How do you choose where to go next? Travel family adventure rtw digital nomad family

How do you choose where to go as a family?

Suewan Kemp Destinations, The BIG travel questions Leave a Comment

It’s a real privilege to be able to travel long-term with your family. You would think that choosing where to go would be an easy and obvious task, however sometimes having so much choice can be mind-boggling.

In this article, we talk to travelling families about how they make their decisions on where to go.

The Kemp family

Kemps in BaliThere are a few different factors we think about when we’re choosing where to go. We tend to decide on the next destination and sometimes the one after that but we usually prefer to have the flexibility to change our minds rather than booking months in advance.

Here are the things we think about when choosing where to go next:

  • Does the place have good accessible internet? We need good reliable internet because Dan works remotely so this is always our number one priority.
  • Is it a safe and family-friendly place to visit?
  • How cold/hot/wet is it? We like to follow the sunshine and will bear this in mind.
  • Is it a place where we can easily tap into local homeschooling groups/children’s activities?
  • Is it a place where a lot of travelling families go to? We really enjoy meeting other worldschoolers.
  • Is it less than a 3-hour flight away? Ideally, we don’t want to do many long-haul flights. We need to keep our budget down and I just don’t like flying!
  • Is there a co-working space or some quiet cafes/libraries that we can use to work from?

Those are some of the most important factors we look at. We have also worked out after lots of trial and error that we don’t like being in big, bustling cities. And we struggle in places where the air quality is poor. Dan got some horrible migraines from being in Chiang Mai during burning season.

We realise every family has different priorities and different needs which affects how they choose where they go next. The next 3 families all have different ways of choosing their next destinations.

The Harrisking family

Photo of the Harrisking family

How did your family get started?

My husband, Josh, and I have always talked about wanting to travel, but never really had. We had taken a few short trips up to Canada before our kids were born (a relatively easy destination from Seattle, where we lived), but budget and timing had always seemed to get in the way of doing other trips.

We began discussing the idea of selling our house to fund traveling when the housing market in Seattle exploded, but it all felt a bit overwhelming. In November of 2016, we decided to fast-track our plans to leave the country and really make them happen. By April of the next year, we had gotten rid of at least eighty percent of our things, our house was sold, and we were on the road. Our son was eight when we left and our daughter turned twelve shortly after. 

Where did you start your travels and why did you choose it?

When we originally started planning our travels, we first thought of going to Iceland, the UK, Ireland, and then on to mainland Europe. We changed this plan partially because we realized this would put us in Europe during high season, and partially because we weren’t quite as excited about it as we wanted to be.

We decided that instead of going east, we would go west to Australia and SE Asia. My husband has always wanted to see Australia, and the kids were excited to see the wildlife there. I wanted to see Asia and travel to somewhere that would push us further out of our comfort zone than Europe would.

My son really wanted to see the volcanoes in Hawaii, and we would be able to stop there on our way. So we eventually settled on starting in Hawaii for a month, continuing on to Australia for three months, then moving on to Indonesia, with plans to continue through southeast Asia. These plans changed as we traveled, but that was our original plan.

How do you choose where to go next?

Our method for choosing where we go next has changed over time. Obviously, pure logistics factor in somewhat.

For instance, we try to travel places in the low season, because we prefer fewer crowds. Also, flight prices – one of our destinations was chosen because it was somewhere we wanted to visit and the flight prices were extremely cheap.

However, one thing that we had not factored in when we first started traveling has now become the top of our priority list, and that is community. We now plan our travels to go to places where there are large worldschooling communities or we can meet up with other traveling families we know. This has made travel much more enjoyable for all of us.

You can see what the Harriskings are up to on their Instagram account.

The Thomas family

The Thomas family

Tell us a little about your family

Hi, my name is Stefanie, and I am originally from Germany but now live with my British husband Jeff and kids Henrik (11) and Anouk (9) in the Netherlands.

We have lived here for 13 years. We travelled as a family from January to August 2017.

Where did you start your travels and why did you choose it?

We started in Thailand. I chose it because for the first 2 months I was travelling on my own with the kids and it is cheap, safe and has good medical service.

It is warm and easy to travel to and within.

How do you choose where to go next?

It depends on the time frame. Now we are back in the Netherlands and the kids are back in school, therefore, school holidays dictate how much time we have. Our next long trip will be to Canada. We chose to go there because it is easy to travel to and there is a great mix of culture and nature!

Follow the Thomas’s on their travels at 

The Blew family

The Biew family

Tell us about your family

My wife and I are in our forties, and our son is 5 (or “5 and a half”, as he insists on saying!). My wife was a high-school English teacher and I own a small tech company with a couple of partners. I’ve been location-independent since 2008, and we stayed in the New York/CT area because my wife loved her job and students.

Our son was born in 2012, and we took advantage of my wife’s maternity leave to bring him to Belize for a month when he was six months old. During that trip, I mentioned to my wife that, if we wanted to, we could get her out of her job, sell our house, and move wherever we wanted to in the world.

She wasn’t ready to leave her job then. However, by 2015 she wasn’t spending the time with our son that she wanted to, so she decided that it was now or never. We sold our house and two cars, got rid of all of our stuff except a few pieces of furniture, some books, and keepsakes, and hit the road in July of 2016.

Where did you start your travels and why?

We listed all the countries we wanted to visit for our first 16 months on the road and went from there. We started in Paris because that was the place my wife wanted to visit most. I had also been there 20 years earlier on a ‘backpacking through Europe’ type trip, and I speak some French, so it seemed a good way to initiate ourselves.

My wife and I talk about countries we’d like to visit and if we both find them interesting and they’re relatively stable (e.g. we wanted to visit Turkey and Egypt in 2016, but skipped them to stay on the safe side) then we add them to our ‘mental list’.

How do you choose where to go next?

Once we add a country to our actual itinerary and it’s time to plan where we’re going to stay and what we’re going to see, we dig in and do some research. She’ll research the places she’s most interested in and I’ll research those I’m most interested in.

We use TripAdvisor, Fodors Travel Guide, and tons of travel blogs to get a feel for the country, and once we have some regions picked out that we want to spend time in (e.g. in Italy we spent time in Rome, Positano, Florence, Venice, and Cortona) then we start looking at AirBnB accommodations for the area to see if there’s something we consider suitable.

Our criteria: Beautiful location, well-kept apartment or house, two bedrooms, a kitchen, and wifi. We’ll look at the accommodation’s location relative to the things we want to experience and if we find something we like, we add it to a list.

Other considerations: Are there schools/sports programs etc. nearby that we can take advantage of? Is there a CrossFit in the area? Is there a Western-style supermarket we can use?

Nathan and his family document their travels at

Choosing where to go is a matter of personal preferences and priorities. And all of the families we spoke to have different things they are looking for. The joy of travelling with your family is that you can hone the process as you go, learning by trial and error.

Where would you go if you had the choice? Let us know in the comments below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *