This is the post that has to be written, how we get to travel full time or even permanently, as a family. We’re not unique, there are plenty of other globe trotting full time travelling families on the world circuit, but to the vast majority of people what we do sounds far from possible. But we do it, and we’ve been doing it for almost 5 years.
It’s time to explain how we went from family gap year travellers to nomadic. But is this travel lifestyle really so great? What are the pros and cons and is it as much fun as it looks?
What’s hard, what’s easy, and of course the big one. How do we pay for it?
How We Became a Full Time Travel Family
We never set out to be full time family travellers.
We headed off on a family gap year ( or 2) and decided it was too good to stop so we made it happen through hard work and determination.
We are from the UK and Australia, we have also been based in Romania and Vietnam, you’ll find that it’s very common for families that travel full time or for extended periods to be of mixed nationalities.
There is so much to explain about our globetrotting lifestyle, I’ll keep it brief, links in this post will take you to more in-depth information to maybe help you on your way to travelling the world with your family.
How to Afford Full Time Travel?
A short family round the world (RTW) trip can be funded on savings.
This is how we got started and year 1 cost us $30,000 back in 2013.
In 2019 I honestly don’t think it would cost much more as prices seem to have dropped as travel slumps.
Of course, if you’re packing a deflated currency like the UK pound, it would be much harder for you now.
You need to cut all expenses back home, you can’t continue to pay a mortgage or big bills while you’re on the road full time or permanently. We rented our house out, others sell if home ownership looks like too great a financial burden.
- How did we raise that $30,00
- Break down on spending for our first year on the road
After that one year lump sum ran out we had to start earning. We started our first travel blog in 2012, that was bringing in a useful amount of money within 6 months. Today our blogs fund our lifestyle.
We are also lucky in that we have 2 passports, my husband has been able to work in London from time to time to get us through financially.
The Kids’ Education & Extended Travel
Homeschooling is very popular and growing around the world. Partly this is because of dissatisfaction with an outdated school system, partly because homeschooled kids have such great outcomes and partly because more and more parents are working remotely and staying home to be with their kids.
Of course, the internet is better than any classroom, anyone can learn anything online.
When homeschooled kids travel, the buzz word is worldschooling, learning from the world and what is around them. It’s so much better to take your kids to the learning that have them learn from books.
Practicalities of Finding Accommodation For Full Time Travel Families
Some families ” slow travel” they go from town to town renting apartments for extended periods.
That’s not how we do it because we’ve found it’s not what we enjoy.
Other full time family travellers prefer to house sit their way around the world, looking after other people’s pets and gardens and living in their homes, again, we very rarely do this.
We are more traditional backpackers, travellers or holidaymakers, we move fairly fast when we’re actively travelling, staying in guest houses and hotels.
We also have a base in London and in Romania that we return to for ” down time” to catch up with work and school work.
Because we own such large travel blog, we sometimes have free hotel stays in exchange for promotion, so our luxury stays don’t need to be self-funded.
Resources we use include AirBnb ( join here for a discount), always Agoda for Asia, Booking.com and Hotels Combined. In the USA we swear by Priceline. Sometimes we book in advance, sometime we wing it.
Health and Sickness on the Road
There are doctors and dentists everywhere in the world, it’s really not an issue.
We’ve tested out hospital care in Thailand, my husband had emergency surgery and service was fantastic.
Obviously you need good travel insurance to cover any big emergencies like this.
Look into travel vaccinations but don’t feel you need every one the travel clinics offer you. They’re out to make money.
It’s often a lot cheaper to get your vaccinations in Asia, we got some in Kaula Lumpur, but Bangkok is supposedly superb for this.
We’ve visited dentists in London, Australia, Romania and Guatemala, doctors in UK, Australia, Guatemala, Malaysia, Thailand and Laos. It’s never been a problem and we get sick rarely.
Living Without Possessions
Everything we own fits into 2 large backpacks ( mum and dad) and 4 carry-on sized backpacks ( one each).
We have enough “stuff” for multi climate travel, anywhere in the world. We carry toys, school books, laptops, kindles, phones and specialist travel gear.
When we need something we buy it, so for our treks in Nepal we stocked up in Kathmandu, for our cruise ship Atlantic crossings, we hit the sales in London.
The trick is to “let it go” if something has been used for it’s purpose, leave it behind. There’s no point carrying stuff you don’t need.
Our major possessions from our home in Australia, we sold. A few things are stashed in the attic, but I can honestly say we’ve never missed any of the “stuff” and living a more minimalistic lifestyle is cheaper, lighter and less stress.
By way of update we did eventually have to go back home and at the time I was very glad we kept some things, cross with myself for keeping some. My advice to anyone would be to sell up, get rid of everything. Houses are a millstone and a money pit. I’ve changed this opinion over the years, through experience.
Missing Friends and Family While Travelling Permanently
We honestly don’t miss people much.
We have a few friends around the world that we make a point of visiting from time to time and others that we bump into on the road intermittently.
We find that old friends and family can’t adjust to a life shift like this and fall by the wayside, you make new ones with more similar outlooks.
These days, with Skype, it’s super easy to stay in touch and talk face to face if you want to.
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We hope this goes some way towards explaining how we do and did what we do. If you have any questions on this full time family travel lifestyle, please put them in the comments below. We have a free facebook support and advice group for families aspiring to change their lives as we have, you can join Living Differently, the group here, you can also sign up to follow our website by email news updates, below. There are many more family travellers out there, long term, full time, extended and permanent and we all do it in different ways, this is our way and we hope you find yours. We have hundreds of blog posts on this website that will tell you everything you need to know.