UrbanSitter – A Babysitting Solution for Travel & at Home

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Until I found UrbanSitter, I had just one babysitter. Whether I needed childcare for an evening out with the hubs, or because I was working on an important deadline with a sick kiddo at home, or I wanted to attend a special event like a wedding…if my regular sitter wasn’t available, I stayed home with the kids.

UrbanSitter babysitter and child

This story is brought to you in partnership with UrbanSitter.

Finding a new, trusted sitter can be a pain in the booty and childcare agencies tend to be too costly for this Travel Mama’s budget. I am happy to say I now have access to oodles of qualified babysitters. All I had to do was join UrbanSitter.com, an online resource to find childcare providers recommended by people you know—so you feel secure in hiring someone you trust. Plus, it’s free to sign up!

How to join UrbanSitter

First, you’ll be asked to sign up using Facebook. By logging in this way, UrbanSitter is able to cross-tabulate to see if any of your friends recommend available sitters. Next, you’ll take about five minutes to fill out your profile. You know the drill: address, kids’ ages, any allergies or special needs, etc. You will be asked to list any associations you are affiliated with too. How come? It’s another way UrbanSitter checks to see if someone in your social circle recommends the available sitters. Genius!

Once all of your information is entered, you provide the date and time you’d like to book a sitter. When traveling, you can simply change the babysitting location from your home to your hotel’s address or your in-laws’ house, as the case may be. Currently UrbanSitter is up and running in San Diego, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Denver, Boston, St. Louis and Reno as well San Francisco (where they were founded).

Then you can sort by a variety of criteria to narrow down your options: languages spoken, sitter’s experience with various age groups (from infants to teens), education level, background check (yes, please!), and more.

And then…voila! You are presented with potential matches for your childcare needs. Options will be further sorted into three categories: sitters you know, sitters friends know, and sitters you might like (but with whom you have no affiliation). You can see a photo of the babysitters as well as any information they provide in their profiles about their work experience and hourly rate plus reviews from families who have previously hired the sitters. Then you send off a message to babysitters who are a good match for your family. If you’d rather, you can contact sitters for a phone or in-person interview first.

My experience with UrbanSitter

In perusing the sitters who matched my criteria, I was pleased to find a couple of real-live friends who have used UrbanSitter. One friend and fellow blogger, Joann Wooley of Mommy’s Slice of the Pie, has struggled with using other babysitting services that charge membership fees upfront but then don’t reimburse if a childcare provider cancels. She said the best thing about UrbanSitter is, “The sitters respond quickly; I think they are more committed to finding gigs than some of the big babysitting services.”

I signed up with UrbanSitter last week and within a few hours I had found childcare for date night. Our sitter, Francine, arrived exactly on time. She has a background in childcare development and plans to get her master’s degree in special education. After asking her a few questions, watching the ease with which she jumped right in to play with my kids, and giving her some simple instructions for bedtime — I felt at ease leaving my two children (ages 4 and 7) in her capable hands for the evening.

Do I recommend UrbanSitter?

Heck yeah, I recommend UrbanSitter. In fact, at two separate social events this weekend I sang the praises of UrbanSitter to friends looking for childcare solutions. It’s a simple and trustworthy solution for parents, whether at home or on the go. Sign up now at UrbanSitter.com!

Do you use a babysitter when traveling with the kids or do you think family vacations are for together-time only? Let us know in the comments!

A Note from The Travel Mama: Thank you to UrbanSitter for helping Travel Mamas remain a free resource to readers. I would never recommend any product or service that I do not actually like. And, truly, I was blathering all about UrbanSitter to my friends at Bunco and a backyard barbecue without any financial incentive.

About Colleen Lanin

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments
  1. http://Phil says

    Francine was perfect and the kids loved her

    • http://Colleen%20Lanin,%20The%20Travel%20Mama says

      Phil – I look forward to booking Francine & other sitters from UrbanSitter again soon. (Hint, hint…ahem…date night!)

  2. http://Joann%20Woolley says

    The idea behind connecting moms and sitters utilizing their social media circle is PERFECT! Whoever dreamt this one up is a mommy-rock-star ; )

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