The hardest part is to embrace travel no longer as a vacation style but as a way of life. Passionate travelers, Laura and her family took the big leap. So taking the big leap is a yes but not without organization and each family has its own timing!
Starting a family is often synonymous with commitment and grounding. For some travel-loving parents, the birth of their first child and the responsibilities that come with it are seen as a barrier to mobility. However, traveling with your family is far from impossible and adds even some flavor to the trip. We met Laura Georgieff, travel blogger for Frugal for Luxury and based in Orlando, Florida since 2005. She travels all around the world with her husband and her three little explorers aged 6, 8 and 9 and wouldn’t change her lifestyle for the world. She tells us how to organize your trip with children while traveling abroad and how to homeschool.
The idea of rooting is a widespread preconception and frustration for many young parents. It is difficult to imagine a vacation at the end of the world or on the roads with a little one to care for. However, with a good organization, it is possible to see the family trip as an enrichment rather than a constraint. Always passionate about traveling, Laura and her husband have never put any barriers in terms of travel habits and destinations. For instance, they told us that they left on a transatlantic flight with their first daughter on the day of her 8 weeks.
The hardest part is to take the big leap. Removing children from school, resigning from your job and going around the world needs courage and intense preparation. Laura and her family have also taken it several times before leaving on the American roads by caravan in April 2021. They were stopped by the pandemic episode in Australia after a departure in January 2020 which delayed the big jump. This obstacle to their initial project gave them time to mature their project. First by undertaking a tour of Europe in 24 countries, gradually withdrawing children from school. Then by maturing their parallel professional project to develop while traveling. Laura for instance bought a mattress review website and her husband bought her own online business. This gives them the resources to push the family trip forward.
Among the apprehensions that occur, loneliness on the road is top listed. You spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year with your family. There is no break, no days off. It can also be one of the advantages of the trip, great moments of sharing. But for many travelers, they quickly feel some tension raising, which needs to be nipped in the bud.
But going on a trip with the children is also synonymous with human wealth. Especially when you take your children with you from an early age, they develop travel as second nature. For parents, it allows them to see them grow up, to get to really know them. This way of traveling allows great freedom, physical and mental, to be able to decide what to do with your time, how to move forward, where to go, without anyone to guide us.
The freedom to forge a more intimate relationship with nature, to think outside the box and to develop one’s culture with others.
Many parents dreamt about going back to work after having taken care of their children during the lockdown. Laura herself didn’t think she had the patience to teach three children. Listening to the needs of her children, she began to worship this way to instruct them and learned a lot. The pace is intense but in just 90 to 120 minutes, well concentrated, it is possible to learn as much as in a whole day spent at school.
Far from their teacher and friends, they could quickly miss school benches. But with several children, they meet together and do not regret the contact with others, whom they meet on the road daily. In comparison with their experience in the caravan, the rhythm of the institutional school with the bell, the homeworks in the evening, the moments of waiting between the lessons and the whole days spent on the benches seem very pale. At home school, they appreciate having finished faster, being able to decide what they want to learn, meeting new friends in the campsites.
Children enjoy their relationship with their teachers, school trips, sports, the arts, the library, and classmates. But they also like to discover at their own pace.
Class at home also depends on the mode of travel. For instance, during a worldwide trip the family is moving every day. The children then have lessons seven days a week but spend less time on work every day. The concept of weekends disappears, parents are not working and do not have any sports activities for them. The pace of the caravan road trip is very different. It is punctuated by the days of the week and weekends. So homeschooling for children is organized over 5 days a week.
Laura shared with us the example of scheduling for her children: The oldest is usually done by mid-day and the youngest is done by 10:30-11am. With each of the trips, they have decided to focus only on learning English and math. They follow an American curriculum so that they can easily return to school the day they stop traveling.
Travel is the best school: all other subjects are learned in the field. In the South Pacific, they learn about geology, earthquakes and volcanoes, island culture, the ocean and conservation. In Europe, they study the two world wars, the treasures of antiquity, and the peoples of the Arctic. In the United States, they learn about the Civil War, human rights, and the natural sciences.
Traveling full time is a learning experience for everyone, every day. It is a constant and fascinating brain simulation.
In this way, the children learn much faster at home because it is possible to adapt their programs to their knowledge and abilities. According to Laura, this allows her to give the children the will and love of learning. Doing homework also takes a lot of time for the parents and with this rhythm 100% of the weekends are free, with no homework or preparation on Monday morning.
Flexibility in full-time travel is essential. You have to accept that you are not in control, and as long as you leave knowing that things are not going as planned, you will be fine! A second piece of advice is to not think of the trip as a vacation. There is a big difference between full time travel and vacation. When you go on vacation, everything is organized, there is an arrival date and a return date. When traveling full time, it’s real life – the same as at home – but with the additional complexity of planning your next stop. It’s all about finding something to visit, staying on a set “car / hotel / food / excursion” budget, and always motivating the troops. But real life is not put on hold like during a short vacation. Children have to progress through the school program. If you are working, it doesn’t stop either because there is always tax season, repairs to kept property, visits to the doctor, etc. Just go there with the right mindset.
Traveling full time is tiring, can even be exhausting. It is much envied by others, and especially not understood by almost everyone. It’s up to you to educate in your close circles and leave with realistic expectations.