My family and I will be jetting off to a destination wedding in the New Year and have toyed with the idea of making arrangements for our ayi to join us. She has been with us for almost a year and the extra help on what will be our first vacation in a long while and the biggest celebration for our close friends will be invaluable.
Taking an ayi on vacation with you and the family is, of course, a luxury and could potentially be costly, however, you will need to weigh up the disadvantage and advantages of doing so. Having an ayi in Beijing is a relatively affordable luxury for most families, who in their home-countries would be shelling out above the odds for private childcare or domestic assistance around the home. Taking your ayi away on a short break with the family may also be comparatively affordable and if planned in advance could be a worthwhile investment.
You may have already had the privilege of taking your ayi away with you to help with the kids and provide ample opportunities to have some adult time while on your break, however for those of you who are not sure where to begin, these handy tips will make a world of difference when planning your wanderlust trip with the family and ayi.
Like many others, my ayi has never traveled outside of China and therefore has no passport. If you would like your ayi to join you on your vacation ensure that you are responsible for either purchasing or renewing her passport in time to travel. A Chinese passport costs RMB160 and is usually obtained at the Exit and Entry Administration (EEA) of the Ministry of Public Security. It will take approximately 10 business days for the passport to be processed and your ayi will need their ID card, two passport-sized photos and a filled out application form. Your ayi will need to register online and then make an appointment here.
You will also be responsible for purchasing the correct visa for your ayi. Make sure to read the guidelines pertaining to visa laws for Chinese nationals for the country you intend to travel to. Your best bet is to first check out the Chinese Government website and then the government website of the country you are traveling to. Your ayi will have to make a trip to the respective embassy of your destination in Beijing and bring the following documents:
- Passport or valid travel document
- Complete application form with passport-sized photo (The embassy or consulate should have copies)
- Proof of Financial Capacity (A bank statement and Letter from you should suffice)
In most cases, you may be able to use a Chinese travel agency or use the online platform Taobao to use a ‘Flying Pig Tour’ or C-trip agent who can process the visa you need with little hassle. Make sure to use a credited agency and the documents stated above will still be needed.
#3 Ask your ayi to travel light
If you’re thinking about taking your ayi on your family vacation, it’s no doubt because you are trying to make life easier for yourself. From packing, checking into your flight, finding the right gate, settling baby or little ones for a flight, collecting luggage, and traveling around when landed, will all require the help of your ayi. Literally the less baggage you have the lighter the load will be for the whole experience. Ask the ayi to travel light, so you don’t have to!
#4 Decide on a budget for your ayi
My ayi doesn’t need much and incredibly she can stretch a month’s allowance for household items to the extreme maximum. Your ayi won’t need much on vacation either, but it’s unlikely that she will be around the family 24-hours a day. She will need rest and recreational time too. Will your ayi be responsible for her own purchases outside of her working hours? And what budget can you set aside for not just her accommodation needs, but for food and beverages, when she is looking after the little ones? Think about it, discuss it with your ayi, and start packing!
#5 Be clear about expectations
Every family has different needs and your decision to take your ayi on your family vacation is a very personal one to meet very personal requirements. Whatever these requirements are, make them clear to your ayi. Think about the following:
- How many hours a day will you need your ayi?
- Is your ayi required during the day or evenings or both? (How will you split up her working day while away?)
- At what rate will you pay over-time?
- Find out how your ayi feels about occupying her free time when not with the family and offer suggestions
Every family should have full insurance when holidaying. Better safe than sorry. Find out if your ayi can be added to your insurance package for a small fee or look into insurance options that provide packages for additional persons traveling with you. If taking the ayi on any trips or excursions, make sure she is also fully insured for those trips, especially if additional cover is needed depending on the activity.
#7 Have Fun!
This one goes without saying right?