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By Drew Miller

My wife and I share a love for travel.  We delighted in traveling before we had our child and were determined to not let parenthood get in the way of our ability to see the world (much). Even when taking a family vacation, it’s important that Mom and Dad get a chance to have some time alone. Whether it’s a romantic dinner for two, a morning at a museum or an afternoon at the pool with a great book, a parent’s batteries have to be recharged from time to time.

Enter the dilemma: How to find quality child care when you’re away from your home turf? It’s a tough situation, unless you can arrange to have a care-giver or grandparent come along.  Of course, a lot depends on your situation – how many children, what are their ages and dispositions?

Most hotels either work with sitters or services directly or will refer them for in-room care. Also, many hotels and resorts in popular vacation destinations like Cancun, Orlando and Jamaica provide centers where children can go and enjoy supervised play while you are away.

Whenever it’s an option, I prefer leaving my 4-year-old at a center with other kids and multiple adults present. My comfort level increases when there are more kids of varying ages and a bonded business behind the hourly rate. Whether it’s in-room or facility-based care, these are the questions I ask:

1. Are the care givers certified in CPR and first aid? 
2. Have they undergone criminal background checks?
3. What experience do they have with children?

These are basics that I must be satisfied with before heading out for child-less fun. 

As far as specific recommendations go, for a Disney vacation I love the Children’s Activity Centers spread throughout the Walt Disney World Resort. They have reasonable rates, are open fairly late and took great care of my daughter. Outside the Disney World complex, I like the Fairy Godmothers, a network of care-givers who are mothers and grandmothers. We have also had good experiences with child care at Beaches Turks & Caicos, a family-focused all-inclusive resort, and the Steamboat Grand Resort.

When he’s not at the Orbitz office, Drew Miller is an attentive daddy, avid skiier, and globe-trotting traveler.

Leave a comment: How do you find quality child care away from home?

Tagged: Disney, Family time

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