Childcare is an essential that isn’t always convenient to find — especially for traveling families. Traveling offers a lot of valuable learning opportunities for children. Experiencing a variety of different cultures helps foster respect, adaptability, and can improve kids’ willingness to try new things. Traveling is also a great way to bond as a family and create new memories together.
Of course, that being said, childcare services have been notoriously difficult for families to manage. Thankfully, these days there are better options for families to choose from — without having to sacrifice their wanderlust spirit.
Don’t Get Lost in the Desert
Cities across the United States are starting to create local resources for families seeking childcare. For example, traveling families can utilize hotel babysitting services in most metropolitan areas. However, what if your traveling adventures fall outside the urban realm?
Sometimes referred to as childcare deserts, rural areas are often very limited in their childcare options. This of course not only has adverse effects on the families who live there but those traveling through as well.
Luckily, it’s become a bit easier for families to find care thanks to the internet. Online services can find and screen potential nannies and other caregivers and connect you with them, wherever you are.
Affordability On the Move
Being able to afford childcare services while traveling is another legitimate problem families face. Childcare can quickly eat into a budget and may even cut travel plans short.
That being said, if you plan to stick in one area as your travel, it could be worth researching local preschools. Even if you find yourself living somewhere new or foreign, there are still several affordable and even free options:
• Co-Op Preschools: Run primarily by the parents of the kids attending the school, you’ll have to be able to dedicate some of your time to help out with the school. This is a great way to spend more time with your kids, while also enriching their education, while still maintaining a flexible schedule.
• Transitional Kindergarten (TK): TK is a great option if you happen to have a child turning five between September and December and you’re in the U.S. Because kids this age can’t attend kindergarten yet, they have one more eligible year to participate in preschool. This means, depending on the school district you’re in, TK is free.
• Head Start: Run by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the program allows children to receive early childhood education for free. Eligibility is based on your income as well as other local requirements. There are also other programs similar to Head Start that can be great resources throughout your travels.
There are plenty of options for full-time traveling families who regularly seek new childcare services in unexpected places. It may take a bit of digging, but if you’re resourceful enough, you’ll be surprised by the options that come up.
The More, the Merrier
Sharing your adventures with others is not only fun and exciting, but it could open up more childcare options for your family. Beyond having additional help with family duties, inviting another family along is a great way to swap sitting services.
Whether you and your partner need a date night or you have a virtual work meeting in the morning, your kids can go under the trusted care of a friend. In turn, whenever they need your help, you can step in and watch their kids.
The key in this scenario is communication and flexibility. Neither family should be saddled with too much or feel miserable the entire time. It may not be the best option for everyone, but it’s worth trying at least once.
From snowy ski trips to tropical getaways, childcare doesn’t have to be an obstacle standing in the way of adventure for you and your family. Whatever service you ultimately use, as long as it works for your family, that’s all that matters.