Au Pair or Summer Camp? Choosing the Ideal Option for Your Child’s Summer Care

Even though we haven’t even officially started the spring season, for working parents summer planning is in full swing. It can be tricky to figure out childcare solutions when school is out. You may be considering summer camp for your kiddos, which is definitely a super fun option to keep them busy during the summer season. But have you considered hosting an au pair?

Au Pair USA has been supporting host families through the summer months and beyond for over 30 years. Here are our top five reasons why hosting an au pair this summer might be a better fit than sending your kids to summer camp.

1. Schedule

While there is usually an option to select full-day or half-day camps, most don’t consider commute times and parents’ work schedules, which can be challenging for a working parent. There’s also sleepaway camp, but not all parents may be comfortable with this option, which only lasts a maximum of a few weeks typically. Additionally, most camps do not offer transportation (or there is an additional fee associated with it).

Au pairs, on the other hand, live with you, which means no need to wake everyone up early to get out the door on time for camp drop-off or manage the additional responsibilities of camp drop-off and pick-up. An au pair’s schedule is also flexible, allowing you to receive up to 10 hours of childcare a day for up to 45 hours a week.

2. Fun

Camps were made to promote fun, no doubt about it. But what about the au pair who loves to have a water balloon battle in the backyard or create scavenger hunts in the neighborhood or lead a Pinterest-worthy arts and crafts project from the comfort of your kitchen table? Fun can be created anywhere; it’s up to the people to make it happen!

3. Affordability

According to, in 2022, the average cost of summer camp in the United States was around $178.49 a day. If you have two kids in camp, that’s a whopping $14,279.20 for just eight weeks of camp, which doesn’t even cover the entire summer! Fortunately, the cost of an au pair doesn’t increase with the number of children you have, and the investment will support your childcare needs not just for the summer but throughout the year.

4. Lifelong Relationship

Most kids don’t keep in touch with their camp counselors, even if they had a great summer bonding with them. Au pair and host family relationships often last beyond the au pair’s program year. It’s not uncommon for host families and au pairs to reunite years later for milestone events like weddings and bar mitzvahs.

5. Continuous Care

Wouldn’t it be nice to not have to reinvent the wheel every season when it comes to childcare? No need to stress about getting a spot in the aftercare program at school or how you will get to the office on time while juggling two different drop-offs in the morning. The au pair program lasts one year with the option to extend an additional six, nine, or 12 months. Most au pairs arrive with an international driving permit as well, which will take the hassle of organizing carpools, pick-ups, and activity transport off your plate completely. What a relief for working parents!

Interested in learning more about welcoming an au pair into your home this summer? As a U.S. Department of State-designated nonprofit organization, Au Pair USA supports host families by matching them with carefully screened au pairs from all over the globe. We look forward to helping you solve your summer childcare gap through the help of an amazing au pair!

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.