We all know how helpful an extra pair of hands is when on holiday with children, so we got in touch with Jessica Sweet from NY Travel Nanny to discuss the benefits of having a travel nanny with you on your next trip.
Q. Could you tell us a little about you?
A. I’m Nanny Jess, a Travel Nanny expert and founder and CEO of NY Travel Nanny. I cover temp and travel positions domestically and internationally.
I was raised in a family with a strong focus on values, which included community service, volunteerism, and cultural experiences. I am an auntie to four boys and a big sister to three siblings. My forever home is in the amazing Lower Adirondacks, Lake George Region in Upstate New York (NY).
I wear many hats within my career including Credentialed/Certified Professional Career Nanny, Lifeguard, Newborn Care Specialist, Pediatric Sleep Consultant, and Certified Positive Discipline Parenting Educator.
Q. What hobbies do you enjoy?
A. My favorite hobbies are swimming, competitive cycling, and Pilates. I’m an adventurer and world traveler at heart, often checking off extreme bucket list items like riding world record zip lines.
Q. What makes you stand out from others in your field?
A. What makes me stand out from other colleagues in my field is my attention to professionalism, customer service, and continued commitment to professional development.
I encourage a sense of belonging, self-awareness, and self-esteem and promote character foundational skills such as honesty, respect, caring, kindness, and responsibility within the children I care for. I provide care with a strong focus on positive connection and social-emotional learning.
If you asked a child, the answer would be Nanny Jess is FUN! She always comes prepared with a game plan or lesson plan along with supplies and we never even notice our parents are away because we’re having too much fun!
Q. How did you come up with the idea of NY Travel Nanny? How did it all start?
A. My previous career was in large-scale events management with a touring motorcycle rally. I absolutely loved my career and learned the value of marketing, destination research and topography which became essential to my work as a Travel Nanny and a unique skill set that sets me apart from other Travel Nannies.
Imagine planning a tour for 250 motorcycle enthusiasts through the Adirondack Mountains toward the Green Mountains of Vermont to treat them to a breakfast at a Maple Sugar House. Not only do you have to plan a route that allows for safe travel and road conditions but also inspect parking conditions and other fine details to organize a successful event. Motorcycles can’t park on gravel!
I live between two tourist destinations in Upstate NY: Saratoga Springs and the Lower Adirondacks, Lake George Region. Initially, I would meet my clients locally and after an amazing experience, I recognized the value in offering my services to them outside my local area.
My career as a full-time nanny began in 2013. After my first travel nanny experience in 2016, I began the process of marketing for NY Travel Nanny with the goal to transfer exclusively to the Travel/Temp Nanny market, making that leap at the beginning of the pandemic. Due to the pandemic, my clients were buckling down at locations outside their everyday homes and the Travel Nanny industry grew substantially from requests for nannies to quarantine at long-term, alternative locations with a family.
Becoming a Travel Nanny was an easy, natural fit as it combined the skills from my previous career and professional childcare. It’s the best of both worlds!
Q. What do you like best about working as a Travel Nanny?
A. Each position and needs of a family are different and I’ve come to enjoy the variety in the positions and locations I work in. I often need to prepare for a trip at a moment’s notice and have bags packed to pick up and go. I was never much of a risk-taker but becoming a Travel Nanny has helped me grow in that strength. I look forward to all the unknown adventures and lasting connections that being a Travel Nanny has given me.
Q. What are your responsibilities? What are the biggest challenges?
A. As a Temp/Travel Nanny, it is essential that I am energetic, enthusiastic, flexible, patient, travel-savvy, safety-conscious, and demonstrate respect for the family’s parenting styles, diversity, and personal values by working in daily partnership with parents to address the needs of their children.
Each family’s needs are unique, but with all positions, it is my responsibility to be proactive by taking the initiative to create solutions without direction, research the destination, evaluate the environment, address safety concerns, and provide suggested activities for the whole family. Along with nanny duties, I will also cover light housekeeping, and errands and track child-related supplies. It is also my responsibility to help children with sleep adjustments due to travel and set up routines.
Prior to the start of any position, I create a personalized plan of developmental, physical, and cultural immersion activities, designed exclusively for that family’s children to keep them happy and engaged during our time together.
Traveling with children is unpredictable, so it is important that I am able to adapt quickly to change and not get overwhelmed. Traveling as a family unit presents unique challenges, and as a Temp/Travel Nanny, I need to be prepared to handle unexpected moments. I have navigated natural disasters, canceled and rerouted flights, cultural/language barriers, child sickness, and even resource limitations. Quick thinking, being resourceful, and being a source of calm in unexpected moments help my clients feel confident and ease stressors.
Q. What is your goal behind NY Travel Nanny?
A. I believe in creating a nurturing, positive, inclusive family environment with an emphasis on fun, excitement, and laughter within my positions.
Q. What are your insider tips for traveling families?
A. I have two great tips:
- Always pack for two days of travel in your carry-on. I can’t tell you how many times that preparation has saved us!
- Get your children outside first thing the next morning after travel to help adjust their circadian rhythm.
Q. What is your favorite travel product or service?
A. During initial conversations with a client, I always state that I am a Lifeguard first and then a Travel Nanny. I will likely be more in tune to safety than the average Travel Nanny as I’ve worked as an active first responder for over 25 years. When it comes to offering up favorites, I highly suggest purchasing this First Aid Kit and often gift to clients. It’s compact, includes more than enough essentials, and is easy to travel with.
Q. What has been your most memorable trip and why?
A. What makes an opportunity memorable are those candid, unscripted moments where I witness my clients connecting as a family unit. I can remember taking some downtime on an oceanside balcony and watching my clients and their children ride bikes on the beach. The wind was blowing and everyone was laughing and smiling. Wow, that’s how I grew up too! Family is everything! I am so lucky to witness moments like that and to be present to help create them.
Q. What is next in your plans?
A. I continually source out opportunities that will enhance my field knowledge and will allow me to stay up-to-date on child development and the professional caregiver curriculum. Currently, I am taking on a full roster of courses that will keep me busy in my free time as well as focusing on fitness prior to the start of my next contract. I look forward to a returning summer contract and then the sky is no limit for NY Travel Nanny! I am excited to see what the fall will bring!
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