What happens when you plan a vacation with your family and would like to plan some alone time? Dinner? Dancing? Spa? Sport? Clearly the iPad in the stroller is not really the best solution here. Although, the iPad (when used sparingly) has been one amazing babysitter to enjoy a quiet dinner.
There is hope! Not everyone may feel comfortable to leave their child with a stranger in a foreign country or new city (sounds really bad when I say that). Some time away from the kids or even the kids having time away from their parents really can be rewarding for everyone.
Here are some ways to manage "safe" childcare no matter where in the world you may go.
Not all, but when booking a hotel check to see if they offer babysitting services. It will be someone who is employed by the hotel that can come to your room and look after the children. Just know that on average it costs around 40.- an hour.
Larger, resort style hotels almost always have kids clubs, (open during the day) that are free. The only downfall is that the children must be atleast 2 yrs old. Sometimes it's worth to spend a little bit more on the hotel that offers the kids club, even if you split time between 2 hotels or a vacation rental. This is a fun, safe, and easy option where your kids get to meet and play with other kids.
Before you leave on your vacation you can call a nanny agency in the area where you will be traveling too. They have already done background checks, certifications, references and have professional nannies who can speak english and assist you. There is usually a three hour minimum, but if you need to splurge this is a safe option but be sure to plan in advance.
Ask someone you know in the area
This is my best plan when I travel. See if you know someone who has children to the city you are traveling. You can ask to use their babysitter or they can help you find someone reliable. Use your resources (hello facebook) to find some you can trust in the area you are traveling to help you.
Extra tip: not all areas have the same babysitting rate, so inquire beforehand.
Drop in daycare
Department stores and Ikea are not the only places you can drop your kids off without an appointment- see if there is a drop off daycare in the area. Rates are always very reasonable and some are even open until midnight. I am not saying to leave your kid until midnight, but this is also a safe and reasonable idea to get some alone time in.
Family & Friends
You can always bring a relative or a babysitter with you, but sometimes its nice to just be a family with a small break for everyone. Whatever you decide, my suggestions are to always take a picture of their ID, make sure their phone works and you can contact them. Feel out the situation, be sure you feel comfortable and your child feels safe. If you have any doubt in your mind- then don't do it. I have personally tested every single one of these tips and my "personal" favorite is to find someone you know in the area to help you find someone reliable.