Traveling with kids is exciting, but once you’ve been on your first family holiday, you quickly realise that – no matter where you are – it isn't really restful at all for parents, especially if you are the primary caregiver. That’s why Nicky Grant set up Holiday Nanny, a website that links jet-setting families up with nannies specifically suited to their kids’ needs. Grant tells suitcases&strollers about how hiring a nanny while on family vacations can make all the difference to parents getting a holiday too. 

How did you get the idea for Holiday Nanny?

Holiday Nanny was a business idea born out of personal experience. I was about to take a much-needed holiday with my husband, Edward, three-year-old son and young baby. We thought that the only way the holiday would be a real break was to take some help.

We began the process of trying to find an agency that provided the kind of short-term childcare we needed. It transpired such an agency didn’t exist – and searching for a “holiday nanny” independently proved to be a long, arduous process. Countless CVs, interviews and reference checks later, I did find Laura – a gem of a nanny – and in doing so stumbled upon my business idea.

What is the typical demographic of your nannies?

Our nannies are generally between 22 and 32 years old. We don’t take any girls on to our register who are younger than 21. We do have older nannies and families with young babies often like an experienced, older nanny but, in general, families want someone young, energetic, sporty and fun.

Are there any male holiday nannies?  

Yes – we do have 3 super “holiday mannies”. They are most in demand from families who have 2 or 3 outdoor, sporty boys and they need a fun manny to keep them busy and in order!

What happens if you get on the holiday and you or your kids don't like the nanny? 

We are a very bespoke service and spend time talking to the family about the kind of nanny that will suit their family and their holiday. We also interview hundreds of nannies and only a few make it on to our register. So we think long and hard about who will be a good fit before we put them forward to the family. The family then chats to them on the phone and also arranges to meet if they want – this gives them a really good idea in advance that this is the right person for them. 

Your business is based in the UK. Can I use holiday nanny if I don't live in the UK?

Yes. Lots of our clients live abroad. We have worked with families from all around the world who are coming to the UK or Europe and want a nanny to join them. The process and costs are pretty much the same but you can’t really meet the nanny in person in advance. Lots of families will Skype with the nanny for an interview and for the children to say hello too. Generally the manny will fly out to join the family if its is somewhere in Europe and we often will have Nannies who speak the local language which can be a bit help for families who might not have any European languages.

Will the holiday nannies go anywhere in the world? 

Our nannies can go almost anywhere (as long as the country isn’t on the Foreign Office “no-go list”).

We have nannies who have a range of extra talents and these can be used on specific holidays – sailing, riding, surfing, skiing. We have lots of different holidays at the moment – from a family going to Devon in the UK for a surfing holiday to a family who have taken one of our horse-mad nannies on a Western Cowboy holiday in Montana!

[If you prefer to just hire a hotel babysitter when you arrive, check out the suitcases&strollers family travel tips for using a hotel nanny.]

You also have maternity holiday nannies and specialist holiday nannies on the register – what do they do?

Our holiday nannies are generally suitable for families with children from one year upwards as they have a minimum of 2 years in a childcare setting with children of that age and upwards.

We also have maternity holiday nannies who specialise in babies and who will have had special maternity training covering anything from sleep routines to weaning.

Last year we also launched our specialist holiday nannies who have a minimum of 2 years experience with children who have special needs – medical needs and disabilities and also nannies with experience with children who have Asperger’s and autism. [For more tips about travelling with autism, see the suitcases&strollers story here.]

To read about nannies that can be hired specifically to help during flights only, read the suitcases&strollers story Inflight Babysitting

If you have a maid or nanny at home and are thinking of taking her on family holidays with you, read the suitcases&strollers story for tips on Travelling With Maids