Going on vacation becomes a new kind of adventure once we have kids. Walking the streets of an unfamiliar city, wishing you had a list of child-friendly activities and restaurants at hand? Need a trustworthy babysitter, who speaks your language? Then look no further, as Holiday Sitters was set up to help you with just that!
Travelling with Kids: Holiday or Hassle?
I love to travel. I love to spontaneously take off and discover new places with just a small bag of essentials on my back, but since I became a mother even just taking my son to the beach has become an enterprise akin to a tropical expedition. The times I could trot to the shore with a towel around my waist and a book under my arm are over.
Not only the way I travel has changed – my partner and I now pick our destinations based on how easy it will be to take care of our toddler without having to transport an impossible amount of gear. Baby phones, diaper bags, stuffed animals, favourite blankets, sippy cups, beach gear, bedtime books, swimming pool accessories – all these things have become essential for our family’s peace of mind.
But that’s just the beginning – once we are there, we spend more time finding our way around than actually enjoying our stay. Every parent knows that walking through a hot city looking for a kid-friendly place to have lunch is something you can do for 20 minutes max, before a meltdown sets in.
And if we don’t know any decent place to have a bite, we most certainly don’t know anyone whom we could trust enough to leave our child with while we go out for an evening as a couple.
A Mission to Meet Parents' Needs
Ela Slutski, one of Holiday Sitters’ co-founders, recalls, “We were on vacation in Mexico with our two boys. One night after dinner, I went to the beach alone, while my boyfriend stayed with the kids in our room. It was a beautiful evening and I strolled on my own listening to the sound of the waves, enjoying the tranquillity, wishing my boyfriend could be there with me to share that peaceful moment, but obviously we couldn’t leave the kids alone. It got me thinking – we should be able to enjoy our time as adults during our holiday, but we do need someone we can trust to mind our children. I returned to the hotel room and spent half of the night searching the Internet for a platform, where I could choose a trusted babysitter that matched my language and cultural requirements. I didn’t find anything quite as I'd imagined, and that’s how Holiday Sitters was born”.
Currently, Holiday Sitters offers a unique, transparent babysitter service with a specific focus on parents and children on vacation (or short-term stay) in Amsterdam. All available babysitters are fully vetted, trustworthy, and chosen specifically with multilingual and multicultural families in mind.
A Pioneering One-Stop Shop for Families on Holiday
“Babysitting services exist, but no one is helping families to travel better and easier”, says Mathieu Garnier, father of two small children, and Holiday Sitters’ co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer. “The idea behind Holiday Sitters is based on one main question: What can we give back parents to help them have a more enjoyable vacation? First, we can give them back time, and that’s where the babysitting service comes in. Secondly, we can give them easily accessible local knowledge about child-friendly restaurants and events, so you don’t have to waste any time looking for suitable places. Thirdly, we want to relieve travelling parents from the burden of having to remember, pack and carry all the gear you need for your kids, and that’s where the idea for a 'delivery on demand' service for strollers, baby seats, baby phones will come into play”.
Holiday Sitters is expanding, and they have plans to employ novel Artificial Intelligence Technology in the form of a Chat Bot, which would allow their clients to sort through every issue they may encounter away from home, all in one spot. “We like to think of it as a ‘Robo-Nanny’”, Mathieu explains. “A virtual Mary Poppins with whom you can chat on Facebook Messenger and who will help you find what you are looking for in real time, so you can just focus on the fun part of your vacation”.
For the moment, Holiday Sitters’ services are only available in Amsterdam, but this is going to change soon. Mathieu adds that they are “working towards opening in one more city in Holland before July and a new European destination from October. The big plan beyond that is to become a service around the globe within the next three years”.
The most important goal for our work with Holiday Sitters is to empower parents to be excited about going on vacation again. We hope to help them find time for themselves as a couple, become less stressed, create more harmony with their families, and ultimately reach a better quality of life.
Hassle-Free Holidays Makes for Happier Families
This is all still work in progress, and Holiday Sitters is open to input and ideas about services its clients would be excited about. “The only way we can grow is by understanding parents. We are parents and we feel we’re being overlooked by the industry, so it’s important to us that our clients know we are constantly working on making our services more relevant for them. If any parent wants to be a beta tester, give us feedback, or maybe suggest other ideas – we’re always open to a creative dynamic exchange with our clients, we love an open conversation”. Mathieu concludes "The most important goal for our work with Holiday Sitters is to empower parents to be excited about going on vacation again. We hope to help them find time for themselves as a couple, become less stressed, create more harmony with their families, and ultimately reach a better quality of life”.
Disclaimer: Holiday Sitters has paid to be featured on Amsterdam Mamas because they believe that their services would be of interest and benefit to our readers, and we think so too. For more information on sponsored posts and advertising on Amsterdam Mamas, please see our Advertising and Disclosure policy.
Marta is a filmmaker, freelance writer, and aspiring novelist who spends most of her days hustling time to write between the challenges of being a Toddler Mama and Household CEO. She's the founder of The Story Desk, a very independent screenwriting collective, and she loves to tell embarrassing stories about motherhood on her personal blog Baby Blues & Rock'N'Roll. Find her also on Facebook and Instagram.