Family travel long-term different ways how to travel RV boat dog backpacking motorbike couchsurf

HOW do you travel as a family?

Suewan Kemp The BIG travel questions, Travel tips Leave a Comment

There are so many different ways of travelling and every family will have a different way that suits them. Some like to travel fast, some like to travel slow. Some like to live in a bus, some want to sail a boat. In this article, we interviewed 6 families who all travel in different ways.


the Wheeler family

the Green family

Travelling on scooters
the Tatransky family

Slow travel with a dog
the Smith family

Sailing on a catamaran
the Peacock family

In an RV
the Adams family 


The Wheeler family

The Wheeler family

Tell us about your family

We are Mum, Dad, Archie who is now 8 and Finn who is 6. We are originally from Bristol, UK and both worked in the Public Sector whilst the children were at school.

How did you travel and why did you decide to travel in that way?

We could barely afford a foreign holiday when we were working and living in Bristol. Bogged down by lifestyle, obligations and debt we realised our house was worth quite a lot of money.

One rainy Friday, we realised we were missing out on our best years and decided to sell it all to travel the world. We visited 16 countries in 14 months budget backpacking through Asia, Australia, Central and North America and Europe. We had the time of our lives and have now moved into a yurt on a mountain in mid-Wales. This continues our adventure and enables us to save for our next trip(s).

What were the best and worst things about backpacking?

The best thing is definitely the sense of freedom. We rarely booked onward transport or accommodation beyond one day, so we were able to make choices based on our experiences of the place—rather than our expectations. We literally could just go where the wind took us.

Worst things? Moving so quickly meant that we had little structure and that took its toll on all of us. Being so free has made reintegration quite hard but I wouldn’t change a thing. We have memories that will last a lifetime and the children have had the best education that money can buy.

To find out more about the Wheeler’s adventure visit their website: 


The Green family

The Cooley Green family

Tell us about your family

We are a family of three who have been traveling full-time for the past 8 months. It’s me, my husband, and our 8-year-old daughter. We are from the USA in a suburb of Charlotte, NC. We have always enjoyed traveling and had been researching how to successfully world school for a few months when we finally decided to just do it! We liquidated our household and hit the road!

How did you travel and why did you decide to travel in that way?

When I first started to look into exactly how to feasibly travel with our family I called a friend of mine that had just returned from touring Europe with her littles! She told us about Airbnb, TrustedHousesitters and Couchsurfing. At first, we were intrigued by Couchsurfing because of the price point ?. But it quickly became our favorite option for lodging for many reasons! One of the reasons is that we fell in love with the community!

The couchsurfing hosts that we have stayed with have been truly amazing. They are very passionate about experiencing other cultures and sharing theirs! The free accommodation has been great, but the relationships have been the best. They aren’t in it for the money. They are solely in it for the cultural exchange.

What were the best and worst things about couchsurfing?

The only downside to using couchsurfing as a primary source of lodging is that it can be tricky to find hosts for different reasons. Some hosts don’t like last minute requests. And some hosts aren’t able to confirm a request too far in advance.

When planning bigger trips it is sometimes crucial to set up lodging farther in advance than some hosts are able to commit. Some hosts don’t take kids, so it limits our options, but we have found several who are willing to take in the whole family!

The pros far outweigh the cons. Like I said previously, the relationships have been so enriching. We’ve stayed in touch with a lot of our hosts on Facebook and get to continue to be a part of their life even after we have left their home.

We love staying with families with kids. Traveling with an only child can be lonely and she loves meeting ‘brothers and sisters’ that she can play with and keep in touch with. Some families might shy away from using this method as an option, but don’t be afraid to check it out! It has been our daughter’s most memorable experiences in our travels!

The last family we stayed with became invaluable by helping take care of our daughter when I ended up in the hospital overnight in South Africa. We never feel like we are traveling alone in the world. Simply going from friend to friend!

Slow travelling bike riders

The Tatransky family 

Tell us about your family

Our family of five loves to slow-travel. Both my husband and I are freelance translators, which allows us to be location independent – well, as long as there’s a good internet connection ?. We have been traveling with our three unschoolers – Lilly (9), Alex (7) and Maya (4) – for the past three years and just can’t get enough of it.

While spending 8 months in South East Asia, we fell in love with traveling on motorbikes/scooters. It was a great way to blend in with locals and the easiest way to get around. Once we perfected fitting five people and five backpacks on two two-wheelers, there was no stopping us!

We rode over 5,000 km through Thailand, Bali and Vietnam. Some roads were very safe and some were not either due to high traffic or poor condition, but we were very lucky to not have a single accident during those 8 months.

What were the best and worst things about travelling on scooters?

I have to admit, I’ve never felt so free in my entire life. Riding through breathtaking places, feeling the warm air on my skin and having both of my daughters behind me singing ‘Let it go’ at top of their lungs was an experience I will never forget.

Find out where the Tatransky family are now: 

Slow travel with a dog

The Smith family

The Smith family long term travelling family with dog

Tell us about your family

We are a family of 3 (plus a dog) who have been traveling since Fall 2015. We both had careers we loved in a beautiful part of the USA. Our son was in a great school. However, we were working so much we couldn’t find the energy to go to the beach.

We were exhausted so we decided to scale back and homeschool. As we found a way to transition our work to online (Penny in the same field, Eric in a new field), we started to travel outside the USA.

We have learned to slow down and really connect with one another. We are slow travelers and our mixed education style is child led – within a parent provided framework. When you think of “typical” educational materials, we use primarily online resources with a couple of workbooks. He can make choices for what to do.

However, core items and “new topics” are provided as a framework. Otherwise, it would be Minecraft all day (again, our son – all kids are different). We put equal emphasis on real-world experiences through area exploration, classes offered locally, regular meet-ups with other children, and building flexible thinking (our son is considered ASD).

How do you travel and why did you decide to travel in that way?

Slowly ? We tend to stay 3 – 9 months in a single location and take shorter trips to nearby destinations. This provides the stability our son desires in a home base. It also reduces housing/ transportation costs, reduces the travel expenses related to our dog and gives us time to feel like we “know” an area.

To date, we have really chosen our destinations based on the following:

  1. Is the dog permitted without quarantine? If not – it’s not a consideration for an extended stay. We have used local sitters and traveled for up to 2 weeks without our dog.
  2. How is the wifi? Since all three of us use the internet, signal strength and stability are required. Signal stability is the biggest challenge we have faced. None of us enjoys co-working spaces or the coffee shop life. We are working toward reducing this wifi dependency in 2018 though!
  3. Are there other travelers in the area? It is important to us to have a sense of community and regular meet-ups. So, we seek out areas that will support this.

What are the best and worst things about travelling like this?

The Smith's dogOur family (including our dog) is intact and slow travel provides an enhanced feeling of stability for our son.

Yes, the savings for longer-term housing are offset at times if we take short trips (then we pay for accommodation two places). However, we still find it to be less stressful and less expensive.

The need for solid wifi and the hassle and expense for the dog. It can be a real challenge to sort out legal requirements and they can change!

On our first trip to SE Asia, the USA export forms changed about 5 days prior to our outbound flight!

Thank goodness I was so obsessively checking items as this could have been a real issue. We scrambled and successfully got everything updated. I don’t expect this will occur often – but it can. We have seen it.

We have also learned that some airlines will not even check you in at the counter until the pilot gives a final “OK” for the animal. This typically provides less than 50 minutes to get through security and to the plane – far from ideal in a large/busy airport! So you must know the questions to ask during booking.

Oh – and understanding how vets are educated across countries. We were startled to learn the “best” vet on one island studied for a short 6 weeks! 

Sailing on a catamaran

The Peacock family

The Peacock family

Who are you?

We are the Peacocks! A family of four with two dogs and a cat living on a 42’ sailing catamaran. Matt is a former Network Security Engineer, Michelle is a former non-profit Executive Director, Zach is a 12-year old readaholic, and Austin is an 11-year old fisherman. We are from Austin, Texas, and left to travel in June 2016.

How do you travel and why did you decide to travel in that way?

We travel on our catamaran, named GIRO. Our boat has 3 cabins (bedrooms) and 3 heads (bathrooms), full galley (kitchen), a salon (living room), and cockpit (covered patio.) Our sailboat travels about 7-8 kts (7 mph) – so we have learned to enjoy the slow pace and life.

We definitely slow travel – spending a month or more in each city. We decided we wanted to travel this way so that we could have our home with us, but still be able to travel around the world.

We’ve made it from Texas to Florida. Sailed around the Keys and over the Bahamas. Sailed back to Miami and Fort Lauderdale, and then up to Virginia to enjoy the Chesapeake Bay for hurricane season. We are leaving soon to go back to the Bahamas and then down the Caribbean chain and hope to be in Grenada by July for next hurricane season.

What are the best and worst things about travelling in that way?

The best things about traveling this way are all of the people we have met along the way. We’ve met so many families who are cruising on their boats. And have made lifelong friends. It is so much fun to pull into a new anchorage and make instant friends with other kid boats.

It also helps that we have lots of boat toys onboard, like SUPs (stand up paddleboards), a kayak, fishing gear, hammocks, snorkel gear, and an inner tube we can pull behind the dinghy for fun tubing!

The worst thing (and it is not even bad!) is that it is hard to make plans… sailing depends on the weather. So, it is nearly impossible to plan 30 days, 3 months, or a year away. If the weather is bad, we might have to wait and leave a week later than we wanted. There are no guarantees we will actually be able to get somewhere by a certain date to meet up with others.

We really enjoy this lifestyle and would love for more people to join us! 

In an RV

The Adams family
Travel by RV Adams family AdamsAmericanAdventure

Introduce your family

Prior to August 2017, my family and I were living in the suburbs of Atlanta, GA, in a golf and tennis tight-knit community. My husband worked from home and I was a full-time volunteer. Our two daughters, 9 and 11 years old, were in public school.

We loved spending our vacations traveling to historic locations so we could learn more about our country.

How do you travel and why did you decide to travel in that way?

We decided to sell our house and give everything in it away, buy an RV, travel to all 50 states over a two-year time frame while homeschooling the girls. We made this decision after realizing they would learn so much more from a hands-on experience than from books.

My husband still works, it’s just from the RV now. He does travel twice a month so when we are looking for RV parks we look at distance from airports and internet service.

We spend one week at each location and have the whole two years mapped out.

What are the best and worst things about travelling in that way?

It’s been challenging learning to work around each other in a small space but after almost 6 months on the road, we’ve gotten into a great groove. We love the simple life of living in a small space. We only have what we truly need.

It’s also challenging meeting people on the road, luckily the girls get along well and are each other’s best friends. We love all the family time we have now.

If you want to see where the Adams family are now, check out their blog:

Can you believe there are so many different ways to travel long-term with your family?! How would you do it? Post in the comments below.

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