Hiring a Babysitter on Vacation, Part 2

Cynthia Dermody
Toddlers & Preschoolers

Summer Vacation Guide

hiring a babysitter on vacation

Photo by SamsMa07

My husband and I are traveling to a wedding this summer, and for a while we considered bringing the kids. It's a resort location, and we considered making a family vacation out of it. We decided to go it solo in the end -- but not before we got a taste of all the planning and considerations in finding and hiring a babysitter remotely.

Genevieve Thiers of Sittercity.com took me through most of the particulars yesterday -- how to post an ad online, what types of info to include, how to conduct an interview.

Today I wanted to know if it was a good idea to trust babysitters provided by hotels and resorts. Is there any additional screening that a parent should do or can you feel totally comfortable with the people they select?

Genevieve says ...

To get a good idea if you can trust a staff member at a resort, you need to call before your trip to ask some questions about the child care providers. Remember that if you call too early, the hotel/resort may experience employee turnover or program changes, so you don't want to call more than a month or two in advance.

Along those same lines, you don't want to call a few days before your trip either, because if you discover through your questioning that you're not completely comfortable with that arrangement, you now have very little time to scramble to find an independent caregiver.

Here are some questions to ask resort staff about their child care programs:

  • How many caregivers are there on staff? What's the caregiver to child ratio?*
  • How many different age groups are there in the program?
  • How do you screen your care providers?
  • Do your care providers have background checks? How often do you run them?
  • How many years of experience do your care providers have?
  • What is their background / what qualifies them to be a child care provider?
  • How many of those care providers are trained in CPR and first aid?
  • What types of things do the providers do with the kids during the day?
  • What are the hours? Are those hours flexible?
  • What is the pick-up and drop-off procedure?
  • How are sick children handled?
  • How are meals/snacks handled?
  • What are the costs? Is there a half-day rate?
  • Is there a cancellation policy if I decide that I don't need these services?

Are there other ways to check out a sitter's qualifications beforehand?

You may also want to go on hotel review sites or travel review sites to see what past guests are writing about the child care services of a particular resort/destination.

Keep in mind that hotels that used to once offer child care services/programs may no longer have such programs in place. Even if you used a hotel service last year, call to double-check that they are still providing child care and if the price has gone up since your last stay.

What if those resorts/hotels no longer offer their own programs? How should you ask them for a referral?

Here's what you should ask:

  • What other local [full-time or part-time] child care services could you recommend for children aged [their ages]?
  • Does the hotel highly recommend any particular service or is it just listing out the possibilities? (Do you work with this service/daycare or otherwise have some sort of relationship with them?)
  • How long has that service been in business?

Once you've got the business or daycare name recommended by the resort/hotel, it also doesn't hurt to do a little digging around online to see what comes up. You should also check out the Better Business Bureau's website to make sure the organization is in good standing. If it is a place you would consider, call them up ad ask them the questions above, about their caregivers, structure and experience levels.

What if we decide spur of the moment to get a sitter while we're away and didn't plan ahead? Who should we turn to for advice?

Hotel managers and concierges are the best people to ask for child care references. Since their job is to provide for their guests' needs day after day, they'll be the ones who are most knowledgeable about the available child care services and prices, and will be able to answer any questions you have.

Just remember that hiring a sitter without doing any screening is NOT recommended. Parents should make sure there's always time to screen a caregiver before you entrust him/her with the children.

Thanks, again, Genevieve.

Would you feel comfortable leaving your child with a babysitter provided by a hotel or resort. Have you ever done this yourself and did it all work out?

Read More