How to take a year off to travel the world as a family

photo by CC user Peter McGahan on Flickr

Think you can’t gallivant around the world like your backpacking friends because you decided to start a family after college?

While there are more vexing financial and familial responsibilities to juggle, it is totally possible to travel the world as a family if you are determined to make it happen.

In this post, we supply the “how” to help you get there…

Be ruthless with your budgeting and sell most of your stuff

If you want to travel the world as a family, you need to make it your #1 financial priority once you make the decision to pursue this life goal.

Frivolous lifestyle expenses such as dinners and movies out will need to be cut, and birthday and Christmas gifts will need to subject to a very modest amount ($20 or less per kid).

If you can, try to drill into them that the entire coming trip will be like one continuous present that they’ll be able to open every day for a year, as it might enable you to put holiday gift-giving on hold during your savings drive.

By staying disciplined in your finances, and shedding all your excess stuff via eBay and Craigslist, you’ll soon have the war chest you’ll need to get through a year of travel in relative comfort.

Read up on and learn how to home school your kids

Worried that your kids will fall behind in their education? You might be doing your young ones a favor by taking them out of their current environment for a year, as many feel that the current system focuses too heavily on rote learning and teaching to the test.

Conversely, travel can prove to be a superior learning experience that will give your children skills and a perspective that their peers won’t ever get from from being spoon fed “facts” in a classroom.

However, it is reasonable and advisable to continue the learning process in a semi-structured manner in subjects like math, science and the arts.

If you wish to do this, there are tons of resources on the web that can help you learn how to home school (world school?) your kids.

Order them and study diligently, soon-to-be professor emeritus of the University of Travel!

Take on some freelance work to stay sharp in your career and to defray costs

Another common concern involves the careers of parents reading this – how will you ever cope being away from your field for a year?

Simple answer: people switch careers and jobs all the time and manage the transition, and teachers go on year long sabbaticals and aren’t any worse for wear afterward.

You can do this … just be sure to take time to study publications in your field on a regular basis, and put yourself out there in the freelancing world to keep your saw sharp.

Who knows, you might just like the flexibility of being a remote worker better than your old job after it is all said and done!

Stay in places much longer than other travelers

One final note that will help you preserve your travel savings as your year abroad as a family progresses – stay in places longer than your peers.

While many backpackers are content to jump from one place to another every 3-4 days, the added costs of moving around as a family unit will make you burn through your cash way too quickly if you try to emulate these single travelers.

Instead, linger for 1-2 weeks in your destinations … not only will you save money, but you’ll get a better idea of the way life flows there, and get to experience its culture more deeply.

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