One of the fields near our house in Ubud

What’s the hardest thing about being a location independent family?

Suewan Kemp The BIG travel questions 10 Comments

About a year before we hit the road we did some research on other location independent families and sought their advice and tips. I wrote to lots of travelling families and received some great nuggets of wisdom which I think have all helped our family to prepare.

I asked each family the same question: “What is the hardest thing about being a travelling family?”


The hard stuff from home comes with you
the Miller family

Figuring out cost of living
the Tullis family

Internet connection… and loneliness
Jen, Scott, Tom, Milo & Ollie

How to decide where to go (and how long)
The Shea family

It’s easy to burn out
The Windwalker family

The Miller family

Miller family - homeschooling for traveling families

The Edventure Project is a blog written by the Miller family. They’ve been travelling since 2008 and have 4 kids.

“The hardest thing about the way we live… hmmm…. probably that every single thing that’s hard at home goes with you, only you struggle with it in unfamiliar languages and places.

We get tired sometimes. It’s NOT easier to travel full time, but it IS worth it. At least for us.”

This has been so true for. Despite escaping certain things from our life in the UK we still have dishes to wash, laundry, chores etc.

Also, the emotional baggage we were carrying before is still with us now. We know we need to deal with issues and relationships which are important to us but the temptation to ignore them is just the same as where we were home.

Some things you just can’t escape from.

The Tullis family

Photo of the Tullis family from Expat Experiment | Long term travel challengesThe Tullis family blog at Expat Experiment . They are from Canada and have been travelling since 2014.

“The hardest thing about the way we live is how we decide where we are going to put down roots for a while. The places we choose are dictated, primarily by our budget.

Figuring out cost of living, getting a feeling for culture and the things we like in the places we visit and coordinating cheap transportation to get to our next destination can be a challenge to say the least. But traveling slow, staying in a place at least a month at a time helps with this.

It gives us enough time to plan our next move. We like to be as flexible as we can be so we don’t plan very far in advance. We do not plan everything down to the last detail and we like it that way.”

It’s true we have had to spend a lot of time researching which place to go to and estimating costs of living, flight costs etc. We have definitely used these factors to decide where to go and when.

We also felt that travelling slow is sound advice and have tried to spend at least a month in each country. We really enjoy being able to slowly get to know the places we are visiting and also to have some freedom in our itinerary too.

Jen, Scott, Tom, Milo & Ollie

Photo of the Live World Travel family | travel challenges

Live World Travel is the blog of an Australian nomadic family of 5 who set off on their travels in 2013.

They raised two issues which can be a problem when travelling. The first is finding a good internet connection:

“Internet connection is a massive challenge. My husband works online and I obviously need it when I am researching and blogging.

It was very hard in Eastern Europe as often the internet was less than 1mb.

I am hoping America is better!”

We had quite a few issues with patchy internet in our Airbnb apartment in Valencia. We ended up spending so much on buying more data for our phones to use at home. Definitely a priority for us.

The second issue they have faced which we feel is particularly important is dealing with loneliness:

“I won’t lie, there are parts that are lonely. We found when we didn’t connect with other people, we were lonely and often were more homesick.

The next trip is centred around catching up with lots of other families and child focused activities (museums, zoos, parks etc) which were often hard to find in Eastern Europe.”

We have so far found lots of ways of meeting people since we started travelling but it’s clear that this can be a real issue. Thanks to Jen’s advice we have made sure we try to focus on lots of family and child focussed activities. We’ve also found Facebook groups to be a great way of meeting other people as well as hooking up with homeschoolers.

The Shea family

Photo of the Shea family from Travel Mother | long term travel challenges is a blog written by Emily. Her family left life in the US in 2013 and have been travelling ever since.

“The hardest thing for us—which we’ve heard from many fellow wanderers—is how to decide where to go and for how long. 

There are just too many options.  We know that what is best is to somehow set some limitations for ourselves, but we’re not good at doing that.”

We feel similarly to Emily, it can be tricky working out where exactly to go and how long to stay. We are truly blessed to have so many options but it can be pretty overwhelming!

We also agree with Emily about learning so much from travelling:

“Putting yourself into a new environment causes quick growth of all kinds, which we can’t seem to get enough of. I think we are the happiest when we are closing a chapter somewhere and looking forward to the next page.”

The Windwalker family

Picture of 1 dad 1 kid logo | travel challengesWe wrote to Talon, author of and he had this to say:

“I think it’s sometimes hard to remind yourself to not move too quickly. It’s a huge temptation to “see everything!” and it’s a quick way to burn yourself out.

Sometimes it also gets old not having your own place. Even if you live in an Airbnb place or do a housesit, it isn’t YOUR home. Often you find yourself having to make do in the kitchen as well.”

We have certainly found that moving slowly suits us as a family and we choose not to see every single sight in a place but instead focus on seeing a few things which we feel we would enjoy.

And we have also taken Talon’s advice and carry a couple of important kitchen utensils with us so we don’t have to keep buying them as we go!

We feel all this advice was really helpful to us. Thank you to all the location independent families who have contributed to this post – you are an inspiration to us!

And just so as we don’t end on a bum note, of course, we do realise the benefits of full time travel as a family FAR outweigh any of the tough stuff! There is so much to love about living whilst on the move.

One of my favourite things about travelling is summed up by Nadine Hudson from the Hudson family blog .

“We met sooooooooo many great people around the globe. They come and go. You become close, you let go, this is the essence of travelling. We felt embraced by the world, carried by the helpfulness of local people.”

What advice would you give to others based on the challenges you’ve faced? Let us know in the comments below.

The reality of being a traveling family | Family travel challenges

Comments 10

  1. The internet connection definitely struck a cord with me! My husband is self-employed and relies on good internet speed to work. Sadly, much of the world is lacking in this department and it’s super hard for him to work on the road. Great post!

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  2. This is great! We are leaving this fall for a year of travel and I have had all these fears — not having friends, poor Internet, etc. While they are real, it’s nice to know that people still want to travel despite the difficulties.

  3. It was a great idea to question all these moving families before setting out on your own journey. I like the good advice and encouragement behind many of the quotes you gathered. Thanks for sharing.

  4. A timely read for me as I’ve just had to RSVP ‘not coming’ to my grandfather’s 90th birthday back in Australia. We’ve been travelling full time for 8mths and we’re not in a place where we can return. We knew that going into this that we’d miss stuff, but it’s still hard.

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      Hey Linn, That really sucks. We totally get it and it is a tough decision. One of our grandparents was admitted to hospital this year and we felt completely at a loss of what to do being so far away. Hope you guys are able to celebrate your grandfather’s 90th even if you’re on another continent.

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