If you are an Au Pair and you have already found your Host Family on AuPair.com, it is now time to plan your trip to the host country and begin your experience abroad. In this post, we have gathered useful Au Pair travel tips that will help you to plan your trip better.
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Medical security is one of the most important elements for a safe stay abroad. Though the Host Family can help participants in many countries with insurance, get also informed about the insurance for Au Pairs. If you are an EU citizen planning to visit another EU country, read more about the European Health Insurance Card.
Although we recommend Host Families to support Au Pairs with the travel costs, it’s not their direct obligation to do so. Initially, the transportation costs will be covered by the participants. If the future Host Family would like to help the Au Pair, the prospective refund will be done in installments after the Au Pair arrival in the host country. We recommend the families to repay the ticket price in 10 installments, added monthly to the Au Pair salary. For example, you can add 80$ extra for 10 months for a 800$ ticket.
We recommend to discuss this matter before the Au Pair experience begins and preferably write them down in the Au Pair contract.
In the USA and China the ticket is covered by the Host Family. Moreover, if the Au Pair completes the whole stay (12 to 24 months) as agreed in the contract, he/she can get a return ticket covered as well.
To avoid possible misunderstandings in the future, discuss all required details with your future Host Family and write them down in the contract. Some of the most important details are working hours, schedule, pocket money, start and end date plus responsibilities.
You can download the Au Pair contract and edit it according to your requirements. AuPair.com provides our Premium Members with a complex Au Pair contract, supplied with many additional points.
Pocket money / wage / salary
In addition to accommodation and food, the Au Pair will receive a monthly amount of pocket money. Read more about the Au Pair salary standards in different countries. When you are going to the host country, take also some additional money for your trip. It will help you solve any problems while travelling if something goes against the plan.
Save the contact details of your Host Family (address, phone, mobile number) so you can reach them in case of necessity. As a rule, the Host Family will meet you at the airport. Flights can be delayed or miscommunication might occur. For any situation, keep the most important contact details with you. They will help you to connect to the host family and resolve the problem.
Make sure that you have provided the Host Family with your:
Transportation could be one of the biggest expenses during your journey, or it could also not be, if you plan everything in advance! In Europe, getting the bus is a good way of travelling cheaply if your destination is in close proximity. Discuss the date of your arrival together with the host family to book your tickets faster. If you still wonder what's the best transportation for you, let's make a broad review of the main types!
If the budget is your main priority, check low-cost airlines first for tickets. Look into the list of airlines by countries. Sometimes you can get tickets as low as 10 EUR without promotions. Get informed about the conditions of the airlines, because low cost ones normally charge extra for luggage and food on board. If you would like to travel on regular flights, check up some platforms like Skyscanner to get the best options for your route.
If your host country is close to your homeland, you can consider taking a bus. There are many popular bus companies in Europe among which: Ecolines, Lux Express, Eurolines, Megabus and Flixbus. They have discounts for young people and possibility to earn points from each trip. Later on you can convert these points in future discounts.
Similarly to the bus, the train is a convenient means of transport for short distances. Though trains are often more expensive than buses and sometimes even planes, they offer great deals from time to time. Read more information about trains in Europe.
Whenever you go abroad for a longer period of time, it’s quite a challenge to pack all your life in 20 kg. Though you are trying to take stuff “just in case”, the truth is that you might not need many items at all. We have put up an essential packing list to help you with your suitcase. Additional tip: try not to overload your suitcase. Most probably you will want to bring presents and souvenirs back home, thus keep some extra space in the bag.
A small and cute present can easily warm up your relationship with the Host Family. It shouldn’t be something trendy or expensive. Just a small gift as a nice gesture. We have collected some present ideas for Host Family that can come in handy for you.
Document tip: Don’t forget to make a few photos and photocopies of all important documents. Leave one photocopy at your home and keep one abroad with your Host Family. It will help you solve issues in case of loss of documents, additional registrations and many other occasional situations that might occur abroad.
One way of travelling your host country is to use your vacations. In most countries, you have at least two weeks of vacation when you stay for a period of 12 months, some Host Families might even give you more days off. Be smart and prepare in advance: make sure that you know where you want to travel exactly and maybe even travel together with other Au Pairs. Some countries, especially European ones, are surrounded by other very interesting places. If you are an Au Pair in Luxembourg for example, you don’t need much time to visit the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. So make sure you know your geographical location well to make the most of your Au Pair travel stations! Important note: be aware of travel scam. Especially in crowded tourist hotspots potential scammers could be around. Read all about the 6 worst travel scams and how to avoid them. Stay safe!
In some cases you might be able to extend your visa or your general stay in the host country. If you’re a citizen of the European union working in an European country, you don’t need a visa for your Au Pair travel route. That means that you can extend your stay e.g. for one month and use the time to travel around. This way you can save money for long travels from your home country. In case you’re working as an Au Pair in an Non-European country or your home country is not in the European union, please make sure that you contact the embassy of your target country early enough to receive a visa. In some cases you can even extend your visa and enjoy your additional time travelling with other Au Pairs.
Another good way of travelling around during the Au Pair program is to join your Host Family in their holidays. Sometimes families even pay for the Au Pair’s flight or train ticket - just ask them about it and maybe they will support you financially. Please keep in mind that your Host Family is not obliged to take you with them during their holidays. But many families like to spend some relaxed free time with their Au Pairs. This is the perfect solution if you are not sure which destinations you want to see and trust in the travel opinion of your Host Parents.
In some cases travelling around in other countries or joining the Host Family in their vacations is not an option. But why waiting for the holidays? You are living now in a completely new and exciting environment - it's time to experience your new location, whether it be city or countryside! We compiled the best guided tours in many different countries:
We recommend Host Families to help Au Pairs with travel expenses, though it’s not their obligation to do so. In any case, the Au Pair needs to cover the travel costs initially. If the Host Family would like to support the Au Pair, they can repay the ticket price in monthly installments that will be added to the Au Pair's salary during 10 months. In the case of Au Pair USA and China, the ticket will be covered by the Host Family. We recommend to discuss this topic before the Au Pair’s arrival and note down the conditions in the Au Pair contract. Learn more about other Au Pair costs to participate in the program or Host Family costs for hosting an Au Pair.
How can an Au Pair get a visa?
AuPair.com is an online matching agency, therefore this question is beyond our scope of responsibility. But we will do our best to help you nonetheless! Usually the best source of information is the embassy of the host country placed in the Au Pair’s homeland. Requirements vary depending on both the Au Pair’s nationality and the host country, but usually a letter of invitation from the Host Family and a signed contract are needed to start the visa application. Other documents may be different depending on each individual case, and in case of the US, assistance of a local full-service Au Pair agency is also necessary.
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