Would you believe we got the chance to interview a family of seven that travels full-time? We’re impressed! It can’t be easy traveling with five kids, can it? Let’s find out from Family Wanderers.
If there is a question we haven’t asked that you’re wondering, please send us a message, and we’ll try to include it in future interviews.
We are a loud and active family of 7. We enjoy everything about the outdoors. All seasons and landscapes. We love change, new experiences, meeting friends all over the world and learning together. My husband and I met at university and have been married for 22 years. We have 5 children:
**Adam (18) is a full-time missionary for our church in Brazil. He is a fantastic videographer.
**Kate (16) is leaving our nest this summer to pursue university studies and a study abroad program. She is studying physics and Russian with hopes of becoming an astronaut.
**Joseph (13) is our resident expert in history and basically spends all his time outside and never wears shoes. He wants to be a farmer.
**Noah (11) loves architecture and engineering. He is constantly building and tinkering with things.
**Anna (9) and loves art and horses
What Made You Decide To Travel Full-Time?
In 2010, my husband was at a crossroads with his career. We were a typical American family — over-scheduled and totally exhausted. We were running from one activity to the next. We decided to take an overseas assignment with my husband’s company. We packed some suitcases, bought one-way ﬂights to the Middle East, and moved the family to Dubai. We thought we would try it for one year. It completely reset our family life.
We started homeschooling. We loved having so much time together. Because our schedules were ﬂexible, we started to travel more. It gradually became our lifestyle and has shaped our family in so many ways.
That one year in Dubai turned into ﬁve years. We also lived in Canada and the UK and we traveled full-time around the globe for 18 months
What Do You Use For Accommodation?
We use Airbnb for accommodations when we travel as a family. We like having the extra room for my husband to work and the kids to do school. We love having a full kitchen to cook our own meals. We love being in a neighborhood when we arrive in a new country. We have always enjoyed meeting the neighbors and the Airbnb host to get a local perspective of the area.
Our best memories never include the main tourist attractions of a city. Our best memories are always the local sites; new friends you meet at the village park, ﬁguring out groceries at the corner market, etc.
I also try to ﬁnd Airbnb’s that are very family-friendly; a piano for the kids to practice their music, a backyard pool, bikes, etc.
We are very lucky that my husband can still work while we are traveling. His schedule is very ﬂexible. So we still have a steady and reliable income. He is a business consultant and his clients are based all over the world. So, he can pretty much work from any location (as long as we have good internet access).
There are times when he will have to leave us to go work onsite with a client, but then he just meets back up with us wherever we are. So we are ﬂexible with his work and it’s such a blessing that his career allows us to travel as a family.
When he is working, the kids and I do as much school as we can. Then when we’re all together, we focus more on family time and enjoying whatever country we’re in.
I would say we focus more on a yearly budget for travel versus monthly. I do the majority of our travel planning and try to stay within our yearly budget. Some areas of the world are very expensive for a large family, while others are more aﬀordable. For example, we spent 3 months in Australia and quickly found rental cars and accommodations to be quite expensive for a family of seven. So, the next several months we stayed in less expensive countries — the Philippines and Malaysia — to oﬀset those previous months. But over the course of the year, we stayed in our budget.
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—Don’t be afraid of less expensive countries. We found them to be charming, clean, and safe
—Book accommodations outside of the capital cities. Our Airbnb’s were usually 1 hour outside of the main hub of tourist attractions. You get a more local experience, less traﬃc and noise, and much cheaper rates. For example: When we visited Belgium, everyone told us to go to Brugge. We found a place that was much cheaper in Ghent. It was 45 minutes away from Brugge, but we could take day trips in to see the sites in Brugge, plus Ghent was a gorgeous little village as well.
—Book accommodations and rental cars for at least one month for great discounts. That’s a great bonus of “slow travel”.
—Don’t feel like you need to see every tourist site in the city. Lines are long and the tickets are expensive. Our kids always love to play at a local park, take a hike, play at the beach. We tried to prioritize family time over checking the box of trying to see everything in the city.
—Minimize, minimize, minimize! Pack lightly. You really could do without it! When you’re traveling full-time, less is more!
My daughter, Kate, would say she couldn’t travel without her violin. She packed it around to every country!
I would say you must have a really good, high quality, durable, waterproof backpack. You will use it every day as a carry-on for ﬂights, swim bag, day trip bag, hiking backpack, laundry bag, school bag, grocery cart…everything!
What Do You Do For Health Insurance?
We have an international plan through my husband’s work. So we are covered anywhere in the world.
Do You Homeschool? What Is Your Style Of Teaching/Curriculum?
We have been homeschooling for 10 years now. Our style is constantly changing and always evolving depending on the ages of my kids at the time, their interests, and where we’re traveling. We deﬁnitely try to cater to their subjects around our travels. We call it world schooling.
We do travel with a few curriculum’s that we’ve used throughout the years: k12 online for core classes, Story of the World for history, Meet the Masters for art, Epic App for reading, our Little Earth for current events, supplemental online classes (Khan Academy & Masterclass). We are always in the middle of a family read-aloud book. We encourage a lot of time reading, journaling, and being outside in nature. We also love watching documentaries on Curiosity Stream.
What's Your Favorite Place You've Visited So Far?
That’s a hard question. We have such great memories from so many diﬀerent countries. I would probably say Austria or New Zealand have been our favorites. They are both beautiful countries that are so family-friendly and have so much to do outside in every season. The landscapes are unbelievable! We will deﬁnitely be spending more time there in the future.
Is There Anything You Don't Like About Traveling Full-Time?
When we’re traveling, we miss extended family. The kids miss being around their grandparents and their cousins. We try to meet up with extended family often and that helps so much. We have met up with my parents in England, Dubai, Croatia. We went with my husband’s parents in Thailand. So, we make it work!
I think every country has a lot of great things to discover. We have enjoyed every country we’ve been to. It’s fun to uncover things you love in a country that you weren’t expecting to find.
Is There A Place You'd Consider Underrated?
One country we were pleasantly surprised with was Slovenia. I now call Slovenia the “best-kept secret in Europe”. I hadn’t really planned on going there, but a friend had mentioned that we should stay at Lake Bled. We were on our way to Prague and then we were going to be spending some time in Romania. We decided to stop in Slovenia for a few weeks and we completely fell in love with the country.
I also think Budapest, Hungary is totally underrated. It is just an absolutely gorgeous city with such a rich history. It’s easy to get around the city (very walkable and cheap public transportation), they have wonderful concerts, beautiful architecture, and it’s clean and safe. We have been a couple times and just really adore this city.
For islands, our family loves Mallorca in the Balearic Islands. It’s very inexpensive, beautiful beaches, hiking, biking, and it has near-perfect weather. The Spanish towns are fantastic to explore and you can’t go wrong with a family dinner of paella!
Do You Have Any Tips For Traveling With Kids?
—Be patient and flexible
—Build in a lot of time every day to be outside and active. They can’t be standing in a tour group or be quiet in a museum all day.
—Have easy-going mornings as a part of your daily schedule. If you start your day at a frantic pace as soon as you wake up it’s just exhausting and disheartening for everyone. Have a leisurely breakfast, let them play around the house, etc before rushing out the door.
—Pack healthy snacks & water
—Limit screen time (screens just make the kiddos cranky)
Where Can We Follow Your Travels?
“Travel is never a matter of money, but of courage.“
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