible for partying for the ticket. If the Host Family agrees to cover this cost partially or entirely, it is important to specify the exact amount the family will be paying, how the refund will happen, and when the Au Pair will receive the money. 
We suggest Host Families who want to support their Au Pair refund the cost in one or more installments depending on the total amount. If the ticket costs, for example, 200 euros, the Host Family can add 50 euros each month to the Au Pair’s pocket money for the first 4 months. Finally, we suggest Host Families make this payment via bank transfer so that, in case of misunderstandings, it will be easy for them to prove that they complied with the agreement. Note that the travel costs can’t be deducted from the Au Pair’s pocket money.

Table with samples

In some cases, it will be possible for the Au Pair to reach the host country via bus or train. In the European Union, for example, traveling overland can be really convenient compared to flying. 
In case the Au Pair needs to reach the host country via a flight, the cost of the ticket may vary significantly depending on many factors, such as the Au Pair’s destination, the chosen airline, and how much luggage the Au Pair brings with her/him. 
This is the highest cost that Au Pairs will have to bear. Therefore, we want you to be prepared and have an idea of the possible costs you will face. Below is the average cost of direct flights to and from the most popular Au Pair destinations.

Journey Flight cost (round-trip)
UK - Spain approx. 300 euro
Canada - France approx. 2000 euro
UK - Australia approx. 2000 euro
Spain - USA approx. 1200 euro
USA - Germany approx. 1400 euro

What else?

  • We know that discussing money is never easy. However, it is extremely important to talk about this topic before signing the contract. Read this article and list of questions to ask your future Au Pair/Host family during a video call.
  • We recommend you meet your preferred candidates/Host Families at least 3 times in a video call before you take any decision. 

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