Have you, your au pair, or host family heard of walkscore.com? It is a very useful tool when deciding if a city will be a place where a car is needed or just a luxury. If you haven’t tried it already, put in your hometown or that of your host family. It is fun to compare cities this way. I am so happy to tell you that overall, Providence, RI scores a “Very Walkable” 73 on this website! We are a fun city where a car is not always needed. The website even names the three top walkable neighborhoods in the city of Providence (out of 24 neighborhoods); Downtown Providence received a “Walker’s Paradise” score of 93! That is daily errands do not require a car!
What does the website tell you? It gives each city, or address, a score from 1 to 100 based on how much a car is required to get to the basics. If your score is low, it tells you specific locations with distances from the address or city you entered. The businesses listed are in categories such as Restaurants & Bars, Coffee, Groceries, Outdoor Places, Schools, and Car & Bike Shares. In looking at my own local areas, not all the local businesses are listed, but it does give you a pretty good idea of what exists in that area.
This site can be helpful when choosing an au pair or a family, depending on your perspective. If you are a host family, consider looking at your potential au pair’s home city and compare that score to your hometown. If the score is greatly different, one of you probably lives in a more rural community (car-dependant, like my personal neighborhood in Johnston, RI- a 31) where a car is needed to complete most errands. If your score is similar, your au pair may have an easier time adjusting to a similar place, at least in terms of closeness to attractions, restaurants, and other amenities.
If you are an au pair, you could use this site to get an idea of what is around your host family’s address and, if you drive, to determine if you need a car to get around during your off-duty time to explore anything nearby. If your host family is offering you the use of a car, ask if it will be available for your recreational use as well, as long as you agree to pay for your own recreational gasoline usage. If your host family lives in a very rural neighborhood, but is not offering you a car, you may choose carefully if you think you want a busy social life in America. Obviously, neighborhoods with a high score are more populated in general, but a car is still nice to have sometimes.
I actually used it to enter the addresses of my host families and each of their au pairs’ hometowns in their respective home countries. It was very interesting to see how similar or different each city’s score compares. If you are interesting in learning more about au pair child care in the RI or tri-state area, please visit Go Au Pair in Providence online or contact me, Joan Lowell, your Local Area Representative (or LAR), for Go Au Pair. We offer the best cultural child care experience out there! I can be reached via email, text or telephone at firstname.lastname@example.org or 401.309.1925. Be sure to ask about our local area promotional discount currently being offered!