Our family vacation to Phuket: Part 1- Going on vacation with our nanny

Last November 2017, we had an extraordinary family vacation in Phuket. This was our first true vacation overseas as expats with kids where no vaccinations or visa runs were required (those are exhausting.) We were miraculously able to enjoy ten days in beautiful Phuket without any illnesses, or too many melt downs or trauma!

The main reason why our vacation was so enjoyable was because of two factors; firstly, we brought our nanny. Secondly, the resorts we stayed in were very family friendly (more details in part 2).Bringing your Indonesian nanny on vacation with you is fairly easy, if you are traveling within Indonesia, or to other visa affiliate countries, which are mostly South East Asia. This is why I highly recommend getting a nanny with an existing passport, otherwise investing some time and money into getting her one (this is usually at the expense of the employer).

Before you commit to a vacation with your nanny, it’s important that you discuss with her your expectations of her role while on vacation. You need to agree on her hours of work and salary. Also, be clear on where you are going and what kind of environment it is. Ie. She may not be comfortable with a beach vacation because she is scared of the water. Tell her about the climate of the destination; and the mode of transportation. Also clarify the sleeping arrangements. All of this is important so that there are no surprises at both ends and you both know exactly what to expect. Also, she needs to feel comfortable about going on the vacation!

Before you book the flights, validate that your nanny’s passport is still current and not expiring within six months from the vacation date. Make sure you book the ticket with the same passport name. Ensure the hotel room(s) you book allow the extra adult. Finally, provide her with a list of what to pack and respectfully ask her to show you what she plans on bringing. I know this seems intrusive but she may not have travel or practical clothing for the trip. So you may need to give her more guidance or buy some appropriate items for her. Ie. When I told my nanny to bring comfortable walking shoes, she brought a fancy pair of sneakers that had super-duper high heels! There’s no way that she could safely walk in that and possibly carry a toddler as well!

The standard rate for your nanny’s salary on vacation is usually her daily overtime rate, on top of her regular salary. The employer pays for the airfare, food and any other costs that she may incur. For instance, I gave our nanny money to buy a bathing suit and walking shoes before we went away. We let her eat with us at the restaurants, or order her own room service. I also treated her to an afternoon break to get a manicure while we were there.

As far as sleeping arrangements, when we were in a two bedroom suite, our nanny slept in her own bed with our two older children in one room. When we had the three bedroom suite, she slept on her own in her room.

How did we use her during our vacation? She was just a part of the family, tagging along and having fun with us! She helped me with feeding, bathing, etc. I found it really useful having the extra set of hands. Like those moments when you’re all settled into the restaurant table and about to take a bite of food, and then one child screams out that they need to do a poo! Well, problem solved…the nanny can deal with that! And no, I don’t feel guilty because it’s her job to help with these things!

When we went swimming, my nanny focused on one child, while hubby and I had the other two. Most of the time we spent time together doing vacation things. One day we all went to the elephant sanctuary and my nanny joined us in feeding and cleaning the elephants. Another time we went to a waterfall and I took photos of her posing on her phone! We wanted this to be enjoyable for her as well.

The only time she managed the kids without us was when they were napping during lunch time, so hubby and I snuck off for our own lunch. Our nanny happily napped with them or played on her phone.

Each night, after feeding our kids, with or without our nanny’s help (we usually let her go for a walk and eat in a restaurant), hubby and I had the luxury of going out to explore the nightlife! Now this was a first for a family vacation for us (without a nanny) when we were usually bound by room service dinners and the hotel room because we couldn’t leave our kids alone!

One of the greatest perks was allowing hubby and I the opportunity to take our older kids out to town at night while our nanny stayed at the hotel with our youngest, who was too young and tired to enjoy a late night out.

All in all, having our nanny accompany us on our vacation was a total game changer for our family. It offered us flexibility and allowed us to maximize our activities. It also let us focus on each child’s needs separately.

We won’t take her on every family vacation but having the option is fantastic and I highly recommend it to other families like ours. It’s one of the best perks of being an expat in Jakarta and you should definitely take advantage of it. You will thank me for it later, cheers!

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