Some of the common objections I hear from would-be family travelers are:

  • “But I see other families online who sold everything they owned to travel the world! I don’t necessarily want to sell it all and live out of a suitcase.”
  • “Going to the grocery store with my children is too overwhelming. How could I travel internationally with them?”
  • “I have a job, a mortgage, bills to pay. I can’t afford to travel.”

In this post, I will offer some tips for those who feel travel is a pipe dream and help you realize big family travel is a doable goal. And one you can fit it into your life much sooner than you think!

Start Small

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” — Lao Tzu

One way to get traveling sooner is to start small. You don’t have to jump from one-week vacations to… BAM!… selling everything you own to travel the world nomadically.

As with any other goal planning, setting your expectations too high means you’ll probably fail. And then get discouraged.

Set reasonable expectations for your trip. If you’ve only ever gone for a week, maybe try three or four weeks. If you’ve only ever taken a beach vacation, maybe try a destination that has a little more meat to it: educationally, culturally, historically, linguistically, spiritually, or otherwise.

The key here is to simply get your momentum going. Your life is a marathon, not a sprint.

You Don’t Need to Become a Permanent Traveler

We see so many people online who tell us joyfully how they’ve sold everything they owned, including their family home, to travel.

However, if this way of doing things doesn’t work for you, don’t let other people’s lifestyles scare you away from travel.

Listen, I don’t doubt selling everything I own would be an amazing experience on many levels. But you know what? I’m just not ready to downsize to a backpack. But it’s okay. I can still travel, even while keeping my family’s home quite intact.

Don’t think you must sell it all to travel. You can take one journey with your kids—of whatever length—and then return happily to your old home and lifestyle.

“Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colors. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” —Terry Pratchett

Just Be You

Don’t feel like you need to imitate other family travelers. There is no one right way to do a family sabbatical. I’ve met so many people over the years and each family has their own unique way of doing things.

Yes, you can definitely sell everything you own, buy a Round the World ticket and go off to circle the planet. But you can also take a shorter break from your normal life to see some of the world and enjoy your kids. It all depends on what you want to do.

As with anything else in life, you don’t have to dance to someone else’s music. Just be yourself and it will all flow beautifully.

It Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

Many people think travel and immediately think, “It would be nice, but I can’t afford that.”  That’s a limiting belief that will get you nowhere (literally).

Travel doesn’t need to be that expensive. You could travel deeply to the nearest large city and visit it mindfully for a weekend—for only a few hundred dollars. You could visit friends in another part of your own country. You could go camping.

When people hear that we’re planning a trip, they’re probably assuming we’re loaded. But we’re not. It’s simply that we prioritize travel as a necessary expense because it’s a valuable part of our life.

Just Do It

The only way to start traveling is to start traveling. There’s a riddle floating around that asks, “How do you put a giraffe in a refrigerator?” The answer: “Open the refrigerator door and put the giraffe in.” This question tests whether you tend to do very simple tasks in an overly complicated way.

Don’t make this harder than it needs to be. If you want to travel, then just do it.