Welcome Your Au Pair With a Fully-Stocked Bathroom

by cv harquail on May 24, 2015

When your au pair arrives in your home, the way that you’ve prepared for their arrival can say a lot about how excited you are to get to know them.

We’re all away of the basic things we should have ready —  a clean, happy bedroom, a freshly printed handbook, a personalized map,  a training schedule, a phone, and a driving lesson.

There are lots of ‘optionals’ too, that depend on your own particular family situation, such as a poster from the kids, a trip to the local ice cream store, or a little gathering of other au pairs in the cluster.il_570xN.553886241_qytx

The general idea is that we want to offer our Au Pairs whatever they need to get started, and to feel welcomed and wanted.

We also want to make sure that we begin as we intend to continue.  Do you pay for your au pair’s ice cream treat on day 3? Then you probably should pay for her ice cream treat on day 308.  Do you want your au pair to empty the entire dishwasher at once or is it okay to do it over the course of 7 hours? Show him right from the start that it’s all at once, or beware a sink full of mess.

First Time Host Mom Lauren is thinking about all the little things, because (of course) she wants to set things up so that her family and her au pair succeed. She asks:

Our first AP is arriving in a few months (we’re so excited!), and I’m not sure what is standard in terms of who pays for certain things. For example, when she first arrives I’m sure she will need a lot of things – toiletries – bathroom stuff like shampoo, conditioner, soaps, feminine products, as well as a hair dryer, and I’m sure lots of other things.

I’m planning on paying for her sheets and towels (because we’ll keep them), but who pays for the other stuff? I don’t want to take her on a big shopping spree when she comes here and send the wrong message, but I also don’t want to be rude and have her put out all this money when she gets here especially if she doesn’t have much.

What’s the standard practice here?

My rule of thumb is that the Host Family should provide whatever non-perishable, non-consumable things a normal person would need, such as a hairdryer, bathroom scale, alarm clock, and the random organizing tchotchkes that you can find at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

As for toiletries, I’ve put together baskets of hotel samples to tide an au pair over until she gets paid and can go to the store to choose her own products (with all her favorite fragrances).

But sanitary products? I’d probably suggest that she bring a month’s supply so that she has time to figure out which of the millions of options in Walgreens’ Aisle 6 might work for her.

What sorts of small supplies have Host Parents offered that seem to make a difference? Or efforts that turned out to be a waste of energy?


See also:

What To Do About Au Pair Bath Towels: Folks want to know (Poll)
Ways to start orienting your New Au Pair: Some advice for the first two days
Your Au Pair’s Room: Advice
Too much excitement for her first weekend?



image: SouthernTwistedSoaps for sale on Etsy


JuJu May 24, 2015 at 9:04 am

I love the basket idea mentioned in the post and I have done something like that in the past with sample size products. Include a little note saying that these things will help her get started until she goes to the store to buy her own products. I love the idea of using hotel samples!

I like to stock the bathroom with essentials like tissues, bar soap, hand soap and toilet paper. But nothing personal – just the basics along with bathroom cleaning supplies.

Sometimes I leave a $25 gift card on the bed upon the au pairs arrival with a note explaining what target is. I also let the au pair know that I will take her shopping the next day so she can pick up any essentials like shampoo or toothpaste.

I personally wouldn’t spend money on things like a hair dryer. Half of my au pairs brought their own.

It’s amazing how much our au pairs enjoyed small surprises and notes of appreciation through out the year. Over the years, I have tried to remember this and not set the bar too high right out of the gate. For example, one the au pairs one month anniversary with us, I had written note of thanks and a candy bar or a $5 Starbucks card. Nothing big – just a small token of thanks.

AlwaysHopeful HM May 24, 2015 at 11:36 am

My au pairs have always come armed with what they need (and prefer). After all, they need toiletries for their week at the training academy. When my au pairs arrive, as a part of the house tour, i show them where we keep the extra toilet paper and soaps, all of which they are free to use. I also start their bathrooms out with a fresh roll and bar of soap. However, all of my au pairs have used body wash, which I don’t provide.

For my overseas au pairs, I have always asked if there is something I can pick up to start them out, so they they don’t have to transport it; they have always declined. (Actually, I think I bought some sample sizes for first au pair, but she had her own and never used them). I never considered providing a hair dryer– I’m picky about the hair dryer I use, so I always imagine others would be as well. Two of my 3 male au pairs even brought their own hair clippers. A bathroom scale is a good idea, if there is space in the bathroom. Wouldn’t work for us, but I think all of our au pairs would have appreciated it. Only one asked to use the scale in my bathroom, though– and that was to weigh his luggage before a trip! :)

Bottom line: I don’t think there’s a one size fits all. Ask your au pair what they might need to get them started. Push a little, because they may just decline out of politeness. But, don’t be surprised to find they have what they need.

Taking a Computer Lunch May 24, 2015 at 7:05 pm

I don’t travel enough to stock a bathroom with hotel samples, but Target sells little travel bottles of this an that for a buck. After ascertaining what is needed, I stock up. The APs who traveled the most frequently used all of them, others almost none. I buy a couple of rolls of individually wrapped Scotts toilet paper, and then when I do the house tour, show the au pair where to get more. I buy one small box of Tampax (usually Target has mini-boxes) and one multi-sized box of OB. The AP is welcome to help herself to the bars of soap and the toilet paper we keep in the Camel’s vanity. She is welcome to get boxes of tissues from where we keep them. In addition, I always stock a bottle of calomine lotion – APs always seem to be mosquito magnets!

In addition, I buy a calendar that will last the AP year (Target sells July-July calendars, otherwise, I purchase a sixteen month calendar), international and American stamps, add money to the subway card, print out the bus schedules, and thoroughly clean the AP suite. I check to make sure the sheets are still okay (occasionally an AP puts some funky stuff on sheets – those go into the pile for the guest futons). I buy new towels and floor mats as needed. Invariably the APs leave stencil sets, wrapping paper and other items that will be useful to the next AP, so I leave those in the room.

While we happily buy favorite foods for the AP, we do not buy toiletries.

Oh, and one tip – I always order a fruit, cheese and cracker platter big enough to feed all of the roommates in the hotel. The majority of my APs have arrived too late for the hotel-supplied dinner and are grateful for something reasonably healthy to eat. I don’t buy baskets, even though my agency encourages it, or flowers – it’s just one more thing for the AP to try to carry from orientation to her new home.

momo4 May 24, 2015 at 8:20 pm

Before my new AP arrives I:
–Give her room a deep clean and air it out for several days
–Check the bedding: If it looks worn I will replace it, if not I just wash it thoroughly
–Check the set of AP towels: If they look at all stained (hair dye is a recurring theme) then I buy a new set, if not I just wash them
–Clean the AP bathroom, make sure hand soap, TP and tissues are well stocked, check the condition of the shower curtain and replace it if necessary
–Buy some flowers for her room the day she arrives. (I’ve done houseplants, but they never seem to survive the year. Maybe I should try cacti?)
–Place a small welcome gift on her nightstand, usually chocolate (if she likes it), a handwritten welcome card, and maybe a Starbucks gift card. The kids make welcome cards as well. I save more lavish gifts for when I know my AP better and can get her something she will really like, usually at her birthday or at Christmas.

I am very particular about what toiletries I use, so I do not like to make assumptions about what my AP will like. All my APs have arrived with at least enough shampoo to last a week, plenty of time for me to take them to the store. They pay for their own toiletries during the year (except for hand soap, TP and tissues).

I do ask my AP what her favorite color is before she arrives, so if I need to replace sheets or whatever I may get them in that color. It’s nice to know for other touches to the room as well.

As my AP is settling in I make a point to mention that I am happy to get anything she might need to make her room more comfortable, but most of my AP seem happy with what is provided.

UKaupair May 24, 2015 at 9:08 pm

I arrived at my host family and they never gave me any of thing you all have stated! My bedroom is very small and she put a post up of londons big ben and got my bed sheets my fav color! Honestly dont worry about what you do or dont get her. I absolutely love my host family regardless of the gifts on arrival!

exaupair May 25, 2015 at 10:08 am

I didn’t get any welcome gifts either, but the bathroom drawer was stocked up with everything that everyone uses, just usual things like toilet roll, shower gel, different shampoos, soap and toothpaste.
I wouldn’t expect the HM to buy anything above that, especially that the AP might have specific requirements regarding their bathroom routine, so stocking up on body butters, face creams ect. that HPs wouldn’t normally use is pointless. Also, beauty products/toiletries can be really expensive, and if the AP wants that, then they have to buy it.

exaupair May 25, 2015 at 10:10 am

Actually, I got one welcome gift. It was new bedding, where pillow cases came from different set than the duvet. I put it in the closet never to take it out again.

Em May 25, 2015 at 3:13 am

From the au pair point of view, when I was first welcomed by my host family, the little details made the difference imo.

– the room was of course clean, and tidy
– HM is a rockstar and printed out I think three or four of my personal pictures from my au pair application and put them on frames around the room. that made the room feel more homey and familiar for me.
– Host Kiddies also worked in a little banner which I appreciated a lot and still hold on to.
– my Host parents DO travel a lot for work, so they are quite stocked with travel size toiletries. HM made a little basket with a bunch of these and put it in my room when I got there.
– Throughout my year I was always free to grab toilet paper, tissues as needed. Also liquid hand soap, but since I liked a particular brand, I would buy it myself.
– Host Mom (again, she’s a rockstar, and I love her) also left a few assorted chocolates for me in the room when I first got there, so that was sweet and kind of her.
– Sheets & towels were provided by them. Same as a scale in my bathroom —I didn’t absolutely need it, but it was nice to have around. Especially for trips and bag weighing.
– I was always free to use the hairdryer and flat iron they keep on the kids’/guests’ bathroom, so that was also nice while I bought my own.

That’s all I can think of right now. Honestly, the things that stuck with me the most were how warm and sweet my host parents were with me on my first day/night with them rather than the “things”. I remember after I had already settled in a little in my room after dinner, Host Mom knocked on my bedroom door, offering a glass of water, and also a hug because “you are away from home. You need hugs,” and THAT was just THE SWEETEST thing, and I’ll never forget that.

Needlessly to say I had a great two years with that family, and have gone back to visit every summer since because they became family to me :)

American Host Mom in Europe May 25, 2015 at 4:24 am

I believe that the AP should pay for their “consumables” and we provide everything else, except for basic necessity items like toilet paper and tissues, which we stock up on and the AP can stock her bathroom from our stock. So we provide a hair dryer, because they are expensive here, and unless the AP is from Western Europe, she couldn’t bring one from home (voltage/socket differences). But some of my APs have wanted crimping irons or curling irons, and these are on them, although I’m happy to take them shopping and help translating labels.

We have a basket of travel size/leftover (from other APs) toiletries in the AP bathroom, but as others have said, I don’t think they get used much, people usually bring their own. I like the ideas of chocolates in the AP room. I usually try to have fresh flowers in her room for arrival (often from our garden). As the kids are older now, I try to have them make a welcome card to leave on her desk. One thing I’ve also done is have “business cards” made with our address, home and mobile numbers, numbers for local taxi, emergency services (it isn’t 911 here), and a 24-hour free nurse line, and I put a handful of these with the Handbook – enough for an AP to slip one in each handbag, one for her desk, etc. (cheap and easy to do on Vistaprint)

We make sure to be around, have family dinner together, etc over the first few days, so there is time to get to know each other and for AP to ask questions. I will often have lunch with her in the first week or two (I work from home), but let her know that isn’t a regular occurrence. As others have said, I think it is important to show the normal schedule and expectations up front, and as a result have actually adjusted the start of our year so it isn’t during our vacation, which happened a couple times unfortunately.

AuPair Paris May 25, 2015 at 8:35 am

My host parents didn’t do this stuff, but they did take care to organise a week’s overlap with the former au pair. That way, she showed me immediately where everything was, and where to buy what I needed, and the first day, she was happy to share anything I’d forgotten. That worked well! And of course I’ll do the same for the next au pair. (She has no overlap, but I’ll leave the odd thing she can use, and she has already visited to be shown the basics!)

All these gifts sound absolutely lovely, and I’d have been grateful for any of them! But honestly, when I arrived, all I wanted was a glass of water and to fall into bed! My host parents are wonderful in tons and tons of ways, so don’t worry – the greeting gift won’t make or break it!

Peachtree Mom May 25, 2015 at 9:28 am

I also make the assumption they come from NYC orientation with a supply of toiletries so I make sure room and bathroom are scrubbed with two sets of towels, a supply of TP, a bar of unscented Dove soap and liquid hand soap. In their bedroom I leave their gift (usually a cute pool towel and a Starbucks card). One of the things on the wall is a sort of bulletin board with ribbons that they can slide pictures under. I do have a blowdryer in the bathroom for them to use to avoid the voltage errors, an extra set of sheets and extra blanket in the closet. I like the idea of printing pictures from their packet and putting them in frames around the room. What a great idea!! The next day we go grocery shopping so I can buy some food items they like and later offer to go to Walgreens where they can purchase any personal items…but honestly not one aupair has needed to go. After the first week they are usually driving and they go where they want to get what they need.

WestMom May 25, 2015 at 9:38 am

I leave all the basics mentioned above. Typically, incoming AP and current AP are in touch for a few months before she arrives and current AP will make a list of all the things she will be leaving behind to know if new AP wants them… There is now a drawer full of stuff APs decided to buy during their year but chose not to bring back: alarm clock, straightening iron, tons of travel books, that also inevitably leave whatever products they didn’t finish: shampoos and body washes in various ‘flavors’ (they all seem to love Bath & Body works!?), even feminine products. I’ll supplement with the things I feel should be new/fresh: toothpaste, hand soap, etc. I’d say that over the years, the task of leaving bath products has mostly been done by the departing AP herself! Of course, I make sure the sheets and towels are still in good shape, but AP will even clean them herself before her departure. They have all taken great pride in preparing the room for their successor. Probably because it was important to them on arrival and want to ensure the same for the next person arriving!

We do have a scale, and I think that is an essential item. Most APs have been concerned about gaining weight while here, and they all use the scale for prepping their luggages for departure. That’s an essential :)

As far as special things for the arrival night… I do buy a bouquet of flowers, and some chocolates and we leave a nice note or drawing on her dresser and I make a special homemade dinner for the first night.

TexasHM May 25, 2015 at 10:49 am

We have the kids make signs with US and APs flags they decorate and it says “AP Name, will you please, be our au pair?” and on the last Skype session the hold them up to surprise the AP (of course I make sure she is ready to say yes before I set this up) and then we take those signs and hang them on the wall to decorate.

I also print some of their favorite pictures and frame them/use them throughout the room to decorate, they have a bulletin board with a huge map of the area with AP and kid places of interest all marked and I put a gift basket on the bed that generally has sample size toiletries, a few feminine products and small stuff like candy and some spirit wristbands of the school team and this round I found a big Texas coffee mug and travel coffee cup on clearance that I included as well. In the past I have also done the loyalty stuff for the local theatre (cup and shirt gets you free popcorn and $1 drink every visit) or a Tshirt of a local sports team or something similarly local themed.

Lastly we also let them know that we ordered a Texas flag flown over the state capitol the day of their arrival and that they can expect that within the week. Although now I am thinking I might switch that up and make that a birthday present or some other occasion present (extension, Christmas, passing TOEFL) because while they do seem to love it, they definitely seem to appreciate it much more further into the year (when I think they feel more like they have a connection to it). I have asked every AP if they would prefer a US flag or TX flag and so far every one has said TX but just fyi for everyone else in case you would rather get a US flag flown over the national capitol instead that is absolutely an option as well and its pretty cheap – they are large and we always order the giftbox and certificate from the House of Reps with seal and its $20ish!

The last two transitions a previous AP has left a gift/added decor to the room which I thought was an awesome touch. This round it was AP1 (lives here) buying a red white and blue “Welcome Home” balloon and streamers/confetti to match. She outdid herself. Previous AP went to the mall and bought Texas earrings, Texas postcards and a Texas journal which I thought were all great ideas, too bad that burnout AP took everything when she left! :(

It has never dawned on me to provide a scale. The only times they asked to use ours was for luggage as another mentioned. I had one AP that asked once or twice because her jeans weren’t fitting. :) I think it’s a great idea and will get that done today!

5kids=aupair May 25, 2015 at 9:50 pm

The flag idea – very cool!

momo4 May 25, 2015 at 1:59 pm

We have a luggage scale hanging in the AP closet that is always appreciated when it comes time to pack for their return.

Taking a Computer Lunch May 25, 2015 at 7:20 pm

I bought a luggage scale several APs ago – much more reliable than the bathroom scale! Also useful for DH who favors packing The Camel’s special cans of formula into a oversized suitcase and then professes surprise when it’s completely overweight!

European Au Pair in Finland May 25, 2015 at 4:21 pm

I shared a bathroom with my host family, I was simply told to help myself to anything I needed untill I got sorted out.

Before I arrived, my host Mum sent me a pair of warm socks she knitted for me. Very useful for the Finnish winter once I arrived and a reassuring touch. When I received that little parcel I had no doubts that the family I was heading off to meet would be kind and welcoming. I was their first au pair and two months before I arrived they told me my room was ready and that the kids were starting to talk about “R’s room”. If you don’t want to send something in advance, letting your au pair know that something is waiting for them can help those “yikes, I’m going to live with a family I’ve never met” nerves! Actually, it could just be an email with a photo of the kids with a “Can’t wait to see you” sign.

Something unique to your area or useful for their time with your children makes it extra special. A tube of bubble mixture that they can keep for that day when everything’s going wrong with the kids and they need to lighten the mood. Maybe a magazine if you know they’ll be hanging around in a waiting room during ballet class.

Multitasking Host Mom May 25, 2015 at 6:30 pm

I also use to throw in a basket a few items like travel size body wash, shampoo, etc. but like most said the APs all seem to already have that since they needed it at the training school. I do take them to Target and the grocery store sometime their first week so they know where to restock. I don’t purchase these items for the AP through out the year since they seem so specific and personal.
What we do for our APs is…
Before they arrive I ask them their favorite color and then if I have to replace sheets or towels ( most of these seem to end up with some sort of stain by the end of the Au pairs year and I have to get new ones) I purchase the item in this color.
We send a small package to the training school for the AP that includes homemade cards made by our children, candy and other small treats that the AP can share with her new friends, and a T-shirt with the name of our hometown on it. So far, even though we don’t ask them to, every AP has been wearing the T-shirt when we pick them up from the airport. (Our agency does offer gift baskets that cost over $100 filled with items with the agency logos on it that the AP can receive at the training school. I want to provide a more personal welcome gift, so we do it this way.)
When they arrive there is a homemade welcome sign from the kids on the APs bedroom door. And I always have flowers in a vase on their nightstand. I put together a small basket filled with brochures about the sights in the area, maps for the train and bus schedule (we have a car the AP can use around our town but they must take public transport into the nearby large city.) And the handbook is tucked nicely inside for the AP to read over.
For our last AP I did TexasHM fabulous suggestion and ordered a flag to fly over the capital on the day our AP arrived in the U.S. This was a big hit with our AP! And it was a surprisingly affordable and easy thing to sign up for through our state’s representative in DC.

5kids=aupair May 25, 2015 at 9:52 pm

I typically do the above. Definitely a calendar and some Bath & Body Works items. I also buy the local college or professional sports team t-shirt (depending on the season) and a Tervis tumbler, EOS, etc.

AlwaysHopeful HM May 25, 2015 at 11:17 pm

Actually, each of my 3 male au pairs has used Axe body wash, so I guess I could start them off with a bottle of that!

Didi May 25, 2015 at 11:47 pm

My Hosts prepared basket with 5$ Starbucks gift card, chocolate, travel size shampoo and conditioner and personalized note. I used their hair dryer and towels and I never felt like it isn’t enough.

it’s amazing you want her to feel welcome, but most of the girls bring their own things for at least first few weeks, so you make sure to be welcoming and understanding for her being nervous and little weird, and that is going to mean so much.

Host Mom in the City May 26, 2015 at 9:29 am

Just to echo the chorus – all five of our au pairs have arrived with toiletries already and also all five have used very particular things and wouldn’t have used anything I’d left in their bathroom anyway. I also wouldn’t recommend setting the expectation that you’ll be paying for this kind of stuff. Toilet paper, tissues, hand soap – yes. Shampoo, conditioner body wash, tampons – no.

We have in the au pair’s room new sheets and towels, a few little gifts like a Starbucks gift card, water bottle and t-shirt from our city, a few pictures frames around and on the wall for her to fill with her pictures (we also print one out from her application and put it in the frame to start her off), a binder with the handbook and useful getting around information and touristy guides and that kind of thing.

Erin - SouthernTwistedSoaps May 26, 2015 at 11:16 am

Thank you very much for featuring my jar of lotion in your blog post. I appreciate it. :D

Old China Hand May 26, 2015 at 11:31 am

Chinese girls travel with nothing (seriously, nothing) in the way of toiletries. So, in consultation with AP1, I got AP2 the following things: soap, shampoo, conditioner, pads (preferred by Chinese girls) in a variety of sizes, tampons (in case she wanted to be brave), toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant (unheard of in China), razor and shaving cream, slippers. I ended up giving her a hairbrush and buying mittens that are thick enough for not freezing when pushing a stroller. I told her I want the mittens to stay here but she can use them. She seems ok with using our used things (like the brush) but not other used stuff (like, she won’t go to Goodwill). I wish I had gotten a shower caddy for her to take stuff to the bathroom, but have one now for next AP to use. This one won’t because it’s used. I told her that I will pay for things she needs to stay clean, but not to stay pretty. She was asking me to go to the store to buy pads and so on for her but I told her to just reimburse herself from petty cash. It’s not a lot of money for us and it seems to make her happier. She doesn’t care what soap, shampoo, and so on she has, so I just give her partially used bottles of things people leave behind when she needs more.

WarmStateMomma May 27, 2015 at 3:07 pm

Mine arrive with pretty much nothing and then use a mix of cheapo Walmart brand shampoo, luxury skincare products ordered from Sephora, and Asian imports found in Chinatown (eyelid stickers, whitening cream, etc.).

I provide a starter set of the basics in small bottles (mostly travel size), along with a blow dryer, towels, sheets, and linens. We keep a luggage scale in the foyer for anyone to use but we don’t use bathroom scales. There is ALWAYS a stick of deodorant, so that expectation is clear. We have triple digit heat in the summer and deodorant is a must.

We sent a box with a card, recent funny photos of the kids, and a few snacks and starbucks card to training. (We sent the snacks because our last AP said the hotel didn’t provide food she wanted to eat – just sandwiches, salads, and other Western things.) I don’t like to send anything the AP has to lug to our house – so no agency gift bags. When she arrived, we had a welcome sign my toddler painted, a few snacks for late night cravings when she’s too shy to come downstairs and help herself in the kitchen, some pens/paper, toiletries, a hoodie with our state in a cutesy design (Chinese APs pack very few clothes), and some of the other little things people mentioned here. I’m always finding little items on clearance to include – pretty journals, fancy water bottles, etc.

My guess is that we spend $50-60 on arrival stuff. Our AP arrived loaded down with over 60 high-quality Chinese books for our book-obsessed toddler and the baby, so I’m glad we gave her a warm welcome.

We tried the personalized Google map, but Chinese APs can’t access those until they get the US and mine haven’t used Google much once they arrive.

AP#2 left lots of stuff behind, so I put those under the bathroom counter or in the closet and told AP#3 she was welcome to use, trash or donate the stuff as she saw fit. (It turns out, they are drastically different sizes so the clothes won’t fit.)

Taking a Computer Lunch May 28, 2015 at 7:03 am

While I mostly wash and donate any clothes left behind, I have kept a few things over the years – a down coat that one AP left behind – some APs have been too big, some too small, but it’s warm enough on the extra cold days for those who buy cheap fun-looking winter coats, and a fall rain jacket. I did keep a polartec jacket, which the AP who had left it behind was pleased to reclaim. Few APs have wanted to wear clothing that other APs have left behind, although if you are only going to host light-packing Chinese APs, then you might want to invest in a couple of plastic tubs and let the women pick through items and select those they might want to wear while they’re in the U.S.

I live in a community that’s super hot in the summer and moderate in the winter (although it does get super cold for a couple of weeks – and can be brutal from time to time). If an AP hasn’t brought long johns, then I buy some silk ones and give them as a Christmas present. I usually give her a beach towel with her name embroidered on it (so she can point out to child #2 that it is hers and not to use it!), and a tote bag with her initials. If she’s a summer arrival, then they’re waiting in her room, otherwise they are birthday or Christmas presents.

WarmStateMomma May 28, 2015 at 10:15 am

That’s a good idea. Our first 2 APs could have worn the same size for coats at least – and many of the Chinese AP applications I’ve seen look like they’d be around the same size. I’ve lent them my coats and such, but they only say yes if the weather is really cold because we like different styles. Current AP is 6 feet tall and can’t use any clothes in the house, but loves how much easier it is to find clothes that fit her in the US. We have super hot summers and a couple of weeks of freezing winters, so a wide variety of clothing is definitely needed here (no long johns, though!).

I asked AP2 and AP3 specifically to talk to each other about what was available here and what was not; AP3 didn’t need to buy much when we made our Target trip her first weekend here so I think the packing advice and leftover toiletries were helpful.

Mimi May 26, 2015 at 3:21 pm

We typically purchase an agency welcome basket and used to send a package from home to the training center but our last two didn’t make it so we’ve instead kept the personalized welcome basket at home. It’s full of travel sized toiletries along with other items like local maps/travel guides, office supplies, apparel from the local university, water bottle, travel mug, beach towel, travel bag, chocolates, and a welcome banner that the kids have made. The AP shares a bathroom with the children so all other items are stocked.

We have some items that are shared from AP to AP; a shower caddy/basket, hair dryer, curling iron, flat iron, seasonal clothes, and picture frames. Some of these we’ve purchased, some have been left behind. I also let them know that if they need some kind of organizing items, to let me know and if they are something we can use for future APs, we will purchase them. We added a bathroom scale, shoe rack, underbed storage, jewelry caddy, and closet mirror this way.

The first weekend we drive around the area and will stop in for groceries and any toiletries they may need. We get the groceries, they get the toiletries. If they have special food items they want, we will pick them up if they are something my family will eat. If it’s a specialty item only they will eat, it’s on their dime and no one will touch it.

HRHM May 27, 2015 at 3:40 pm

We have a basket with some travel size stuff (shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrush, ALWAYS deodorant!, body wash) but they all MUST have this stuff, unless they just spent 4 days in NY without washing or brushing their teeth! (YUCK!)

We have a hair dryer, curling iron, flat iron and bathroom that stays with the AP bathroom. We provide all sheets, towels, blankets, etc but don’t buy new every year, only as needed.

We also have welcome gifts such as a water bottle and a coffee travel mug, a state t-shirt etc.

AussiePair June 1, 2015 at 5:55 pm

My second host family didn’t really have much set out for me, I went to them in rematch, my host mom was busy with work, my host dad had just come back for a week of leave from Bahrain and their beloved au pair was still moving out of the room (she left due to a family emergency), they did all welcome me with warm hugs though, and the au pair left some toiletries etc. that she couldn’t take with her. However I’d obly moves from 15 minutes away, so toiletries and things weren’t really necessary, and I had a fantastic 7 months, I still love that host family to bits and keep on regular contact with them.

My third host family were also amazing, they of course had a nice clean room, my host mom had printed off pictures of me and my previous host mom and kids and out them in frames and they also went to Jungle Jim’s and bought me Tim Tam’s and Vegemite (essential Aussie comfort food). My host mom was also really kind and put shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shaving foam, a razor, toothpaste, a toothbrush and a new loofah in my shower for me. It was completely over the top, but much appreciated as I had flown from Guam and had to leave most of my toiletries behind. In no way did her providing this stuff make me love that family more or less, but it was really appreciated.

Comments on this entry are closed.