One of the perks, in many people’s eyes, of working within a private household is the possibility of travel with the principals. This of course varies a good deal from household to household, with some residences having their staff in one place at all times, and others travelling as an entourage. Depending on the principal, just about any role might have the potential to involve some travel, but there are a few for whom it is more likely. These include butlers, nannies, governesses, personal assistants, stylists and wardrobe assistants, and ladies’ maids.
Other roles – for example chauffeurs – might well travel a lot locally, but less so further afield or internationally. Housekeepers, house managers, and all manner of other private household staff do sometimes accompany principals on trips, however many UNHW (Ultra High Net Worth) families will have permanent staff and infrastructure set up at their homes abroad.
To the outsider, the opportunity of potential international travel with your job sounds amazing. In many ways it is, but of course it can be very demanding too. Some people will love it, and others find that it interferes too much with their settled lifestyle.
Some things to consider:
- Availability and flexibility: many principals will travel over peak holiday periods. You might find the need to be away over school holidays, Christmas or other religious festivals, and at other times you’d normally like to spend with friends and family. It can be very challenging to navigate your own family life with a requirement to put that of your employer’s family first. Some principals only travel during holidays or from time to time, whereas others will spend many months at a time in different locations.
- Working hours might be very long, depending on your role. For example, a nanny, governess or someone else involved in childcare might be on call round the clock, whereas a wardrobe assistant or stylist might have a good deal of free time.
- Seeing the world while you work is, for many, a fantastic opportunity to explore locations you’d otherwise never get to see. The flip side of this is of course that you’ll be there to work, rather than with the prime directive of enjoying yourself.
- A good team is essential. You’ll spend a lot of time with the travelling entourage, and potentially the principals too, so there’s a good possibility that you’ll build up a number of close working relationships.
- All your accommodation and travel costs are paid for, in addition to the salary you receive for your role.
- Finally, international travel can be very fast paced and precisely scheduled, and you’ll need to be extremely organised.
Overall, whether you consider a travelling role to be an attractive prospect will depend on your own skills, qualities and outlook, and your lifestyle in your home country. Many people love the idea, and some thrive on the constant excitement – but others might consider it an unnecessary upheaval.