The idea of becoming a nomad family is inherently romantic, and an idea that lots of households toy with, yet seldom take the plunge.
Of course, it requires a certain degree of courage to take the kids out of school, take a sabbatical from work and travel the globe with your little ones, earning and educating your kids as you go – but the decision can be an incredible one!
If you’ve made the decision to spend time as a nomad family, (perhaps you want to get away for a while you build a house, or just take a year off), we’re 100% behind you – you’re about to give your kids the best education in the world!
Of course though, that’s not to say that the life of the nomad family is all sunshine and smiles. Just as there will be incredible experiences and life-changing moments, you’re also likely to run into your fair share of learning curves.
As such, here are some essential survival tips for keeping the whole family happy, healthy and as far from one another’s throats as possible while on the road!
Survival Tips For Nomad Families
The Reality of Having Your Kids 24/7
As a nomad family you’ll no longer have the luxury of dropping your kids off at their Grandma and Grandpas for a few hours, and you won’t have 8 hours per day to yourself while they’re in school.
This is great, because the whole purpose of your trip is probably to spend time bonding together as a family, but it’s important to understand that the reality of having your kids around 24/7 is going to require some adjustment.
What’s more, you’ll likely be sharing a series of small confined spaces together – be it hotel rooms or the inside of a caravan. So you’ll need to cater for this.
It’s worth taking some time to prepare yourself mentally for the realities of life on the road, and try some stress management exercises to ensure that you’re always the happy, firm but fair parent you deserve to be seen as.
Have contingency plans in place for when the family gets rowdy or restless, or needs some time apart from each other. It’s natural that you’re going to get on each other’s nerves from time to time, or push each others buttons. So know how to deal with it effectively.
Act & Communicate Like a Team
We all know that communication is the key to successful relationships, but it’s extra make-or-break important when taking your family out on the road for a long stretch of time.
Never fall into the trap of assuming that your significant other knows what you want them to do or (most importantly) how you’re feeling. And the same should go for when dealing with your children.
It’s unhealthy enough to sit on resentments back at home, but when you’re on the road it’s vital to make your voice heard if you’re unhappy or things can escalate really quickly.
Make sure everyone in the family feels that their voice is heard, including your children. Encourage them to discuss their feelings and foster positive, constructive dialogue throughout the journey.
Photo credit: Explore With Erin
Make Time For “Me Time”
Alone time is an important stress relief valve that you and your partner will need to use strategically as you travel. Even a half hour brisk walk or run can make a world of difference to your mood and help you better cope with life as a nomad family.
Make sure that you each plan time to spend some alone and take turns keeping an eye on the kids. You’ll thank one another for it, trust me!
It’s a common misconception that you have to be tied to each other’s hip 100% of the time, and allowing your family to do their own thing means each individual can get out of the holiday what they want, especially if you have older kids.
Make Sure The Kids Feel Involved
When kids feel like something is happening “to them” and that they’re not active participants, this is when they can grow resentful and adversarial. So it’s important to make sure they feel like they’re involved.
Help to keep them on-side by involving them in the planning and getting them excited about each destination on your itinerary.
Photo credit: Explore With Erin
Don’t Go Overboard
It’s very easy to get carried away with excitement when planning a trip – after-all you want to see the whole world, and do everything. But don’t go overboard to the point where the stress of it ruins your trip.
The most stressful times during travel are the checking in and out of hotels, transportation, and packing/unpacking. So don’t make a habit of jumping between destinations too quickly – this can get exhausting for the whole family.
It is often better to focus on a single destination, for a longer period of time, than to jump around every 3 days, which may cause a lot of stress. So consider this, as well as your children’s specific abilities to cope with disruption.
A condensed travel itinerary also allows you to get in a routine and makes it easier to adjust to the local time zone. The less accommodation and travel you have to organise, the less stressful and easier to manage your journey will be!
➤ For tips on how to travel full time on a budget, read our post here.
➤ For more information on nomad life as a family, there are great resources on worldtravelfamily.com
➤ For making your nomad life flow as comfortably as it does at home, make sure your children have all of their necessary essentials, whether this means crib mattresses for your baby, or potty training for your toddler – you may need to purchase these essentials at home before you go, depending on the type of stock available in the country you’re visiting.