You Can Take A Gap Year With Your Family!

I know what you’re saying…

I like this whole “quit your job and travel for a year” thing, but I have children.

Well, you’re in the right place! I think that taking a career break is a fantastic way to recover from burn out or flat out block it in the first place. And you’re not the only one who’ll benefit from a gap year. Your kids will too.

How can I travel while my kids are still in school?

This is one of the most common questions I hear from parents when I talk about taking a career break to travel (which is what I talk about ALL THE TIME).

You don’t have to wait for your kids to be grown before you do it!

I know school and friends are important for kids. But school in 2019 is very different from school in 1980 (when I carried my Sesame Street lunch box to first grade.) School is digital now. And your kids’ friends are online too.

There ARE families who travel full-time with school-aged kids.

Meet QuadSquadAbroad. This family of 4 has been traveling for 6 months in SE Asia, and they’ll be traveling full-time for at least another 6 months. That’s right, they’re traveling for a year with their daughters who are ages 13 and 3.

You Can Travel Full-Time With Kids

Screenshot of the YouTube livestream with Stephanie from Vaycarious and Alicia from QuadSquadAbroad talking about being a digital nomad family.
My YouTube video with Alicia from QuadSquadAbroad had some technical difficulties (I was livestreaming from Chapala, Mexico), but her info on longterm budget family travel is FIRE!

They left their home in Colorado to take on a new adventure, but this isn’t their first time taking their kids overseas, so they’re the perfect people to show us how it’s done.

Alicia and her husband used to teach English in international schools, including in Conakry, Guinea. And they did that when their oldest daughter Skye was pre-school aged.

Alicia says that this was an amazing informal education for Skye. She could speak several languages before she even started school.

What do we do about school?

Home schooling while you travel is called world schooling. Clever, right?

If you’re from the US. home schooling laws vary by state, so check with your state about schooling options. Your state might have an online school, so you wouldn’t have to be the teacher.

Alicia’s oldest daughter, Skye, was in the 6th grade when they left Colorado for SE Asia, and her school allowed her to finish her school year remotely! When school starts in the fall, she’ll be attending an online state school.

Will my kids enjoy the digital nomad lifestyle?

Even the most seasoned travelers have moments when they’re tired of longterm travel. But there are new adventures every day, and kids especially love this lifestyle.

Photo of a black family of 4 with elephants in Thailand
Photo courtesy of @QuadSquadAbroad

Alicia’s daughters are getting a ton of benefits from traveling full-time for the year. They’re learning languages, gaining an appreciation of different cultures and making friends they’d otherwise never have met. Even Alicia can’t believe how wonderful it’s been to watch her girls grow during this year.

How much does it cost for a family to travel for a year?

Alright, now we’re getting down to business. 

Alicia and her family are traveling on a monthly budget of $1600 US. You read that right! I don’t know a family of four that could live anywhere in the United States on that budget.

But like I said on my own video about budget travel, SE Asia is built different. It’s a budget traveler’s playground.

Brace yourself for the most shocking info Alicia has for us: This budget includes hotel stays! 

For this price, I assumed they were staying in Airbnbs and hostels, which is how I did it during my grown up gap year. In fact, I have a list of 50 Cities Where You Can Airbnb for $500/month. Click the link to check that out.

But there’s no way I could have stayed within budget with hotels. But their secret is that they negotiate hotel rates for longer stays. 

Until our conversation, I didn’t even know that was a thing! I’m so glad Alicia spilled the beans on that. She promised that she and her husband would make a YouTube video all about it.

Make sure you subscribe to QuadSquadAbroad on YouTube and click on the bell icon to get alerts so that you’ll be notified when they drop their video on negotiating with hotels.

And her family has a travel companion business, so if you want to see the world with them, just holler!

Photo courtesy of @QuadSquadAbroad

The least expensive part of travel in SE Asia, and pretty much anywhere in the world, is the food. Even in restaurants, $10/day is plenty for one person.

You can really stretch your food budget when you travel more slowly. By staying in one place longer, you can grocery shop for the family when you have access to a kitchen. And when you don’t, eating from street stalls is cheap and delicious!

What about healthcare for my family while we travel?

Travel medical insurance is critical to have when you’re traveling out of your home country. You don’t even want to know what it costs to be medically evacuated back to the United States. We’re talking over $80,000 in most cases. So your travel medical insurance needs to cover medical evacuation and hospitalization.

You might find that it’s really cheap to pay for your other medical care directly out of pocket, especially when you’re traveling in budget destinations. (An ER visit in the Philippines for Leishmaniasis cost me $35 including meds.) Or when you’re traveling to a country that has universal healthcare / insurance for tourists.

Insurance isn’t included in my monthly budget breakdown because I’d already paid for 1 year of coverage before I left home. I get an annual policy from World Nomads, which is specific to this type of longterm travel. I forgot to ask Alicia, but I’m sure their $1600 doesn’t include their annual insurance either.

How soon can we leave?

You can quit your job to travel for a year, even with a family. Alicia and her family are living proof. If you have questions about it, or if you just want to brag to me about your travel plans, hit me up on Twitter or Instagram. I’m @vaycarious.

Happy Travels!

About the Author: Hey! I', Stephanie Perry. I quit my job to travel the world at 41. Now I teach other women to do the same thing. I also house sit around the world and chase the perfect sunset picture.

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