Planning Family Travel: The First Six Months

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We are a family setting off to travel the world. We’re not planning a gap year, we’re planning to travel for as long as possible, indefinitely. This is a pre-departure post, we are 6 months away from the departure date we have set. We started planning this trip 1 year before departure. Most of the preparations have been around getting rid of our possessions, renting out our home, saving as much money as possible and sorting out insurance, packing, luggage, visas and health requirements. I started this travel blog before we left on our epic travel adventure.

Family planning to travel the world plan family travel

 We are halfway there. It is six months since we started planning a family travel adventure, 6 months before departure date. I’ve been travel blogging six months plus, how is the planning, saving, preparing, and money, coming along?

Planning Travel: Six Months Before Departure

 We are 6 months before departure on a huge family travel adventure. How much closer to our goal of heading off on a family gap year are we, and what have we been up to for the last six months? How much have we saved and is this new travel blog earning any money yet?

The dream has become a reality, we know that we ARE going, we’re certain of that.

Planning Travel and Planning Holidays

Travel and holidays (vacations) are two different things, don’t you think?

Travel is about exploring and learning, holidays are about relaxation and fun. I’m not big on holidays, but we’ve had a little of both in the last six months.

Obviously, we’re saving to leave and travel the world, so money has been tight, there has been a lot of just hanging out at home.

We had a big trip just before we decided to leave, we took the kids backpacking in Thailand, visiting Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Hua Hin and Koh Samet; It was great, we realised that backpacking with kids is more than just possible, it’s COOL!

We’ve had a few camping trips since making the decision, Lake Tinaroo for Homeschool Camp, that looked like such a good opportunity we couldn’t miss it. Camping cost us $8/night, so it didn’t break the bank.  The boys became proficient kayakers and we caught our first yabbies.

We had a long weekend at Tarzali Lakes on The Atherton Tablelands, where we glamped in the cold, saw platypus in the wild and hung out in dairies and wineries.

We had a few days camping in Cooktown by four-wheel drive track, it’s partly about the drive and partly about Cooktown itself. We call it a homeschool field trip, there is plenty of history to learn up there.

So even though we’ve been saving like crazy, we’ve had some fun, been out and about.

Travel Plans

We are old hands at long-term travel and we’ve ticked many places off our bucket lists already. We have no need of RTW tickets or detailed itineraries, so, as yet, no plans. When the time comes we will simply get a cheap ticket into Asia and take it from there.

What I originally posted in Where are we going to go? still stands, some old favourites and some new countries.

We’ve been thinking about vaccinations. Should we, shouldn’t we? I think we’ve decided we should and that it will be far cheaper to get them in Bangkok.

At the moment we are planning to leave at the start of July.

Blogging for 6 months

I became a blogger in the last 6 months. That’s something I never thought I’d say!

This old dog started to learn a new trick. I have learned a lot and there is much, much, more for me to figure out yet. I should apologise here for writing so incredibly badly when I started. Most of the old posts have now been rewritten, I think they’re better.

Writing does seem to improve with practice. I should also apologise for the mess I’ve made mixing up UK and US spellings. It’s a long story!

The blogging thing started when we had the great idea about changing our lives. I thought people may want to read about it.

Stupidly, I thought there would be nobody else out there like us, actually, there are loads of us.

I’ve discovered many, many, families travelling already, or still at home, planning their escape. Their blogs make inspiring reading, check out The Nomadic Family (their site has now been sold), they have been on the road for almost 2 years or Erin of Travel With Bender, an Australian family having what looks like a lot of fun. The Fites of Fite Inertia are going to have a big year, too, as they move closer to their departure date and start homeschooling.

The World Travel Family blog is now almost 4 months old.

I have 46 email followers (not many, please sign up, if you would, it’s important!)

I may have more followers through RSS but I totally don’t understand that.

260 Facebook fans on the page, all real, not through advertising.

280 Twitter followers

I joined G+ but I don’t understand that, either.

My Google page rank is still a big, fat, 0. I’ve done something to upset Google. (Update, PR  went up to 1 in February)

My Domain Authority is 24 and my Page Authority is 36.

How much money have I made? About $2. I’m doing it for love at the moment.

Traffic to the site is increasing steadily, so far it has had 2,510 visits from 1,294 unique people giving us 15, 513 page views. Everyone has to start small, we are on about 5,000 page views/month now.

My most successful post to date is this one What Does A Homeschool Day Look Like. The homeschool posts always do well.

The one I wish everyone would read is Travel Horror Stories, go on, read it, it’s good!

My husband, The Chef, has also just started a blog. You can find him at World Travel Chef. It’s very new, but he’ll get some content up as soon as he has time.

Saving Money for Travel

We’ve been saving hard, we have $15,000 ready to go. That amount of money has built up through cutting our weekly budget and not buying STUFF. Stuff is evil!

I’ve started selling excess stuff, everything we don’t use is going, I made, maybe $300, selling bits and pieces on a local Facebook page. The big garage sale last weekend made $1500 so far, with plenty more left to sell.

Obviously, we’re not selling the essentials yet, but all of our DVDs and CDs, most books, a few clothes and surplus objects, furniture and equipment are for sale. It is incredibly liberating to own less. I’ve realised that less stuff=less housework!

A few big expenses cut into our savings, a pool pump, laptop and camera had to be replaced, leaving us stuck on $15000 for the last few months.

We’ve had a couple of AirBnB guests, giving us a little extra cash and we hosted one set of couchsurfers. They were lovely, but it’s a lot of extra work that I don’t need.

We have done nothing about selling or renting the house. I’m a bit ashamed of that, we really should crack on or we’ll never get out of here. I have an excuse, we’re in the middle of the busy season here in Port Douglas and my husband, the chef, may as well live in his kitchen. It’s hard to do everything solo as a chef wife.

Homeschooling in Preparation to Travel

I got better at this homeschooling thing, chilled out, allowed myself to trust more in my children and in myself, and became more and more of an unschooler.

We joined the Cairns Homeschool Group, that has been invaluable, meeting like-minded people. The boys have made some lovely new friends, too.

I pushed my boundaries a bit by joining the Atherton Homeschool Group Camp at Lake Tinaroo. I’m very shy around strangers and I didn’t know a soul, I was a bit of a wallflower, but the boys had a ball. It was absolutely inspiring to meet all the homeschooled young adults at camp, they were delightful.

I completed my first homeschool report for D and got the thumbs up from the Queensland HEU. It was a lot of work. Next year’s report will be much shorter. D is “performing above peer level” is the only feedback we get. I’m very happy with what he has achieved this year and how he is developing into a lovely, caring, gentle and eloquent child.

I submitted an application to homeschool Boo which has just been approved, he would be starting school in a few weeks. I put together his curriculum for the next year and wrote a letter explaining how we would achieve those goals.

I have no big plans for changing the way the boys are educated on the road as we homeschool and travel. I’ve learned that this has a name, “worldschooling.”. They are well ahead with maths and science,  natural learning covers geography and history, they will continue to read and I hope to persuade them to write more, in travel journals, emails and letters. Other than that, there are a couple of online learning programs that we use casually, whenever we feel the urge.

Life and Health

Life improved enormously towards the end of the year.  I learned some stuff.

Once we decided to leave, everything started to feel much better, my happy bubble has been intact for quite a while now. Nobody has been able to pop it.

I’ve been a much better parent because of that.

I’ve disassociated myself from all the petty stuff that goes on in any community and got back to what’s important, my family. I’ve also stopped trying to change myself to fit in, I’ve been in this town for 5 years, It’s not for me, I’ve accepted that. Another thing that feels great.

I’ve gone back to being vegetarian, it was part of being me that I let slide when I moved to Port Douglas, another thing that doesn’t fit around here. Being true to yourself is so important, I must always remember that.

I’ve also been dabbling in paleo, my new healthy eating has left me feeling physically much better, I’ve lost weight, too.

Maybe I’ll feel good enough to get back into running soon, that was important to me for a long time, being here took that enjoyment away.

It’s part of being kind to yourself eating right, doing exercise that you enjoy, getting rid of negative influences and taking time to look after yourself, not putting everyone else first all the time. So many mothers do that.

 The Next Six Months of Planning a Family Travel Adventure

We’re all in a good place right now, excited about what 2013 is going to bring. We will continue to ditch the stuff and start buying some bits and pieces of travelling gear, my old trekking pack has been retired, I’m looking out for new ones for the kids and me.  That’s about all we need to buy, maybe new water bottles and shoes, we don’t wear shoes much in Far North Queensland.

So that’s it, the roundup of where we are, I’d love to leave on our family travel adventure next week, but it’s not possible just yet, odds and ends to tie up. Follow our dream, see what happens, and be there to see us leave, just enter your email address in the box at the end of this post.

The dream has become a reality, we know now that we ARE going, we’re certain of that and we’re almost ready to walk out and shut the door behind us. Find out where we chose as our first destination here.

This is an update from future me. I like reading these old posts, and remembering where we came from. Today, some 12+ years later, we left, we travelled, we had an amazing time for 6 or 7 years and the family travel lifestyle suited us perfectly. This tiny fledgeling travel blog became huge and more than funded our travel lifestyle for years. The global pandemic caught us and grounded us. But everything worked out, we bought a farm and its beautiful. The years of world travel were one of the best things we ever did, for us and for the kids. The next post in the planning family travel is this one, 3 months to go before departure. If you’d like to find out how to sell everything and travel the world, we have that too, or you could read our post on how to make money as a travel blogger. The kids never kept travel journals, that was a total non-starter, but they did eventually sit iGCSE exams and passed.

If you'd like to hire a car during your stay, use this car rental comparison tool to find the best deal!

We also suggest you take a look at this company to get a quote for all kinds of the more tricky adventure or extended travel insurance.

Try Stayz / VRBO for an alternative way to find rentals on homes/apartments/condos in any country!

About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

23 thoughts on “Planning Family Travel: The First Six Months”

  1. I just thought of something I forgot to ask before (told you I’d be pestering you!). I’m conscious of the time frame that my husband and I have in mind, we’d like to leave January or February next year. Being the beginning of November right now that leaves 2-3 months to make all the arrangements. Are we being realistic?

    • Depends what arrangements you mean. Buying a ticket takes a minute, that’s all you really need to do. If you mean selling all your possessions, dealing with your house/car etc, 2-3 months would be hard, it took us 12 months to save enough too. Do you mean vaccinations? we got ours in Kuala Lumpur, no way were we paying Australian prices!

      • Thanks Alyson, I wasn’t clear sorry! Yes, I meant things like the house etc. 2-3 months did seem tight, you just confirmed it. I hadn’t realised we could get vaccinations overseas, it sounds good to me!

        • Go to our “travel health” category in the right hand side bar. There are a couple of posts about vaccinations there. Bangkok has a great clinic but we started in KL so got a couple there. We didn’t bother with a few, just got the ones I thought mattered. Plenty of people don’t bother with vaccinations at all, you have to do what you feel comfortable with. Talk to your estate agent, see if they think your house is ready to rent/sell. It took quite a few weeks for us, we replaced the cooker top, painted a few walls then had to have a professional clean. There are lots of things to sort out.

  2. We love that our journey inspires you, because 9 months ago we were yu leaving Perth Australia for our round the world trip. So excited for you to start and cant wait to bump into you somewhere around the world 😀

  3. But the good news is Annie, I’m now page rank 1 ! Google have forgiven me. Now you just publish that nice guest post thing I did for you and I’ll be a PR 2 in no time. Can’t wait to leave, it’s so close now.

  4. Loved reading this. I laughed out loud at your descriptions of PR, big fat zero, and other comments that I have said myself.

    Good luck to you guys, not that you will need it. You are old hands at this after all.

  5. I am very happy to hear about all that you have written in this post. The idea of travelling with a family is one that seemed impossible a few months ago, but like you I have just started to embark on the travel blog adventure and I see now that it is very much possible from the people I have encountered online. I only changed my site from personal (for my family), to more public in January and it is an exciting adventure in itself. It has helped to show me that anything is possible. Happy travels and keep loving the adventure of life. I look forward to hearing more in the future.

    • That’s good to hear Jamie, that’s the beauty of the blogosphere, I’ve discovered so many family travel blogs in the last few months that have really helped us to feel good about what we’re doing. Well, not good, we already felt good. Maybe feel a bit more normal, like we’re not insane. Happy travels!

  6. Very exciting for you. Found you via The Nomadic Family on FB. We have been in Spain and blogging about 5 months, so nice to see someone else that is “new”. Good luck to you and feel free to check us out as well. WagonersAbroad on FB, Youtube, twitter and our own blog. 😉 thanks!

    • So new we haven’t even left yet Heidi! It’s pretty hard trying to put together a family travel blog when you’re not family travelling! Nice to be in touch with you, too, checking you out!

  7. Hi Alyson. Glad I found your blog. Such an exciting stage. I can’t wait to go again!!

  8. We’re six months out and six months from deciding to go too! We’ll be leaving in July for a six month family trip in SE Asia, the UK and a little of Europe.

    • That’s great Madeline, maybe our paths will cross in SE Asia, keep following and see where we are! I’m from the UK if you need any help with that. Good luck with everything

      • Thanks Alyson. We’re visiting family in the UK and will be there for Christmas. Hoping for some snow perhaps!

  9. So so happy for you all.

    Dreams becoming a reality and sharing with the world that it is possible.

    Dedication, commitment and enthusiasm to reach that goal.

    I hope you keep in touch throughout your travels now that we’ve come to Facebook know you.

    Best of luck with the next 6 months.


    • Aww, thanks Kym. Of course! This is supposedly a travel blog, with a bit of homeschool blog thrown in, sometimes I wander off into the realms of food blog ,too, but that is to be the chef’s department once we leave. It’s a bit tricky to create a travel blog while you’re not actually travelling, just watch this space! The exciting stuff is yet to come!

  10. Great roundup of updates! It’s so exciting to see the progress and nice job on all of the sales. What great results from garage sale – I have had the opposite (most of my sales from the local Facebook group, and our garage sale was not good in comparison). I love the idea that you are just going to buy cheap tickets and go.

    If you are still in/around SE Asia this time next year – hopefully we can meet up somewhere! It’s about when we’ll be hitting the road.

    Thanks for the mention in your post. We’re about 6-8 months behind you, so I’ll be watching, learning and living vicariously.


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