8 months of family travel – how we do it

We've been traveling for 8 months with our kids now. I'm telling all about it here!

A pin to make busy lives easier

If someone told me 2 years ago that we’d be traveling the world by now, I’d have laughed. I never even considered it as an option. Even with Angelo working from home and the kids being homeschooled. It just never even crossed my mind. And every time we’d go on holiday, it was always so freaking expensive! We could barely afford it!

Visiting the giant Buddha with the kids in Nara, Japan, was great and a bit terrifying. There was a lot of people.

In Todai-ji, getting ready to see the giant Buddha

 

 

But then, typing out the newsletter last week, I realized that we’ve been traveling for eight months now! How did I forget? I had plans for our 6 months on the road post but hey…. it doesn’t exist because I forgot.

Well, the thing is that life happens. Even more so during travels, things get messier and messier in between sightseeing, different time zones, planes, buses, trains and different languages. Maybe even a few visits to the hospital.

It’s huge, we’ve been traveling for more than half a year now AND we haven’t broken the bank. How cool is that?

It wasn't until we started traveling that we found joy in hiking - as a family!

Climbing to see Meads Wall, in Tongariro National Village, New Zealand

Now I’m gonna tell you how we’ve been doing to save money so far:

The first thing we did was stop was booking hotels. They’re expensive and we end up having to eat out most meals. We started booking holiday homes, like Airbnb (if you click on this link and book your next vacation, you get a discount and we get one too, so please do!). It’s almost always a house with full kitchen, so we can cook, do our laundry, have the Internet AND privacy. It’s not as nice to leave the room in the morning and come back to have a magically clean room BUT that’s what fits the budget – and our lifestyle.

Cooking is great because we usually stay for only a week in each home (2 at most) so we can only buy a limited amount of ingredients and we need to get creative. Even more so when we can’t find the ingredients we were used to.

We still eat out, but once or twice a week.

ninja village japan

João throwing a real shuriken (ninja star) in Japan

 

 

The second was choosing the activities wisely. I know Disney is great and all, but it’s so very expensive and there’s so much to see everywhere with that money… So we choose. If we want Disney, we’ll have to let something else go. In Japan, for example, we chose to do Disney Sea and skip Disneyland, Sky Tree, and Sky Tower. In Brazil, we had to skip the Amazon and stay close to São Paulo – for now. There were many places we didn’t go to due to time and/or financial limitations. And that’s OK because prioritizing is a great thing to learn.

The third is researching well. Public transport is cheaper for single travelers or even couples or small families, but for large families, it’s almost never the cheapest option. A house outside town can be cheaper, but it might not be worth it if you need to take a bus or a train every day when you need to go out. Staying in an RV is cheaper, but sometimes, if you add the fuel, insurance, and all the other little fees, it gets even more expensive than traveling by airplane. If it’s rainy season, an outside toilet is probably not the best idea. And so on. It’s not easy, but reading the reviews is a great source of knowledge.

Last, we learned to ask for discounts. We don’t get them every time, but it has allowed us to do things we wouldn’t be able to, like Whale Watch, Te Puia, Escape, etc. We usually don’t get to the place and ask for a discount, we do so through e-mails or phone beforehand. It’s worth the shot! In local guides, there are always a few discount coupons and they also help saving a bit of money.

But how do we pay for it?

Angelo’s still working. He works almost every day, with his former clients. He had a month off, while we were in Japan, but he’s now working. It’s our source of income. I know we couldn’t have saved enough money to take us all on a 1-year trip, let alone a longer one.

It’s not very easy, he has to work out time zones, make agreements with clients about when he’ll be available on each day, program our outings according to his work schedule and all that.

It takes him a lot of focus and willingness, but he’s great and manages things pretty well.

The rest of us try to not bother him while he’s working.

We had the chance of visiting Hobbiton for dinner once and it was great. Everyone, including the kids, loved it!

The Green Dragon Inn, in Hobbiton, NZ – LOVED it!

And the kids’ education…

This is one super easy thing because we believe that kids learn naturally. We’ve been homeschooling for a long time now (4 years) and we think we’re doing pretty well. In NZ, they learned about nature, the native birds, evolution, and wildlife just by being in contact with it. In Japan, the boys learned to read Japanese (even though they don’t understand what they read) just by looking at signs, books, movies, and stores. They also learned a few Japanese etiquette things they had no idea about. In Brazil, they’re reading Brazilian comics all the time, and they’re now improving their vocabulary and writing skills.

salvador bahia brazil

Bomfim church, in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil

Traveling is just an amazing learning opportunity because they have the chance to experience things, rather than just reading or hearing about them. It was great seeing an active geyser and a Maori Village, being in a Japanese Castle, seeing, holding and throwing a real ninja star.

They also are learning a great deal in Geography and History everywhere. We also read to them, tell them facts, instigate their curiosity, buy them books, look at maps, share with them all we can, we watch movies, listen to music, draw, paint, build, walk, run, play, swim. We cook, clean, do laundry, sew, and everything we do, we try to get them involved.

They still do have a few ‘school’ work to do, and they do.

totaranui golden bay nz

Totaranui Beach, in Golden Bay, NZ – one of the prettiest beaches we’ve ever seen

It’s been pretty great 8 months!

Do you have any other questions? Leave a comment here!

 

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1 reply
  1. Tatiana Saito
    Tatiana Saito says:

    Acho muito legal eles serem “homeschooled” (sei lá como se diz isso). Eles são muito mais preparados pra vida do que muitas crianças que vivem enfiadas em salas de aula e nunca viram um bosque de verdade. Sem contar que eles são educadíssimos (exceto a Coral! HAhahahahahah)

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