How I’m Able to Travel

How I'm Able to Travel

Everyday we see the blogs and Instagram accounts of people who give up everything and travel the world. They make money blogging and are able to see the world because of it. While I do have a blog, that’s not how I travel. There is really one big reason why I am able to travel and another factor that helps a lot in being able to afford it. So if you are wanting to travel more, I’m sharing how I travel and more ideas on how you can see the world!

Au Pairing

This is basically the number one reason why I am able to travel as much as I do currently. I live in Europe so it’s much easier to travel to another country over the weekend. While the daily life of an au pair is not glamorous or necessarily fun, you get to live in another country for free. If you want to know more about au pairing I have a whole tab dedicated to this topic. You can read more HERE!

Teaching English Online

This is a major factor that enables me to travel. While I do live for free, at 25 I do have bills and au pairing doesn’t pay that much per month. So I decided that if I wanted to travel I needed to do something more to make that happen. Teaching online has been awesome and I love the company. It’s pretty flexible and the hours work for my schedule. If you want to know more I also have a tab dedicated to this, you can read more HERE!

Other Ideas

The two things listed above are basically the two major reasons why I am able to travel. But I do realize that a majority of people can’t do them for numerous reasons. So below I’ve listed more ideas on how you can travel based on things I’ve seen or heard of people doing based on their life.

College Students

In college I know that it is hard to travel because of time and also money. I think one of the best ways to travel and probably the easiest is to study abroad. You take classes that can count toward your major and also live in another country! I didn’t study abroad but I did go to Europe twice while in college. Both times I saved up money to go. The first time I went with EF Ultimate Break and was able to pay for the trip with monthly payments. The second time I went to Ireland for a week and the ticket was pretty cheap! Search for deals and start saving!

Families

Having a family might make it hard to travel. Not only do you have more schedules to work around, but it also costs more because you have more people. I don’t think this should stop you though! If you and your partner value traveling and want your children to experience the world then you should! I think paying off all debts or most is important so that you can focus on saving money to travel. Sell things you don’t need, downsize, and maybe pick up a second income.

Living paycheck to paycheck

I think this is pretty common for a lot of people. With student loans and maybe even just things that have happened in life, you can’t seem to save to travel. Like I said above, try to get your debt down first. Sell things you don’t need, downsize, get a second job. Take small trips or weekend trips for a while during this time. Once you are able to save enough, then you can start traveling more!

If you are anything like me, travel is a big part of my life and I want to keep it that way.

What do you do to be able to travel?

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Questions You Should Ask Before Signing Your Au Pair Contract

Questions You Should Ask Before Signing Your Au Pair Contract

By now you’ve probably found a couple families that you might be interested in. But the problem is you don’t really know what to ask or what you should be asking. If you have never been an au pair before it’s hard to know what you need to ask. You should ask a lot of questions before signing your au pair contract.

Haven’t found a family yet?

I would suggest starting your search with Au Pair World. There are many different sights you can go through, but I liked this one the best.

You found a family

If you think you have found your family, congratulations! Before signing your au pair contract I suggest you start video chatting and emailing with your family to go over all questions and details. Not sure what to ask? Today I am sharing with you a downloadable sheet with questions to ask your family! Print it out and keep notes to help you make your decision.

Questions You Should Ask Before Signing Your Au Pair Contract

Before signing your contract

Make sure that you ask all the questions you want! Research your countries laws on being an au pair. In some countries you can’t work over a certain amount of hours or you are required to make a certain amount. Make sure these match on your contract. If you don’t feel comfortable about something, then don’t do it. I would also ask for a rough draft of the contract before so you can go over everything that will be on it. That way there will be no surprises.

 

Interested in downloading the questions sheet?

Click HERE to download (subscribers only)

I wish you the best of luck with finding your perfect family!

 

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What to Do When You Want to Change Your Host Family

What to Do When You Want to Change Your Host Family

Things not going well with your host family?

Luckily, you’re not the only one who is feeling this! Before becoming an au pair I didn’t realize how many people change their host family. I knew there were the stories of the horrible families, but I just assumed they were stuck unless they went home. But it turns out you can change your host family!

This may depend on the country and your nationality, but it actually seems pretty easy! So what do you do when you want to change your host family?

Give it Time

If you just arrived, I would say give it time. Maybe you and the family need time to adjust and it just needs time. But after three months things still don’t feel right then it’s time to move on.

Talk to Your Host Family

If you are having a rocky start, you can also try to talk to your host family about how you are feeling. If you don’t say anything they will never know there is a problem. You may feel awkward saying anything, but it may make all the difference if you do!

Stay an Au Pair or Go Home

Now, you’ve given it time and even tried talking to your host family but things are still not good. So now you need to make the decision if you want to stay an au pair or to go home. Maybe being an au pair is not right for you and that’s okay! You need to do what is right for you!

Do Your Research

In Finland you can change a family pretty easily. Your new family will just need to go to the tax office and let them know. But this can be different for each country. Please research or talk to others who have made a change to make sure what you are doing is legal! If you want to go to a different country you may need to apply for a different visa depending on how long you are staying, so this is something you need to keep in mind.

Start Your Search

There are different websites you can find families. I personally like Au Pair World. It is super easy to search families and message them! When you are finding a family make sure you ask a lot of questions so you will get a better fit.

Inform Your Host Family

I think giving your host family at least a months notice is considerate so they can find a new au pair. This may be hard and awkward to do, but there is no need staying in a situation you are not happy in!

If you are not happy with your host family, I hope you will find a better fit!

Have you changed your host family? What did you do to change?

 

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A Day in the Life of an Au Pair: Julie

A Day in the Life of an Au Pair: Julie

Happy Monday! I hope everyone had a great weekend 🙂

This weeks au pair is Julie from France! She is a chemistry student who is taking a year off from school to be an au pair and also do research. Before she came here she was in Iceland and then after au pairing she will head to South America to study coconuts. So cool right?! She au pairs for a family in Finland with four boys. Here is her experience:

What is your daily life like?

I usually wake up at 7am to help the youngest get ready, bring him clothes and make sure he brushes his hair and teeth. I then have to make sure all the boys make it to the taxi on time to get to school. I then have free time during the day when the boys are at school.

During my free time I will clean, do the laundry, and dishes. I will also prepare hot meal for when the boys get home. After all that, I can do whatever I want.

When the first boy comes home, usually the youngest, I will help him with his homework if it is English or math. After that we usually play outside or do an activity inside, like make decorations for Halloween.

The parents usually get home around 5pm, so I am done for the day. I will usually still play with the kids though since there is always something going on.

At 6pm is night snack and then the boys go to bed at 7:30pm.

On Saturdays it is a special day, candy day, where we can watch movies and eat candy!

What is included in your contract?

  • Monthly pay
  • Can use the car (if not needed by parents)
  • Own room
  • Weekends free
  • Language course twice a week

What do you like about being an au pair?

Helping the family, playing with the kids, and becoming apart of a family. Also, learning about a new culture.

What do you dislike about being an au pair?

I would prefer to go places more during the weekend with the family to explore the country. Sometimes the kids act like they are the kings and I have to do whatever they want. They don’t know the limits sometimes.

What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an au pair?

I think Au Pair World was a good website to use to find a family. Also, don’t hesitate to ask the family any questions you have.

Thank you Julie for sharing your experience!

If you missed last weeks post, you can find it here

Are you an au pair or want to be an au pair and have questions? Let me know!

XX Chynna

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A Day in the Life of an Au Pair: Andrea

A Day in the Life of an Au Pair: Andrea

Happy Monday! This weeks au pair is Andrea from Austria. Andrea is an au pair for a family with two kids here in Finland. Andrea’s time as an au pair is sadly over and she is now back in Austria. Here is her daily life as an au pair!

What is your daily life like?

I usually wake up around 8am and help the host mom get the kids ready for the day. The boy, 3 years old, goes to daycare two days a week and the girl, 6 years old, goes to school 9am-1pm everyday. I cooked dinner for the family every day. During the day I would clean the house and do the laundry. When the kids were home I would take care of them and sometimes I would put them to bed.

What is included in your contract?

  • Food
  • Own room in the house
  • Monthly pay
  • Friends who visited me could use the guesthouse 20m below their house

What do you like about being an au pair?

It was a great experience to see what a different culture is like. How their houses are different and also how they raise their children and solve their problems.

I also got a clear picture of the way of life in Finland. There is a big difference in how people live their lives in Finland and in Austria.

I loved traveling around for the few months I was here. Sometimes with friends who came to visit or with other au pairs.

What did you dislike about being an au pair?

I needed to spend a lot of energy on things in my daily life. It was also difficult to do what my host family expected because of the cultural and language difference.

Have you learned anything?

I learned a lot about working with children and how to combine this with housework. Also, I learned how to make friends in a different country.

 

Thank you Andrea for Sharing your experience!

If you missed last weeks post about me, you can find it here!

Are you an au pair and want to share your experience or want to be an au pair and have questions? Let me know! I would love to hear from you

XX Chynna

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A Day in the Life of an Au Pair: Chynna

This weeks au pair is me, Chynna! I am 24 (almost 25) from Indianapolis, IN. After graduating from IU this past May I made my way to Finland to be an au pair for 3 boys. The boys are 2, 4, and 7 years old and when I got here they didn’t speak any English! Now they are able to understand me a little and I can understand them also (for the most part). Here is my daily life as an au pair!

My day to day life

The “usual” schedule is that I will pick the boys up around 3/3:30pm and then head home to get dinner ready. This may change if there are soccer or hockey practices. I clean the main floor once a week and then once a month a do a thorough cleaning. I also usually cook dinner during the day so that it is ready when we get home from school. They boys get “hangry” if they are not fed!

What is included in my contract

  • Bus pass
  • Monthly pay
  • Food
  • Own room
  • Weekends free

What Do I Like About Being An Au Pair

I really like working with kids and also my family. They are really easy to get along with and they really try to make sure I a comfortable. Even today my host mom asked if there was anything that they could do better or I didn’t like. I really like this because it makes me feel like they really care. I also like being able to live in a different country. It has been really amazing getting to experience a different culture.

What Do You Not Like About Being An Au Pair

Sometimes it’s hard to communicate with the kids. It makes it hard when you want them to do something (or not) and they don’t know what you are saying. I think now they have a level of respect for me, so it has been easier. Doing the monthly cleaning has been a challenge also. Not that the actual cleaning is hard, just that when I clean it is hard to keep it clean so I worry that they family will think I haven’t actually cleaned.

What Have I Learned So Far

I have learned to be more patient and how parenting can differ culturally. This will be beneficial to me in my future classroom since I may have students who come from different countries. I have also learned how to live in a country where their native language is not English. Something as simple as going to the gym can be a process because you have to figure out where everything is without being able to read the signs.

My Advice For People Who Want To Au Pair

Always know what you are getting into. Make sure to look over your contract and be honest if you are okay with it or not. Don’t say yes to something that will not make you happy. I also think it is good to talk with the previous au pair if they have had one. This way you can get a better idea of the family and if they will make a good fit for you.

 

Are you an au pair? Would you like to share your story? Let me know!

Missed the last post? Read it here! Want to know how I became an au pair? Find out here!

Thanks for reading 🙂

xx Chynna

 

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A Day In The Life Of An Au Pair: Zanie

A Day In The Life Of An Au Pair: Zanie

This weeks au pair is an 18 year old from South Africa, Zanie! I met her on my trip to Tallinn, Estonia and was so happy I did. Zanie au pairs for a family where the mother is Finnish and the dad is American. The family has three kids and also owns their own cafe (hello free coffee). Zanie’s host family also owns a lot where they have two houses so she has her own house to live in! Which is super awesome.

A Day In The Life Of An Au Pair, Zanie:

What is your daily life like?

My daily life can be somewhat repetitive. I mainly look after the five year old girl, who doesn’t go to school yet. Other than that, I get the kids from school and take them wherever they need to be.

We have a good system going. I make dinner on Mondays and Thursdays. My host parents take turns cooking dinner on the rest of the evenings. This ensures that you can have structure because you can plan your meals and never wonder who’s got dinner sorted that night. At least, it’s been working for us.

What is included in your contract?

  • Food at the house
  • Own house
  • Bus card
  • Monthly pay
  • Assist children during hours upon agreement
  • Light cleaning
  • Prepare meals
  • Maximum 30 hours per week

What do you like about being an au pair?

I like working with kids, and learning about another family’s life and culture. You settle in with a new family as if you are a part of their own, and while working you get to travel through a different country and see how it differs from your own.

What do you dislike about being an au pair?

There can be a lot to dislike. For one, if you are very attached to your own family, obviously being apart from them for so long can be really tough. I definitely miss my own country a lot too.

Repetition, another thing I really dislike. I like when I have different things to do each day, not constantly the same routine.

I dislike that there’s almost never getting away from certain things. Sometimes I need quite some space and alone time away from the kids on the weekends to regain the energy to go into the next working week without being utterly annoyed. Although of course its difficult when you are staying with them.

Have you learned anything so far?

Patience. I, myself, am not very patient person. You need a lot when you decide to become an au pair, and although I didn’t have any when I made the decision to be one, I certainly learned some in the past four months as an au pair.

I also learned that you can’t tun away from any problems you have, because they will follow you all the way to Finland 😉

I have learned a lot, life is short, and traveling opens up many doors.

What advice would you give someone looking to be an au pair?

Follow the guidelines of your contract. My host family is so good to me, and that sometimes makes me feel like if I’m working a lot more than I should or running around like a maniac doing things on days I don’t need to be doing it, that I shouldn’t complain, because they are so good to me. But then I question it, are they this good to me because they are hoping I’ll just do extra things for them, or is it because they are just good to me because they have good hearts?

Don’t portray an image you can’t keep up with for the rest of your time working for your host family. If you start off the first month constantly cleaning and doing so much more than you need to, they will expect you to do it all the time. Another reason this isn’t great is because it really just makes the kids lazy and they will see you as someone that just picks up after them!

Also, don’t ever hesitate to communicate. If something is bothering you, talk about it, and ask your host family to do the same. This way, if there is any problems coming from either the au pair or host family it can be worked on and the general relationship between you and the family will be much better.

 

Thank you Zanie for the interview again and your advice!

If you missed my previous posts about au pair life you can find them here and here. Also if you want to know how I became an au pair, you can find that post here.

Any au pairs out there that have advice?! Let me know! 🙂

XX Chynna

 

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A Day in the Life of an Au Pair: Jolie

A Day in the Life of an Au Pair

This week I get to focus on a super cool and sweet au pair here in Finland. Jolie is 17 years old (almost 18!) and is from Germany. This girl can rock green hair like no one I’ve seen before! Jolie is an au pair for a family of eight kids. Yes, you read that right- EIGHT kids. Jolie’s family is also vegan and the parents are from the UK, so they have a different dynamic that I think will be interesting to share! Here is some information about her daily life as an au pair:

What is your typical day like as an au pair?

I start at 10am and usually end at 4:30pm. I will start my day by giving the baby twins porridge and then mostly just taking care of them during the day. I will usually do housework during the day when I can. At noon I take the three year old twins to daycare. For lunch I will make something for all of the children, usually something like sandwiches. The older kids come and go as they need to since they have school and then different activities.

What is included in your contract?

  • Flight
  • Bus card
  • Language classes
  • Food
  • Own room (in house)
  • Extra pay for extra hours

Jolie’s host family also hosts two refugees that live in the lower level with her. She shares a bathroom with them, but they work a lot so she says they don’t really have much contact.

What do you like so far about being an au pair?

I like the family a lot. I also like the country because it is so different than Germany. I am glad I did not pick an English speaking country. My hours are clear and I like that. The family also gave me the numbers of previous au pairs so I could contact them and I really liked that.

Is there anything you don’t like about being an au pair?

Sometimes it’s hard to deal with kids when they don’t listen. (TRUE)

Have you learned anything about being an au pair?

I will hopefully learn Finnish while here. I’ve learned a lot about working with children and also how to make new friends in a different country.

Is there anything that surprised you?

It surprised me how easy it was to feel at home with people you don’t know 🙂

 

Do you have any questions about being an au pair? Let me know!

Also, if you missed my first post about Nicole you can find it here.

XX Chynna

 

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A Day in the Life of An Au Pair: Nicole

A Day in the Life of An Au Pair

One night at one of our favorite Irish pubs in town, myself and some other au pairs in the city were talking about how there was not much information on the internet about au pair experiences. There are a lot of things you should know before signing up for the experience, but for a lot of us you go in blindly and hope for the best. Because of this, I will be featuring au pairs I know and asking them about their experiences as an au pair. Being able to see how all experiences are different will hopefully help one person looking into the experience! So here is a day in the life of an au pair.

My first au pair is Nicole. She is 23 and from Houston, Texas. Nicole has been living in Finland as an au pair for two months. She decided to become an au pair after graduating and getting a job in politics. She didn’t like it so decided to do something different, and so she became an au pair! Nicole au pairs for a family with two kids. The mom is an English teacher, so the kids and parents speak English.

What is your average day like?

I usually wake up around 6:30am to get ready and then I help get the kids ready for school/activities. After everyone is ready, I take them to school/activities. I do chores during the day: dishes, laundry, sweeping. Once a week I do a full clean of the house. After I get the kids from school/activities I take care of them until the mom gets home around 3/4pm. Sometimes I will have to make the kids food during the day or do extra hours if needed.

What is included in your contract?

  • Nights and weekends are free time
  • Extra pay for extra work time
  • Finnish language classes
  • Food
  • Room- Lives in a room in the house
  • Insurance
  • Monthly pay

What is not included in your contract?

  • Flight
  • Bus Pass 🙁
  • Meals out with friends

What are your likes so far?

I really like that the country is so different than where I came from. It’s exciting and new. I really like the kids, when they are behaving 😉

Is there anything you don’t like?

There are a lot of times that my kids misbehave and I get bitten or hit a lot. It makes it stressful.

Is there anything you wish you did before making a decision?

I wish I would have talked to the families past au pairs before making a decision. I talked to some once I got here and the family gave me their contact information. Some of them had pretty bad experiences and I wish I would have known before.

Has anything happened that you didn’t expect?

I honestly was so surprised that I would make friends this easily! I also didn’t expect to have culture shock. When I first got here it was all a lot to take in and was hard at first.

Have you learned anything?

I learned what you really need to survive. You can only pack so much into two suitcases! I also will hopefully learn Finnish 🙂

Would you sign up to do it again?

Yes, 100 percent.

 

If you are interested in becoming an au pair, here is my article on how I became one.
Were you an au pair? What was your experience?
XX Chynna

 

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How To Survive Your First Week As An Au Pair

Au Pair

I arrived in Finland about a week ago and time has gone so fast already! When you first arrive in your new country and move in with your family, you may feel out of place or awkward. After looking back at my first week here are some things to survive your first week!

Spend Time With Your Host Family

If possible try to spend time with your host family and not just the kids. This way you can get to know the parents also. Luckily, the mom was still on summer vacation so she has been able to show me around the city.

Play With The Kids

I don’t speak Finnish and the kids do not speak English so really they only way I can interact with them is through play. I found that this also helps build a relationship with them so they can learn to trust me.

Don’t Judge Parenting Styles

Most likely in a different country they will do things differently than in your country. They may even raise their children differently and have different parenting styles. You may not like it, but they are also not your children. Save yourself the stress and don’t try to judge them. When you are with the kids you can do things the way you want to.

Reach Out To People

I got really lucky again in that my host mom was an au pair herself when she was younger. So she knew that it can be hard to meet people. She contacted people she knew that had au pairs also and gave me their numbers. Because of this I was able to meet other au pairs in the area and have people to do things with. I know this will not be the case for every family, but ask and see if they know of any families with au pairs. Also look for Facebook groups for au pairs in your area. Then after finding people, contact them and ask them to do something! More than likely they want to meet people too so they will be eager to do something.

Have Fun!

As always have fun and enjoy your experience. I realize it may not be for everyone, but give it some time and see how it goes.

Helsinki

If you are interested in becoming an au pair, here is a link for how I became an au pair.

What did you do to survive your first week as an au pair?

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