A few years ago I remember saying to one of my close friends that I didn’t dream of a big home with nice cars, I wanted to travel the world with my family. I wanted travel to be a part of schooling for them. At the time I had no idea there was such thing as World Schooling. When I discovered other families doing this, it inspired me. I wasn’t crazy! I’ve never desired to sell our home and all our possessions to travel the world long term, but I’ve yearned for a life where we could travel a couple times a year for short or extended periods of time.
I’m excited to say we’ve started! In the last year we have travelled as a family to Orlando, I’ve taken my oldest to New York and San Francisco as well as toured for 2 weeks around the West Coast of Canada through Vancouver to Vancouver Island. My husband has taken both our boys individually on 2 different tours of Western USA each. Together, they have visited Arizona, California, Oregon, Utah, Nevada and Montana. That’s all in one year and on our modest salary.
I have had many people ask how we do it. People assume we are rich, and I can assure you that is not the case. I am an entrepreneur (aka I’m broke), and my hubby has a heart-fulling job in Non Profit (aka a lotta heart, a litta pay)
In this blog I want to share with you how we do this because it really is possible for anyone.
We stopped fearing that we didn’t have enough money and made a plan to see it happen.
There have been too many times we have looked back on our married life and seen where fear has prevented us from experiencing our dreams. We didn’t think we could afford to buy our own place when we were first married, but the truth is we could have. We look back on this experience and others and realized that with a plan in place, anything is possible so fear can stick it.
We use our Westjet credit card to pay for everything and pay it off at the end of each month.
No matter where you live in the world, there are credit cards that can give you points for airfare. This is a brilliant way to save up enough points to travel. We did our entire Disney World vacation on our points this year. Our flights to San Franciso were also paid by points. We pay for all our expenses other than spending on our card and pay it at the end of each month. However, if you aren’t disciplined to pay it off at the end of each month, the dream of travel will quickly turn to interest payments. No one wants that.
Taking one child at a time saves money (and your sanity!)
My hubby takes each of our boys separately on a road trip in the summer. It’s been such an amazing opportunity for our boys to each get such quality one on one time with their dad. They not only drive, but they sleep in the back of our Jeep in the northern States that aren’t as hot. I personally would never be caught dead doing that, so that brings me to our next point…
AirBnB is a great way not only to save money, but to also experience community life and culture wherever you are travelling. You also save on food costs by having your own kitchen to make meals. You will often see my 8 year old sitting at his computer looking at various AirBnB’s around the world, dreaming up our next destination – all while sipping his cucumber water (who is this kid?) Our 8 year old is already becoming an expert itinerary maker for our travels.
We keep up with our weekly and monthly finances and are constantly tweaking our budget.
I write down everything we buy. Everything. If we spend a dollar on parking, its documented in my phone. At the end of each week I summarize everything we spent on groceries, gas, parking, outings, even Starbucks. At the end of the month I do a month summary of everything that was spent compared to all money that came in. If we are ever short, I figure out where we need to tighten up. I also do a 6 month review and a year end document of all we spent, and how much money came in. This has given us a clear picture of our finances, as well as where we can save more money. Since I started doing this, the Starbucks column has decreased significantly. I had no idea how much money I was investing there that could have been for our next trip!
We don’t spend money on things we don’t value.
As a family we have written down what we value. We teach our kids to spend money only on the things they truly enjoy. My 8 year old spends his money on his antique collection. My 12 year old spends his money on computer software and games. I don’t spend money on clothes or jewelry. I will often treat my family to a movie with my money because I love movies (and movie popcorn). I am also “adulting” by using my spending money on skincare. I have no choice, 50 is sooner than I think. The struggle is real friends.
We use the envelop system for all spending.
We use cash only for all our spending. At the beginning of the week, everyone in the family gets a zip lock bag with their allotted spending money for the week. They can spend it on whatever they want, but when it’s out, it’s out. This has taught our kids so much! At first they blew their money on the first day, but now they are much more conscious about how much things cost, and how long it will take them to save. My hubby and I also only use cash for spending. If something has to be bought online, we buy it on our Westjet credit card, and deposit the cash back in our account. This keeps spending under control. When we travel we continue with our envelop system and even try to keep within our regular grocery budget. We allow the kids to get one souvenir.
We don’t eat out in restaurants.
First of all, our kids are crazy so why would we do that to ourselves? Secondly, we honestly see how much it costs to eat out and opt out to make travel more possible. Our kids love fast food, so if they want it, they can buy it with their own money.
I look for opportunities to work in the cities I travel to.
Just a month ago I was able to tour Westcoast Canada with my oldest with a tour I was doing with my parent seminar. We spent 2 and a half weeks enjoying majestic scenery of mountains and ocean during the day and then I would do my parenting seminar in the evenings. Not only did this pay for our trip, but it brought in an income at the same time. What skills do you have that could be of value anywhere? Perhaps there’s an opportunity to travel and make some extra money? Start with places where you know people. My Westcoast tour started with me getting on the phone with people I know saying, “So I have an idea…” and it all evolved from there.
As you can see, travel is easier than you think. If travel is something you dream of for your family stop making excuses and get up and make it happen. Even if it’s once a year and you use your tent to travel, start small, tweak your finances, and start moving towards making your dream become a reality.
Need some help with this? I can coach you to reach your family’s goals. If you’re looking for further how-to, reach out to me here. I would love to help.