friends on the move travelling family adventure rtw digital nomad family long term travel

How do you make friends on the move?

Suewan Kemp Kids, Parents, The BIG travel questions 2 Comments

How can we make sure our child has opportunities to play and socialize while we travel long term? As mum to an only child, this is probably the question which I used to worry about the most before we left. Our daughter is a super sociable, friendly, chatty and outgoing girl and I did not want to deprive her of playdates and hanging out with her buddies.

Photo of a child's hand with faces drawn on

Roobs made her besties on her fingers!

She also had an amazing little group of friends back in Bristol. Those incredibly sweet girls are dearly missed! So of all the challenges we face as we travel, this is probably the one I give the most attention to.

And then there’s the question of our own social lives. How on earth will we meet people and build relationships while we’re travelling?

In this article, we speak to 4 families to share their experiences of making friends on the move.

The Kemp family

Travelling families meet rtw long term family travel

A worldschooler meet up in Croatia

Making sure Roobs has the opportunity to play and develop friendships with other kids was and is one of our top priorities.

It was my biggest concern before we left and now it is probably one of the things I feel shapes our travel more than any other factors.

Here’s how we do it:

We find local kid’s activities/ workshops/ groups/ homeschoolers to connect with

We use Facebook, Meetup.com and Google the heck out of a place to make sure she can meet other kids. For example in Brisbane, we met a lovely little girl around Roobs’ age on a homeschooling trip to a science museum.

In Hong Kong, we found a gymnastics group where she was able to meet dozens of other kids and ended up befriending a lovely family with 2 girls.

We find other travelling families!

We use Facebook groups to find other travelling families. There are surprisingly quite a few groups for travelling families and we will shout out to other people in the group to see if there is anyone going to the same place as us who’d like to meet up.

We have met travelling families in (almost) every country we’ve been to so far! In fact, one of Roobs’s best friends is a worldschooler who we met in Hong Kong. Since we met with them we have managed to hook up a couple more times as we travel.

Local schools

Sometimes we find local schools where we feel the ethos is suited to us and where they are able to take Roobs in on a part-time basis. In Chiang Mai, we did this at Kids Yoga Garden (a lovely school that a few other worldschoolers have also used).

And this month we have started her at a school in Hoi An called Clovers Farm which she really likes. (Of course, these cost money, however we really prioritise these opportunities and make sure we budget for them).

We stay in touch with her friendship group back home. As we travel slowly we are able to receive post. It is lovely when one of Roobs’s friends sends a letter or a parcel. She also has video calls with them.

Friends on the move Travel family rtw

With her worldschool friend

So how about us? How do we adults make friends as we travel?

Well, as we meet homeschoolers and worldschoolers we also tend to hang out with the mums and dads we meet. And we always have the fact that we are travelling in common so we have built some good friendships that way.

I also make sure that I have time going to different local groups so that I can have some me-time as well as meet other people. For example, in Prague, I went to a local language exchange group. In Valencia, I went to a craft workshop.

For Dan, he is often able to make friends through working in co-working spaces. We have also both sought out football and netball groups wherever possible which has given us the chance to meet others.

We also try to stay in touch with family and friends back home – although we are not very good at it (sorry guys!).

So there are lots of ways we try as a family to stay as sociable as possible and escape our bubble.


The Balvin family

The Balvin family

Tell us a little about your family

We are a German couple with a huge passion for traveling, which did not stop when our little monkey arrived. She is now part of the “Weltengugger”, which means “world-watchers” and traveled with us through the Canary Islands, to Thailand, Bali and now Australia. In Australia, we travel around in a yellow van. Our next trip is going to be Japan, where we will explore the country for two months.

How do you make sure your daughter has friends whilst travelling?

Our daughter India is used to traveling around and we are really happy to be raising an open-hearted and very sociable little girl. But for sure it is really important that she meets other kids, especially as she is an only child. Therefore we try to stay in places longer than we would if we were traveling without her.

Especially in Australia, it is so easy to come into contact with other kids. We go to the kid’s programs in the library, which are easy to find and free. But usually, we find lots of new friends in playgrounds, campsites or at the beach. It often happens that we meet a family on a lake, river or on a campfire and end up staying to play. As we also often house-sit, we get to know the neighbors or family and friends of the house owners and everyone welcomes us with open arms.

How do you and your partner connect with others whilst travelling?

During our travels as a couple, we already made loads of friends around the globe. Also through couchsurfing, house sitting or volunteering programs like HelpX, we have been able to get to know new friends. Thanks to Facebook we stay in contact with many of them so that we always have someone on our route to visit.

Our list of friends is growing, the more we travel. There are so many open-hearted people out there. We start talking to them and finally end up on their couch!

To find out more about the Balvin’s adventure you can find them at weltengugger.de



The Robinson family

Sailing with Bloom family

Introduce your family

We are a family of three and a dog. Our son is 11 years old. He was 8 when we sold everything and moved onto our sailboat. He attended public school for 2 years before beginning homeschool when we set sail from Victoria, Canada to Mexico.

This was a big life decision for us as a family as we were previously in a house for 10 years and had never sailed. A lot of learning and growth has taken place within all of us and the freedom that we now have is indescribable.

How do you make sure your son has friends whilst travelling?

To be honest we don’t ‘make sure’ that he has friends while traveling. I suppose it depends on what you define as friends as well—kids his own age? They are few and far between.

He is friends with nature, friends with the sea and the sea creatures we encounter and so much more. We do meet a lot of other people whilst sailing around, from locals to others who are also sailing. Our son takes this opportunity to learn about other cultures and other places to visit. When we do meet up with other sailing families, he enjoys interacting with them by playing games and exploring.

How do you and your partner connect with others whilst travelling?

This one is easy- there are a ton of other ‘cruisers’ out there (those who are sailing about!). Cruisers have a true sense of community, no matter what part of the globe you are on. Always willing to share information, tools, time, you name it. It is amazing. We have met couples from all over the globe, from Australia to Japan and always enjoy sharing stories and knowledge with each other.

Keep up with their journey at sailingwithbloom.com 


The Calvert-Daniels family

Calvert-Daniels family RV travel

Tell us a little about your family

We are the Calvert-Daniels family and we have been full-time RV traveling since April 2017. Our original plan was to travel full-time for a year and then see how it went from there. The first 6 months we did nothing but travel, up and down the east coast, from Florida to Maine. It was an incredible experience and it sealed the deal on us continuing this lifestyle for more than a year.

Our son William is 4 years old and loves living in the RV. The constant change in environment is exhilarating and very entertaining for our son, but it does tend to make it hard for him to make friends. There have been nights where he just looks up at us with his sad, blue eyes and says, “I want to play with a friend.”

I know, this sounds so awful, but usually a day of adventuring and new scenery makes him forget that he doesn’t have a constant friend. Plus, in the summer there are tons of kids at the campgrounds we stayed at, so he always makes transitory friendships.

How do you make sure your son has friends whilst travelling?

In late August of 2017, we decided that we wanted to try out workamping and were offered a position in Colorado. We were excited about this new part of our adventure and that we would be stable for approximately six months.

The great thing about workamping is it allows us to make an income, while still having four or more days off during the week to explore and adventure. We also found that it helped with making lifelong friends! Being settled in one spot, even for just a few months, meant we could sign William up for a recreational sport. We decided to sign him up for karate, and this has been a great way for him to make friends and interact with other kids.

Even though we live on the road, we still find ways that most homeschool parents find to socialize their kids. We go to the park, take up recreational sports or go to family events. And workamping in one spot for several months has given not only William the chance to make some constant friends but has given Greg and I the ability to make great friends too.

How do you and your partner connect with others whilst travelling?

While we’ve always interacted with other families in the campgrounds we stayed at, the continuous moving around meant that we didn’t really have time to connect with other couples. With workamping and being settled for more than a couple of days, we’ve had time to really make some great friends, especially fellow workampers.

There are two other couples that workamp at the same RV park with us, and it has been amazing getting to know them. The stories and experiences they share with us are priceless, and we can bond over not only the full-time RVing adventure but over workamping as well. I’m certain we’ve made lifetime friends through our workamping experience, and it makes us so happy.

Sometimes people forget that there is more than one way to do things in life, and that includes making friends. Just because we are constantly moving, and have no settled roots, doesn’t mean we can’t meet and make lifetime friends. The RVing community is full of interesting and incredible people, with diverse stories to tell.

Even just sitting in the front office of the RV park and talking to park guests gives us all the opportunity to make friends. We may not be friends that see each other every day, but we can stay connected through social media and RV groups, and know that one day, down the road, we may just see each other on the next adventure!

Follow their RV travels at rvdoingthis.com


It’s amazing to see all the different ways we are able to stay connected with old friends and use creative means to find new buddies. We have met some lovely families since we started life on the move and we are always keen to meet more! 

Want to connect with us? Get in touch in the comments below.

How on earth will we meet people and build relationships while we're travelling?

Comments 2

  1. My daughter is super sociable and I even find that it doesn’t matter that much to have friends here age around. She will make friends (much better than I do) where ever we go . She is so inquisitive and cracks jokes, she falls instantly in love with people and they do with her. A simple visit to the public swimming pool and she will have chatted to most people. I enjoy it so much watching her. I hope she stays like that forever!

    1. Post
      Author

      She sounds like a really friendly, chatty soul! I think she’d get on well with Roobs. And it sounds like she would find it super easy to make friends around the world.

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