It is gone June 21st, and you know what that means… IT’S OFFICIALLY SUMMER! Summer break especially can be a busy time for a lot of au pairs. Other au pairs happen to have a lot of free time on their hands, because their host kids are off to camp for example. Ever wondered what to do with all of that free time? Not to worry – Au Pair in America blogger Lea’s got you covered!
Summer in the US happens to be one of the most beautiful times to explore America. At least for all those of us, who haven’t just newly arrived in the US at least. Last summer, I spent four weeks to traveling this amazing country and had a blast! Since I’ve been able to gain some travel experience as an au pair, I wanted to share my tips with you so you’re better prepared for some situations than I was. Well, fingers crossed that you’ll be!
TIP #1: PLAN AHEAD
My recommendation: As soon as you arrive in the US and you know your schedule, make a list of all the things that you would like to see and do during your time as an au pair. It doesn’t matter if you would like to see any particular cities or areas in the US, or if it’s rather things that you want to do. For example: riding your bike through Central Park in New York City, or sitting on the Golden Gate bridge. Whatever it is, write it down – no matter how impossible it might seem at the time.
Once that’s done, you should try to come up with different categories for your bucket list. Create headlines like “Things that I want to experience” or “Cities that I want to see”. Make sure your plan is as detailed as possible. If you already know when you’ll be wanting to take some time off exactly, or where you’ll be wanting to head off to, do not hesitate to block these days for your adventure. And please do not be afraid of travelling alone. I totally understand that travelling by yourself sounds scary at first, but if you join an Au Pair tour, you’ll only get to travel “alone” half of the time. Don’t be scared to book flights six months in advance. If you know that you can take a certain time off, plan ahead to get a step closer to your summer adventure!
TIP #2: WEEKENDS ARE FOR SHORT TRIPS
Weekends are an amazing opportunity to go on shorter trips! I took trips to Boston or Washington, D.C., and spent a weekend there each time. An easy way to travel over the weekend is by bus. Luckily there are many bus companies who offer fast rides for little money. If you want to make the best of your weekend trip, take a night bus to get to your destination. That’s the best way to save some money and time. You might not get that much sleep, but I guarantee you that you will have an unbelievable time!
Don’t forget to make a list of things that you want to see while you’re in that city. As I mentioned earlier, plan ahead and make plans. If you’re afraid of getting lost, print out a map and mark the way to get to the sights you want to see. Keep in mind that you should always have a plan B in case that plan A doesn’t work out.
TIP #3: BOOK A TOUR
When my friend Lisa asked me about the top things to do in the US while she’s here, I told her to book a tour! I’ve traveled with a company that provides tours for au pairs, like TrekAmerica. In my opinion it’s the best way to travel through the US. You have a tour guide who definitely knows what they’re talking about, plus you have lots of fellow au pairs with you on the tour. So get ready to make some friends from all around the world! And last but not least, you get the make the most of your week off for a really good deal! If you decide to book a tour, make sure you that at least some meals are included in the price, otherwise you will have to pay extra. And we don’t want that you to run out of money in the middle of a tour, right?
TIP #4: TRAVEL WITH JUST A CARRY-ON
Believe me, you won’t need a suitcase full of clothes or shoes for a 5 day trip, let alone for a weekend trip. Save your money and travel with just a carry-on. Most airlines allow you to bring a personal item on top of that, such as a laptop bag or a pillow. Trust me, that is enough. All you need are some shirts, pants, a reusable water bottle and your camera. Keep in mind that you might not have an opportunity to store your bags anywhere, so you might need to carry it around with you the whole day.
TIP #5: LEAVE YOUR HIGH HEELS AT HOME
It doesn’t matter if you’re out and about for a day trip, a weekend trip or for two weeks. If you travel you want to make the most of your days and your money, right? So my recommendation is to leave all the things that you don’t need at home. You don’t need high heels when exploring a new city is your priority. And you also don’t need three pairs of sunglasses, even if you’re travelling the west coast. Save that space for some sun cream so you don’t get burned by the American sun. Which by the way is pretty strong over the summer.
These were just a few tips for a perfect summer in the US! If it’s your first summer living abroad, I wish you a lot of fun, memories and amazing pictures. I hope these tips can help at least some of you. See you in my next blog!