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What do au pairs love best about Tampa, Florida?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

fl-skyline2Tampa is such a unique and interesting city, there are a number of reasons to love it. The temperate climate makes Tampa ideal for festivals, concerts, and outdoor activities throughout the year. There are pristine beaches with every imaginable water activity available in a waterfront city.




The Tampa Metropolitan area is the fourth largest in the Southeastern United States, combining Tampa, St. Petersburg and Clearwater, Florida. Founded in the 1880’s by cigar manufacturers it was populated by immigrants mainly from Cuba, Spain and Italy.


The mix of cultures means a diverse culinary scene including Cuban, Spanish, Floribbean, Italian Colombian, Puerto Rican and Vietnamese restaurants. Tampa is most famous for the Cuban sandwich and Deviled crab croquette. Floribbean cuisine is heavily influenced by the blend of Caribbean immigrants, most notably from Haiti, the Bahamas, Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago.



The city has over 165 parks and beaches within city limits covering 2,286 acres. This does not include the theme parks at Busch Gardens, Adventure Island, Lowry Park Zoo, Curtis Hixon Park or the Florida Aquarium. The zoo serves as an economic, cultural, environmental and educational center with interactive exhibits, rides and educational shows in addition to housing over 2,000 animals. If you’re an experienced and qualified scuba diver, you can slip into the water and have a personal encounter with the sharks, eels, fish, and turtles at the Florida Aquarium. Attend one of the many concerts, children’s events or art festivals at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. A Must see adventure is Zoominations, the Chinese lantern festival at Lowry Park Zoo.



You can also canoe with alligators down a mangrove lined river, snorkel with manatees, mountain bike through the swamp, or kayak to an unoccupied island. Head to Sanibel Island where you cannot walk on the beach without stepping on hundreds of sea shells and if you’re lucky find some sharks teeth. There are things to do in Tampa you can’t do anywhere else, which makes it a truly unique destination.



There is no shortage of well-known shopping areas, but the city is probably most known for their festivals and events calendar. The Gasparilla Pirate Festival is Tampa’s “Mardi Gras, which includes a number of adult and child oriented parades and activities.fl-dog

Other events include the India International Film Festival, MacDill Air fest, State Fair fiesta days celebrates every major cultural group in the melting pot of Tampafl-metracon.  Metrocon is the largest anime convention in Florida, but there are many more exciting events we haven’t mentioned. If you want even more hands on experiences head to one of the “Escape rooms” to try and solve game clues and puzzle rooms for a unique, detective adventure.




If sports is your passion, Tampa has professional teams in Football, Baseball, Hockey and Soccer as well as College sports out of the University of South Florida and the University of Tampa. Tampa Bay area is home to a number of spring training camps for baseball teams across the United States. The Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Toronto Blue Jays all make the Tampa Bay area their home base during spring training each season. So head to the bleachers for a unique Tampa experience.


Tampa has plenty of history musfl-mardi-graseums and performing arts. There are many fun and engaging opportunities to explore the diverse history and culture of the region. The Tampa Museum of Art and The Ringlings, and the Straz Center are amazing attractions.



Also very popular is the Florida museum of photographic arts; which highlights the Tampa art scene. This beloved gallery is one of only a few museums in the US dedicated solely to photography. Other popular Museums in Tampa are: The Museum of science & industry, Museum of Art, American Victory Museum and Ship, Glazer Children’s museum, Ybor City Museum State Park, Henry B. Plant Museum, and the Tampa Bay History Center.



Tampa’s beautiful beaches remain the primary reason people visit year after year. This fun outdoor city is referred to as “The Lightning Capital of the World.” because of the vibrant thunderstorms. In the evenings after a hot day, a warm thunderstorm will roll in and leave quickly, cooling the air just in time for dinner.

If you dream about year round warm weather and white sandy beaches you will love Tampa. No article would be complete without mentioning the swamp life surrounding the area, which provides the opportunity to explore some of America’s most exotic wildlife.


Tampa has a number of venues for live music and fun. Hopping around Downtown, Ybor City and the Channel District is easy and fun with the awesome and convenient streetcar system. Hyde Park Cafe is a killer dance club with great music and DJ’s. On any given weekend, there is usually something interesting going on in Tampa.

You are not just in for an adventure, but you are also in for southern charm. People in Tampa are known for being friendly and outgoing, with many neighborhoods having a tight sense of community and culture. Warm weather, lively festivals, beautiful beaches, friendly people and great food are all qualities that can be found in Tampa.

Discover the secrets of Tampa and see all that awaits you in this charming waterfront city.”

For more information about the GreatAuPair J-1 visa program, visit or call 800.604.2507 to speak with a GreatAuPair representative & request a free host family application. Au pairs call 1-775-636-8302.

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Why Au Pairs love Vegas

Friday, November 11, 2016



The world renowned city of Las Vegas is an electric mecca of the west. It’s a unique combination of New York energy, Miami fun and Los Angeles celebrity power making Las Vegas one of the most popular destinations in the world. Bigger, better, brighter and glitzier describes the extravagance of Vegas.



orange-showLas Vegas, known as the City of Lights has so much more going for it than the gambling center it has always been known for. Las Vegas has a vibrant nightlife, themed hotels with elaborate displays and has become a center for arts and entertainment. Often called the city that never sleeps, “Vegas” is one of the top tourist destinations in the world. Located in the basin of the Mojave Desert, it’s surrounded by mountain ranges on all sides and has year round sunshine.




The city is one of the top three leading destinations in the United States for conventions, business, and meetings. In addition, the city’s metropolitan area has more AAA Five Diamond hotels than any other city in the world, and is a global leader in the hospitality industry. Each hotel is like a mini theme park with roller coaster rides, restaurants, bars, casinos and shops.

Vegas is also known for world class dining. The city has every type of cuisine found in the world. You can order in or go for a dining adventure on the town. If you are staying in, go online to find every type of food from celebrity chefs to amazing all you can eat buffets. Vegas dining offers Italian, Mexican, Seafood, Indian, Mediterranean, American, Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Steakhouses. If you’re a foodie, you’ll find cuisine from every part of the world within the 4 mile “Vegas strip”.


shopping2Amazing shopping may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Vegas, but this international city really is a retail and fashion gem. There are so many malls and outlet stores, with an international fashion influence. Start with the Fashion Show, Meadows and Forum shops at Caesars and then head to the world’s biggest H & M store or window-shop through Wynn, and The Shoppes at Palazzo. If you still haven’t had enough shopping, drive 45 minutes to Primm for another outlet mall to find fashionable bargains.




If you appreciate history and beauty, you will love the Vegas museums. A favorite is the Neon museum, Mob museum and the Pinball Hall of Fame. Let us not forget the Children’s Discovery Museum, Natural History, Marjorie Barrick, Nevada State and Las Vegas Art Museums.




Hidden away in the Quad parking garage is a fabulous collection of antique, classic, muscle, famous and infamous cars. Experience a cartoon come to life at legendary animation director Chuck Jones Experience or see artifacts recovered from the Titanic! Head to the Atomic Testing museum to experience a simulated atomic test at Ground Zero Theater.




Do you prefer the performing arts?

Vegas is the city of live shows! As with everything in Vegas, they have the most extravagant and talented shows to offer. From comedy, to dancing, singing and acrobatics, divas, magicians, jokesters, showgirls, celebrity imvegas-showspersonators, and puppets.



People come from all over the world to see Le Rêve – The Dream at Wynn Las  Vegas, “O” Cirque du Soleil, Blue Man Group, ABSINTHE Las Vegas, Brittany Spears, Celine Dion, Elton John, Jennifer Lopez and many more. Every night of the week is an opportunity to live life to its fullest.



Thousands of people migrate to Vegas in the summer to make new friends and have a fun poolside experience.  Pool parties are found on and off the Strip. The most popular are: Rehab at Hard Rock Hotel, Wet Republic at The MGM Grand, XS Night Swim at the Wynn, Ditch Fridays at The Palms and too many more to mention.


Even the streets offer entertainment, from the buskers and the dancers, the guys dressed up as superheroes, magicians and performers. Most any night of the week, you can find a quality local band playing interesting original music.



Then there’s the serious entertainment like the Bellagio fountains and the volcano at the Mirage Hotel that erupts every hour in the evenings and spews fire and smoke into the sky.
Las Vegas is the way you get to travel the world without leaving the city. You can visit New York, medieval England, ancient Egypt, Venice and Paris all in one day.



vegas-black-canyon2Can you believe Las Vegas even has nature? Just 90 minutes’ drive from the Strip you can find some of the most beautiful places on planet earth. Lake Mead offers year-round recreational opportunities for boating, fishing, hiking, photography, picnicking, mountain biking, sightseeing and a host of other outdoor activities that feel a world away from the Strip.



Visit Hoover Dam to see the engineering marvel that has held back the Colorado River and generated power for California, Arizona and Nevada for almost 80 years.



Mount Charleston is less than an hour away and provides snow in the winter and relatively cool days in the summer. If you want to drive just a little farther, then you can literally have it all within 6 hours: The Grand Canyon, St. George, Utah, Zion National Park, Death Valley National Park, and Brian Head Ski Resort.



If you are yearning to see the Ocean go coastal to Los Angeles or San Diego and all the beach cities in between. Megabus offers low cost travel out of Las Vegas for quick trips to California. So, if you live in Las Vegas, you’re literally half a day away from almost anything you want to do.


vegas-red-rock-canyon-nvVegas has a wide assortment of places to visit and things to do. Come experience living in the city that’s on everyone’s bucket list.


For more information about the GreatAuPair J-1 visa program, visit Families can call 800.604.2507 to speak with a GreatAuPair representative. Au pairs can call 1-775-636-8302, or contact us on skype at

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Honolulu – Tropical Paradise for Au Pairs

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

hawaii2 Do you want to live where most Americans only dream they could live? Islands ranging from a tropical climate, to snow skiing on the Big Islands 14 thousand foot peaks, Hawaii is one of the most ecologically diverse places in the world and seems too good to be true! If steady warm weather and only 90 rainy days per year is what you prefer, Honolulu is for you!


You have six beautiful islands to hawaii12explore. Each inhabited island has a different pace and culture, ranging from the city life of Honolulu on Oahu, to the largely native culture on Molokai. Where else in the United States can you both swim in warm water, snow ski and visit a volcano all in one day?


hawaii snorkeling

Honolulu offers a wide range of land and water based activities including sports, swimming, surfing, windsurfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, canoeing, sailing, camping, hiking, mountain biking, and even snow skiing or snowboarding.  A popular magazine named Honolulu the “fittest” city in the United States. The city offers year round activities such as Great Aloha Run, Honolulu Marathon, and Honolulu Triathlon.


Although Honolulu has no professional sports teams, it does have three venues for spectator sports such as baseball, basketball and volleyball at: Les Murakami Stadium, Neal Blaisdell Center Arena, Stan Sheriff Center and Aloha Stadium.

Howhawaii beach about a relaxing day at the beach? Waikiki is a beachfront neighborhood of Honolulu, located on the south shore of the island of Oahu. It was once a retreat only for Hawaiian royalty in the 1800’s. Today, the area is filled with large resort hotels and hosts many events each year, including surf competitions, outdoor performances, hula dancing and outrigger canoe races.


Help the kids find Nemo at Waikiki Aquarium! Listen for the extremely vocal Common Mynah bird at Foster Botanical garden, Lili’uokalani Botanical Garden, or Walker Estate!



How about a day with your host family visiting the Honolulu Zoo? There are over 1,230 animals to see! Afterward, take a ride on Waikiki Trolley to see the sites throughout Waikiki, Honolulu and East Oahu; or plan to stay for a Snooze at the Zoo. Yes, they schedule overnight camping with activities – imagine the sounds of the animals during the night!


hawaii trees2

Do you like natural history? The Bishop Museum displays the state’s largest collection of natural history specimens and the world’s largest collection of Hawaiian and Pacific culture artifacts.


Head to the Ke’anae Arboretum and botanical garden, to see the most colorful and unique trees on the planet. The bark of the Rainbow Eucalyptus tree changes color as it sheds, so no two are ever alike and each is constantly changing. You can drive along the Hana Highway west of Maui to see them or visit the arboretum for free.


Hawaii Mall

If shopping is your passion then you are in for a treat! Ala Moana in Honolulu is the largest mall in Hawaii and the 7th largest shopping mall in the United States with a total area of 2,100,000 square feet! Make sure you wear your walking shoes!


Diamond Head Theater is dubbed the “Broadway of the Pacific” and is the oldest performing arts center where music lovers go to enjoy live theater.


hawaii8Honolulu Museum of Art is the largest of its kind in the state, with over 50,000 works of art and is housed in First Hawaiian Center, the tallest building in Hawaii. You can enjoy two cafés, gardens, films and concerts at the theater as well as take a studio art class or workshop. Some events and certain days offer free admission to all.


Want to work on a language? The Hawaii Japanese School – Rainbow Gakuen holds its classes in Kaimuki Middle School in Honolulu, serving overseas Japanese nationals. In addition, Honolulu has other weekend programs for the Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish languages.



No matter what you love to do, it’s impossible not to have fun here and create life long memories with your new host family! Come see what Honolulu has to offer!


For more information about the GreatAuPair J-1 visa program, visit Families can call 800.604.2507 to speak with a GreatAuPair representative.  Au pairs can call 1-775-636-8302, or contact us on skype at

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Washington, DC: Au pairs love our nation’s capital!

Thursday, August 25, 2016


WA 1If you love gorgeous rivers and forests, awe-inspiring historical monuments, and vibrant metropolitan culture, then the Washington, DC area is where you want to be.


There is no shortage of things to do with children any time of year, not to mention a diverse range of leisure and nightlife activities for young adults.  The greater metropolitan area consists of downtown Washington DC, which is surrounded by several cities, including Arlington, VA, and Bethesda, MD.


WA 2One of the most popular attractions in the DC area is the Smithsonian Institute.  With 19 museums that cover a wide range of subjects from art to space exploration, you are bound to find something exciting for both you and the kids.  Keep in mind that most of these museums are HUGE, so plan on spending a couple of hours at each.



WA 3Spectacular national monuments spread throughout the city are a “must see” when visiting the nation’s capital.  Some of the most popular sites include the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial Wall and the Jefferson Memorial.  A great way to see the monuments is to take a guided tour.  You will learn many interesting facts about US history, and be free from having to navigate congested city traffic.


WA 4


Another great choice for a daytime activity is to visit the three houses of government, the White House, the U.S. Capitol, and the Supreme Court.  These are all impressive feats of architecture and offer an informative window into the history of the nation.



WA 5Ready to take a break from the hustle and bustle of urban life?  Take a day trip to Great Falls Park and enjoy a variety of outdoor recreational activities, such as hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, cycling, and horseback riding.  Bring the children for a fun-filled adventure, or enjoy some free time and decompress surrounded by the majestic beauty of nature.


WA 6

Georgetown, Washington DC’s historic waterfront, is a great place to visit during the day or evening. If you love to shop, then you will be in paradise.  The streets are lined with a large variety of retail shops and restaurants of every nationality. Weekends can get pretty busy in Georgetown, so be sure to make a dinner reservation if possible.


The sites above barely scratch the surface of all the fun and amazing things to do in the Washington DC area.  It is a highly recommended city for au pairs due to its rich cultural diversity and huge variety of entertainment, culture, education, and leisure activities.  Complete your application today to start your journey.  You may find yourself in this amazing city before you know it!

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Twin Cities Minnesota, Ultimate Au Pair Destination

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


The twin citieMN bridges of Minneapolis and St. Paul are a Mid-western hot spot!  There is a phenomenal mix of outdoor nature and city activities. The Minneapolis – St. Paul area is second only to New York in artistic activity per capita.  The parks are among the best in the world and the cities are well known for world class shopping and their natural beauty, providing a unique opportunity for au pairs to experience two cities in one.


mn jelly

mn mall of AM

The Twin Cities area is well known for exceptional shopping and many award-winning restaurants. The famous Mall Of America with over 500 stores is located in Bloomington, MN (Metro Minneapolis), and is the nation’s largest mall with dozens of restaurants, an indoor amusement park, an aquarium, Legoland and a butterfly garden!  Did I mention that all clothes and shoe shopping is tax free at the Mall of America?


If you’re not interested in shopping, go for mn legolandone of the many celebrity events, the Nickelodeon Universe amusement park, or see the psychedelic jellyfish at the Sea life Aquarium. Go through the Mirror Maze the House of Comedy, snorkel dive with the sharks or use the A.C.E.S. flight simulator. You can spend days inside this mall, the Metro transit rail will drop you off and return you safely home.


MN state partk

You’ll find Minneapolis to be trendier, and St. Paul to be somewhat quieter, but no less interesting. During the summer you will enjoy the Chain of Lakes, a scenic byway located southwest of downtown, which is popular among athletic travelers who enjoy jogging or boating. You’ll find 13.3 miles of pathways that encircle the Chain of Lakes in Minneapolis. People are out enjoying both land and water, while roller-blading across the Stone arch Bridge or paddle boarding down the river. This area is really a gem for natural beauty, having fresh lakes, trails, woods and the Mississippi River.


mn mill museum


Another interesting attraction in Minneapolis is the Mill City Museum, which was once the largest mill in the U.S. Today you can see how they produced old school flour with period style equipment and railroad cars. Ride the glass elevator from the Mill Ruins park to the top of this iconic museum. Visit the Cedar Cultural Center, which hosts more than 150 concerts, dances and community events every year.


MN caves


Saint Paul on the other hand has an alluring history of notorious gangsters and whiskey runners that were part of the lawlessness of the 1930’s. The city was once home to infamous bank robbers and kidnappers like John Dillinger, Babyface Nelson and the Barker gang. You can take a tour of where the gangsters once lived and plotted their notorious crimes. The Wabasha Caves are also a great attraction in the Twin City area, these are actual caves that were transformed into an underground speakeasy known as the “Castle Royal.”


mn sculpture
The Twin Cities have an abundance of art! A few attractions to mention are the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, one of the largest urban sculpture parks in the country and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. The Sculpture Garden is an 11 acre park developed jointly by the Walker Museum and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. Within the Sculpture garden you can find over 36 larger than life size sculptures. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts has 80,000 works of art that span more than 5,000 years, this is the place to go if you’re an art lover. You can find sculptures, photographs, paintings, drawings, textiles and prints from all over the world. Also worth mentioning, is the Frederick R Weisman Art Museum at the University of Minnesota, which is a museum focusing on American art from the early 20th century to the present.


mn ice

Please do not fear the cold! The Twin Cities are well prepared for cold weather, having The Minneapolis Skyway System, which is an interlinked collection of enclosed pedestrian footbridges. The road crews are well prepared for snow and removal starts as soon as the snow falls.  There is cross country skiing through the many parks, ice skating and ice hockey, and the city of Lakes Loppet Ski Festival.  What’s more fun than building snow sculptures or enjoying the luminarias in ice sculptures? Join in any number of ski races, fat tire snow biking, crew skiing with 6 men teams on 25 foot long skis or skijoring, which is skiing behind either a dog or horse on a leash! Head Southwest of Minneapolis to the Eden Prairie Ice castles for a magical day. Winter doesn’t slow anyone down in the twin cities. Winter is a wonderland experience in Minnesota.


mn dog

For more information about the GreatAuPair J-1 visa program, visit or call 800.604.2507 to speak with a GreatAuPair representative & request a free host family application. Au pairs call 1-775-636-8302, or contact us on skype at

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