Last Updated 01/09/2021
Worldschooling can cost as little, or as much, as you want it to cost. As a very rough ballpark figure, $100 per day is achievable for a family of 4. Costs depend on where in the world you happen to be worldschooling that day, or month, how and what you choose to eat and drink, what standard of accommodation you require, along with what mode of transport you take and how many admission fees you pay for. There are no fixed overheads in the educational part of worldschooling, we’ll look at some figures for various parts of the world.
Generally, worldschooling is cheaper than staying home if you live in an expensive country and will be worldschooling in the cheaper parts of the world. Worldschooling families sell their homes or stop paying rent and utilities in their home countries. They get rid of cars, possessions, commutes, and loans. Their only expenses are where they happen to be travelling at that time.
What is worldschooling? Worldschooling is a type of homeschooling while traveling (or unschooling) in which a large part of a child’s learning comes from the world, their environment. Worldschooling children need to experience many diverse environments as part of this process. We have a web story on travel, homeschooling, worldschooling here.
Please check and double-check all the information we give you locally as times, places, dates, and services do, as we found, change often. Restrictions and closures may apply.
Costs of Worldschooling
Before worldschooling, familiarise yourself with the costs and expenses, both before departure costs, and on the road costs.
- visas, visa runs, visa agents, and visa extensions
- ferries and cruise ships
- car rides, taxi, Uber, private transfer, driver, etc.
- nightly accommodation in hotels, guest houses, hostels or rented appartments
- food and drink
- electrical repairs and replacements
- internet connections and SIM cards
- any online classes, tutors, or learning programs (free resources do exist)
- admission to historical sites, museums, etc.
- toiletries and medication
- specialist equipment, eg, trekking gear, snorkelling gear, scuba gear.
- Classes and courses at your destinations such as cooking classes, tours, craft classes, learning to scuba dive.
- Guides and/or porters for trekking or hiking
- international schools, physical or virtual, plus exam entrance fees for iGCSEs
- passports and renewing passports from overseas
There are probably more costs, but the above is a fairly comprehensive list based on our personal experience.
The most expensive part of worldschooling for us was undoubtedly nightly accommodation. We kept flights to a minimum as we were mindful of the environment and our budget, but paying for hotels and guest houses did add up.
Food costs vary enormously too. In Vietnam and sometimes Thailand you can eat something delicious for $1 each. In Kathmandu we’ve seen the same. I’m sure you know how expensive eating out is in western Europe, Australia, and the US.
In the more expensive parts of the world you’ll likely need to self-cater and buy your food at local markets and supermarkets. In Southeast Asia food is mostly cheap and available everywhere. It’s also some of the best food in the world. Southeast Asia with kids is a hugely popular choice for worldschooling families and worldschooling communities.
Accommodation costs come down if you stay in one place for multiple months and rent a flat or apartment. However, in doing that you’ll likely have to pay for your own utilities, internet, laundry, cleaner, toilet tissue, cleaning products, etc. Consider those factors carefully.
Typical Worldschooling Costs
As we found when we started looking into typical gap year costs, prices and expenditure varies tremendously. Our most expensive gap year on our list was $38,000 per person, our cheapest was $8,000 per person.
A lot depends on how many people are travelling with single travellers paying a lot more than families and couples. If you’re travelling with kids the per person cost does come down slightly. Over the age of about 12 years you’re paying for extra adults, basically, but there are still savings in that families will share rooms and other accommodations.
The age of your children and how much they cost to travel with and worldschool, is just one factor in considering the best age to travel with kids. Travel with teenagers, and worldschooling teenagers, we found to be particularly rewarding and of benefit to them. (My elder son has passed his iGCSEs and is studying for A levels at the time of writing this post, worldschooling was great for him)
The Cheapest Destinations For World Schooling
Through our experience, the cheapest countries for world schooling are Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos. Most parts of Southeast Asia and South Asia are quite affordable, with Malaysia and Singapore being more expensive.
Within these countries, the cheaper parts will be away from the big tourist destinations, beaches, and resorts.
Sri Lanka, India, and Nepal are also good cheap places for worldschooling but if you’re planning treks, guides and porters add significantly to costs. Admissions to historic sites in Sri Lanka are also more costly.
Egypt was cheap, but the flights to get there were difficult and expensive for us. So don’t just consider the cost of living in the country, consider the cost of getting there.
Our most expensive worldschooling destination was, of course, Bhutan. Here the daily tourist fee was hugely expensive and so were the flights to get there. Big cities like London, Paris and New York also tend to be expensive for worldschoolers.
Our Worldschooling History
We worldschooled our two children for at least 7 full years, visiting around 50 countries in the process, on 5 continents. We never made it to Antarctica but one day we will!
For most of the time we travelled at a normal pace for gap year travellers or anybody, family or not, taking part in extended travel.
From time to time we had periods of slow travel, where we stayed long term (months) in places we enjoyed. These included London, Wales, Thailand (Chiang Mai and Bangkok), Vietnam (Hoi An), and in Europe, Romania.
We also own a home in Australia, so I think we can count our limited time in Australia as worldschooling as the kids were certainly learning from this environment, it was new to them. We go into the costs of worldschooling in all these places.
How Do Families Afford Worldschooling?
How families afford worldschooling varies from family to family. We funded our travel and worldschooling at first on savings. Later my husband took jobs, eventually, our websites earned us a very good income and funded our travels fully. Some families have remote jobs, digital nomad parents aren’t uncommon now. Most are resourceful and think and live differently
So will you do it? Will you give your kids and your family this incredible gift? It worked out wonderfully for us, no regrets at all. Those 7 years were truly life changing for all of us, as was the decision to homeschool over a decade ago. Worldschooling and extended travel was our best life, and as the world opens up, we hope to live it again. I don’t think it’s too early to be planning now. Head over to our post on planning a family gap year (or longer!)