Looking back on our travels so far as a family, I still can’t believe that we were able to pull off our family travel goals of becoming a nomadic family! Since 2018, we have been traveling full-time and raising our kids as worldschoolers in the process.
It seems like a lifetime ago that my husband and I were sitting down together trying to put down on action plan of how we would prepare for our big trip. And now here we are, with more than three year’s worth of family travel experiences under our belt!
This post was updated on September 30, 2021.
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The power of travel
When I think about how we as a society can better improve our interactions with each other, I truly believe that travel can play a big role. This isn’t a classist thing. Even travel to another city, or another neighborhood, is still travel.
It’s all about periodically putting yourself in an environment that’s different than your day to day. It’s understanding that there’s more than one way to live life. And it’s knowing that you don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune to gain this perspective. There are so things we can gain from travel, whether it’s the educational benefits of travel, or the social impact it can have on society.
As parents, we have a responsibility to teach our kids how to be decent human beings. Part of raising decent human beings is teaching them empathy. And one of the best ways to gain empathy is through family travel experiences.
Click here to read my posts exploring the topic of worldschooling.
Thinking outside the box
In early 2018, my husband and I were both working corporate jobs, locked into a mortgage, and loaded with credit card debt. We didn’t think it would be possible to travel with so many things tying us down. But we somehow figured out a way to achieve our family travel goals.
We still work corporate jobs, but now they’re remote. As for our house, the rental income we earn covers our mortgage. And the decrease in living expenses helps us better manage our credit card debt while we travel.
What helped propel us towards our family travel goals was the realization that we don’t have to follow a specific script to live our life. We don’t have to give up everything to live a life of travel. And likewise, we don’t have to give up travel to pursue a career.
Making your family travel goals your BHAG
When I used to work a corporate job, our company CEO always talked about having a BHAG. A Big Hairy Audacious Goal. You can apply this to life too. We need BHAGs in our lives. It’s the only way that we can achieve extraordinary things.
Buy Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4-Hour Work Week to get inspiration and start thinking of some BHAGs for your family.
Regardless of how big or small your family travel goals are for this coming year, you have the power to make them happen. Maybe you’re a new parent, and planning a vacation to Maui with your toddler. Or maybe you’ve been dreaming of taking a family gap year, but are afraid to make that leap.
Whatever your travel dream, it’s completely possible! I’m not just saying this to be melodramatic. I truly believe that we can achieve whatever we set out to do. But if you need a little push in making those dreams a reality, here are a few tips that might help.
1. Identify what you want
In order to realize your family travel goal, you need to be able to identify it. Say out loud what you would like for your family.
At the beginning of each year, my husband and I take some time to sit down and figure out what exactly we want for our travels. Do we want to visit a lot of countries in a year, or do we want to slow down and take our time in fewer countries? Identifying what kind of family travel experiences you want can help guide you in making your goals a reality.
If you’re looking for ideas of places in the world to explore, take a look at the places we’ve visited through our travels:
2. Set a deadline for your family travel goals
The biggest thing that helped us with our family travel goals was setting a deadline. In a way, it held us accountable for our goals, by making sure that we got it done by a certain date. And it gave us a set timeline for our family travel planning.
When we chose July 1, 2018 as our launch date for our around the world trip, it was because it coincided with the end of the school year for our kids. When thinking about a deadline for your goals, choose a date that seems achievable, yet not too far off.
3. Break up your family travel goals into manageable chunks
Whenever I have a big task to complete, it always helps to break it up into smaller chunks. This method is no different when it comes to trying to achieve your family travel goals.
It seemed daunting for us to figure out how to leave for an around the world trip. But we broke it up into chunks: travel planning, worldschooling, packing up the house, figuring out income for travel, preparing our will, and putting our house for rent. Tackling the chunks were still challenging, but it was a lot more manageable than trying to tackle the big picture all at once.
4. Don’t get discouraged by setbacks
Our journey to full-time travel was not easy. We definitely suffered some major setbacks throughout 2018. Owning a house means that you occasionally have to pay for repairs. And right before we left for our trip, our sewer pipes decided to break, which set us back on our budget by at least $10,000!
But it didn’t deter us from achieving our goal! As you work towards your own family travel goals, you will undoubtedly stumble upon setbacks and obstacles. But don’t let them deter you. Figure out a way to work around them.
5. Seek out families who are already doing what you want to do
Having role models is beneficial no matter what stage in your life you are in! Role models can help inspire you to try new ideas. And they allow you to see how things that you assumed were impossible are actually quite possible.
The world of family travel and worldschooling is full of so many amazing families who are traveling the world with their kids. Take a look at these travel with kids blogs for family travel role models to connect with. Don’t be afraid to send a message asking for advice. Most likely, they will be more than happy to help you out.
6. Tell someone about your family travel goals
The biggest step in helping us reach our family travel goals in 2018 was announcing our intentions to the world. This goes back to the concept of accountability.
By making our goals public, we not only became accountable to ourselves, but also to others, who were now expecting us to achieve those goals. Making your goals known to others can be a great motivator.
My husband and I are always coming up with new ideas. But it seems like the ideas that tend to stick are the ones that we’ve shared with other people. It’s as if in our minds, telling others about our ideas makes it more real.
You don’t need to make a huge announcement. Even telling one or two people can be enough to make the goal concrete in your mind.
7. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments to your family travel goals
That said, don’t be afraid to adjust your goals, even if you’ve publicly announced them to others. Before we left for our travels, we had ambitious goals to visit over 17 countries during our family gap year. But as we started traveling, we quickly realized that pace of travel wasn’t going to work for. So we adjusted.
We pared down our list of countries, and slowed down our pace. This deliberate slow down has given us an opportunity to dive deeper into countries like Mexico and Indonesia. And it’s allowed us to maintain a more balanced lifestyle as a family.
Adjusting your goals doesn’t mean you’ve abandoned them. It means that you are actively refining them so that they are in line with what you want in life.
Need more tips on prepping for a family gap year? Read my posts here.
What kind of family travel experiences will you have in the coming year?
As you think about travel dreams for the year, think about the type of family travel experiences you want to have. What memories will you make with your family? What kind of family travel goals will you achieve?
We plan to continue our travels for the next year, and possibly beyond. So far, we’ve visited Mexico, Costa Rica, Italy, France, Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, and Vietnam. Moving forward, we plan to visit Ghana, Zambia, and return to Europe again.
We also have plans to grow our businesses and continue to be location independent with our jobs. Thank you for following us on our journey, and serving to be our inspirations for making our goals a reality.
Do you have family travel goals for this year? Share them in the comments!
Need help thinking through how to budget for a family trip? My Travel Budget Worksheet is just the tool you need! Click here to receive your free copy by signing up for my newsletter.Want to connect with me on social media? Find me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter. And for those of you who are dedicated to traveling more responsibly, sustainably, and ethically, join over 200 like-minded families on my Facebook group, Responsible Family Travel.