Hiring a hotel babysitter is something every traveling, working mom must do at least once. And babysitters can certainly be a wonderful resource on vacations, too. Each of my children traveled with me for the first 10 months of their lives because I refused to sacrifice my career or the opportunity to breastfeed. My kids view traveling as part of their lives and anticipate each trip, no matter how grand or low-brow, with the same excitement. Our family also travels considerably so I learned to hire a sitter. The following are some tips: find the nicest and highest-ranked hotel in the area that you are visiting. Call that hotel and ask them for the name of the babysitting company they recommend.
Go online and read about the company. Make sure they are licensed and bonded. Read Yelp reviews. Expect to pay higher rates than normal, and if you book through the hotel, you will likely pay an additional fee. I recommend contacting the agency yourself. I have had luck using these methods but still prefer the mommy group method. Ask any online mommy groups you are part of for recommendations.
What I have found is that most of the babysitting companies are run by retired school teachers. Most don’t expect you to pay for their meals while they are watching your children. However, I typically order a pizza or have food delivered to the room so that the babysitter has something to eat if she is hungry. Do leave snacks for your children so that if they are hungry, the babysitter has something to feed them that you chose.
Do be clear about bedtimes and routines. Give specific instructions as to whether they can go for a walk or should stay in the room. I usually allow sitters to take my kids on a walk around the hotel. If I have used the sitter numerous times, I will even let them take the child off property. For example, I let a babysitter in Seattle walk my 10 month old baby to a store that has enormous fish tanks.
Don’t hire someone random off of Craigslist; use the same common sense you would use when selecting a sitter at home.
A Shout-out to the best of the best
My favorite babysitting service of all time is VIP Babysitting that serves Monterey, Carmel, Pebble Beach, Santa Cruz, San Jose, San Francisco, Berkeley and the East Bay Area.
I like their site because you can read bios of each sitter. These people are so nice and helped me out in a bind—I was visiting Carmel for the busiest week of the year, and they found me a sitter at the last minute.