10 Top Tips for Keeping Safe, particularly after a night out.
Au Pairs are here to have a good time. Yes, you will look after the host family’s children. Yes, you will help around the home. And yes, you will attend English classes to achieve total fluency in English. But we know that your primary reason for taking an Au Pair Gap Year in London or the UK is to have a really good time!
But having the time of your life does not mean throwing sense and caution to the wind. In order to have the best experience possible, you also need to follow some basic safety guidelines. Knowing that you are looking after yourself properly will also give your own family back home great comfort!
Take a look at our safety tips for Au Pairs in London and globally, to help you stay safe during your next night out.
10 tips to follow
Before going out:
- Make sure your phone has enough charge on it. Invest in a stand alone battery pack to charge if if it loses power too quickly. Make sure your phone always has a good amount of credit on it too. Always tell your host family where you are going. And tell them approximately what time you will be back. If you change plan, send them a text (or whatsapp, but check they won’t necessarily be woken by that!) If you stay overnight at a friend’s house, tell them. Someone needs to know your whereabouts. It’s not for their interest, it’s about keeping you safe.
- Consider having a location tracker app on your phone (eg. Family360). Your host family could check or your family at home.
- Make sure your host family has the phone numbers of the friends you go out with and vice versa.
- Take sensible shoes you can walk in – in a bag, if you don’t want to be wearing ‘sensible’ shoes at the venue you are going to. Likewise, take a warm coat, it’s far colder later at night and you might be walking, or waiting for your taxi outside.
- Prevention of any tricky circumstance is better than dealing with one. We advise booking a properly registered taxi, before you depart on your evening out, if you know you will be home late – and share it with friends.
- Everyone needs a travel buddy. They can be a friend or someone going the same direction, just as long as you get on well enough to escort each other back home safely. Use the Au Pairs UK app, or our Facebook and Whatsapp groups to find local friends. Make sure you agree before the evening out to travel back home together too.
- If you are walking home with your travel buddy after an evening out, stick to well-lit and busy areas. Do not walk in areas where no one is around and it’s very dark. Make sure you do not attract attention to yourself (I used to tie my long blond hair up, and out of view, when I was a 19 year old living in Paris). Do not have expensive jewellery, or designer bag on display. Wear shoes you can walk fast in.
- In the very unlikely circumstance that you think you are being followed, move to an area where there are more people. Ask other females if you can tag along with them, and explain why. Call your host family or a friend, tell them your exact whereabouts, and stay on the line to them until you are safely home. Someone may be less likely to attack you, if you are speaking to someone, however, this will not stop someone from trying to snatch your bag or mobile phone :(. Also, carry an object that would hurt an attacker – such as a set of keys – if thrust at them. Don’t lose the key you need for the home or a car! It is illegal to carry pepper spray and also illegal to carry a knife. In any case, these pose a danger, if they were to be used back on you.
- Also, make sure you do not drink too much. This way you will always stay in control.
Keep calm and carry on
These safety tips are for global usage, not just for Au Pairs in London. The UK is a safe country and it is not meant to be alarmist. You are as safe here as where you come from, be that France, Germany, Spain etc. This is simply some sensible advice for any young person who is going out anywhere!
Want more information about being an Au Pair in London? Start here!