hello friends! some of you maybe found their way to my blog because of the Cultural Care Instagram takeover I did this month and I am very happy to welcome you to this place where I drop all the awesomeness my brain produces! today I would like to share with you 50 pieces of advice I wished I had before starting my au pair year or 50 pieces of advice that prevent you from making my mistakes.

  1. Bring spray deodorant. Buckets full of spray deodorant. That stuff is expensive af here. Same goes for tampons.
  2. Don’t waste your money on these filter bottles everyone says you need because the american water is so dirty – there are free water stations with drinkable water EVERYHERE. these bottles every au pair youtuber buys are low quality and leak. Get a normal reusable water bottle – or even better, bring one you already have! – and you are good to go!
  3. Bring locks. You should use a TSA lock for your luggage anyway, but you will also need your own lock to lock your locker (this sentence is an adventure) at some gyms and hostels.
  4. Save money at the beginning of your year! I blew 2000$ up in the first two months on food, make up, clothes, a new phone and more food. a lot of food. Did I mention food? at least 1000$ of all this was unnecessary and could have been invested in so much travelling, dammit! More money saving tips for au pairs here.
  5. You will need more money in your travel month than you think. Spend your money throughout the year accordingly. You should have AT LEAST 2000$ saved up. If you plan on going to Hawaii, add a lot more.
  6. To be honest with all you new Au Pairs, I think there’s not a single family always following the rules. Even in the best family ever there will be weeks you will work overtime. Sit down at the beginning of the year and talk to your family about if you will get those hours added up so you can use them for vacation or if you will get the 10$/per extra hour.
  7. Install the Uber app at the beginning of your year. You will need it eventually. When signing up, use my code e2mnm4x9ue and you’ll get your first ride for free.
  8. this is probably my most important point – GET EXTRA INSURANCE. Some examples: a friend of mine had a kidney infection and spent 3 days in hospital, she got a 25000$ bill of which most was covered, but she still had to pay 500$ herself, which is a lot of money that she would probably have saved if she had an extra insurance. Another friend had a bladder infection and had to pay the whole 400$ bill herself. Another one had to pay 5000$ herself. My point is GET EXTRA INSURANCE.
  9. When packing, don’t think “oh I won’t pack that black leggings, I am gonna buy a new black leggings anyway” like ??? why waste your good travel money when you can just take your good black leggings??? and yep I did that and I am very ashamed. Here’s my post on how to pack for one year.
  10. If you take birth control and you plan on doing so during your year, bring enough from your home country. It’s expensive here and not covered by your insurance.
  11. When booking flights online use incognito mode. It’s cheaper!
  12. When matching with families, make sure that you have a car you can use or that you live in an area with great public transportation. American public transportation is by far worse than most I’ve experienced in other countries or cities. Okay maybe not New York, New Yok is great. But if you live in an area with poor public transportation, no car will suck big time.
  13. Bring suitcases with four rolls if possible! You will travel a lot this year and maybe even bring two suitcases + a carry on suitcase back home. Pushing your suitcases instead of pulling them will make your life so much easier.
  14. If you know all your stuff won’t fit into one suitcase at the end of your year and friends or family are coming to visit you during your year ask them to put their suitcase into a bigger suitcase, so they can leave the bigger suitcase for you to take home again.
  15. At the end of your year, if all your stuff still fits into one suitcase but it’s overweight and you don’t have another one check with your airline if it makes more sense to buy a new suitcase + pay the fee for that or to just pay the overweight fee.
  16. Depending on where you will live – like Los Angeles, San Diego area or other warm year around places – try to not bring a winter jacket. Your host family will probably have one you can use if you need to or you can borrow one from another au pair if you travel to a colder place.
  17. When going to NYC during your orientation days go on the rockefeller center. I REPEAT: GO. ON. THE. ROCKEFELLER CENTER.
  18. If you are vegan, bring snacks for the au pair school.
  19. Don’t get piercings and only get tattoos in your last week. Of course they don’t always get infected, but if they do all injuries related to piercings and tattoos are not covered by your insurance.
  20. Think about if you really need that expensive gym membership. Maybe you can save all those bucks and just go running or do youtube workouts. Even 30$ a month is 360$ a year. Yes I used a calculator for that.
  21. Do yourself a favor and come visit San Diego. Just do it.
  22. If you find yourself in the situation that you have to pay a hospital bill yourself, remember that you are able to negotiate with hospitals.
  23. Go to the hair dresser before you come to the US. Ain’t nobody got 50$ for a haircut.
  24. Groupon is your best friend.
  25. Your host family trusts you with their children. Try to never ever lie to them. If you lose their trust, you lose your job.
  26. Learn to say no sometimes.
  27. Don’t push things from your bucket list back, at the end of your year time is not running, it’s sprinting and you don’t want to regret the things you didn’t do.
  28. There a big chance that your hair straightener or hair dryer won’t work here, just leave them at home.
  29. your kids don’t care what you look like and you most likely won’t run into somebody you want to look perfect for – use this year to give your hair and face a break from all the beauty products and heat for as much as you can
  30. You can use coconut oil as make up remover, shaving cream and body lotion. You’re welcome.
  31. If you do too much at the beginning to make your family like you they will eventually take it for granted and you’ll find yourself emptying the dishwasher and cooking dinner every single day.
  32. Keep in mind that most “what to pack” posts and videos you find online are made BEFORE their Au Pair year started. You don’t need everything they take. Here’s my post on what I would have done different if I could pack again. (for the germans: hier findet ihr ein Video zum selben Thema von meiner geliebten Sarai!)
  33. A lot of Au Pairs experience some skin breakouts soon after arriving. Applying diaper rash cream (with zinc) and leaving it on overnight and using an electric face brush helps A LOT.
  34. Having a credit card from your home country as an emergency back up is always a good idea.
  35. If you plan on buying a polaroid camera, get into the habit of actually using it on every trip. I know a bunch of Au Pairs that always forget their polaroid camera at home or are not in the mood of carrying it around the city. Why waste 70$ on it then?
  36. Bring a backpack!
  37. If you plan on travelling alone sometimes, get a remote and little tripod for your phone so you can still take photos of yourself even when no one you could ask is around.
  38. Text your mom all the time.
  39. Make many friends during your Au Pair School time and keep in contact – these are the people with the same travel month dates as yours.
  40. Use your weekends to get out of the house – it’s more relaxing to get away from the family sometimes than hanging around at home
  41. At the very beginning spend less time in contact with your friends and family from home so you get used to your new life here sooner and you won’t be too attached too your home country.
  42. When homesick, turn to your new friends in your new city instead of calling on those at home.
  43. Yes you should bring presents for your hostfamily but don’t spend hundreds of dollars on presents for your hostkids, american kids usually have more than enough toys so in the end your present will be touched rarely anyway. Of course this doesn’t apply to every family.
  44. Think about if it makes sense for you to spend 300$ on a weekend trip to a city or if it makes more sense to save that money and visit this city in your travelmonth – it’s probably cheaper and definitely less stressful.
  45. When booking for you travelmonth compare booking multistop flights to regular one way flights – chances are you will save big time.
  46. I guarantee you there is a whatsapp group for your city – try to find it by asking through facebook groups so you get in there even before you arrive, it will make finding friends here fast much easier.
  47. If you plan on taking the TOEFL test at one point in your life anyway, decide if you want to take it here in the US. It’s definitely cheaper than in Germany, maybe it’s cheaper than in your country too?
  48. Yes, I said it’s important to get away from your hostfamily sometimes, but also it’s important to spend time with them. If they feel like you appreciate them and you want to be there they will treat you better too.
  49. Be creative in how you spend time with your kids – instead of going on play dates everyday take them on day trips! go on little hikes, visit a museum, the beach, whatever. Make slimes with them and do crafts. Your hostfamily and hostkids will love you.
  50. go as far as you can, enjoy every second, appreciate every moment, and make this one of the best years of your life.

5 thoughts on “50 TIPS FOR NEW AU PAIRS

  1. Die 50 Tipps sind echt hilfreich, danke dafür! Ich gehe auch bald als AU PAIR nach Amerika und diese Liste hat mir jetzt schon einmal ein bisschen geholfen, mir zu überlegen, wie ich das BESTE aus diesem Jahr rausholen kann!

  2. Für mich geht es in genau 44 Tagen auch nach Amerika nach New York Deine Facts sind wirklich hilfreich, ich habe sie mit gleich mal kopiert und die für mich wichtigsten Punkte rot untersteichen im Zimmer aufgehängt Jetzt habe ich aber noch eine Frage zu der extra Versicherung. Kannst du eine empfehlen? Und wenn ja, was kostet die ?

    1. Wie wundervoll, dass ich dieses Kommentar erst jetzt sehe. Aber nein, ich habe leider keine Empfehlung, weil ich leider selbst nicht schlau genug war eine abzuschließen vor meinem Jahr. Hoffe du hast eine ganz, ganz tolle Au Pair Zeit!

  3. Hi! Wow, very nice and helpful! I didn’t read ervery single tipp, yet, but I’ll 😉 Thank you for sharing your impressions! Have a nice weekend and best wishes from sanfter tourismus alpen ;), yours Nora <3

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