For families with young children, one of the biggest challenges of traveling full-time is finding ways to do things that are more difficult to accomplish with little ones underfoot. You can, of course, trade off with your partner if you’re lucky enough to be traveling with another adult, but some people don’t even have that option. Besides, date nights and tasks that require two adults do need to happen from time to time as well. In these instances, you may feel you need to seek out childcare while traveling.
While it isn’t always easy, finding childcare while traveling is possible, and we 100% recommend doing so, at least occasionally. Not only will this allow you to keep up with work and all of life’s other tasks, but it’ll also give you a bit of sanity.
Here are our top tips for finding childcare while traveling.
Find Community on the Road
Our first and probably most useful tip is to seek out community. And yes, it is possible to have a community while traveling. In fact, many people find that their traveling community is closer than any community they had while living in a sticks-and-bricks home!
By finding your “tribe” and making a point of traveling with your people whenever possible, not only will you have childcare while traveling, you’ll also have friends to share your traveling memories with.
Not sure where to find a full-time traveling RV community? Fulltime Families is the ideal option for families who are traveling full-time. We host all kinds of events and social media groups, making it easy to make connections with like-minded families.
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Fulltime Families Members get access to the best resources, community and discounts.
Of course, there will be times when you can’t be with those traveling friends. In these instances, many people will seek out sitters through sites like Care.com. Choosing to hire through a website such as this one is nice because you can see reviews of the sitter and thanks to the background checks run by these sites, you can ensure he or she has a clean history.
Find a Drop-in Program
Hoping for childcare that allows your kids to get in some socialization time? For this, you may want to look into drop in programs in the area you’re visiting. For young children, this might look like a parent’s day out or even a daycare that allows for drop-in care.
An example of this is the “Flex Care” program run by the La Petite Academy daycare chain. Meanwhile, older kids might appreciate day-long classes, “parents’ night out” at the local trampoline park or roller skating rink, or even day camps. All are excellent ways to have short bursts of childcare while traveling.
Join a Gym
Some gyms offer childcare while you’re using their facilities. If a break from the kids while you workout and shower sounds nice, you might consider joining a gym. Specifically, you will want to find a nationwide gym that offers reciprocal benefits from one location to the next as well as childcare.
Some that we know of include:
The YMCA does offer childcare and has an option to visit other locations, but visits are limited and rules vary from one location to the next.
Another big benefit of going the gym membership route is that you will have access to showers when boondocking, helping you save water and tank space.
This one is a little bit silly, but when you’re desperate for a short break from the kids, it can be a lifesaver.
You see, IKEA has a super fun kids play area that is open to kids who are potty-trained and between 95cm (37.4”) and 135cm (53.2”) tall. Kids are supervised in this play area and can be left for up to an hour. Those with IKEA Family cards are often offered more time, but whether they are offered more and how much they are offered varies from store to store.
While this hour of childcare is meant to be used for shopping (and to be honest, walking through the displays is pretty darn fun), you could also use it to grab a slice of cake or a cup of coffee and relax in the onsite restaurant.
Unfortunately, IKEA’s childcare offering is closed at the moment, but we expect it to open again in the future, so keep this idea in mind.
Choose Vacations with Childcare
Lastly, if you’ve gone months without any time alone and you’re dying for a date night or a spa day, consider a vacation that comes with childcare options. A cruise is the first thing that springs to mind and would be a great choice for sure.
Another option is a stay at Walt Disney World, where you can send your kids to the kids club at the Dolphin and Swan Resorts or hire in-room babysitting through Kids Night Out. Disney also has a couple of in-resort kids clubs that we imagine will open back up soon enough.
All-inclusive resort vacations also tend to offer childcare, and as that first term implies, it’s often included in the price of the vacation, meaning you won’t have to keep cost in mind when determining how long your date night should last.
As you can see, there are plenty of options when it comes to finding ways to have a break from the kids while still keeping them safe and entertained. The trick is to get creative, think outside the box, and take advantage when a childcare opportunity happens to come your way!