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‘Travel Nannies’ for Family Vacations = Ridiculous

Flickr user blah808, CC Licensed.

Is it lame to hire a nanny to join the clan and manage childcare on a family vacation?

I found myself pondering this question after reading a recent article about “travel nannies” in The Wall Street Journal.

The piece, which was published today, delved into the (apparently growing) number of nannies who can “parachute into a family trip” and give parents respites on demand. As the article explains, “unlike with most hotel baby sitters, parents can personally vet—and try out—a travel nanny in advance, easing anxieties about leaving a child with an unfamiliar sitter.”

There’s no question these services are expensive; by my math—based upon stats from one provider mentioned in the piece—after you factor in travel expenses (which, of course, you need to cover when you sign up for this sort of thing), a traveling nanny could cost families as much as $700 or $800 per day.

But the self-reliant Papa Bear in me bristles has another issue with the whole thing; I sort of feel like hiring someone to mind your kids for the duration of a family vacation is sort of cheating.

Perhaps it is the notion of having a stranger minding the children on a family trip. Perhaps it’s the idea of a live-in “out” for Mom and Dad when, at least IMHO, the whole concept of family travel embraces togetherness.

Heck, maybe I just got really pissed off after reading this: “Hiring a travel nanny who meets you at your home, however, means parents get help in that epicenter of kid meltdowns: the airplane.”

(After all, I’ve railed previously about how parents who need “help” managing their children on airplanes are the ones perpetuating stereotypes against the rest of us; if you need THAT much “help” on a family vacation, maybe you shouldn’t vacation with the family in the first place.)

When Powerwoman and I want a few hours of peace and quiet on a family trip, we either: 1) ask the hotel concierge to recommend by-the-hour sitters in the area, 2) use a service such as Sittercity.com, or 3) make it a multi-generational trip and ask grandma and grandpa (or an aunt and uncle) to spot us for a night.

Call me old-fashioned. Call me cheap. To me, the notion of hiring a nanny for a vacation just seems silly. And profligate. And absurd.

Am I overreacting? Have any of you used traveling nanny services? If so, why? If not, what do you think about the concept? Leave a comment and let me know.

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