Traveling and Kids with Malena Jackson, The Nanny Factory

Malena Jackson | The Nanny Factory | Helen Brahms | Cruise Planners | Have2Travel

Malean Jackson
Founder/CEO The Nanny Factory

For the audio please go HERE

HELEN: Kia ora, welcome to the Have2Travel Show. I am your host, Helen Brahms, from Cruise Planners. And it is my honor and pleasure today to have on the show an amazing person. You are going to love this guest that we have today, especially if you are traveling with children. My guest today is Malena Jackson from The Nanny Factory, and we are going to be having some great conversations about traveling with kids today. So kick back, relax, enjoy and put your feet up, grab that cup of coffee and let’s get going. Malena, welcome to the show, and thank you so much for taking time out of your day to join us on the show.

MALENA: Hi, Helen. Thank you so much. I am thrilled to be here.

HELEN: Excellent. Now before we get started too much into traveling with children and stuff, Malena, can you just tell our guests – our listeners, what is it that The Nanny Factory does?

MALENA: Well, thank you for asking. The Nanny Factory is an in-home childcare service provider. So we primarily work with working moms who want to have a career but they want to know they have great support at home as well. We offer nanny service. We always say we’re a nanny service. So that means that our nannies are trained and they have ongoing training to actually support the family.

So if you’re actually – if you are potty training your child, if the nannies do need to come in and partner with you on potty training. So she doesn’t just come and sit. She actually partners with you to make sure that, you know, your children are on the track that you have set for them and to make sure that, you know, you feel okay when you leave your children. So outside of in-home childcare, we also provide special events.

So if you have a wedding, you know how today a lot of couples are doing adult-only receptions, well we’re all “Okay, that’s great. So let’s offer an alternative for families – for parents who have children and who might not have childcare.” So we’ll usually go into the hotel and provide in-home – not in-home, sorry, special event childcare at the hotel, individually or by group. So those are our two specialties, really – in-home childcare service and special events.

HELEN: That is awesome, and that gives us just a little – and I love the fact that you go in and you work with the family, especially when they’re doing something like potty training, teaching children to eat with utensils, that sort of stuff, and that the nannies get in there and they help fill in that gap when the parent can’t be there. That is awesome, especially having an 18-month-old grandson who’s about to go through potty training.

I think that’s awesome that The Nanny Factory can team with the parents to help them through that. So that is awesome to hear. So what we’re going to be talking about today for our listeners, and I am super excited about this, is that there’s a couple of packages that you offer that not many people know about. So we’re going to be talking about two packages.

One is the travel nanny and the other is the couple’s getaway nanny. So we’re going to start with the couple’s getaway nanny, and this one I think is totally awesome, and it’s for those couples who, you know, couples need quality time together where the kids aren’t around. And instead of just an evening like some people have, where they have a babysitter come in and watch the kids for a couple hours, this is an actual getaway. So what services does The Nanny Factory provide with the couple’s getaway package?

MALENA: Well, you know, the pride of The Nanny Factory is basically, you know, we create what it is that you need when you need it. And a lot of times we find families, especially ones that are working, they’re working and working, the parents, it’s a two-parent household. They’re both working, and they don’t take time for each other because they’re like “Well, we don’t have time.”

And one of the things we do with The Nanny Factory is we support the well-being of the family. And for us that means that, you know, that the parents are happy. If the parents are happy, the kids are going to be happy, okay? So when you’re taking time to get away as a couple, or even a girlfriend’s getaway for that matter, but we’ll focus on couples, you get to go and recharge.

And again, it’s about being confident in who you’re leaving your children with. So with our traveling nanny, that’s a thing where you’re going to plan ahead, and you’re going to choose a nanny that really resonates with your family, and you are going to plan where you’re going to go. They’ll probably do an interview more than likely. And you’ll create an agenda. What are we going to do?

The nanny’s going to come and you get to know the nanny, and you’ll work with the children together. What are some of the things that you want the child, or your children, to be experiencing on this getaway if the children are coming with you? And a lot of times when the couples go away, the nanny and the children will stay back at home, which is also a great thing.

But again, it’s really about helping us help you and what you need. So if you want to leave the children at home, or if you want the nanny and the children to come with, it’s just a matter of getting with your nanny planner, and let’s plan on what this would look like for your family. So every family is different, Helen. This isn’t a cookie cutter, “Oh, let’s just send this nanny.” It’s based on where you are in your raising of your family and what your expectations are as a family with a traveling nanny.

HELEN: That is awesome, and I love the fact that you’re adaptable to the situation of the families, and like you said, it’s not a cookie cutter thing, because every family’s dynamics are different. So finding the right nanny to fit into that dynamic, that takes a lot of skill.


HELEN: And so that’s something that you guys excel at is finding the right person that’s going to fit with that family dynamic. So if somebody wants to do a couple’s getaway, and a couple’s getaway could be anywhere from a couple of nights away, or even from an overnight stay through to like a week away, or maybe even longer depending. Because if it’s business – I mean even if they’re doing business trips.


HELEN: I mean they could use the couple’s getaway for that, even though it’s a business trip. They could use those services as well. I mean that one just popped into my head.


HELEN: I thought, “Oh, what about the parents who are on business trips and they have a conflict with their traveling schedules? What are they going to do with the kids during that?” And you’ve got the kids are staying in an environment. They’re staying in school if it’s during school time. So that gives the family a lot of flexibility. So now your company is licensed and bonded, and goes through extensive testing and that with the nannies as well, and extensive training so that there’s peace of mind for the clients. Is that correct?

MALENA: That is correct, yes. So Helen, what that would look like, so you have a corporate family, or corporate parents, who need to go away for business. And one of the things I highly recommend for our families, because this is a – we have a matchmaking process. It’s important that we match the nanny with the family, according to the nanny’s preference as well.

Because you have some nannies who say “I don’t want to do newborn babies.” Of course the mom probably won’t leave a newborn baby for a conference. But if the child is fairly young, then we’re going to find a nanny who wants to work with a young child in the family, a family that has young children. So the family will contact us. You want to get clear on what it is that you’re looking for.

And we would connect with you, and you go through an extensive application, and we’ll ask you different questions. “What kind of childcare have you had in the past?” “What are you doing now?” And that gives a great idea of where you’ve been, where you want to go. And then we actually think about “Okay, what nannies do we have in our database?”

Because one of the things I like to do when I’m matchmaking is I want my nannies to be within the 15-mile radius of where the family is. I want them to live close by, because it makes for more community versus having a nanny that’s traveling across town to care for her family. And keep in mind that The Nanny Factory nannies are employees. So these aren’t people that we just pull from the internet and just try to find someone, then oh, off you go.

These are nannies that we’ve actually – we’ve vested time in as far as doing the background checks, interviewing them, checking references, doing their orientation, and we even have – say for instance, we train. Our nannies come in and we talk, we go over different things that they – any concerns that they might have, or trainings they might want to receive.

And so it’s a community for us, and when we bring in these families, we want to make sure that they – everybody feels comfortable. And so the biggest thing I deal with family homes, is a family that not necessarily knows what they want, but they get clear on what their expectations are and they’re able to voice those expectations and work as a partner.

Because I think childcare is a partnership. It’s not just “Okay, here are the kids, and we’ll be back.” And you mentioned like being gone for a week, I recommend if the family’s going to be away for more than a week while the children are back at home, then we call in a family member. We set all this up beforehand. But I need to have someone who can – you know how when you register your children at school, you have to have an emergency backup, someone outside of the family?

I like to have someone like that, a liaison, because the children need to – although they have their nanny, they’re going to need to see or be around someone more familiar, at least if that person can check in at least once a week while they’re gone just to make sure. Because I’m an advocate for kids, and my biggest thing about like the whole Nanny Factory and that, being a babysitting service and just a quick drop by and leave. It’s about the children feeling stable. Because again, the parents are happy, the children are happy. And when children feel confident and comfortable, they don’t have issues. And so—

HELEN: And it’s peace of mind for the parents as well.

MALENA: Yeah, exactly. And that’s what we love to see. We love to see when the child’s nanny comes and they’re like “Okay, Mom, bye. Have a great trip.” That really warms my heart because you know that – it makes me realize that we’ve done our job. This is why we do what we do, because we’re partnering with the family, for the better, the well-being, you know?

HELEN: That’s awesome.

MALENA: It’s a process.

HELEN: Yeah. Now going back to the couple’s getaway package, and we’re going to tack it on as the business traveler package as well, because sometimes you have parents out there that have to go on trips and there’s nobody available to watch the child while they’re away. So as well as the couple’s getaway, we’re now going to tack on a business package as – a business traveler’s package as well, because it’s basically the same thing as the couple’s getaway. So when they do that, you’re actually going to have the nanny come and stay one or two days with the family just to get into the family dynamics?


HELEN: Is there a backup? What happens if the nanny falls ill? Do you guys have a backup plan in place?

MALENA: Absolutely. We always assign two nannies to each family because we know things happen, right? So the way that works, Helen, is each family will receive three profiles, okay? Out of those three profiles, they pick their top two. And out of the top two, they pick their first pick. So think of it as an understudy.

HELEN: Okay.

MALENA: In theater, you have the main character, and then you have that understudy character. That understudy character’s always supposed to be ready just in case. So when you have the couple’s getaway, or the business trip, or the traveling nanny, it gets interesting when you have a nanny actually go with. But for the sake of the backup nanny, the backup nanny actually – or the main character comes in and spends time with the family, which is that we spend two days, or they choose to stay overnight. That’s up to the family.

But I like the nanny to come in and spend time with the family before they fly off, or before the family leaves, or the couple leaves. And then the backup nanny will come in usually around the second day to shadow the main nanny. And that way the children get to know her or him, and it’s not like “Well, who is this substitute?” The nannies are working together.

Because remember, this is a community, so it’s not like “You’re taking my job.” This is about us partnering for the well-being of this family. And so each family will have two nannies, and the backup nanny will be there. I also put in the package where we can plan ahead if, you know what, the nanny might – the main nanny might want some time off.

So the backup nanny can come in and relieve him or her from time to time. And this is all planned out in the schedule. So while the couples are away, they know what’s going on. And we have clear lines of communication so that they’re always in the loop. There’s not just going to be people coming in and out of the door. I’m really big on that. The nannies are working together, and there’s a backup. So if there’s an emergency, this nanny can contact her backup, and let her backup know. So it’s kind of like the backup is always on call while the main nanny is working with the family, or working with the children.

HELEN: That’s awesome. So it sounds like this is not a last – this is not a last-minute thing you can do. You can’t decide on Wednesday “We’re going to be leaving on Friday. We’re going away for a week and we need a nanny to come in.” This is something they have to plan in advance.

MALENA: Yes. And I don’t want to overwhelm the family, because I know that sometimes I think about “Oh, how can I put this in simple terms?” Because again, we want you to understand that The Nanny Factory is here to help. So explaining all these – the different dynamics, just understand we get the job done. We get started and we guide you along the process.

I do request that you give us a little time. Don’t wait until, you know – if it’s Friday and you’re leaving on Sunday, chances are we’re not going to be able to deliver that, that value to you. I mean we can make it happen, but it’s not within your best interests. Okay? And I get that maybe there’s an emergency. And one of the things I love to tell the audience is – who are listening to anything about The Nanny Factory is The Nanny Factory, think of it as insurance.

It’s not – you don’t wait until you have a car accident or you get sick to try to find insurance. You get insurance when you get that car. You get insurance, like if somebody gets a job or whatever. But it’s always there for you. That’s the way I like my ideal clients to see The Nanny Factory, as insurance. It’s not a last-minute go to type service, because it’s no fun.

It’s no fun for the kids. It’s no fun for us. It’s no fun for the nanny. It’s anxiety. And we want to be stress-free about it. We are about the well-being of families. So give us some time. Now how much leeway, Helen? I would say, ideally, three weeks would even be good. Like if you’re really organized, six months. If you know you’re going on a cruise or whatever, go ahead and get that set in place. Why wait? The time is going to pass anyway. So let’s just –

HELEN: True.

MALENA: – you’re going.

HELEN: I never thought about the insurance thing, but that’s a great analogy to have. It’s like an insurance thing. So now we’re going to shift our focus from the couple’s getaway/business traveler to the traveling nanny. And this is when the family is going away on a vacation.

We’ve got a family vacation happening, but the couple wants – the parents want to be able to ensure that not only are the kids taken care of and they have their family time together, their quality time, but that there’s time available while they’re on vacation where the couple can go away for a romantic dinner while they’re on a cruise ship or something, or they’re at a resort and they want to go for a romantic evening, you know, so that they can have their alone time and their quality time together but they still get that family quality time as well.

So this is where a nanny would be good traveling with them because I know from experience of putting clients on cruise ships that the cruise ships will have the kid’s programs, which can take care of the kids during the day and do a phenomenal job with that. But when it comes to the evening, the cruise ships vary about what availability they have in the evening for the parents to be able to have a nice dinner together.

But the problem that they have with that is there’s a time constraint on it. They either – if they’re having in-room babysitting service, they’ve got to be back at a certain time. If they’re doing the group babysitting service, they have to be back at a certain time. If they’re in the – if the kids program extends into the evening, they still have to be back at a time to pick up the kids and put them to bed and that sort of thing.

And a lot of people have the – when they’re traveling with young children, they don’t want to be putting their – moving their kids around at 10:00 at night, or 11:00 at night to put them to bed. This is where I can see the nanny coming in and saying “Look. If you guys want an evening together, go and enjoy yourself. The kids are taken care of.”

And they are the ones that will bathe the kids, get them into bed, make sure that they’re fed. So the parents can go and have that evening together. They can go to the show. They can go and have dinner. They can go dancing into all hours of the night, or the morning, early morning, if they really want to go early morning.

The parents can have a good time knowing that they don’t have to be back at a certain time to pick up their children, to make sure they’re in bed or anything like that, knowing that they’re taken care of. And that to me is huge when it comes to these family vacations, especially on cruise ships or at the all-inclusive resorts. And I know from our discussion that you had an experience at Beaches which absolutely illustrates this perfectly. So tell us about your experience with Beaches and the babysitting services that you had there.

MALENA: Yeah, so let me just say having a traveling nanny when you are going away as a family is luxury, because like you said, you’re not at the whim of the availability of the resort, or on a cruise ship. For instance, with me when I was traveling with my youngsters, we went to Beaches. Beautiful resort. Beautiful location. Had a great time.

However, they have childcare, and you do pre-register for that. But it’s based on availability. So sometimes they might have – a teacher may have called in sick, or the teacher to child ratio there, because you have to come back. And you planned an excursion. You might have to go to the concierge desk and schedule that. I know my husband and I wanted to have – they had a – we went there for our anniversary, and we wanted to do a candlelight dinner, which was really nice.

Well we had to work around the availability of the in-room babysitter, which kind of got a little hectic. Because everybody wanted it, and there weren’t many in-room babysitters available. So with a traveling nanny, again, it goes kind of how like the couple’s getaway nanny works. You would get your profiles. You choose your top two. You pick your top one.

And before you guys leave to go away as a family, the nanny, again, will come in and she spends time with the family. What I always recommend is that the nanny comes in and she helps the children pack. So if the children are old enough, like they’re [indiscernible 0:19:46], she comes in and she like helps them get ready for the trip, and they talk about what they’re going to do when they are there.

They’re kind of like planning their own little getaway, so to speak. Right? And this helps the children get excited and understand that they’re going to go there as a family, but the nanny’s going to be here so just in case Mom and Dad want to have some time away, we’re going to have our own things anyway so we really don’t mind you going away for a while.

And it’s just really nice to have that nanny just for you. Like I’ve seen families out like this, when we were at another resort. And the family brought their nanny along, and I remember talking to them in the elevator, and they were just so blissful. And that’s one of the things, you know, I have to add this because this is a way life should be. When you’re traveling with children, it is work.

Traveling with children is work, and even if you’re going to a beautiful destination, it’s work. Don’t let anybody fool you. And to have that extra set of hands, who gets you, who you actually work with, you’ve talked to and you guys have a plan in place, it just adds to – it adds value. Just you’re going to get – it’s a bonus. It’s like I guess it’s the way we should all live, especially when you have children.

The stress level comes down. Everything from getting on a plane and being in an airport. Can you imagine having a delayed flight that you have these children in tow, but you have a nanny, like who has a bag of tricks to help keep the kids occupied and satiated, if you will? That’s – to me that’s like the ultimate service for the well-being of families. Everybody should have it.

HELEN: I remember being on a long-distance flight from – where were we going from? Our flight was from Denver to Frankfurt. And a couple rows in front of us, there was a family traveling, and they had their nanny with them. So Mom and Dad took the two – and we were in business class too. It was kind of interesting to watch how this worked.

So they had the business class, the flight that we were on had the two seats, and three seats in the middle, and two seats on the far side of the plane. So you had the two aisles. So Mom and Dad took the two seats, and their two children with the nanny had the middle three seats. And the nanny had the kids there. She kept them occupied during the flight.

She tucked them down to put them to sleep and all that, because it was an overnight flight. And so she was there, so Mom and Dad were able to kick back, relax and enjoy the flight. Yes, they were there if the kids needed them or if the kids wanted to spend time with them. The kids would walk over. And they were probably around five, maybe six, seven years of age, the two of them.

And they would wander over and sit with Mom and Dad, and talk with Mom and Dad, and play games. So the parents were very interactive, but when it was time – when the parents wanted to sleep, the nanny was there to take care of the kids, to make sure the kids were taken care of, was able to – and the seats reclined back a fair distance as well. They were almost flat seats in the business class, and this was a three class plane, coach, business and first class.


HELEN: And those seats were the – the feet went under the seat in front of you. So she was able to lay the kids out on these seats and get them more comfortable, and settle them down for the night, and read them their bedtime story. So she was able to keep that nightly routine in place for the kids while on an overnight flight. And then she was there to help them with their meals.

She was there to help them with their meals and snacks that they wanted. She was there for them. And the parents were able to rest, and relax, and enjoy the trip. And those kids were a little restless at the start of the flight, but you didn’t hear them during the flight. I was just like “Oh, great. Kids in business class.”


HELEN: But you didn’t have to worry about them because the nanny had her little box – her little bag of tricks, and she was able to take care of those kids. And I thought “If you’ve got young kids, that is the way to travel. Bring the nanny with you, you enjoy the flight. You’re there if you’re needed. But otherwise the nanny takes care of the kids.”

And you’ve got a stress free flight. And like you said, an extra pair of hands. And if you have ever been traveling with young children, or you’ve seen young families traveling, you can always tell who the parents are, because they’re the ones that have got that haggard look. They’re trying to – they’ve got kids running in all directions. They’re trying to keep them – they’re trying to corral the kids, get them moving in one direction.

The kids are grumpy. They’re tired. And you can see just the stress, and you think “Okay, are they coming back from vacation or are they leaving on vacation?” You’re not sure. I’m like “They’re leaving on vacation.” And I’m just sort of like, in my travel agent mind, I’m thinking “Oh my gosh, if they’re leaving on vacation, I hope it gets better from here for them.” I really, really do.

If they’re coming back from vacation, they’re going to need a vacation to recover from this one, without the kids. But you know, you’ve seen these parents in the airports. You’ve seen them traveling with the kids. And so there are families out there that will relate to this. They know what it’s like to travel with kids. So that extra pair of hands, just getting through the airport in itself is huge.


HELEN: And having them keep them occupied while they’re on the plane or flights are delayed. I love the idea that you have of the nanny coming in and helping the kids pack.

MALENA: That is huge. That is huge.

HELEN: Because it’s another way too that the nanny knows what the kids have with them. And it’s always good for nannies to know what the kids have with them, the size clothes and everything though as well.

MALENA: Exactly. It’s like actually frees us to discuss the curriculum. And I think even from those little babies, you have this freedom to go for walks in the morning, and just some pool time, that kind of thing. Really just planning. It’s not just let’s go do things. It’s “What are we going to do while we’re there? What do you want to see?”

If they’re able to talk. And I think it’s – at the end it’s about the kids. We’re doing this to help relieve stress for parents, and yeah, I think it’s the way every parent should live. But it’s about the kids. We want them to have a great time as well. And we know that when they’re happy, everything just works out, you know? And what better way to introduce them to the idea that this stranger’s going to be coming along then have them come in before you guys leave and help plan, help the kids pack, you need this special dress for that special dinner night on the cruise, that sort of thing.

It’s a lot of fun. And the nannies who are travel nannies, this is what they do. This is what they love. So they’re not there like looking at their watch, “How many days before we go back?” This is what they do. This is what they ask for. And that’s really important. We’re really big on doing what you love. It’s not just a job. You’re impacting lives. So yeah, the traveling nannys aware of that.

HELEN: I have a client who actually did travel – who traveled with their nanny. They had their nanny for years, and they traveled with their nanny. But one of the things that they did is not only was I talking with the parents about their itinerary and what they could do and all that sort of stuff as well when we were planning the cruise. Once the cruise was planned, they actually had the nanny call me and talk about the itinerary: what’s available to do in these ports, what’s available to do in those ports, and we had everybody on the phone at once.

I had the parents and the nanny on the phone, and we were all talking. And the nanny was asking questions about children’s activities, what’s available in this port? Where are we going? What’s it like with taking the kids out? And that sort of stuff. And then there were times, there was a couple of destinations that they were going to where the parents wanted to go scuba diving. Well, if they didn’t have their nanny with them, they wouldn’t have been able to do that.


HELEN: So having the nanny with them, they knew the kids were taken care of. Again, they didn’t have the time – the only time constraint they had was to be back on the cruise on time. But as far as the kids being taken care of, because some cruise lines will actually not have full child activities available on port days to allow families to go out.

So some of them have, not reduced services, yeah, limited services. They will have those on port days. And some cruise lines don’t even open the children’s services on port days. So with knowing the difference between that, and then the nanny was able to say “Okay, well if you guys are going to go diving here, I can do this, this and this with the kids.”

So they were able to, between the three of us, we were able – between the four of us, because you had the parents, between the four of us, we were able to come up with a workable itinerary that gave a lot of family time, quality time together, but it also gave the parents their alone time, and the kids got to feel special because they were having their own parent free vacation as well. So it had a little bit of everything for everybody, and it also enabled the parents to work out with the nanny when the nanny was going to have her break.


HELEN: “Okay, we’re going to take the kids all day when we’re in port.” So there was one port that they were going to where there was a great family activity that they could do together, and they said to the nanny “That’s going to be your day off. Go do whatever you want to do.” And they actually asked the nanny which port she would like her day off in, which I thought was brilliant.

MALENA: It’s a partnership.

HELEN: It definitely is. To see that dynamic working, after you talk about it so much, but to see that dynamic working was just amazing. And they went off and had a phenomenal trip. But the fact that they included the nanny with discussions that we had after the cruise was booked, I thought that was brilliant partnering on their part, because it just meant that they didn’t arrive in a port and say “Okay, we’re going to go off and do this. Take the kids and do whatever.” Yeah.

MALENA: Yeah. It’s absolutely working together. And one of the things I would say, because you know, if you think about this, I know that there’s maybe like a first-time mom, or a family who has never even thought of this idea before. It can come across as a little alarming, it’s like “Oh, it’s another person. We need to have accommodations for this person.”

I would say at least inquire. I’m really big on not just “Oh no, that’s too much.” Inquire. We always offer at The Nanny Factory a get acquainted session. 20 minutes. Ask questions. What are your questions? We’re here for you. So even if you just want to look into the idea, be open to. I think you should just be open. If you’re planning this great cruise, and you want to take your children with you, why not?

Let’s make it happen. Let’s find a way to make it work. And that, again, as you said, everybody gets on the phone. We’re talking about “What are the activities?” Trying to do the schedule. Think about if we just did all of our – every part of our lives like that. How much less stress could we work around? Being restful and just really enjoying the time.

If you’re going to take the time to cruise, and take these trips, it should be enjoyable. And I’m glad you’re open to helping families and making sure that they get the best out of their experience. And I think childcare in all aspects is – I’m a little biased, but I think you should always have childcare in place, because it makes sense. It makes sense.

HELEN: Yep. And you and I are on the same page about this. When a family goes on vacation, we want to make sure that they have the best experience possible, make the best memories, have a great time and everything else. You’re doing it from making sure the kids are taken care of so the parents can enjoy themselves as well as the family can enjoy themselves together. I’m from the perspective of I’m making sure that they’re on the right place, on the right cruise ship, at the right resort that suits the family dynamics.

MALENA: I love it.

HELEN: And so I do that portion of it. You make sure that the family’s working together and that they have the children taken care of. I’m making sure that the resort or the cruise line is the right one for them to be on and that they’re on the right vacation that they want to be on so that everything comes together and they can go and create phenomenal memories and have an incredible time.

And it’s all about creating those memories together. Because the things that you remember later in life, when you’re looking back, when you’ve got your grandchildren around. It’s like I remember the times that my parents would take me on this vacation or that vacation. And you’re able to tell your grandchildren these stories about places that you have visited.

And you start planting that seed into the children’s heads, into your grandchildren’s heads of “Oh, I want to go traveling too. I want to create those memories as well.” And so to be able to bring two great forces together, your travel professional and your nanny professional, bring them together and help that family create a phenomenal vacation and have great memories, I think that is just priceless.

MALENA: It’s a beautiful marriage. I agree. And I think – I read somewhere that travel is one of the best gifts you can give your children.

HELEN: Oh, absolutely.

MALENA: It opens them up. You know? And if we do whatever we can do to help make that happen easily, I’m in. Because travel is – I mean these are the places I’ve been. Even if we – honestly, Helen, even when we take a vacation, just like we’re in California, so there’s so many places to see. My children never talk about what they got for Christmas. They’re always talking about where we went. “Well remember when we were in this hotel, and this, and we ate at this restaurant?” And I love it. That’s what’s so important to me, is just traveling with my children, being able to see the world with them through their eyes.

HELEN: Yeah.

MALENA: That is the ultimate gift. So –

HELEN: And I even remember – I remember traveling with my parents. Every school – just about every school vacation, they would hook up the caravan to the back of the car. And for those who don’t know what a caravan is, in New Zealand it’s a trailer that goes on the tow bar on the back of a car. And we’d go off to some other part of New Zealand.

And they actually taught us how to be a traveler rather than a tourist within our own country. So I got to experience a lot of New Zealand, which is why I’m so passionate about New Zealand and sending people there. But those trips are the ones that I remember the most, with my – the time with my family. It was a great experience with them. We had that quality time together as a family.

And we created great memories. And yes, I will even admit to this, our parents sometimes did have to drag us, literally kicking and screaming, because “Why can’t we spend a vacation at home? Why do we always have to go traveling?” Yes, they had to deal with that, and yes I admit I was one of the ringleaders on that one. I’m not proud of those moments.

But when we got on the road, that was soon forgotten and we had a blast. We had a great – and I am forever thankful to my parents for those experiences that they gave us. And I can’t wait. I mean we are now starting to do things with our grandson. He’s only 18 months now, but we’re starting to do things with him, like we’ve spent a couple of days at the zoo together, and we got the San Diego pass – the annual pass to the San Diego zoo. So we can go and come as much as we want throughout the year. And we’ll take him there, and watch as he grows and he starts recognizing some of the animals and stuff, pointing them out and that sort of thing too. It’s a very special thing.

MALENA: Yes, it is.

HELEN: And he may not remember those trips as an 18-month-old, but it’s a routine that we’re getting into now so that as he gets older, the grandparents are always going to be there. We’re going to be doing trips with him. It could just be a day trip here or there. But it’s still an experience with the kids.

And to be able to go on a family vacation, I mean I can’t wait to take our first family vacation with the kids and the grandkids, and we just all go off together some place and do a multi-generational trip. And I’m even thinking now, after our conversation here on the show right now, is that I’m going to have a couple of nannies come with us so the kids can get taken off to do something else and us adults can just go hang out and have adult time together.

MALENA: Yeah, absolutely.

HELEN: Give the parents that break so they don’t have to worry about the kids. That would be awesome.

MALENA: Yeah, it makes a difference. It really makes a difference.

HELEN: It’s just, as you said, that extra pair of hands, that partnership that the nanny has with the family that helps make it so much easier and so much stress – so much more stress free. And that’s the part that I love about being able to take a nanny with you when you’re traveling with children. It’s that extra pair of hands. It’s that person who’s in partnership with you in raising your children. So whatever you’re doing to raise your children, they are going to continue that on when you’re not around.


HELEN: If they’re not allowed to have sweets before a certain time, the nanny’s going to make sure that those sweets aren’t handed out before that time.

MALENA: That’s right.

HELEN: And no matter how many cute faces that the kids will have, they’ll give you those big, puppy dog looking eyes and say “Please, please, please.” You’re going to resist that and say “No, it’s not time.” And you know that with confidence that that person is going to carry out what the rules – rules and regulations seem so stern, but –

MALENA: Yeah, we use guidelines.

HELEN: The way that you’re raising your family is going to be on it.

MALENA: That’s right. They’re experienced and they know. And that’s part of the reason we get to know the family, so that we can know what the expectations are. And a nanny will carry out those expectations, or the guidelines. And it – I mean children love boundaries anyway. That’s another conversation. But yeah, you definitely can carry that out, along with on the trip as well. It doesn’t have to stop at home. You just expand it on the trip. Yeah.

HELEN: Well, Malena, I just wanted to say thank you so much for taking time out of your day to come on the show, and it’s been so awesome to have you on the show. And I can’t wait to hear about how – these packages I know work very well for you, and that you have a lot of families who are happy with the packages that you offer, with the travel nanny, the couple’s getaway and now I guess you’re going to be doing a business traveler’s package as well.

MALENA: [Laughter] Thank you, Helen. Thank you.

HELEN: So I want to thank you for taking the time out of your day to come and share about The Nanny Factory and some of the services that you can offer that help make a family who is traveling, or for couples who just want to get away, how you can make their life easier for them and give them that peace of mind. So Malena, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for being on the show today. I truly appreciate it.

MALENA: You’re welcome. It’s my pleasure, Helen.

HELEN: And for everyone who is listening – oh, and before I let you go, Malena, how can they best find you to get in contact with you? I totally forgot about this.

MALENA: Oh yeah, for sure. You can always Google “The Nanny Factory,” but if you want to get more specific, you can visit, and we’re also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. And we just – send us an inquiry. You can go look at all the services we provide. If you find one that resonates with you as far as travel or couple’s getaway, just let us know and we’ll talk to you and get started. So yeah,

HELEN: Excellent. Well thank you again, Malena. And on the blog that will accompany this recording, we will also have a form there for you to be able to fill out too if you want more information about The Nanny Factory as well. So from all of us here at Cruise Planners, have a great day, and Hei konei ra.


About Helen Brahms

World globetrotter, Helen Brahms, is your Luxury Travel Concierge. She specializes in creating unique once-in-a-lifetime travel memories and charity fundraising trips. Whether your travel dreams include exotic locations or time with your family, you can have it all. Helen loves to help people cross destinations off their travel bucket list before they take a dirt nap! Helen is the host of the Have2Travel Radio Show ( and is the author of the book "Congratulations, You're Going On a Cruise! Now What?" and the co-author of the book "Passionistas Talk!: The Best of the Passion Point Interviews (Vol. 1)"
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