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  • Writer's pictureSarah S.

Travel on a Budget

Full-Time Travel with a Family: 5 tips to travel on a budget

It was 2018 when I heard terms being used like “location independent” and “digital nomads.” I saw articles about families traveling the world full-time. This concept resonated with me and since 2019 we have been one of those families.

Tip #1 Research

Search the internet and you will find an endless supply of full-time traveling families.

Some go RVing, others choose to sail the seas. Learn as much as you can. Podcasts are a great way to hear real stories.

We decided to sell off everything (click here for more on that decision), except our Nissan Sentra, and traveled across the US using Airbnb and VRBO for about 1 month at a time before heading overseas.

Tip #2 Income

Think about how you will generate income. If you are involved in anything web-based, or that can be done remotely you are almost there. For everyone else, it may take a little more strategy and planning.

Is what you are doing now something that can be parlayed into a home office? I’ve even heard of some employers allow their employees to work at different locations abroad if that option is available. Do you have freelance skills such as web design or photography? If office skills are more of your thing another option might be to find work as a virtual assistant.

Tip #3 Minimize

Learning to minimize and rid your life of unnecessary objects is daunting. Saving precious heirlooms and items with sentimental value is a good place to start.

Remember, most things are replaceable.

The bottom line is we didn’t want to pay storage costs for material objects to collect dust. In order to travel full-time with a family and on a budget, we really assessed what was worth saving and what was ready for donating, recycling, or throwing away.

Tip #4 Make a Budget

You may be eliminating some of your expenses, like utility bills, Costco trips, and other incidentals, but budgeting is key to making travel work.

Travel with a cooler and ice packs for taking food on the road and picnics for days out exploring.

The first thing we do upon arriving at our accommodations besides unpacking the car is to get food and supplies at the grocery store.

We make all meals at home, carry snacks, and make picnics if we won’t be home for lunch. Don’t get me wrong, we budget for a meal out here and there or an ice cream run, but you will save a ton of cash and the kids will have all the snacks they like.

Everyone onboard has a reusable water bottle.

Tip #5 Live Like A Local

Instead of hitting all the tourists spots, theme parks, and gimmicky excursions, look and see what is around. We have a national park pass, which is great for getting access to loads of cool places on the road.

I am obsessed with libraries, so get to know the library in the town you’re visiting. I have brought my kids to them since they were babies. They have free WIFi when you need it, access to printers and copy machines (it’s the little things sometimes), programs for kids, and of course books. But, I’ve actually been able to borrow state park passes from them.

Are there local parks to be hiked? Rivers and lakes in the vicinity? Local beaches with tidepools or cool marine life? A lot of lakes allow kids under 16 to fish for free and without a license, so we get a low-cost fishing pole and let them have at it.

I hope this gives you a little insight into making your dream a reality. Any other ideas, let me know!

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