(Last Updated On: )

On this site, you find information on what you need to consider before your departure, flight and travel.
We have a summary of the most important points you should keep in mind, including questions about when to book the flight ticket, what you need to do prior to your departure, who pays for the travel expenses etc..

Flight Ticket and Travel Expenses

  • Who bears the travel expenses? You ususally have to bear the travel expenses yourself.
  • Who books your flight ticket? Usually, you have to book the flight ticket yourself.
  • When do I have to book the flight ticket? Always book your flight ticket after you received a confirmation from your agency or your host family or rather the Au Pair contract is signed.

Who bears the travel expenses?

The au pair usually pays for his or her flight ticket by him-/herself. This does not, however, hold true for au pairs who want to become an au pair in the USA. Agency regulations for the USA determine that the American host family has to bear the travel expenses of the au pair.

If you have to bear the costs for the flight ticket yourself, we recommend that you look for youth travel experts. They will help you find an inexpensive flight to your host country and will most likely be able to provide discounts.
You should also start looking for your flight ahead of time. The later you book your flight, the more expensive your flight ticket will get.

Depending on your agreement with your host family, the family might cover some (or all) of your travel expenses, even if this is not a mandatory condition of the agency. Talk to your host family in advance and ask if they would be willing to bear some of your travel expenses.

Who books your flight ticket?

You usually have to book your flight ticket yourself.

When booking your flight ticket, check your arrival date. Make sure that your arrival date suits your travel plans. If you plan on attending a language school before moving to your host family, make sure that you arrive prior to the beginning of the language course so that you don't miss any classes.
If your host family picks you up from the airport, try to find a flight that arrives at an appropriate time so that you don't meet your host family for the first time in the middle of the night.

If your are staying for a whole year, we recommend that you book an open return ticket. This type of ticket allows you to schedule your return date once your are in your host country. It has the advantage that you don't have to set the date so early in advance.
This way, you are more flexible in planning and organizing your stay abroad and travel across your host country after your time with your host family.
Another option is to alter the booking of your flight ticket during your time abroad. Check with the airline before your departure and inquire how much an altering the booking of your flight ticket would cost.

When to book the flight?

Always book you flight after you received a confirmation from your au pair agency or your host family or rather the Au Pair contract is signed. Do not book your flight ticket before your host family sent you a confirmation or you signed the au pair contract with them.
As soon as you received a confirmation, you can start looking for your flight. It is best to start organizing your trip and looking for your flight ticket as soon as possible after you received the confirmation from your agency/host family. Not only will the flight ticket be less expensive when you book early, it also allows you to plan and organize the rest of your trip.
Inform your host family about your departure data as soon as you know it so that they know when you will arrive and can pick you up from the airport.

Make sure to allow for enough time to get to the airport on the day of departure so that you don't miss your flight.

What you need to do before your departure

There are a few things you need to keep in mind prior to your departure. You can make a checklist to ensure that you keep track of all the things you need to do and don't forget anything.

Make sure to cancel any memberships (for instance gym, magazines etc.) and accounts or contracts (mobile phone etc.).
Inform your local bank that you will be living abroad for a longer period of time and that you won't be using your bank account regularly. You can also ask at your local bank about the fees for withdrawing money at an ATM in your host country. We also recommend that you exchange money so that you have cash for the first few days/first week(s).

Do you have a valid passport? If not, extend your passport and gather all necessary and important documents for your time abroad. Make sure to take photo copies of the most important documents with you.
Don't forget to take out an international health insurance and take your health insurance card with you.

Does your suitcase conform to the regulations of the airline? Make sure that your suitcases are not too large or otherwise you will have to pay a fairly high fee at the check in counter. Try to avoid that by cheking out the regulations of the airline when packing your suitcase.

It is also a good idea to do some research on your host country, the town you will be living in and holidays and traditions in your host country in the course of preparing for your time abroad. You will find that informing yourself beforehand makes settling in to your new home and environment much easier.
It is also a good idea to look for things you can do with your host children, e.g. games you can play or handicraft instructions, prior to your departure. Your host children will appreciate that and will be excited to try out new games with you.

Pack your bags!

Return Back Home: Leaving the Host Family 

When it's time for your to go back home, there are a few things you need to take of in order to leave everything ready for the new Au Pair to use.

  • Leave your room (and car) as you received it at the beginning of your year, thus, clean and neat (also remember to wash your bed sheets and blankets and vacuum the floor)
  • Finish your duties (washing the remaining laundry of the children etc.)
  • Make sure to cancel any memberships (e.g. gym) or accounts (e.g. bank account)
  • Return things like car keys, library books, rented movies, bike lock keys, pool tags etc. + things you may have borrowed from your host family
  • If you have changed any passowrds (for the computer, voicemail on the cell phone etc.), make sure to change them back to the original ones
  • Leave your host family a telephone number and your street adress in case they nedd to forward you any mail or important documents
  • Turn out any electronic devices you might have in your Au Pair room (TV, computer, monitors, DVD player etc.) and remove all your personal files, should you have any on your host family's computer

Start thinking about what to bring back home with you in advance and allow for enough time to pack your suitcase. You will probably find that you won't be able to fit all your new things into one suitcase.
Contact your airline in advance and ask what the charges for an additional suitcase are or inform yourself about different possibilities for shipping your things to your home country.
Tell your host parents, if you want to leave anything in your room for the next Au Pair and check with them if it is okay. Otherwise, they might think that you forgot something.

This post is also available in: German