Family Long Term Travel. Money, Education and Planning.
Long Term Travel With or Without Children is Possible
Can a Family with Children Travel Round the World?
Many years ago I lived to travel, my life was all about earning enough money,by whatever means, to fund my next trip. This culminated in a 12 mouth round the world trip in 2002. Then came a period of settling, home renovations and child rearing. My children are 8 and 6 years old now and I believe we can now really travel as a family, indefinitely, independently, wherever the wind blows us.
Financing Family Long Term Travel
There are various steps you can take to maximise income and minimise expenses so that the large amount of money needed becomes obtainable. This is the second time I have travelled like this, so this is a list based on experience and new ideas.
- Voluntary frugality. That means, going without: eating, drinking and living simply. Foregoing fancy clothes and other luxuries. If the trip is your priority you won't feel like you are missing out. Work out what your weekly budget needs to be in order to save enough of your salary and stick to it.
- Maximise income, find out about making money on-line, Hub Pages, blogging, Amazon affiliate-ships, all these things can produce a trickle of income that can be maintained while you are travelling. Think about changing your job, I found that temping paid better than my permanent position. There are many books out there that can give you guidance with this sort of endeavour.
- Utilise your house. If you have a house and a spare room consider getting a lodger. Alternatively, move out, rent your house and live in a small apartment or tent. This will also save you money on utility bills. Maybe even sell that house.
- Sell your possessions. we all accumulate far too much junk, cluttering up our houses and lives. Start with the stuff you don't need and just sell it. Facebook groups where individuals can buy, sell, swap and hire goods and services from other locals are great for this. If you don't have anything similar near you, start a group. As you get closer to your trip sell the stuff you use ever day. That flat screen TV won't do well in storage and will be obsolete and valueless by the time you get back, so sell it now. Check out the link below for a few creative ideas on selling the junk. Everything you can do to minimise the amount of paid storage space you will need will also help. Find free storage wherever possible, storage is expensive.It feels good to let it go!
- Use your skills and hobbies, grow vegetables, make jewellery, facepaint, all these are good little earners. Maybe you could get a market stall on the weekends, enjoy counting the money.
11 Great ideas to help you sell your stuff.
- 11 Unusual Ways to Sell Your Stuff | Wise Bread
Don't want to just put your stuff on eBay or have a boring old yard sale? Try one of these uncommon techniques for selling your used stuff.
Travel is cheaper than staying at home
- Traveling Is Cheaper Than Living At Home
It most certainly is, so long as you travel slowly and squeeze every drop of learning, experience and enjoyment out of each location.
Family Travel and Education
Registered home schoolers will have no problems with this, many are unregistered they don't run into difficulties often.
Here in Australia, and in most countries, it is necessary to register as a homeschooler, this means that I have a piece of paper from the government saying I'm OK, I can teach, I have a plan and it's a good one. Taking responsibility for your children's education is a big step but it brings with it so many benefits, you are able to observe them growing and changing every day, not just on weekends and holidays, you can assess their individual needs and tailor their education perfectly. It is one on one, that is the Holy Grail of education that no school can ever hope to achieve.It is a great life, the children are free to find their own learning path and enjoy each new day in whatever way they see fit.
Now it is time to take it further, to hit the road and let them see, taste, touch and explore the world they have been learning about. The Colosseum, The Cairo Museum, the Great Wall of China, it's all out there to be enjoyed and nothing cements learning in a child's mind better that first hand experience.
I will lay off the written book work as we travel. Both my children will be reading by the time we leave, reading broadens vocabulary and at the same time teaches grammar and spelling, they will have so much time to read, it's a wonderful opportunity. The children will no doubt send post cards and emails, so English will be covered. You only need paper and pencils to teach maths, or even a stick and a sandy beach, so that's easy. You need to have a picture in your head of whatever your chosen curriculum looks like. nobody wants to take all the paperwork with them. The rest will flow naturally, through conversation. I have been planning my children's education around this trip, covering certain areas before we go, saving some to do as we travel, for instance, times tables will be easy to do on buses and trains, we can turn them into a game, so I've left those for now.
You need to know your children, know where they are at with their learning. I wouldn't recommend that anyone take their child out of school and dive into home schooling on the road straight away, It takes months to find your style, work out what you need to cover, find their weaknesses and strengths, discover how your child learns best.Giving the children work books to complete often makes parents feel they are doing their bit, but teaches little. That is my experience, the workbooks will be staying at home, paper, pens and pencils will be coming with us.
On shorter trips I wouldn't even think about formalised learning, kids learn all the time, every day, we are too conditioned to believe that learning only happens through teaching.
Planning your Family Round The World Adventure
This is the fun part. Decide where you want to go and try to link the countries into a sequence.Look at weather patterns in your destinations, try to avoid monsoons, cyclones and hurricanes. Camping in the wet season in Australia isn't fun, neither is staying in Rajasthan without A/C just before the monsoon breaks, I've done both, it's not the end of the world if you can't tailor things perfectly, but try to make things easy on yourself.
Many round the world tickets allow a number of flights in one direction only,this is the option we took last time. We flew from London to Moscow, took the Trans Siberian Express to Mongolia and China and then travelled overland through South East Asia to Bangkok, from there we organised a local flight to Kathmandu. we then worked our way through Nepal and India to Mumbai, we had a flight prearranged from there to Sydney. Our final flight was our return to London.
Research visas, how much time you can stay in each country? Is it easier to get the visas at home or during your trip? If you are planning to work while you are travelling see if tourist visas will allow it. This is usually much easier if you are under 30, we, over 30s, have a hard time with this. Look at costs of accommodation and food. A 3 month stay in India can be extremely cheap, a similar time in Europe is not.
This time we are not planning on booking an around the world flight, we will get a cheap flight into Asia and play it by ear from there. This option may not suit most travellers.
Finally, look at health considerations, this is a bigger issue with children, the risks you take with yourself seem crazy once you become a parent, there is a lot of research involved. Find out which areas are safer. For instance there in practically no risk of malaria in Bangkok or Chiang Mai, stray further afield and you may need malaria prophylaxis.
What's stopping you?
If you want to see the world with your family, may I suggest, you just do it. There is no time like the present, after all, who knows how many tomorrows we all have. Make the decision and start saving. Tell all your friends, there will be no turning back then. Stop buying things and start selling things. Watch the money start to build. Start establishing your presence on the Internet, get a feel for blogging and find out if it is possible for you to make money that way. I cannot recommend round the world travel highly enough, for personal enjoyment, gaining knowledge and life skills and making you feel good. Grab a backpack and your children and off you go, enjoy your trip.