Who pays for au pair travel expenses?

(Also to be found with keywords Travel expenses, Airfare and Costs for travel)

As a general rule, au pairs pay for their own travel expenses when travelling to the host country and when returning home. Some families decide at the end of the stay to make a contribution for these costs but they are under no obligation to do so.

Travel expenses: The biggest cost factor for au pairs

Faraway countries have a special exotic appeal. Before choosing such a distant host country, au pairs need to be certain that they can afford these costs. Travel expenses to the host country and back, just like language study in the host country, are expenses that au pairs pay for themselves.

Sample travel costs for au pair stays

Depending on the selected host country, travel costs can vary significantly. This depends mainly on how long the flight is to the host country and also can involve factors such as visa costs for entering the country or for preparing the required visa documentation such as health certificates.

Here are some examples of typical flight costs for different host country destinations. Of course, actual ticket prices may vary:

Journey Costs (Round trip) 
UK - Germany approx. 200 Euro
Spain - Canada approx. 800 Euro
UK - Australia 1500 - 2000 Euro
France - New Zealand approx. 2000 Euro
Spain - USA ca. 800 Euro

Should au pairs buy a round-trip ticket in advance?

Often it is cheaper to book the round trip in advance instead of two single tickets. In addition, au pairs are sometimes called on to show that they have a return ticket to their home country (or the financial resources to pay for one) in order to obtain a visa.

Nonetheless, many au pairs decide to buy their return tickets later and at first to only purchase a ticket to the host country. This allows them to remain more flexible in their travel plans. It can be that the original plan to only stay three months, for example, is changed to an au pair stay lasting longer when things go well. Particularly for European au pairs travelling inside of Europe, it may also be that one-way tickets offer better deals.

In general, we would recommend purchasing an open-return ticket when purchasing a round-trip ticket. That makes it possible to change the date of return without having to pay additional costs.

Special rules for the USA !!

Au pairs who want to go to a host family in the USA have to contact a designated agency. Please read our information on regulations for au pairs and host families in the USA.

Are host families obligated to pay some or all of the travel costs?

Host families are not obligated to pay the travel expenses of the au pair. Therefore, it is important that au pairs have sufficient funds to pay for their round trip travel as well as any visa costs that may be necessary as well as the costs of a language course.

The au pair's travel to the host country

Even if the host family wishes to pay for the au pair's travel costs, we recommend strongly that no money be paid (or flight ticket purchased and sent) prior to the commencement of the au pair stay. Unfortunately, with such arrangements there is always the risk that the au pair for some reason does not make the journey. Then there can be unpleasant problems with recovering this money. Therefore, if a family wants to help with travel costs, this should only be done after the arrival of the au pair.

Sometimes families wish to employ an au pair from a far-away, "exotic"-seeming country, without considering that the average monthly income of a family in some of these countries may be very low. When choosing an au pair, please take into consideration that the au pair will have to pay for his/her flight costs. Even though it may be difficult for the au pair to pay for the flight due to the prevailing income levels in the home country, families should not make any advance payments for travel costs.

The au pair's return journey

If you have been satisfied with your au pair, we recommend that families consider paying the costs of the au pair's return journey or some portion thereof.