Providing Your Au Pair With Safe, Affordable, Convenient Transportation

by cv harquail on August 25, 2010

Here on AuPairMom we get a lot of questions about driving skills, driving privileges and managing cars. Behind all of these questions, like “who should pay for gas?” or “Avoiding a sense of entitlement” or “keeping track of car use“,  is one simple principle–

Host parents must provide our au pairs with affordable, safe, and convenient transportation options.

Why you must provide some kind of safe, affordable transportation

Au pairs need to have convenient transportation for a simple reason: they have lives to live outside our homes and outside their on-duty hours. Classes and cluster meetings are but a small part of where your au pair needs to be able to go. S/he needs to be able to meet friends, explore your area, go shopping, find entertainment (e.g., movies, museums), exercise, and relax.

An au pair without convenient transportation will be a prisoner in your home. S/he will likely feel trapped, bored and/or lonely, and s/he will likely rematch.

The transportation options you provide need to be reasonably convenient.

Your au pair needs to be able to access and use the transportation easily. A five minute walk to a bus stop is okay, a twenty-five minute walk is not okay. Bicycling through a town for a 15 minute ride is okay, bicycling over long distances, at night, in bad weather, and in dangerous traffic conditions is not okay. Using your family car in the evenings before midnight, two or three times a week is okay, being forbidden to use any car at any time when you don’t live in a city with a bus system and subway– that’s not okay.

Also, convenient transportation means that it is relatively direct. you can’t expect an au pair to take a 45 minute bus ride with two transfers to get to a class in your own town, when to drive there might take only 15 minutes. (Of course, if s/he is going from your town to the city on a commuter train to take a special class, that’s a different situation).

Transportation has to be safe.

If you wouldn’t walk home from the bus stop after dark because you are concerned for your safety, you shouldn’t expect your au pair to do it either.

Transportation should be affordable.

You need to pay for some of this transportation. Host parents need to provide transportation (car plus gas, bus fare, taxi fare) for your au pair’s required events, such as meeting and classes. And, I’d add that you should provide her or him with transportation to and from your house on his or her day off — like, from your house to the mall or movie theater (not from your house to NYC).

That said, you should not be expected to pay $25 for a taxi to the Starbucks ‘downtown’ when a bus ride of similar length costs $2.50.

So, what should host parents do to provide safe, affordable and convenient transportation?

Here are three things to start with:

1. Use different transportation options depending on the kind of trip.

This is kindof a ‘duh’, except to remind you that a personal car is not the *only* option, and that you can offer to drive your au pair somewhere rather than expect him to walk or ride a bike if it’s stormy outside.

Modes of transportation

201008241258.jpgThere are many ways your au pair can get safely, conveniently and affordably from one place to another on his or her off-duty time. These include and are not limited to:

  • Bicycle
  • Vespa
  • “Station Car” (the $900, 15-yr old beater)
  • Family car when parents aren’t using it
  • Dedicated Au Pair car
  • Bus, subway
  • Carpool with other au pairs (contributing for gas, and with their host family’s permission)
  • Host Parent chauffeur
  • Taxi
  • Rental car or ZipCar
  • Transportation allowance ($)
  • Have your au pair go along with you when you go some where (e.g., to the mall)

You can provide your au pair with some assortment of these options, based on what is available in your neighborhood or town, what you can afford financially, and what kind of time you have to help out with driving.

2. Set yourself a budget– including both time and money

201008241255.jpgIt’s important to set some limits on what you’ll pay for and what you’ll do yourself for getting your au pair somewhere… and it’s also important to help

Maybe you can offer to drive your au pair somewhere once a week, for example to the movies in town (but not the one 20 minutes away). Consider letting your au pair have a car on her day off, but perhaps not during the week if you need the flexibility, or let him have the car for personal use X number of evenings a week. .

Obviously, I’m not suggesting that host parents pay for every kind of travel an au pair wants to make, or to pay for him or her to travel somewhere significant (e.g., outside a 5 mile radius of your town) every single day. Some amount of personal transportation should be the responsibility of the au pair. BUT — you must provide something.

3. Set travel expectations

  • Talk with your au pair about the kinds of trips and the number of trips anywhere that you think a host family should subsidize.
  • Consider the systems you might need for reserving a car, asking in advance for a ride, taking a turn carpooling with other au pairs.

What else do you think host parents can and should do to provide safe, affordable and convenient transportation?

What limits would you set? What has worked for you and your au pairs?

Do tell… since we have a specific request for transportation advice coming up in the next post…

See also:

The 3rd Car: Avoiding a sense of entitlement
Using Your Car is a Privilege, not an Entitlement: Best practices
Host Family Advice: Resist the Amenities Arms Race
Can an Au Pair be happy without driving privileges?
Advice wanted: How to Keep Track of Au Pair’s personal car use?

Images: Courtney and her Mission bicycle Zach Klein
orange VESPA from * miQ
OC Night Bus from Geoff LMV

{ 30 comments }

Anne August 24, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Here’s what I’d add to the list:
(4) Be realistic about where you live. If there’s no bus service and no sidewalks, will you drive your AP everywhere? Will you let her use a car? or will you be a burden to other host parents (shame on you!). I could not believe the host parents in far-flung suburbs of my town who would not give their APs access to a car. I don’t even know how those girls could get out of the house to buy tampons!
I have walked to the bus stop from my house, so I know it’s a far walk in the Texas summer but an easy walk in nice weather. Know your area, and if you want a happy AP, don’t delude yourself about the reasonableness of non-automobile options.
(5) Advice for au pairs: google maps! our departing AP used this to discover how far a potential extention-year host family was from the “really close” bus stop. It was far, and there were only other residences nearby.

DarthaStewart August 24, 2010 at 3:57 pm

I think that Host Families need to be realistic about how their au-pair will get around. They need to fully understand the costs of providing a vehicle for the au-pair to drive- including insurance! I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard of a host family getting an au-pair and telling them they’d drive, then backing out when they find out the true cost.

Au-pairs- ask about transportation. If it’s a new host family, be wary, and ask lots of questions. If it’s an existing HF, then ask how previous au-pairs got around. Google maps is a great suggestion. But I think au-pairs also need to be realistic about their driving abilities.

Mumsy August 25, 2010 at 10:19 am

Speaking about APs being realistic about driving abilities …. We get a lot of snow in our area. During weather advisories, most people avoid driving unless they absolutely have to. The exception to this seems to be the APs in our area, including all 4 of our APs. We have a rule that our AP may not use the car when snow advisories are in force so they did not use our car. Invariably, one of their friends would take their HF’s car out in treacherous road conditions and our APs would go with them, against our wishes (we were thinking of their safety). I think they were all at the age when they thought they were immortal – late teens, early 20’s.

OnceAnAuPair August 25, 2010 at 10:47 am

This is a great topic. I wish my ex host family could read it :).

My first HF, which I stayed with for a month, after being forced to stay inside all day with (11 hrs/day), 5 days, provided no transport. They simply showed me the bus stop closest and that was that. The bus fare was around $3 (3chf) one way, I was making $150 a week…I couldn’t exactly afford the bus fare!

The second HF, gave me a car, paid for the insurance but never reimbursed for driving the kids to school, to practice, to their grandparents, etc etc. Gas here is around $5 a gallon. Incredibly annoying to say the least.

So my advice is, help the au pair out with a bus pass, at least paying half of it, if public transport is good. If not, she should always be reimbursed for driving the children places if you give her a car. And make sure the car is realiable, safe and she actually can use it for personal uses not just for driving the children around. Give her a map or lend her a GPS. Show her to use the map too :).

HRHM August 26, 2010 at 9:45 am

I don’t agree with paying for the APs public transportation while she is in her leisure time. Just as we require her to pay for gas in the car when she borrows it, I would anticipate that she would pay for bus fare, taxi fare or train tickets when she is off work.

OnceAnAuPair August 26, 2010 at 9:56 am

It was more or less the norm in switzerland that the family paid for a public transport pass or half of it, probably due the the high cost of public transport here. I was the only one out of my friends that didn’t have this benefit with their families. Many girls had bus/tram passes paid for by families or if they lived out of the city their families purchased a “voie 7” card and “1/2 fare” card that allowed travel on the the trains at all times for 1/2 the price and after 7, free and it took a portion off the regional buses and trams. I wasn’t aware that this isn’t the norm in the US, sorry.

Amelie ex-au pair August 25, 2010 at 11:20 am

I lived in Washington DC during my au pair year, so transportation wasn’t a problem for me. There was several bus stops within walking distance (5 min) from my house and metro stations a little farther.

I don’t drive, and that’s one of the reasons I chose to live in a big city (I prematched via GreatAuPair, so yes, I chose my family). My HP always left money to take the bus and the subway with the kids, to go to my au pair meeting, etc – and they seemed to be ok if I occasionally used this money for personal reasons).

I think that was a pretty good deal for me. =)

Anna August 25, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Amelie ex-au pair, did you ask them to use this money for personal travels? They might not have noticed that you were doing it, if it was not explicitly agreed upon….

I leave cash for such purposes (and for staple grocery purchases etc.) for our au pair, and she leaves receipts for me in the same place when she uses the money… I don’t check the receipts ever; but I would feel really betrayed if I found out this money was used for personal things that were not agreed upon initually… like a tank of gas to drive to a weekend trip with all the friends…
It is not about the money, it is about the trust. “Seemed to be ok” – sounds like you might have been extending your privileges without them knowing… just to offer another POV.

Amelie ex-au pair August 25, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Anna,

Yes, they said it was ok. And yes, the way I wrote it really sounded like I was doing it without asking and just infering they wouldn’t mind. Bad choice of words.

I used the money only in a few occasions for personal bus or subway trips, and yes, that was agreed I could do it. They also told me that if I had an emergency or was very late at night, they would be ok if I used the money to take a cab – which I never did.

Amelie ex-au pair August 25, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Anna,

Yes, they said it was ok. And yes, the way I wrote it really sounded like I was doing it without asking and just infering they wouldn’t mind. Bad choice of words.

I used the money only in a few occasions for personal bus or subway trips, and yes, that was agreed I could do it. They also told me that if I had an emergency or was very late at night, they would be ok if I used the money to take a cab – which I never did. =)

First Time HP August 25, 2010 at 2:08 pm

Really good posting. The only addition I have is to also consider the distance the AP will travel to visit other APs. We live a bit further out than all the other APs so our AP sometime will have to drive 30-45 minutes just to meet up with them and have a coffee or go see a movie. We pay the gas for these types of trips as it does seem reasonable given where we live. I understand that for many HF this may be too much if there are similar options that are only 10-15 minutes away but for us the closest AP to us is about a 20 minute drive.

MommyMia August 25, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Yes, I agree. Now that our current agency’s cluster has downsized to about seven families, with the nearest being at least 20 minutes’ drive away, and the one our AP does the most with about 30 minutes away, one of the things we asked our new LCC about was the proximity of other families with her agency. Somehow, though, whoever they’re friends with, they all want to drive 90 minutes to someone else’s house for a party or to some tourist attraction! We just try to be reasonable and work out who needs a car vs. wants a car for personal use since we must share vechicles. As long as it doesn’t become an assumed entitlement and as long as non-driving APs don’t take advantage of our goodwill by putting all the miles/wear & tear on our vehicle, we’re happy to provide this necessary amenity to our APs.

EuroGirl August 25, 2010 at 2:10 pm

I didn’t get use of a car with my host families but that was okay as I am not a confident driver and I have never driven automatic cars or on the “wrong” side of the road! Too much to learn and too scary to be learning it with someone else’s children under my care – although one host family tried to bully me into using their car and waved off my fears and concerns by saying “we will practise once before you have the kids – i can drive in your country, you will be able to in ours” (I ended up refusing to take that job). But everywhere I have lived in continental europe I have been happy and comfortable using public transport, yes even alone and even at night. The host families I worked for have provided either an extra monthly allowance for public transport or a rail/bus card paid by them per month. And most also gave me a bicycle which was kept in the family as “au pair bike” and handed down to their next au pair accordingly.

Hula Gal August 25, 2010 at 4:25 pm

This post makes me grateful that we have a third car (my old 2-door, pre-baby car). It is old but still looks pretty good and runs well. We do not have to worry about minor damage and it gets great gas mileage. If you can afford it and you are going to be in the au pair program for awhile you may want to think about getting a used car as a dedicated au pair car. What I have come to realize is that the au pair program can be a challenge to navigate if you are on the margins with your family budget. And I am certainly not saying don’t participate in the program if you have to be very conservative with your budgeting, but be very realistic about the hidden expenses of the program. And many of these expenses are not required but they make your life easier. And if you CAN afford it – don’t cheap out here. There is another family in my cluster that appears to have more disposable income than my husband and I but they have a shared second car with their au pair and they controlled that use very tightly. I was sympathetic to the au pair.

Chev August 25, 2010 at 6:39 pm

I’m so grateful my family still has my HD’s car from college, it’s 13 years old and called the beast and i love it :D It’s the car i take most often on my off time unless i’m doing a roadtrip more than a few hours away and then my HPs want me to take the newer non kid seat car just in case the beast breaks down :)
I had a friend who went to a family who told her she’d have the car and then once she’d gotten there said it was too expensive to let her drive. They still expected her to take the kids out and about to playdates, playgroup, and classes by catching the bus. In WA you’re not allowed to leave children in their stroller on the bus, they have to be sitting on a seat, which is really hard to do with 2 kids under 3. So after walking 45 minutes uphill to the bus stop she then had to catch an hour long bus to get to the park that was a 10 minute drive away. She was this families 4th AP so they had to have known how hard it would be for her to get anywhere without access to a car. Her welcoming was a penlight torch and map so she could walk the 1/2 hour to the local supermarket in the dark in the middle of winter.

PA AP mom August 25, 2010 at 9:10 pm

We are one of those families that lives 30 minutes from the rest of the cluster in rural America. We told our APs before matching. We also let them know that we have a 3rd car, for nearly exclusive AP use.

Because our home is located so far from other APs, we gave $10 per week for gas to be used for travel to and from the homes of friends. This was on top of the gas money used to transport our children.

We could have made it work with sharing 2 cars, but it is so much simpler to have the 3rd car. There are no arguments over who needs to use it and now that the AP is gone, I’m using it to run my errands. It gets nearly 40 miles/gallon….compared to the 18 my car gets.

Mom23 August 26, 2010 at 9:35 am

We live in an area with great public transportation, but where parking can be an issue. We have one family car. I like to think of it as the kids car, whoever is with the kids has use of the car. So, the au pair on weekdays, parents on weekends, and evenings.

We used to give the au pair free reign of the car in the evenings, but we had so many au pairs take the car out late on Thursday or Friday nights and park it 3-4 blocks away when they return home. I would need it on Friday mornings to take the kids to preschool or on Saturday mornings to take my oldest to sports and would have to hike to the car with the kids and all the gear. Finally, we made a rule that the car had to be on our block by 8 a.m. on Friday or Saturday morning if the au pair used it at night. It stopped getting used for late night outings and instead public transportation was used. Sleeping in was more important than using the car.

HRHM August 26, 2010 at 9:57 am

When we lived in the DC metro area, our AP was not allowed to drive the car on the majority of occasions. It was dangerous traffic and she was not a good driver. In addition, there were lots of public transportation options and we were within walking distance to a lot of stuff (grocery, restaurants, malls etc). It is amazing, for a girl who walked EVERYWHERE at home (no car, little public transport) how quickly she became angry and entitled when we said no to taking the car into the city (WE even use the metro to go into DC) She routinely had a 2 mile walk at home, but became irritated about having to walk the 4 blocks to the store. I think her other AP friends helped stir this pot. While I understand wanting to be a driver in a car culture, I also think not every AP needs to drive, circumstances should dictate.

Our current AP spent a year in London as an AP and while she had to daily drive her HC to activities, she was NOT allowed to use that same car in her free time, she had to use the tube and buses. But with us she has been very testy about our car curfew and mile limits. I’m actually considering getting rid of the 3rd car just to nip this sense of entitlement in the bud. I pay a lot of money for the car payment, the insurance, the maintanence etc. So while it may be “cheaper” to her to drive my car instead of taking the train, it’s not really cheaper, at least not for me. I don’t think most APs know what kind of expense goes into operating and owning a car – maybe if they did, they’d appreciate it a little more.
Just my 2 cents.

Hula Gal August 26, 2010 at 11:25 am

I agree that for those host families that live in an urban area or in many of the eastern states there is ample public transportation, therefore a car is not necessary. Plus it is much more expensive to insure a car in these areas. But there are loads of host families who live in middle and the west of the the country and are suburbanites or rural and need to really think hard about what the transportation arrangements are going to be for their au pair.

I also have found that au pairs have no idea what the expenses are for maintaining a car so I point it out several times in my handbook that the car is a priviledge not a right and it is expensive to maintain so they must treat the priviledge with respect. You could even list out all of the expenses if this is a constant problem for you so they understand.

I do agree that other au pairs can stir the pot when it comes to comparing who gets what and deciding whether the au pair is getting shafted in one way or another. This issue speaks highly to the level of maturity of the au pair.

My 2 cents August 26, 2010 at 12:39 pm

If your 3rd car only exists to give her a personal vehicle and it’s not going to be a major inconvenience on you to share a car with her, I’d get rid of it and avoid these issues since you are located in an area where they can truly get around if motivated. Not having a vehicle serves as the ultimate motivator. Sounds like it’s just been a sore spot plus expense for you and you are not getting anything out of it.

Mom23 August 26, 2010 at 5:40 pm

HRHM,
My son and I sat down one day and calculated how much our car cost per mile (we amortized the cost of the car over 10 years, added insurance and maintenance), then we calculated gas per mile. We figured that it cost about $.50/mile to drive our mini-van, assuming we had it for 10 years. I was surprised that it was that high, but it is good to know.

New SoCal Host Mom August 26, 2010 at 12:37 pm

I have a VERY serious issue right now with regards to my au pair. I live in the suburbs and have two children that go to separate schools (one preschool, one starts 1st grade on Monday). Our main reason for hosting an au pair is due to our demanding jobs and the need for someone that could pick up and drop off our kids. We have a car that is dedicated to her and were very eagerly anticipating her arrival to help with these tasks.

Although I feel like I did a lot of research in finding out what was needed for her to be an insured driver in our household, I obviously didn’t do enough. I learned that in California with my insurance company (AAA), our au pair has to be a licensed driver in CA in order to be insured. Okay, I thought I could handle that. Well, our AP is just taking her written test today & then it will be at least another four weeks (MINIMUM) until she can get an appointment for her behind the wheel test. This means that if she ever drives our car, she’s completely uninsured!! We’ve had her drive our kids to camp a few times and allowed her to drive herself to the beach and to the gym, but now it’s hitting me that if anything were to happen and she crashed into a Ferrari or something, our life as we know it is over!! She’s 27 and has been licensed in Germany since the age of 19 (with her own car), so I know that she’s a safe driver, but accidents do happen.

Do any of you know if there are any insurance companies that can insure her in the interim under her German license for the next month or so? We live where there are few other au pairs, zero public transportation and little for an outgoing AP to do without a car. I feel terrible for her and like she’s going to be a prisoner in our home now, unless we take her around.

I would seriously appreciate any help/suggestions you can offer. I am with a very small agency, that obviously didn’t prepare me for my “MUST DRIVE” au pair not being able to drive for the first two months of her stay.

Thank you so much in advance!!

CCDC Mom August 26, 2010 at 2:23 pm

I know for sure that Geico will insure drivers with a German license. You might also do well to check your state’s rules on licenses–in DC, any non-US citizen residing in the state for more than 30 days must get a DC driver’s license (and before she can get the license, she must first get a SSN). Even if she’s insured, if an au pair does not have the proper license with her and gets stopped by the police, it may result in a large ticket or (yikes!) immediate arrest.

Deb Schwarz August 27, 2010 at 2:10 am

DMV law in CA doesn’t require a CA Driver’s license – but some insurance companies do. The problem is that many police officers don’t know the DMV law – and two of the au pairs in my group have landed in court because of officers that ticketed them. They won their cases – but it’s a hassle to fight it.

Deb Schwarz August 27, 2010 at 2:06 am

Are you sure that AAA doesn’t insure her for 30 days? I know that most insurance companies have a 30 day grace period – worth asking if you haven’t already. I think that some of the host families in my group have AAA and they never mentioned that they had a 30 day grace period. Many insurance companies in CA (for whatever reason) have changed their rules in the past year or two and don’t even require a CA Driver’s license (although I still ask my own au pairs to get their license).

The other thing to do is to schedule her driver’s test in another town – the wait time for test appointments vary greatly depending on the DMV location. Many of my host families take their au pair 30 miles away (vs. 5 miles) to get an earlier appt.

Good luck!

Deb (also in CA)
http://www.dschwarz.aupairnews.com

EC August 27, 2010 at 4:46 am

I lived and studied in California for a year and never had to get a Cal license. I got insurance from Progressive, which considering it was in my name, on a mustang and the first insurance I had in my name was pretty reasonable about $1600 for the year. I know it would have been cheaper to get insured if I had gotten a Cal license, as there was an extra premium for having a foreign one, but that is another options for you at least

New SoCal Host Mom August 28, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Thanks to everyone who responded. Later that day I did call Geico and our AP is now fully insured on our vehicle (HALLELUJAH!). She failed her first written test (by one, darn it), so will be back at the DMV next week to take it again. I also found out that the next available appointment was early October for the behind the wheel test (this is out of four DMVs in the surrounding 40 miles), but now that she’s insured, it’s not so bad for us. Once she’s licensed (and gets a form from the driving authority in Germany that states her driving record), then AAA will insure her. The rates will be much better than through Geico, though, so it’ll be worth it.

CCDC Mom August 26, 2010 at 2:16 pm

We live in the DC metro area and have a 3rd car of which the au pair has almost exclusive use (it’s a minivan so we really only use it if we’re taking a gaggle of kids somewhere or family is visiting). With new arrivals, our general rule is that the au pair can drive in our general area (i.e., not downtown DC or anywhere that requires getting on the Beltway), and we pay for up to 3 tanks of gas per month. We’ve had au pairs since 2000, so we have a pretty good idea at this point what is a reasonable amount of gas for an au pair to be using for kid transport plus personal use. If the au pair demonstrates good driving skills, responsibility and respect, we relax the rules if she wants to take trips farther out. There is a bus stop across the street, which goes to 2 different metro stops, each of which is about a 25 minute walk if the bus isn’t running. Car curfew is midnight. If the au pair wants to go out late at night (or all night) in the city, we’ll either give her a ride to the metro or she’ll figure out how to get to there on her own and usually take a cab home. On these occasions, she foots the bill. If she’s coming home before the car curfew, she can park the car near the metro, take public transportation to her destination, then drive back home. We are up front about the rules during matching, and our au pairs have never seemed to lack for ways to get around without bankrupting us or themselves. As with previous posters, I do quibble about having to subsidize those HF who have cars but refuse to let their au pairs use them–it hasn’t happened often, but on a few occasions I have had to limit car use because our au pair was becoming the permanent designated driver. Not fair to her or us. We screen carefully for good drivers and pay for driving lessons if warranted. We’ve had a couple of minor accidents and one major one. I look at all of it as part of the cost of being in the au pair program.

Jennifer August 27, 2010 at 12:54 pm

Does anyone put mileage limits on the car?

My first AP didn’t drive too much. We had a few issues early on explaining the city and really where the car was allowed to go. We did let her take trips to Florida and North Carolina (we live in Atlanta).

My second AP liked to drive. She was a huge issue becasue she wanted to cart Americans around. She would drive anywhere she wanted but lied about it (that’s another issue). She was putting 250-350 miles on the car EACH weekend. We allow for 150 miles for the kids and her school. And expect 150-200 for her but not sure if this is reasonable? This would put about 15,000 – 18,000+ miles on the car each year. My son is 13 and we are planning on this being his car when he turns 16 and there are already 70,000+ miles on the car.

So, now we have AP #3. She also likes to drive as she keeps telling me this. She’s only been here 2 weeks and she met some Brazilian girls online (2 are AP’s and 1 is not) that live 30 miles away. We have other girls in our cluster that live closer to us but this is who she has decided she will spend her time with.

I was SHOCKED that her first weekend here she asked if she could drive downtown to a club. We live pretty far north of Atlanta. We told her no and she seemed okay but something I’ve got to watch. I find it hard to believe that she was going to drive 45 miles to the club and not drink and drive??

Should be working August 27, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Weekly personal mileage limits and defined driving radius are completely reasonable, and to me it sounds like you have been extremely generous, if not excessively so! Our first AP (who ended up in transition) put 150 miles on our car for her weekend driving. Turned out her boyfriend lived 43 miles away in a larger city. Exactly 43. We ended up giving her a mileage limit of 100/wk for personal use and a maximum of twice a week driving to the larger city (to which public transport exists, albeit less conveniently, but she could take the car to public transport). Once in a while she requested an exception, e.g. driving to another nearby city about 50 miles away, and we said ok.

With the next AP, we introduced a car curfew of 1am on weekends, which I highly recommend. (This is in addition to a midnight curfew for the au pair on work nights.)

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