Find Babysitters ANYWHERE

Traveling as a family is easier than ever. However, one big thing is still quite the hiccup: getting quality, safe babysitters while traveling, especially if you're only in a location for a couple of weeks or months at a time.  

Personally, I don't use babysitters often. Recently, in Santiago, Chile, I underwent several IVF treatments so I couldn't bring Sam with me. I had to use three babysitters for all my appointments, which worked out well. Sam loved it, and I loved it.

Here's how I did it: I reached out to a faith community. Notice I didn't say your faith community, but a faith community. This is great because you may not have a faith community; maybe you belong to a denomination or a faith tradition without a local gathering. It doesn't have to be your faith community; it just needs to be a faith community.

How To Ask a Faith Community for Help

Practical help like finding a babysitter is a universal need. Any faith community is happy and excited to help because they get asked for assistance, like finding a babysitter. They’re more than happy to help people in practical ways.

But how do you do that, especially if you aren't a church-going person? If you speak the local language, making a phone call is the easiest. Google the place and call them. But if you’re unfamiliar with the local language, you should visit them instead. 

Finding the Best Time To Visit

Some faith traditions are open to the public during the week. For example, if you go to a Hindu temple, they’re available during the day. Catholic churches are also open with staff during the week. Walk around the church and talk to someone who seems like they mean to be there and isn’t just worshiping. 

Meanwhile, some faith traditions are only open when they're open for worship days. One trick you can use is knocking on the door if you see cars in the parking lot. Someone is sure to be there.

However, there might be an event taking place if several cars are in the parking lot. It could be a bible study, a ceremony, or a baptism; you don't want to interrupt them. But if you see one or two cars, that's probably a good sign that it's church staff.

When you speak to someone, tell them you’re a tourist and looking for a babysitter. 

What Kind of Babysitter Can You Expect?

Remember: there is a safety concern when looking for a babysitter. Obviously, you're looking for someone safe; however, when you’re the stranger asking for help, then the safety dynamic is focused on the babysitter. 

Don't be surprised if it takes them a while to do a background check or if they send two girls instead of one. They might even ask you to come to their family house instead. Or maybe they’ll have the girl and her mom come to babysit for you. Whatever the situation, always be gracious and considerate of the fact that you are the oddity here.

Community Babysitters vs. Online Babysitting Sites

You might be wondering why you should go through all of that trouble when you could use an online service. After all, there are loads of those apps and websites available. 

I don't mean to be a fearmonger, but if I was a bad actor and wanted to get access to children, what easier way would there be for me than going online? I can create a website with a bunch of fake referrals or get my profile on a babysitting site. That's why I avoid them now.

Statistically, that is very unlikely, but I would rather take that unlikely statistic and throw it out the window. Going directly to a church, a synagogue, or a temple means there’ll be no bad actors in that transaction. They will refer you to their babysitter or some young woman in the church community, which is excellent. 

How Much Should I Pay My Babysitter?

Please research and ask the locals how much you should pay your babysitter. Americans tend to overpay, which can be seen as patronizing and rude in many cultures. I know you mean it to be generous, but you want to make sure that’s the message you're sending. 

Of course, you can also ask your Airbnb host or hotel concierge for babysitting advice. You can even ask some random person at the coffee shop if you make a connection with someone. But since I’m a bit of an introvert and loner, I’d rather just reach out to a faith community for advice.

How To Deal With Cultural Differences

Here’s one advice about different faith communities: don’t get offended. 

I'm a single mom without a husband, which offends some people. You might be a gay couple or two unmarried people with kids. Remember that you might offend some people with your family status, but don’t take that personally.

That being said, no matter what shape or size your family is, I strongly believe to the inner marrow of my bones that you can go into any faith community and feel comfortable saying, “I'm a tourist and I need a babysitter.”

And don’t feel obligated to attend church services or convert to their religion. Babysitting is a very practical need, and people of all faiths love helping. All you have to do is ask.