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Full-Time Travel Q’s and A’s

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Last Updated on April 3, 2024 by Leslie Stroud

Welcome to 7 Wayfinders!! If you are reading this post, it’s likely you are one of our new followers. We’ve gained a lot in the last month. Thanks for coming along with our journey!

We are, understandably, getting lots of questions. I forgot how foreign this seemed to me when we first started to brainstorm about traveling the world. Now that I’m in the thick of it, it is just our everyday.

We already have a FAQs section, which you can see here. This will give you a good background on your questions.

I asked for specific questions on our Instagram stories and I’m going to answer those here! Thank you to those that sent some. It is a wonderful starting point to address questions most people have. *Note: I literally copied and pasted these questions*

Table of Contents

Q: How did this start?

A: This is also on our FAQ post, but I’m happy to answer again! Warning: this is a long answer. It’s a hard question to answer.

We are travel obsessed, of course! We wouldn’t be doing this otherwise. Most of our dreams for the future included travel. We traveled with our kids as much as possible and loved every single moment. While it is taxing to travel with children (and we love our alone travel a lot too!), we loved seeing the world with them along. Experiencing travel with children can be like experiencing Christmas morning with children. It adds some magic.

Once we knew our family was complete and we wanted to find our “forever” home, we didn’t know where that wanted to be. To be clear, I am NOT a fan of moving!! In fact, nothing stresses me like moving. I grew up traveling and always having a very steady home base to jump off from. Even now, on our trip, I get nervous about not knowing where our “home” will be for the next few months. I want to envision it in my mind and know where it is.

I wanted to know where we would move and NEVER MOVE AGAIN (if it was up to me). This really intimidated Chris. Our move to Utah was really, really tough on me. It was also traumatic for Chris because I was a little crazy in the process. When I told Chris I wanted a forever place, this seemed like a really tall order. He didn’t want to be buckled down to one place yet. And so the planning started….

Where would you move if you had ANY place as an option? This is our situation. While we want to be close to family, my parents are willing to basically follow us. I’m an only child, so these are the only grandkids on that side. Chris’ family is great at visiting us too! We own our business and have clients worldwide. Schools were most important to me then, but now that I’ve seen the beauty of homeschooling, that is no longer an issue for me. I think education is what you make of it, regardless of where you live.

We began by trying to answer the question above for ourselves. Where would we live if the world was open to us as an option? We started with the west coast of the US (since we already knew Utah and Colorado really well). Welcome to the beginning of our trip!

Our first six months were: in Denver, Portland, San Fran, Anaheim, Kauai, and Oahu. These were the places we wanted to “try on our life” in. We started booking these and planning how we would drive from UT to these places. Once we had planned out six months, we knew we would have to completely let go of our old life. We didn’t want to leave home, didn’t want to leave cars, etc. We knew we had to bite the bullet and make this a big deal.

Once we had to overcome that mental hurdle of literally leaving our life behind, it was super easy to open up new places to go. We were halfway to Asia… why stop in Hawaii? Why not go international? It was going to be Christmastime, we knew, so we picked the cheapest place we wanted to go. Welcome to Bali, where I’m writing this from!

Another important, but very personal note. We ultimately felt like this was what our family was to do at this time. We are religious and this included a lot of prayer and self-reflection. We took this decision VERY seriously and I stressed through it for months. I tried to anticipate every difficulty. I’d say now, with some perspective, I anticipated fairly well 🙂

Our home in Utah that we left. This was the day we moved in!

Q: You said you sold your home!

A: We did, but not actually right before we left. We moved from Colorado to Utah for an amazing career opportunity and because it felt 100% like the thing we needed to do. We sold our home in Colorado after we moved to Utah and then rented in Utah. This made it easier to go on this adventure as well since we didn’t have to sell a home, but I’ve met many families that do sell or rent their homes to travel!

Q: Do the kids ever complain and say… I wanna go home… sad?

A: Yep! Especially in the beginning. The very first weekend after we left, which was Memorial Day Weekend, we went to Glenwood Springs, Colorado. The kids cried on the way, they cried there and they cried when we then drove to Grandma’s house in Denver. The school was over, we’ve been through some really traumatic things for them (facing something completely unknown with a completely unknown timeline, moving, selling and getting rid of a LOT of their stuff, having to say goodbye to their friends, maybe forever?). It was hard. Thankfully, we had a lot of fun that first weekend too.

We saw another roadblock for the kids in Kauai, which was month five. The honeymoon period of the travel was over for them. They hadn’t had real friend interaction since Portland (where we met some awesome people!). In Kauai, they made friends with some neighbors and they were SO happy. However, it made leaving very, very hard for them. Lots of tears.

All of that being said, they’ve done amazingly well. Two meltdowns in seven months of travel? Amazing. And each one of the three big kids has, at different times, expressed how much they love this experience. It comes in random moments- a cool hike or a magical night on a beach. They will lean over to me or Chris and just say something like, “Wow, I can see now why you wanted to do this trip. This is really cool.” Those moments keep us going 🙂

Q: How/ what would you tell other families if they wanted to try this?

A: I’d start by saying if you think this is something that could work for your family, DO IT. I already know the wealth of memories we’ve gained, the growth we’ve had to make and the new cultures and ways of living we’ve seen have made this 100% worth it. We are different people because of this experience and it’s only going to keep improving us.

Second, I’d say start thinking about these things:

  1. Money. A lot of questions come down to money. It’s the hardest part to solve for. MOST travel families, I think, either have a buy-out (or some other windfall financially), sill have a source of income (like us) OR have saved money for a period to travel for a period. For example, they may save for 2-3 years to travel for six months. I don’t know what they do with their jobs. We’ve only met one couple so far and they just quit their jobs. Another family we met had 18 months of sabbatical stocked up! Another family had a business they didn’t really need to manage, but still provides a very good income as they travel. As you can see, this question can only be answered by you! What model fits your family? Can your job go remote? Could one of your jobs go remote and you save up for the rest? Do you want to go for a set amount of time or make this a permanent lifestyle? I will address our situation more in later questions since I know there are more 🙂
  2. On the subject of money still, what costs would be eliminated if you left your life now? Piano lessons, soccer, utilities, lawn care, rent or mortgage, car payments, insurance, etc. Those can add up into something substantial. Sure, renting a house on Air Bnb will be more expensive than your mortgage. However, there are also lots of homeshare programs, home sitting options and I’ve even heard of places you can stay for free and work a farm or something similar. Stay somewhere and volunteer. You can get very creative (not to mention just going less expensive and doing hostels) about saving money while traveling.
  3. If you have kids, what about their education? I’ve always like the idea of homeschool, but would never have opted to do it in another setting. I was way too intimidated and have little kids still at home. As I started to do my research, I saw that many families, if only going for a few months, don’t worry about it! That may scare you to read that, but really, elementary age kids are totally find for a few months. Even a year! I met one family that just took a year off of school to play and live in Costa Rica. According to her, her kids caught up in three months of returning to public school. Think of all else they will gain through the travel that can never be taught in school.
  4. Health. I’ll be honest, having health problems and traveling full-time would be a challenge. I don’t know how you’d get regular prescriptions because I haven’t had to do this. My mom just visited Bali and forgot her scripts (Read: big problem). She went to multiple pharmacies and some required a prescription and some didn’t. They stocked different meds at each one. She didn’t get them all, but got some of the most important ones. I can’t answer this question for you- only you know if that is something that can go on the road for you. Or maybe just stick to your home country and travel there?
  5. Loneliness. This is real. I’m a social person. I love to gather. This has been my biggest challenge on the trip. However, many travelers don’t really miss this. So think about it for you!

Q: Do you eat out every day?

A: Nope! I don’t want to. However, most travel families do. (Chris would love to!) This means they are looking for the best-priced foods and places to go. I personally like to cook and I don’t love to eat out for every meal. I want to gather around our own table, I hate going to dinner with five kids. It’s just not worth it to me. We cook MOST of the meals at home. Here in Bali, it’s been a challenge, so we are eating our dinner out maybe 4 times per week. That’s a lot for us. Thankfully, food in Southeast Asia can be really cheap.

Q: How much do you pack?

A: Again, this is so personal. I know you need a starting point to start dreaming, so I’ll tell you about us.

Roughly, this is what we pack clothing-wise for each person:

  1. 3-4 outfits (right now all summer clothes). It started at 2-3, but we’ve gained some, and they still can’t find anything to wear most mornings, haha.
  2. Church outfit (mom has two)
  3. Workout clothes for mom and dad (like 2-3 outfits)
  4. Jacket
  5. Underwear and socks
  6. 2-3 swimsuits (we are doing a lot of water time and I wanted one to be drying)
  7. Flip-flops, sandals, and tennis shoes

Other items:

  1. We have a TON of tech. Like an embarrassing amount. Way more than any travel family in history, probably. We have three computers for homeschooling, three computers for working, four tablets, and old cell phones for the plane rides (they just have games on them). This also means a lot of chargers and accessories. We also have lots of video and photography equipment.
  2. Medical supplies- I tend to overpack, so I try to bring our favorite items. DayQuil, Motrin, Tylenol, prescription ear drops (our three youngest have ear tubes), Neosporin, bandaids. I’ve been grateful for all of these things at this point of our trip.
  3. Vitamins. I can buy these elsewhere, but honestly, it’s hard for me to get a store in general with five kids. So I pack at least some for everyone.
  4. A junk bag. This is basically my junk drawer from home. It has tape, scissors, a small tool thing with a screwdriver and knife and such, pens and pencils and markers. We’ve used this bag A TON. Again, can easily be bought, but I don’t make it to the store easily.
  5. The kids all have at least one personal item- a blanket, a stuffed animal, etc. This helps it feel like home.

What does all that come out to luggage-wise? A lot. Everyone has a backpack (in the good old days of our planning, these backpacks would hold ALL your items, and we would have one spill-over bag, but that didn’t last for us). We now have backpacks AND four large checked bags AND a wagon AND Grace’s car seat that also doubles as a stroller-kind-of-thing in the airport. I want her car seat for the long airplane rides if I can.

Me while packing my pack and a baby. Talk about a workout!

Q: How long did you plan?  Did you plan all the countries you would go to?

A: Legitimately, we probably talked about it more than five years ago. We seriously planned for two years. We booked our first six months of travel more than a year in advance (as far as where to stay). We didn’t plan any more until we were five months from leaving and knew FOR SURE that we were doing this. Then we planned into Asia for about another four months. We are now planning out about seven months, but this is pretty extreme for travel families. Most are planning no more than a couple of weeks to a couple of months in advance. Some don’t even know where they will go next week! This doesn’t fit us. We have to know when and where Chris will be working and know the internet will be available. For us, it isn’t just about what we can see and experience. It is very much our life on the road.

Q: How much money do you need every month, every year, to live the life that you live?

A: While I will never give out exact numbers to this question, this really is the wrong question in general. What works for us won’t work for you. The question you need to be asking is what kind of life do you want as you travel??

Do you want a 4 or 5-star hotel? Do you need more than one hotel room? Do you want a home (which we do mostly because of our sheer size of family, but also because I love to see more of the culture and live in an actual neighborhood)? Do you care about A/C? Do you want good internet? What kind of experiences do you want to have while you travel? There are TONS of free things to do everywhere you go. We wanted some of the more paid, planned activities. How long do you want to stay in each place? We get big discounts because we stay more than 30 days. Most of our AirBnB bookings give anywhere from 20-35% for more than 30 days’ stay. This also brings down the costs of flights. Or, if you are staying in your own country, can you drive instead? Do you want to do an RV? SO many families do an RV. You can usually buy one for less than your home and it keeps the actual travel costs down.

Q: How much does your husband have to make to be able to do this?

A: See my last answer 🙂

Q: How are you making money?  How did you get started? Are you homeschooling?

A: We have owned our business for the last nine years and that funds all of our travel. You can read about it more on the other FAQs. See above for how we got started. Now, to schooling!

Yes, we are homeschooling! Some call it world-schooling. Like travel, homeschooling is incredibly personal. The more homeschool moms I talked to and grilled, the more options opened up. I like to think of it like breastfeeding: it’s very personal, you can’t really tell how much the kids are getting except in the long term, and it is controversial.

After all my research, I found an online program out of Utah that I liked. It is basically the apps my kids were already using in their classrooms and for homework, all put into one program (Kids Online Academy). I loved that. I’m a Biology major, so math was really important to me and I found a separate program that my kids had already done a year of (Eureka math). I found online lessons (Zearn) that they can watch and workbooks. I also added in, a few months in, some spelling, math drills, and handwriting books. It’s a lot to travel with, but you have to find your happy medium and this is mine.

We homeschool when Chris works, which works out perfectly. We do about three days a week for about 3-6 hours (depending on how much they drag their feet through it). We started right when we left (no summer break) and have taken only a week off here or there.

Grace can’t get enough Nutella and I have to bribe her all the time to get things done 🙂

Q: How can you travel with 5 kids?  We have four kids and flights are so expensive, so is food!

A: It isn’t cheap. It’s expensive for us to fly. We drove in our car for the first few months. However, we’ve learned a few things:

  1. It’s a lot cheaper booking one-way! Sometimes it isn’t half the cost, which would be logical, but it is still a lot cheaper.
  2. We do short distances. We aren’t flying from the states to Europe and then to Australia and then to South America. Some families do this, but we decided we would head west and keep going in that direction around the globe. We don’t plan to come back to the states until we are near there or done. We like to call this “puddle jumping” because they are short flights many times. For example, our flights in Thailand between Bangkok and Chiang Mai were like $30 pp? Totally affordable… even gas costs that much or more.
  3. We don’t fly as much because we stay longer in each place. Families that change places every few days?? I can’t imagine how expensive.

As for food costs, I addressed that above. Groceries are still expensive though. Trying to “start over” in each place is hard. We have to buy new condiments, new spices, new everything. I try my best to plan out meals and borrow what I can. We also have to buy gluten-free things, which is a whole other blog post 🙂

Q: How can you afford to do it?  What about schooling for the kids?

A: See the questions above!

Q: How do you afford it?  Did you sell your home?

A: Again, see above!

Q: Tropical destinations that are dog friendly?  60 lbs of love. We would love to travel with them!

A: Oh man! How fun! I have about 220 lbs of kids. LOL. I can’t speak to this very well. Anyone else? All I know is most Air Bnbs will not accept pets of any kind. However, the nice thing about Air BnB is you can “Contact the host”. I always do this for multiple reasons before we book a place. I ask about internet speed, I explain that I have five kids and we are traveling the world, and I ask if I can get a better price :). So you can explain about your dogs and ask if they will make an exception? I know my mom did this once with her dog and the host was fine with it for them. Sometimes policies can have some flexibility 🙂

Q: We have 3 kids, 6,4,2.  We want to start traveling for a longer duration.  We’ll take any advice!

A: So much advice in previous answers. I’d highly recommend trying a month somewhere. For us, it was a magic amount. Long enough to settle in and make friends and understand a place. However, some people I talk to can’t stand more than three days in one place. Book AirBnBs and look for a discount for longer stays.

Another bit of advice: we operate for some things on the BIT method, which stands for Buy It There. You can’t pack everything you will need. Not possible. So just plan to buy some things there. It takes a lot of pressure off. If I’m getting tired of my wardrobe, I go buy a couple of cheap tops and get rid a couple of different ones. No problem.

Q: Just how?  How do you do it with five kids?!  Does your husband help out a lot?

A: HAHAHA. I love these questions. Pretty sure I get what you are asking!

The short answer is there is a lot I don’t get done. I realized after three kids my little “side” projects to keep me sane were not going to happen or would be very limited. I had to cut a lot and just be a mom. It’s a bit painful to give those things up, but they do start to come back a little as the kids get older. I do a lot of my personal stuff (like writing this) and work at night. Chris and I have adapted our marriage to accommodate this while still finding ways to stay connected.

Chris is an awesome dad and an AMAZING husband. Seriously. I hit the jackpot. He wants me to be as happy as possible and will try to make anything work that I want and is healthy for our family. If I want to work a little, he will work to make that happen. If I want to start a new activity, he is supportive. If I’m lonely, he will cancel calls to be with me or help me in a meltdown. Having a supportive partner is incredibly powerful. He also does help out a lot. He helps with his kids, plays with them, and loves them deeply.

We also recognize sometimes we need help. We use babysitters. When we were in a permanent place, we would have a part-time nanny that would come 10-20 hours a week so I could work, go to school, etc. Now that we are traveling, we trade off a bit more, we have less clutter to make us busy, and we still use nanny services. Date nights are so important to us!

I could go on and on, so hopefully, that answered the question a little bit 🙂

Saying goodbye to the kids club in Bali. We spent our first week in a hotel (a splurge for us!) and everyone loved the kids club. Mom and Dad cried a little to leave….

Q: Tips on finding affordable flights and AirBnbs?

A: I think this deserves a separate post and I’ve asked for some help. There are zillions of websites and methods. Bottom line: research! The more time you can take to plan, the better deal you can find. We booked some of our Air BnB’s more than a year out, which was great for places like Hawaii. Some other places wouldn’t even discuss out that far in advance. So it depends on where you go. The major travel sites (Expedia, Hotels.com, Trip Advisor, Kayak) can be helpful for price comparison. We always ask for quotes on at least 3 AirBnB’s in one place to do a little price comparison.

I also know that some flight sites, like Sky Scanner and Southwest, will let you see flight costs based on date and/or location. For example, I think you can put in an airport you are leaving from and leave the destination blank. Then you can see lots of options and pick one that appeals to you!

Stay tuned for more recommendations!

Q: Questions about everything financial!  What job does one of you have to support this?

A: See above!

Q: Where are you booking them through?

A: We are not loyal to any airline for rewards, so we use whatever is cheapest while still seeming safe :). I’ve used Cheap O Air, Expedia (which, BTW, doesn’t let you book for five kids!! We now have to book two different reservations), lots of AirBnB and VRBO, Kayak, and some credit card rewards.

A few things to note: Usually the cheapest flights don’t let you get seat assignments. This has bitten us in the butt a few times. We’ve had to beg for seat changes and be split up a lot (which is tough with our ages of kiddos). You kind of get what you pay for? So keep that in mind and don’t be surprised when it isn’t ideal. However, I booked China Air to come from Hawaii to Bali and it was INCREDIBLE. The best flight ever. Best service, best seats, etc. So it’s a bit of a gamble too.

We now prefer Air BnB to VRBO by a lot. We booked pretty much all of our first homes through VRBO and it is a lot less user-friendly. I was able to save some money by skipping booking through their booking agent, which was nice. However, it left us very exposed and was a bad experience for us in Oahu! So I’m now an Air BnB fan.

Q: Abby, our beloved babysitter (So I can reference her) asked about traveling the world as a nurse. What is the medical scene like?

A: Oh Abby, I wish I knew more about this!! Any comments from those who do are totally welcome!

Q: Do you send your kids to school? Or homeschool?

A: See above. Some families do stay long enough (and have a visa long enough) to put their kiddos into an international school. It is an option! There are also plenty of online schools that you can get credit for. This was just more than I wanted to bite off. I didn’t want school to overshadow the benefits of the travel and my kids are still quite young.

Q: Do you stay in houses when traveling? Where do you search to find housing for a month?

A: Mostly answered above, but I will add that we’ve even used Hotels.com to try to book hotels for a month or more. Sometimes those engines will let you book long stays as well.

Well, friends, that wraps this up! I appreciate the questions and the chance to explain more about our journey. Feel free to leave comments below or contact me directly.

Plan your next international trip and get budget-friendly tickets from Booking.com, Skyscanner, Kiwi.com, or Expedia

Find a family-friendly hotel wherever you are from Booking.com, Expedia, or Vrbo, (we also love Tripadvisor and Hotels.com)

Discover more of the world through exciting activities from GetYourGuide, Airbnb Experiences, or Viator

Need to rent a car? Visit Rentalcars.com.

Get insured while traveling with World Nomads.

Want to have a photo shoot while traveling? Check out flytographer!

Capture your best travel memories as we do with a GoPro, Sony camera, or our favorite drones: DJI FPV, Air, and Mini

Check out your travel necessities from a comprehensive list of all the 7Wayfinders Travel Must-Haves. Click Here!

Additional Reading

7 Wayfinder’s Full-Time Travel FAQs

The Reality of Full-Time Travel

Last Minute Preparation for Full-Time Travel with Kids


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