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How Our Family of 4 Have Slow Traveled the World for 3 Years

How Our Family of 4 Have Slow Traveled the World for 3 Years

Embarking on a world travel adventure with your family is an exciting opportunity to explore different cultures and landscapes together. However, the biggest question looming on every prospective traveler’s mind is, How much does it cost to travel the world with a family? The answer varies depending on factors like destinations, transportation, accommodations, and everyday expenses.

Understanding the basics of the cost to travel the world with a family and setting realistic expectations for budgeting will greatly impact the affordability of your journey. By choosing destinations wisely and allocating resources efficiently, your family can have a memorable and life-changing experience without breaking the bank.

Our family has spent one year in Dominican Republic, one month in Egypt, one month in Thailand, and now nearly two years in Japan. We have combined multiple remote income streams to make a slow travel life possible.

Key Takeaways

  • Setting a budget and understanding the different costs involved in traveling the world with a family is crucial.
  • Choosing cost-effective destinations and transportation options can significantly reduce overall expenses.
  • Manage your cost to travel the world with a family by prioritizing essential resources, such as accommodations and food, while still enjoying unique experiences and educational opportunities.

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life in Tokyo as a full-time travel family

Understanding The Basics of World Travel Costs

?Anytime you see a sample budget from an influencer or content creator you can take those figures with a grain of salt. The kind of neighborhood you would want to live in versus the good deal discussed in a blog post could be night and day. 

Sure, you could live the life of budget travelers and find some great deal on a private room as a solo traveler, but family travel is different. There are lots of places I wouldn’t want to live with my kids even if that neighborhood means a lower price.

Determining Your Travel Style

When planning a family trip around the world, it’s essential to first identify our travel style. Keep in mind the travel budget and consider if we want to engage in luxury, mid-range, or budget travel. For example, in countries like Cambodia, India, and Nepal, we can expect to spend as little as $50 per person per day and still have a good experience with nice accommodations.

Factors to consider include:

  • Accommodation type (hotels, hostels, Airbnb, etc)
  • Transportation (flights, trains, buses, car rentals)
  • Meal expenses
  • Sightseeing and activities budget
How Much Does it Cost to Travel the World with a Family?

Considering the Length of Your Trip

The length of our trip also impacts the overall vacation budget, especially in the context of long-term travel. A Little Adrift suggests a baseline cost of $20,000 for a one-year, around-the-world trip for one person. This estimate works on an average daily budget of $50 per person.

However, for a family vacation, the costs can vary depending on the destinations and chosen experiences. Here’s a simple breakdown of costs for different trip lengths:

Trip LengthEstimated Budget per Person
1 month$1,500 – $3,000
3 months$4,500 – $9,000
6 months$9,000 – $18,000
1 year$20,000
budgeting for full-time family travel

While planning our journey, it’s crucial to remember that these estimates are only a starting point. We can tailor our family trip and travel budget according to our preferences and priorities. For an entire year of long term travel as a family of four, we easily spend above $150,000 including housing near international schools, tuition for two kids, transportation, utilities, entertainment, vacation costs, and food.

Choosing Destinations Wisely for Full-Time Family Travel

Even choosing developing countries isn’t always going to save you a much money as you might expect. Sure, you can live more modestly, or you can spend with reckless abandon and sleep in a mansion on the beach. For most people, you’ll fall somewhere in between as you weigh safety with budget.

Cost-effective Regions to Travel

When it comes to planning a family trip around the world, you should consider visiting regions that are known for being cost-effective. One such region is Southeast Asia, offering affordable accommodations and mesmerizing experiences at a fraction of the cost compared to other popular destinations. Another option is Eastern Europe, which is filled with rich history, stunning architecture, and unique cultures. Don’t forget about South America, where you can enjoy diverse landscapes, delicious cuisine, and vibrant cultures without breaking the bank.

Time of Year and Peak Season

You should also take into account the time of year and peak seasons when planning our trips. Traveling during off-peak seasons can significantly reduce your travel expenses. For instance, while New Zealand is known for being a more expensive destination, visiting during its low-season (May to September) can save you money on accommodations and activities.

It’s important to be flexible with your travel dates and keep an eye on deals. By doing so, not only do you save money, but you also avoid crowds at popular tourist attractions. This makes for a more enjoyable and stress-free family vacation.

Choosing destinations wisely and being mindful of the time of year will help us stretch our budget without sacrificing quality and adventure. With some research and planning, you can create an unforgettable family trip around the world.

living on the road as a traveling family

Budgeting for Transportation Cost

When we first became nomads the additional cost of transportation was not on my mind. I had this idealistic vision of being able to walk places and get groceries once per week. It was not a very well thought out plan.

Anyway, once it became obvious that renting a car was necessary, I realized even in a developing country renting a car cost a lot of money! We ended up paying $650 USD per month which was the best deal based on paying 2 months at a time. Long term car rentals are probably even worst in major cities.

Flights and Airfare Deals

When planning our family trip around the world, you have to consider transportation costs. To save money on plane tickets, you should consistently monitor airfare deals and discounts. Signing up for email alerts from major airlines and travel agencies can help you stay informed about timely promotions.

You should also search for flights on multiple platforms. Sites like Skyscanner and Google Flights can show a variety of options, and you can compare prices to find the best deals. Booking early and being flexible with your travel dates will allow you to save even more on airfare.

Ground Transportation Options

Once you reach your destinations, you’ll have various options for getting around. Public transportation like buses, trains, and subways are often budget-friendly choices for our family. Learning about local transportation systems before arrival will help you navigate more efficiently.

If you need more freedom and flexibility, rental cars could be a good option, especially in countries where public transportation is limited or not easily accessible. To find the best car rental rates, compare prices from local and major companies. Remember to check if your credit card offers insurance coverage for rental cars since that can save you extra money.

Lastly, walking or cycling is worth considering for short distances. It’s free, environmentally friendly, and allows you to truly experience the local culture. By planning your trip carefully and being creative with our transportation choices, your family can explore the world without breaking the bank.

ultra luxury long term travel can cost more than six figures

Accommodation Costs for Families

The biggest cost of a trip or full-time family travel will undoubtedly be your housing cost. Saving on little things like food costs or the one time flight prices can help a little bit, but your accommodation is the budget make or break category.

One of the best ways to save on any kind of accommodation is to stay in one place for a long time. Long stay discounts have let us stay in luxury resorts for under $60 per night. 

Hotel and Vacation Rental Choices

When traveling with a family, accommodations need to be both comfortable and budget-friendly. For those who prefer the traditional route, hotel rooms and vacation rentals are popular options. The cost of a mid-range hotel room for a family of four typically ranges between $150 to $300 per night. If you’re looking for more luxury hotels, rates can start at $400 or higher per night.

Vacation rentals, such as private homes or apartments, can offer more space and amenities, like kitchens and laundry facilities, which can be perfect for families. Prices vary greatly depending on location, size, and quality, but can be an excellent value compared to hotels.

Alternative Accommodation Options

For families open to less conventional accommodations, there are many alternatives that are both affordable and family-friendly. Private rooms in hostels or guesthouses can be a budget option. While dorm rooms aren’t recommended for families, private rooms can offer prices closer to hostel rates but still provide some privacy.

Another option to consider is family-oriented hostels, which frequently offer family suites or adjoining rooms with shared facilities. These can provide great ways to meet other traveling families and can lead to long-lasting friendships.

With so many options available, it’s essential for you to research and compare prices to find the perfect accommodations suitable for your family’s needs and budget. Don’t forget to read reviews and gather recommendations from fellow travelers to help you make an informed decision.

Food and Dining Expenses

The per person costs of feeding a family can add up pretty quickly in some destinations. If you are embarking on your first year of family travel you might be surprised how annoying it is to eat our for every meal. That’s why one of the best things you can do for yourself is to ensure you have access to a kitchen.

take family vacations from your full-time travel

Eating Out Vs. Cooking Your Own Meals

When traveling with a family, food expenses can be significant. One way to save money is by cooking your own meals. By shopping at local markets and preparing our own food, you can control your spending on this essential part of travel. On the other hand, eating out allows you to enjoy the local cuisine and experience the culture. Balancing between these two options can help you stick to a budget while still getting a taste of each destination.

Local Food and Street Eats

Exploring local food and street eats is an excellent way to save money and enjoy authentic flavors. Countries like Thailand, Philippines, and Sri Lanka offer affordable food options, with daily expenses as low as $50 per person. Street food and local eateries typically offer budget-friendly options without compromising taste.

Food TypePrice Range
Street food$1 – $5 per dish
Local eateries$5 – $15 per dish
Mid-range cafes$10 – $25 per dish
High-end dining$25 and up per dish

Alcoholic drinks, an optional expense, can significantly impact our budget. Depending on the destination and choice of beverages, costs can vary greatly. Sticking to local drinks will allow you to save money and immerse yourselves in the local culture.

Managing food and dining expenses is crucial for your journey. By cooking our own meals and savoring street food, you can balance our budget while fully experiencing each destination’s cuisine. Being mindful of optional expenses, like alcoholic drinks, will further help you make informed choices and keep costs under control.

Entertainment and Sightseeing

I never thought knowing the exchange rate would be such a major part of my life. Being able to effectively and quickly understand prices while traveling is a great way to save money.

Right away you can assess if horseback riding is expensive in that area of worth the extra cost. We always try to stick with activities that are cheaper than average in that specific geographical location. I mentioned horseback riding because in Dominican Republic an hour lesson was only $8 USD.

budget for your full-time family travel

Major Attractions and Theme Parks

Visiting major attractions and theme parks can significantly increase the cost of your family trip depending on where you are. For example, a day at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom can cost up to $129 per adult and $123 per child. However, in Tokyo you can get Disneyland adult tickets for $54.75 and kid tickets for $32.57. Exchange rates for the win!

National parks offer a more budget-friendly option for families seeking adventure and natural beauty. Entrance fees for national parks in the United States range from free to $35 per vehicle, making them an affordable alternative to pricey theme parks. Additionally, many national parks offer free days throughout the year, so plan your trip accordingly!

Free and Low-Cost Activities

We believe exploring the world with your family doesn’t have to break the bank. To keep costs low, consider participating in free and low-cost activities in each destination you visit. Some examples include:

  • Free walking tours offered by local guides
  • Visiting public parks and gardens
  • Attending open-air concerts or local festivals

Additionally, many cities have family-friendly museums that offer discounted or free admission on certain days. Remember to research local options and plan your itinerary around cost-effective activities, ensuring your family can enjoy the rich experiences the world has to offer without overspending on entertainment and sightseeing.

ultra low budget family travel destinations for slow travel

Travel Insurance to Travel the World

When planning a trip around the world with our family, it’s crucial to prioritize safety. A big part of that includes getting appropriate travel insuranceTravel insurance can offer coverage for medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and other unforeseen events.

As a family, we should consider the following factors when choosing travel insurance:

  • Coverage: Ensure the policy covers the entire duration of your trip and all the countries you plan to visit.
  • Medical: Look for policies that provide comprehensive medical coverage, taking into account potential health risks in your destinations.
  • Activities: Make sure the policy covers any planned activities, such as adventure sports or excursions.

The cost of travel insurance varies depending on your needs. On average, travelers can expect to pay around 5% to 6% of their total trip cost. To get the best value, it’s a good idea to compare different plans and read reviews.

Aside from insurance, there are other safety measures to consider. Here’s a brief checklist:

  1. Register with our country’s embassy or consulate upon arrival.
  2. Research local health risks and take necessary precautions, like vaccinations.
  3. Always have photocopies of important documents like passports and visas.

By being prepared with insurance and taking additional safety measures, you can embark on a memorable and worry-free journey around the world with your family.

Managing Your Travel Finances

Knowing the full-time world trip cost in advance is nearly impossible. You can have a rough estimate ahead of time, but for most families you’ll need to continue earning an income and checking on your budget regularly.

Before you leave is a good time to inform your financial institutions of your upcoming travel plans. Ensure you will not be blocked from spending, signing in, or transferring money while overseas. Have a plan for how to access additional money if the cost to travel the world with your family starts to spiral out of control.

use the right travel credit cards for full-time family travel

Credit Cards and Foreign Currency

When planning your family’s trip around the world, managing your travel finances is crucial. One essential step to consider is selecting the right credit card. As nomads, the best credit card is the one that meets your needs by providing low foreign transaction fees, travel rewards, and excellent fraud protection.

We’ll also need to think about your daily budget for your family, keeping in mind factors such as accommodations, food, activities, and transportation. It’s a good idea to have a mix of cash and cards while traveling, as some places prefer cash transactions, especially in remote locations.

When dealing with foreign currency, researching about exchange rates and possible fluctuations can help you make informed decisions. To save money, we recommend exchanging money at reputable local banks or using ATMs to withdraw cash in the local currency.

Monitoring Spending On The Go

It’s important to regularly monitor your spending to ensure we stay within our travel budget. Using mobile apps for budget tracking or a simple spreadsheet can be efficient ways to keep your expenses in check.

Creating a categorized budget breakdown will help you visually see your expenses and allow you to adjust your spending as you go. For instance, tracking the total cost of our meals, accommodations, or activities can give you insights into where we can save or allocate more funds.

By being proactive in managing our travel finances, you can truly enjoy the adventures your family will experience while minimizing any financial stress that may arise. Your careful planning and wise decisions will ultimately lead you to a memorable and well-budgeted global journey together.

How Much Does it Cost to Travel the World with a Family?

living long term in Europe as a family

Logistics and Planning

A lot of people hear that my family went from idea to action in 5 weeks and it freaks them the hell out. Vacations are put on such a pedestal, especially for Americans, that meticulous planning seems necessary.

But, after three years of traveling full-time, I can tell you that flexibility is worth way more than extremely detailed plans. There is truly no way to pre-plan an entire year of travel and expect it to go as planned. Instead, have a rough itinerary and know the average cost to travel the part of the world you want to visit as a family.

Creating a Detailed Itinerary

When planning a long-term family trip around the world, most people try to create a detailed itinerary. To keep travel costs manageable, you should consider spending more time in affordable destinations. Thankfully, the good news is that you can expect a budget between $25,000 to $35,000 per person for a year of world travel. Thus, you can travel the world without breaking the bank.

In your itinerary, let’s make sure to include essential information such as must do activities, accommodations, and transportation. Also, don’t forget to factor in rest days and extra time for exploring different places. This way, you can ensure a little wiggle room for spontaneous experiences that make family trips unique and memorable.

How Much Does it Cost to Travel the World with a Family?

Booking and Reservation Tips

When booking accommodations and transportation, it’s best to do some research and take advantage of discounts and promotions. Here’s a quick list of booking tips that’ll help keep our travel costs in check:

  1. Book your flights early: This will give you more flexibility when seeking discounted airfare.
  2. Consider alternative accommodations: Airbnb and homestays can be cheaper than hotels.
  3. Travel during the off-season: You can find better deals and fewer crowds.
  4. Leverage rewards programs: From airlines to hotels, redeem points and miles to save money.

With careful planning and attention to detail, you can embark on a family adventure around the world without breaking the bank. By creating a detailed itinerary and being smart with bookings, world travel can indeed be an attainable dream for our family.

living in developing countries as a family long term

Travel Gear and Packing for a Family

Essentials and Must-Haves for Family Trips

When planning a family trip around the world, it’s essential to consider your travel style and pack accordingly. Packing light is always a good idea, but you shouldn’t compromise on the essentials. In this section, we’ll outline the must-have items for a family adventure.

First, let’s talk about clothing. Keeping your luggage light can be achieved by packing versatile clothing items that can be easily mixed and matched. Aim for quick-dry, breathable fabrics, and don’t forget a weather-appropriate jacket for each family member.

Now, let’s discuss the essential travel gear. Packing a basic first aid kit, including necessary medications, is crucial. Also, consider including a portable power bank, reusable water bottles, and lightweight towels. For entertainment, a few portable games and books will keep the family engaged during downtime.

Lastly, let’s cover organization. Packing cubes are a lifesaver to keep our luggage organized. Using a well-thought packing list is essential during the planning phase to ensure we don’t miss anything important. Remember to double-check the list before heading out on your adventure.

By following these recommendations and packing thoughtfully, you’ll ensure that the cost to travel the world doesn’t include luggage fees for your family.

The Value of Family World Travel

When planning a long term family vacation, understanding the cost of one year of travel with kids can help you create a realistic travel budget. For a family of four, spending a year traveling the world could cost around $60,000 to $200,000, depending on the destinations and accommodations chosen. However, this amount can vary greatly based on your preferences and travel choices.

To save on costs, consider opting for budget accommodations and spending longer periods in more affordable countries. Cutting down on transportation costs by using trains, buses, or car rentals can also make a difference. Importantly, prioritize experiences and memories that will last a lifetime over material things while traveling.

We believe family world travel is a valuable investment in creating bonds and exposing your family to diverse cultures and peoples. It’s a unique opportunity to expand your worldview and educate your children, while also fostering lifelong memories.

FAQ: How Much Does it Cost to Travel the World With a Family


  • Veronica Hanson

    Veronica Hanson blogs from whatever country she happens to be in at the time, currently she's hanging out in Japan. She's been living as a nomad remote entrepreneur with her family since 2020.

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