One day she’s touring the Alhambra in Andalusia, Spain. The next, she’s taking one of her charges to Gladiator School at the famed Colosseum in Rome.
Such is the glamorous career of Beth Lehmann, who charges wealthy families between $300 and $500 a day to watch their kids while the clan is on vacation.
The 55-year-old bicoastal professional is one of a growing number of so-called “travel nannies,” who get paid to accompany well-off parents and entertain their kids on trips abroad. Everyone comes away happy, says Lehmann: Mom and Dad can chill on the beach sans kids, and the nannies get to see the world on someone else’s dime.
“My friends are all like, ‘Can I have your life? ” says Lehmann.
She was a regular nanny for 30 years before spotting a niche in the market for globe-trotting baby sitters in 2017.
“A lot of nannies don’t like to travel — so that’s when I come in,” she says.
Over the past two years, she has flown domestically to Alaska, California and Florida, as well as farther afield to England, Switzerland, Germany and Portugal.
Her assignments — usually lasting from one to six weeks — begin at the client’s home, where she’ll pack the children’s clothing. Before heading to the airport, she spends time researching and booking activities, such as reserving Disney World tickets, at each destination.
“My goal is to keep everyone busy,” she says, pointing out that she is usually entrusted with her employer’s credit card and averages 12 miles of walking per day. “If there is an age difference between the kids, I’ll often take one of them on an outing while the parents have one-on-one time with the other.
“The main thing is that I’m an extra set of hands. It decreases the amount of stress around traveling.”
Just as Mary Poppins totes her magical carpet bag, Lehmann always carries a backpack stuffed with snacks, toys, books and art supplies for boredom emergencies.
She also has an international driving permit, as well as global entry status and a Nexus membership to help her speed through airport security and Customs lines.
Meanwhile, for parents daunted by the thought of a long plane ride with their rambunctious children, a more affordable new service was recently launched by Manhattan entrepreneur Alana Shultz Rubin.
Her company, Air Pair, is mainly targeted at moms and dads traveling solo from New York to Tel Aviv, Israel. To ease their journey, Rubin matches families with a background-checked fellow passenger — usually a friend’s 20-something kid, headed to Israel to see family or travel. He or she sits with the family and assumes simple babysitting duties for an hourly fee of $15 to $25.
Rubin, of Manhattan, came up with the idea after “too many difficult” airplane trips with her two sons, Lev, 3, and 1-year-old Jacob.
“If you’re juggling a baby and a toddler as well as a car seat, stroller and luggage, it’s a lot,” she says. “You might need to run after your older child, who is taking off, but someone needs to watch your infant.”
The travel companion swoops in to handle responsibilities such as repeatedly walking a toddler down the aisle of the plane, assisting with luggage and generally keeping kids happy while traveling.
“It’s win-win for the parent and the Air Pair looking to earn some extra money,” adds Rubin.
In rare circumstances, she even helps broker deals where families pay for the helper’s flight so they’re guaranteed an extra pair of hands on their journey.
“It was absolutely worth it,” says mom of two Gabrielle Kahn, formerly of the Upper West Side, who last summer forked over $800 for student Guy Cohen’s ticket between LA and Sydney. “The convenience and peace of mind were priceless.”