Au pair: Live-in Vs. Live-out

As an Au pair there are many reasons to live both IN and OUT  of the family home, here is my list of pro's and con's to help you decide what matters most and therefore what will suit you best...


  • Meal times with the host family: Not only is this a great way to bond with your family daily it also saves you a lot of money throughout your stay not having to buy food. This may seem 'cheap' but for someone on a budget it is essential. (Warning: I did put on a stone from eating delicious Italian food with the family... but I very much enjoyed it).
  • Being part of the family and contributing more than just 'working hours': Spending time with the family while the parents are there shows your commitment to them and makes for happier relationships.
  • Company: For someone who has never lived alone moving to a foreign country and living in your own apartment may be too isolating. Having the safety net of a family close by is a great way to ensure you never get lonely.

  • Hard to find privacy: Especially for introverts who may not be able to 'switch off' in the company of others this may cause problems.
  • You may be on call at all hours, even in your time off: The temptation to leave the child with you while they pop out on an errand may be all too much for some host parents who rely on you being there in your spare time. 
  • You may have a curfew: As a live in Au pair you will have to be careful what time you return home from a 'night out' with your Au pair friends. Even if your host parents are generous it can still cause you anxiety having to worry about waking them or the children on your return.


My Live-out/Live-in Apartment (below host family) in Milan

  • Freedom: Time off means time to do what you want. You are free to come and go as you wish at any hour without the worry of waking your host family.
  • Community: If you're in a central location your apartment is likely to become the meeting point for all your Au pair friends which is great for creating a solid friendship group. (Don't let it become too much of a party pad, this is disrespectful).
  • Alone time: When you need peace after a long day taking care of children living-out feels like a god send. Also good to have some privacy if you happen to make any weepy home-sick calls moaning about your host family  (it happens, you'll bounce back).

  • Location: You may be a considerable distance away from your host family meaning you will have to travel everyday to do your job. This is ok in places with good transport links but you may feel isolated from the family having to travel to get to them.
  • Food and cleaning: You will probably have to provide for yourself meal wise if you're not living with the family, this is not easy to do on an Au pair's wage. You will also be responsible for keeping your apartment in good condition, which can be an extra unwanted chore if you're already working long hours.
  • Isolated from family atmosphere: You will miss out on quiet evenings and spontaneous moments with the children watching films and playing games. This might mean your relationship with them suffers as they see you as only 'part-time'. The better the relationship you have with the children the easier and more fun your 'job' becomes so it's worth considering whether living-out is worth this sacrifice.
If you're still having doubts please read 'Should I become an Aupair?' to put your mind at ease!

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