Advice for Au Pairs

Dos and Don’ts of Packing for Your Au Pair Year

When you’re packing your suitcase for a year abroad as an au pair, it can be challenging to know what to bring and what to leave behind. Here are our best tips when it comes to the necessary (and unnecessary) items for the year ahead.

  • DO pack comfy clothes to wear when working with kids. Your job will likely include lots of time spent playing on the floor, doing outdoor activities, and definitely being active and on the go. Athleisure and sneakers are great options to bring with you.
  • DON’T pack too many clothes. Chances are you will want to shop for some new clothing while you’re living in the U.S., so save some space for these new additions to your closet and remember you’ll be returning home with those same suitcases 😊.
  • DO pack photos of your friends and family or something lightweight that reminds you of home. For example, a stuffed animal or special note from a loved one.
  • DON’T pack sheets or towels. These will be provided to you by your host family, so no need for these bulky items to take up space in your luggage.
  • DO pack prescription medicine in your carry on luggage. Be sure to visit your doctor before home and ask for a year’s supply so you are fully covered while you’re in the U.S. Your insurance coverage in the U.S. limited and will not include many medications that are taken daily.
  • DON’T pack heavy bottles of shampoos, conditioners, etc. Plan to buy these items when you are in the U.S.
  • DO pack a journal so you can document your journey and look back on it years to come. It’s incredible to see the transformation and growth you will experience, especially if you’re writing about it regularly.
  • DON’T pack lots of heavy books. You’ll likely have access to a library in your host family’s community, where you can find tons of books to read if this is a hobby you enjoy. You can also order digital copies from vendors like Amazon and Scribd delivered straight to your mobile device.
  • DO bring an adaptor for dual voltage electronics, like smart phones or laptops.
  • DON’T bring bulky appliances like hair dryers or flat irons. These might not work on American voltage and you can easily buy one for a reasonable cost in the U.S.

What would you add to our list? Let us know here!

Marisa Lonic

Marisa is a lover of all things cultural exchange. She and her family have hosted au pairs from Brazil, Germany, Colombia, Spain, and Ecuador. As a mom of four and the founder of Mama Work It, she helps working moms juggle mom life, work life, spouse life, fill in the blank life through her books, courses and coaching programs.