How to plan for a nomadic lifestyle with kids

It’s been the dream for many years – living a nomadic lifestyle with kids and having location independence. You’ve finally got your online business, or online income, to the stage where you feel comfortable to dive in to the life completely defined by you.

Except you now have kids, and you’re not exactly sure how you can fit them into this free flowing digital lifestyle.

Take it from me – it ain’t easy, but neither is a white-picket-fence life with kids. Each comes with their own set of issues, you just have to work out which lifestyle will give you the greatest buzz in the up moments.

We’ve been travelling around Australia now for almost 11 months with our two children and we’re making it work. Here are a few things you need to consider before walking out the door with only the wind to guide you.

1. How will your children learn?

Distance education in Australia
Getting our lessons done in an old railway carriage

If you’ve got school aged children, you’ve just invited a few extra hours of work into your life – the teaching kind. How are you going to cater to your child’s education while you are living a nomadic lifestyle?

Based upon my experiences as a former teacher, your children will learn far more traveling than they will in a classroom. But, the law says you’ve got to be accountable for their education.

I’ve written a detailed post here of my opinion and experiences. Distance education will save you time having to create lessons and units of work yourself, but there is a fair amount of work your child will have to do. You as the supervisor will also have to find that time.

For those with a bit more flexibility and time freedom, home-schooling could be a better option. You’ll be in charge of creating, implementing, assessing and evaluating all lessons that adhere to the formal curriculum.

For us in Australia, home-schooling is only an option if you have a fixed address. Because we are on the move we had to do distance education.

Either way, your child will learn more from travel, so go embrace those experiences.

Update: We are now traveling full time in the US and have chosen the homeschooling route. Click on the below posts to see how both work with our nomadic lifestyle.

Read More:

2. How slow will you travel?

Travel with kids

Contiki style trips – you know 6 countries in 6 weeks through Europe work well when you’re 21. (Actually, I’d like to say they’re never a good idea).

When you have kids, and an online business, it’s an adventure into hell. Choose a few places that grab your heart and stay awhile. Give yourself a chance to settle in and enjoy a little foreign living.

We try to have a minimum 3 night stay in a location, but we’re on a road trip so could be more mobile than you. Embrace living in a destination for a minimum 6 months and you’ll be so glad you said yes to being a digital nomad.

3. What is your style of travel?

Daintree rainforest road trip

We’ve just switched from hostels, apartments and camping to a camper trailer. It’s making a huge difference to our happiness levels. Our girls needed a little more stability and security and they’re loving their home on wheels.

Carefully choose your style of travel. If you choose wrong it can be an exhausting experience that turns the fun arse end up.

What’s the point in choosing a nomadic lifestyle if it ends up being as challenging as the one you are trying to leave?

4. How will you earn an income?

Location independent with kids

Becoming location independent can mean a significant drop in your expenses, if you plan it well. But, if you want to make this a permanent thing, you need an income.

What’s your income plan?

How many hours do you need to work in a day/week/month? Can you hire a VA, or outsource work? What are your priorities? (do that social media cull – you only have time now for those activities that bring in the cash.)

We find it incredibly difficult to manage the work load with the 1-3 hours of daily work time we get. We’ve embraced outsourcing (a total game and life changer) and we have a very strict list of priorities, which means we say no a lot more than yes.

We’ve also created an income where we get paid around our lifestyle of travel – a total multi-tasking win. Step outside the box and see if there’s any way you can do the same?

5. How can you get connected?

Location independent Australia
We had to climb a hill to get internet connection!!

The first question I ask now upon deciding whether to stay in a new destination or not is, “Do you get internet service here?”

I hate that I’m a slave to the World Wide Web. But, it’s how I make an income and since my work time is short, I can’t stay at a place for 2-3 days and not be connected.

You’ve got to consider not only connection ability, but price. Our monthly data bills are ludicrous! Australia is well-known for being an expensive place to get online. If our road trip wasn’t a core part of our business, we’d be donning the backpacks for South East Asia where we’d get unlimited data for $20 a month.

Will internet connection be important for your nomadic lifestyle?

6 How will you manage balance and flexibility?

Emmagen Beach Daintree Rainforest

Time to sign up for juggling school.

A nomadic lifestyle with kids is tough because you’re on for 24/7. There’s no child care or grandparents to give you a break.

You’re in control of managing every aspect of the day: healthy eating, exercise, play, education, income creation, parenting routines, and much needed time out for everyone.

How will you manage this without going insane? What’s your back up one for when it all goes pear-shaped? Odds are it will!

Have the flexibility to adapt as you grow and learn what works and what doesn’t.

We’ve changed our schedule and travel style multiple times on this journey to save everyone’s sanity. We ensure that we incorporate activities that cater to everyone’s desires, including scheduling down time for everyone.

Don’t forget arranging for meet ups with your family and friends. We’ve loved having Nan and Pop come to visit and getting a much needed Zen break!


What are your tips for going location independent with kids? What else do you worry about?

18 thoughts on “How to plan for a nomadic lifestyle with kids”

  1. It is always great to read how you’ve made a success of things to live the life you choose and how you want. You are inspiring for so many people.

    The idea of home/parent schooling seems to be growing. I know of more and more people doing this. However, you make a highly valid point, travel is also a great education. With these experiences your children will be a lot more rounded, tolerant and understanding of others.

    BTW I love the photo of you both being on top of a mountain for an internet connection but I feel your pain. And yes, Australia is darn expensive for the internet!

    1. It’s so painful! I’ve a post coming out soon that talks about the benefit of travel for education and how traditional schooling is starting to lose the plot. That’s why so many people are deciding to homeschool themselves.

  2. I have homeschooled since 2001 and have moved across the United States many times since 1994. My oldest was only five weeks old when we moved the first time. I think if you raise children traveling it comes more natural to them as time goes on. Or maybe we just got lucky and have natural travelers for kids. I agree that children and people in general learn better by traveling than by reading about places in books. I am enjoying your posts and look forward to more.

    1. Thanks Trina! Yep, the girls have been travelling pretty much since they were born and they are fantastic travellers. It’s the best way to get kids used to the changes

  3. When I have kids my ideal would be to carry on travelling with them. Perhaps it won’t happen – I’m talking five years down the line here at least! – but it’s really inspiring to read how it works for you guys. I’ve always wondered about alternative education methods beyond home schooling and had never heard of distance education for kids. From my (really) quick research it looks like Australia is pretty unique in offering parents this option but still, really interesting.

    1. Yes it is unique. It’s because of the School of the Air, which was created for those kids who live on Outback cattle stations and can’t attend a school. So teachers would have to teach over radio. Distance ed is now available to children who travel because of that. It’s pretty cool

  4. This is a timely post as we have just decided to move/travel around Asia next year while we try to make an online income work for us. Our kids are 2 and 4 so it is a good time to do it before our oldest hits school age and we have to worry about that as well. I worry that we will struggle to find the balance that we crave. I am already working hard online and I know it impacts into my time with the kids more than I would like. We are trying a few different ways to earn money so hopefully we can find one that doesn’t impinge as much as travel blogging currently does for me. Anyway, I look forward to giving it a go and worse case scenario is that we get 6+ months in Asia together!

    1. Love how you have your worst case scenario worked out Sharon. I think if we are okay with that then it’s definitely worth taking the risk. SEA is a good choice as costs are so much lower there! Great decision and sending you lots of positive vibes for a great journey!

  5. MANY YEARS AGO MY HUSBAND AND I TOOK OUR THREE CHILDREN TO LIVE IN SOUTH EAST ASIA. WE WAITED TILL THE OLDEST TWO HAD A LOT OF STABILITY AND A SENSE OF WHERE THEY WERE COMING FROM AND LOTS OF FRIENDS IN THE U.S. WE PLANNED FOR A SECURE INCOME, EXCELLENT OVER SEAS HOUSING, INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS, CULTURAL OPPORTUNITIES WERE EXCITING……NEW ASIAN FRIENDS, NEW LANGUAGE, A BROADER VIEW OF THE WORLD..ALL THREE OF THE CHILDREN THANKED US FOR THE OPPORTUNITY TO LIVE ABROAD WHEN THEY GREW UP.
    ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SCALE I REALIZE THAT BEING AWAY FROM FAMILY WAS SELFISH. WE ONLY SAW THE FAMILY IN THE U.S. ONE MONTH EVERY TWO YEARS. HOW VERY SAD AND DIFFICULT THIS MUST OF BEEN FOR OUR PARENTS WITH LOST OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE CHILDREN TO BE WITH THEIR GRANDPARENTS AND THE GRANDPARENTS MISSING OUT ON THE CHILDREN ‘S VISITS. I THINK CHILDREN NEED CONTUNITY IN THEIR LIFE.

  6. This is the post I needed to read Caz! Thank you:) We went location independent 120 days ago and have certainly experienced all of the challenges you have. Thank the universe we love a challenge. One thing we didn’t nail down before leaving was a sustainable digital income.
    Many things influenced our decision to get on the road when we did, optimism being one of them. So now we are working feverishly to get that going. We are traveling on an average of $66 CAD which isn’t bad but we are still spending our savings.
    My focus is definitely on balance right now. We did manage to get a 6 month house sit which suits us just fine. Better for budget, work and balance:) Now if we could only fix the internet thing….

  7. Awesome post. It’s great that the voice of the Location Independent family is heard. From our own travels we met many people on the road and most were of the opinion that you should “travel while you’re young.” Shame, travel is for all… if you’re brave enough.

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