While becoming a digital nomad family is a bit harder than becoming a solo digital nomad, it is very possible to be one with family. Choosing this lifestyle as a family means you'll have to take everyone's needs and wants into consideration rather than just your own.
If you're thinking of becoming a nomad family, there are a few things you should consider before making that leap. The more people you have going with you on your nomadic journey, no matter the age, the more planning involved to make it happen.
Here are a few things you should plan for to make your switch to a nomadic lifestyle a success.
The kids need an education but y'all are traveling the globe. How are you supposed to ensure they're educated and still give them an experience they'll never forget?
The school is no longer down the road and the school bus doesn't stop to pick them up. Where do you start in finding how to education alternatives for kids? What are your options?
Before we became digital nomads, we considered these three options for school: homeschooling, online school, and school in our host country.
The most flexible option is homeschooling. You can do it from anywhere at any time without any constraints. With homeschooling, you can teach your kids in an Airbnb in Singapore, an RV while camped in the Great Tetons, or on a sailboat in the middle of the ocean - it is an unlimited schooling option.
However, it isn't for everyone. It takes a special kind of person with a special kind of patience to teach your own kids. My wife is a teacher, and a great one (in my humble opinion), but when it comes to teaching our kids it is a whole other animal. It is difficult to be a parent and a teacher simultaneously.
That's said, homeschooling can be a very rewarding experience under the right circumstances. Despite the challenges of teaching your own kids, I think it is one of the better - if not the best - options out there.
There are a bunch of resources out there for homeschool families. Many are not geared towards nomad families, but the resources they provide are still useful.
If you're a superhero, you can create your own curriculum or you can work off the hard labor of the many people who've gone before you to do this already. Abeka has developed a curriculum specifically for homeschooling. It is what I used when I went to school in the '90s, so they have been around for a while (yes, I was homeschooled).
Homeschooling is a giant topic in itself and to move onto other topics in this post we're going to leave it at that. I'd highly recommend you do some research on homeschooling to fairly evaluate it as you start becoming a nomad family.
Sending your kids to an online school is another option. This is a little less flexible than homeschooling because you'll need internet access. If you're traveling via RV, or sailing (like us), your internet access can be limited.
But, with online school, you're less the teacher and more the parent than with homeschooling. It is flexible in that it doesn't matter where you are, as long as you have an internet connection, your kids can learn. So you can spend three months in Berlin, move to Rome and live there for three months, and then move to Istanbul, all without your kids missing a day in school.
As with everything related to your kid's education, there is a lot to consider, but it is beyond the scope of this post. U.S. News published an article on the topic and if you're interested in online schools that is a good place to start.
If you're going to be in one location for an extended period, you could consider sending your children to a local school. For obvious reasons, this is the least flexible of all the school options listed here.
Generally, there are a couple of different options when going this route. You can send them to a local school with local children who live in the country, or you can send them to an expat school in the area where they'll go to school with other expat kids.
As you can see, there are several options for schooling when it comes to learning on the move. How your kids are going to get an education is something to consider before taking the leap to become nomads together.
When starting to travel full-time as a family, income is an important consideration and something you'll have to consider more in-depth than if you were going to travel solo. Your kids are counting on you to provide for them and your income needs to be from a reliable and steady source.
The key to being a digital nomad is finding a way to make money online. Whether that is to work for someone else remotely, being a freelancer, or an entrepreneur - you need a reliable income source online.
(Alternatively, you could use the income from your investments to finance your travels, but if you're doing that then you don't need this blog. Just sayin'.)
Fortunately, making income online is actually pretty easy, it just requires a little creativity and thinking outside the box. We created a shortlist of ways to make money online in a prior post. If you're willing to put in the work (like you would at any job), I believe it is a fairly easy task for anyone to make at least $40-60k online. That is more than enough to travel full time as a family.
However, the most important consideration here is that you need your income from more reliable sources than if you were just traveling solo. Don't take the leap to become a digital nomad with family if your income source is unreliable and you have no savings.
Healthcare is arguably more important when you're planning on taking the family to travel the globe full time than if you were just going to travel solo. The more people traveling with you the higher the chance that someone will need healthcare abroad.
While many countries have robust medical services and often (if not always) significantly cheaper than what you could get in the U.S., you'll still need health insurance. Chances are, your U.S. health coverage will not cover international healthcare costs. You'll need a special plan.
I recommend getting quotes from all of them and reviewing what is actually covered before you settle on one. Some of them also bundle in travel insurance for lost luggage or delayed flights which is a nice benefit.
One of our kid's biggest concerns when becoming a nomad family was their social life. They wanted to make sure they were able to maintain contact with their friends and that they'd still have kids to play with when they traveled. A totally understandable concern!
This is something that each family will have to figure out on their own. The best way to address this concern is going to be determined by your families priorities. Sometimes the benefits of being a nomad outweigh the drawbacks of being one.
The reality is, there will always be expat kids almost where ever on earth you go. The world is far more connected than it was even 10-15 years ago. Facetime didn't exist a few years ago. There are many opportunities to stay connected with old friends and the new ones you make along the road all while giving your kids an experience of a lifetime.
Much like your kids, your extended family will be concerned they are missing out on your lives. Or that they won't be able to see you as often. They will miss you.
Again, how to deal with this will be based on the specific priorities that you set as a family. However, just remember, your life is yours, not someone else's, to dictate how you want to live it. Choose your lifestyle based on how you and your immediate family will enjoy it most.
As mentioned before, the technology we have today is far more powerful than we have had in the past. You'll be able to keep in contact with your extended family without much hassle.
Becoming a nomadic family is a fantastic opportunity. Not many people choose to take that leap, but it is within reach of most families. If you want to travel full time as a family you need to start making active choices to do so today. It might take a few months or years to get there but you can start taking proactive steps to get there.
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Until next time, Happy Coddiwompling!