Saturday, September 30, 2023


Are “nomad nannies” a good idea? Are they legal? Safe?

There’s been an interesting conversation on one of the RV blogs I follow about “nomad nannies.” Newbies to the world of RVing have been wondering about the possibility of special services, specifically childcare. It began with a gal kicking around the possibility of becoming a nanny (offering her childcare services) to fellow RVers. She wondered if anyone had an interest in this type of service and how she might connect with folks who needed childcare.

The “nomad nanny” idea has merit

Here’s how JW phrased it: “My idea is to pair up with a workcamper and follow the same itinerary for a specified amount of time so the workcamper could have consistent work while traveling and exploring, and the family could have consistent childcare.”

In other words, JW would travel in her own RV. She’d follow a family wherever they went. When childcare was needed, she’d be right there to help. Such an arrangement would demand that at least part of the nanny’s travel expenses be covered, right? Food, gas, park fees, and everything else is not getting any cheaper. All of these factors would need to be figured into any arrangement between the two parties well in advance.

But wait…

Hold on, there. Don’t go packing your nanny’s suitcase just yet! Several folks reminded blog readers that many campgrounds do not allow campers to conduct a business from their RV. Is childcare a business? I would think so. It’s not as overt as selling craft items from the RV site picnic table or setting up a barbershop outside your RV maybe, but you’d still be providing a service for payment. And isn’t that the definition of a business?

Why don’t campgrounds welcome RV-operated businesses? I imagine it’s because of the liability issue. The campground doesn’t want unhappy customers to involve them in any litigation against the nanny or craft seller or barber. That just makes sense.

Connecting nomad nannies with families or vice versa

Suppose an RV camper wanted to babysit children within the campground? Here’s what Tina said: “I owned and operated a licensed, private daycare center for years. I get a little lonely when my husband goes fishing. I’d love to take care of little ones again in our RV. Do I just put a sign on the CG bulletin board? Or post a sign in one of our RV windows?”

Here’s how MJ replied: “I’d start by talking to the families camping next to you and around you. Word of mouth works best for something like this, in my opinion.”

The need is there

It’s an interesting idea, isn’t it? I think about the folks who work remotely full-time from their own RVs. They’d probably welcome the chance to have some uninterrupted work time. Or the homeschooling family who might enjoy a day to explore without the kids, for once. Then there are the many single parents who no doubt need a break from time to time.

Would you really let a fellow camper watch your child?

What if a fellow camper offered to watch your children? Hmmm… What if they offered childcare and were licensed? Had a thorough background check? Had solid references? Maybe it’s too novel an idea for me to just jump onboard. But then, I tend to be skeptical. And my children are all grown. I no longer have the occasional day when I want to climb the walls because I just need five minutes of quiet. Desperation can be a powerful motivator. But still…

An alternative idea

Another reader commented: “I know of a family that turned their toy hauler garage with a bathroom into the nanny’s quarters. She traveled everywhere with the family, caring for their six-month-old baby so that both parents could have uninterrupted remote work time. She occasionally also watched the infant so that the parents could have a date night, too.”

Now that seems like an idea I might get behind. What do you think? Let us know in the comments below or over on my forum.



Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh
Gail Marsh is an avid RVer and occasional work camper. Retired from 30+ years in the field of education as an author and educator, she now enjoys sharing tips and tricks that make RVing easier and more enjoyable.


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Neal Davis
3 months ago

Thank you, Gail! Hmm, … I certainly think that creating a place for the nanny within the RV of those for whom she works is better than the nanny having her/his own RV and following along. It certainly is an intriguing idea, but we are childless and never had occasion to use a baby sitter, let alone a nanny. I also think that the former finesses any campground prohibitions of commercial activity because the nanny essentially is one of the family in which he/she works and makes no offers to additionally work for any other campers.

Jim Johnson
3 months ago

I have mixed feelings. Lots of situations where this could work well and just as many where it doesn’t. Growing up and when we were young adults, people hired teens from known families to watch kids on an ad-hoc basis. Payment was in cash. The key word was ‘known’. Rarely do you find teens you know looking for some simple pocket money at an RV park. Maybe you could find via word of mouth recommendation, someone in the park whose spouse is a ‘nomad worker’ (construction or health care being most common) who will watch other campers’ children as a means of supplemental income. As mentioned, some parks may have probations against such paid work.

I suspect only well off young adults could afford a ‘travel nanny’ that would either ride with, or use a 2nd RV to co-travel. The service could need licensing in each travel State, not to mention the possibility of doing tax returns in each of those States. Not to say it couldn’t work.

Seann Fox
3 months ago

Trust someone who is mobile with the child? I’m sorry there are just too many perverts out there. And nowadays it is far too easy to forge documents.

Last edited 3 months ago by Seann Fox
1 year ago

I found this article because I searched for this very thing! YES. I need a nanny to travel in our second RV

1 year ago

Aren’t all the people remote working out of their RVs conducting business? They may not have customers coming to the RV but it is still business! I’ve seen parks where people offered to walk dogs or dog sit so others could go sightseeing. In fact, I had a young lady take my dogs to her families RV from the dog park in town so I could go to Vegas for the day.

1 year ago

My kids are adults now with their own little ones. I would have never considered using a nanny like this. That would be leaving a complete stranger, with mobile abilities, with my kids. They could disappear quicker than anything.

Donald N Wright
1 year ago

Actually, this sounds like a KOA type of operation. Professionals to watch your children, A Kennel off in the woods for your little howling dogs, RV bootcamp classes for new campers.
A class for cooking in tight spaces or drivers ed using golfcarts.

Bob p
1 year ago

I’m old and old fashioned but I wouldn’t trust a stranger with my infants or toddlers. As far as being licensed and bonded, unless they’re permanent residents of that state they’re in that would be cost and time prohibitive to become licensed in every location you set up camp. Plus being based in an RV tells me someone with kidnapping on their mind would be the ideal way to do their dirty deed. They could be in a rental unit and after they get the child pack up and they’re gone with no trace. Nope not in my day.

Tommy Molnar
1 year ago
Reply to  Bob p

Yeah Bob, there wasn’t much “nannying” going on when WE grew up (at least not in our income level). Mom stayed home with the kids – period. There were cases with single moms because of divorce, but that was fairly rare. You had kids? You took CARE of the kids. I know times have changed, but I don’t care. Times have not changed for the better.

Last edited 1 year ago by RV Staff
Joe Goomba
1 year ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

OMG.. I hope you two don’t fall off your Rascals while shaking your canes at people. Come into this century, wouldja?

1 year ago
Reply to  Joe Goomba

But this century has more child abductions than the previous century. Glad my kids are grown up and do not envy them a bit.

Janet Newman
1 year ago
Reply to  Joe Goomba

This was unnecessarily rude I’m your part. I hope you do not have any children. Apparently you don’t watch the news to see how often young children just disappear. Parents today can not be too careful.

3 months ago
Reply to  Joe Goomba

Yes, times have changed! We have two grandchildren. their parents both have incredible jobs and travel is part of their jobs, as is remote work some of the time. They have a live-in nanny – 24/7. When the family travels, the nanny may or may not travel with them. It works well for them. Our situation raising our children was totally different, just as today is, or can be, a totally different situation.

3 months ago
Reply to  Joe Goomba

Oh my gosh! Wrong, right or in-between you made me laugh Joe. I visualized what you said about Rascals & canes… too funny.

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