10 Things You Need to Know Before Traveling Full-Time with Kids | Family life

10 Things You Need to Know Before Traveling Full-Time with Kids

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Have you ever wanted to spend more time with your kids, experience travel together, and connect on a new level? Well, strangely enough, COVID-19 may have just opened up that door for you! 

As the world continues to shift into a new future, more and more families are realizing the power of working and learning remotely, and the ability it has to open up their travel schedule. 

The worldschooling trend is expanding exponentially in the travel community. More and more families are awakening to the possibility that they can be fully location-independent. And, yes, that could mean relaxing on a beach in Bali or gazing out at Machu Picchu. 

Looking to our future of online learning for kids, this is the perfect opportunity (post-covid) to take that leap of faith and explore the world full-time!

The truth is, traveling with your kids is one of the best choices you will make in your life. 

When I was 14, my family decided to leave behind our life in Venice, Italy, and go explore the world full-time, learning on the road as we went. One hundred countries and thousands of memories later, these experiences have shaped my entire worldview, taught me lessons about life and myself, and given me the ability to immerse myself into any culture and learn from it first-hand. 

Travel is the education of the future. 

Kids who travel are able to see the world with new eyes, act with compassion and integrity, and connect with people who live on the other side of the planet. 

Not only will your kids see so many wonderful places, they will also grow and challenge themselves in new ways, creating more grit, passion, empathy, and curiosity. 

So, for every parent out there considering taking this important leap to live the life of their dreams, here are 10 things you must know before traveling full-time with kids: 

1. Travel Awakens Curiosity 

Mom and son on a camel in front of a pyramid
Photo courtesy of Kaitlin Murray

With each new destination and place to discover, your kids will be immersed in new languages, cultures, colors, and things to see. As a child growing up on the road, the more things I learned, the more questions I started asking. 

I started thinking things such as, “Why do they dress like that here? Why do they say hello like that? What does that word mean?”

These questions are powerful in the minds of young children and can awaken their curiosity about the world and their passion to learn. 

If you feel as though your child doesn’t have a sense of curiosity about learning, travel can help unlock a part of them they never knew they had.

Exposing them to so many types of cultures, people, and ideas helps them to truly discover what they find interesting and what passions they want to follow. 

2. You Will Have an Immense Amount of Quality Time

A family posing in front of ancient ruins | Tips for traveling full time with your kids by Kaitlin Murray for Wanderful
Photo courtesy of Kaitlin Murray

In many families, you might only see your kids on weekends, between homework or activities, or friend play dates. Parents traveling full-time with kids have the chance to spend more time than ever together!

Being together and having these life-altering experiences can help you bond in new ways.

Perhaps that will lead to finding new passions, learning about new cultures, or doing new adventurous sports! 

Being together consistently can get frustrating at times. But, in the end, the memories are always worth it. 

In my last 7 years of travel, I have seen just how much I bonded with my parents on things that we never would have spoken about before. We have analyzed mummies and deciphered hieroglyphs; we have questioned the reason behind a solar eclipse and advocated for refugee rights in war-torn countries. 

The memories I was able to create as a teenager with my parents are ones I will treasure for the rest of my life.

3. The World Will Raise Them 

A family visiting Egypt and posing with two local tour guides showing peace signs
Photo courtesy of Kaitlin Murray

Euripides said “Experience, travel – these are education in themselves.

Traveling full-time and leaving a traditional school setting allowed me to expand my mind in ways I never thought possible, primarily through cultural immersion and continuous new experiences.

The more countries we visited, the more I learned about diverse places of the world. And, in the process, I grew my character and ability to adapt to new environments! 

No matter what ages your kids are, travel will help them see the world beyond their comfort zone. It will push them to understand that there are so many magical places out there to discover.

Through immersive learning in the field — or global nomadic education, as I call it — your kids can learn the real history and facts about a country in the actual location! 

4. People Will Question Your Choices 

A dad  and two young daughters all looking at the coastline on the horizon from a boat deck | Tips for traveling full-time with kids from Kaitlin Murray for Wanderful
Photo courtesy of Kaitlin Murray

Something to be prepared for is that people back home will question your choices and say it’s not the best thing for your kids. Sadly, there is no way around it or getting out of it.

In our experiences as a family, it took 20 years before some people back home opened their eyes to the power of travel and the benefit it can have on kids. 

The most common question I have gotten my entire life abroad is: “What about school?” Understandably, worldschooling is a new trend, and many people still haven’t traveled enough to see its magical qualities. 

Don’t be afraid if you feel like you are going against the crowd.

The truth is: you are a rebel when you step out into the world. When the moments of doubt arise, it’s important to remember that vision of why you wanted to travel in the first place.

Hold onto that dream as hard as you can.  

No matter what people say, remember that you are strong and it’s worth it!

5. Things Won’t Always Be Perfect

A girl sitting in the Sahara sands writing in her journal while a boy jogs by
Photo courtesy of Kaitlin Murray

Travel is messy, whether we like it or not. 

Traveling with kids can be even messier, but that’s all part of the adventure right? Whether it’s canceled flights and late nights in airports, dirty hotel rooms or catching a stomach bug, there is no escaping the madness. 

Every experience that has been challenging during my travels has made me a stronger person today. It has pushed me to become much more resilient. 

There have been many moments where we felt like giving up. But that fire inside of us for travel was stronger than the anger over any spilled chocolate milk or airplane meltdown.  

6. Expect the Unexpected  

A full-scale view of an ancient building with a family posing in front and looking very small
Photo courtesy of Kaitlin Murray

No matter how prepared you think you are, something always seems to come up to derail your well thought-out plans.

Before you begin your family adventures, get ready to expect the unexpected, because anything can happen. 

In our experiences, we have had flights canceled, borders shut on us, or random mishaps that left us feeling completely out of control of our own itineraries. 

No matter what happens, I would recommend always approaching these moments with humor and openness to learning. Many times, these “unfortunate” events created space for even better opportunities. 

Once my family and I prioritized being flexible no matter what happened, our travels became even more adventurous and exhilarating, as we let ourselves go with the flow a lot more. Soon enough, we found ourselves in unexpected adorable villages, making new friends in remote deserts and jungles, or seeing wonderful archaeological sites we didn’t even know existed.  

7. Give Back Whenever Possible 

Kaitlin Murray of Odyssey HQ posing with young kids in a refugee camp where she volunteered
Photo courtesy of Kaitlin Murray

Giving back has transformed the way I look at the world and everyone in it. At 17, 15, and 8 my siblings and I found ourselves in a Syrian refugee camp, looking to help any way possible. 

One week turned into 6 months there.

Each day, we volunteered at a make-shift school we created, danced with kids who had fled the most unspeakable violence, and created a new family with people the world described as “dangerous and “scary.” 

This is one of the many experiences we had of seeing the power of giving and sharing with others, and how it can transform people’s lives.

Even as young children, learning that other people aren’t as fortunate as we are opened our eyes to the reality of the world, and how we can do our part to help. 

We learned that every voice matters and that we can do our part in contributing towards  speaking out for justice and social change. 

As kids, we connected with other children and saw that — even though they had escaped war and were from the other side of the world — they were just like us. They were the same at heart and our shared humanity was more important than our differences. 

If you give back as a family, you can teach your kids the importance of helping others and compassion. That’s something that will stick with them for the rest of their lives. 

8. Find a Like-Minded Community 

A group of teenagers posing in front of ancient ruins
Photo courtesy of Kaitlin Murray

Having a community can be a life-saver when you are feeling alone out on the road, especially if you are used to having your girlfriends nearby or quality friend time alone.

Now that you are with your kids 24/7 in hotel rooms, museums, or very quiet restaurants, you will most likely be craving a community of other people who understand how you’re feeling. 

Finding a good community of like-minded people will empower you to keep going. You’ll also get new ideas and tips for where to go. And, most importantly, you will have new friends to explore the world together with. 

Wanderful is a perfect example of what can be achieved when like-minded explorers come together and connect! 

9. Travel and Cultural Immersion Will Boost Opportunities and Careers of the Future

Kaitlin Murray of Odyssey HQ speaking on stage with the MindValley University logo behind her | Wanderful
Photo courtesy of Kaitlin Murray

Businesses, universities, and start-ups are looking for creativity, flexibility, or cultural intelligence as a top skill. So it’s no surprise travel is a powerful way to boost your kids’ opportunities one day.  

Travel teaches kids that there isn’t just “one way” of doing and being in the world and that they can continuously grow and better themselves. 

As the world becomes more connected and globalized, growing up with empathy towards others and an ability to understand other viewpoints and communicate efficiently will greatly improve their skill set. 

Cultural intelligence and global citizenship are a crucial part of our world today. What better way than to learn than through immersing ourselves into the actual places. 

With problems today such as climate change, social injustice, or political tensions, it’s going to take globally-minded children to create solutions for our future! 

10. Don’t Take Time for Granted 

A family traveling full-time together posing in a motorized canoe
Photo courtesy of Kaitlin Murray

Most people ask us: So, why do you travel anyway?

Well, the truth is, just like the ancient Egyptians who left a legacy of stories behind, we want to create a family legacy of the stories of our lives. We want to create memories of fun, adventure, learning, and love, while we still have the time and health to do so. 

My mom has a very rare bone disease. With that came an understanding that life is short and we must make the most of it while we can.

She taught us to never take these moments for granted, and that each experience we have is a beautiful gift. 

Every vibrant sunrise is a gift, every funny selfie is a gift, every crumbled temple is a gift, every smile from a local is a gift, each moment of laughter and silliness are gifts.  

So my question for you now is: how are you going to make the most with the gifts you have?   

Now that you know everything you need before beginning your adventure, are you ready to get started traveling full-time as a family? If so, I’ll see you out on the road!

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