It’s time to dust off your backpack and think about where to go next. If you’re on a budget, you may be wondering about the cheapest backpacking destinations in the world. The thing is, especially if you’ve been aching to get back out there, ‘budget travel’ can be a bit of an oxymoron. People go traveling to see something new, and once you’re on the road, the last thing you want to do is restrict yourself.

The way to travel on a budget without feeling too limited is to go backpacking destinations where food, accommodation, and transport are cheap. This will allow you to stretch your budget and splurge on the occasional special activity to get the most out of your trip. The good news is, after you figure out a cheap way to get to your destination, it is possible to travel around some of the most beautiful destinations on earth for less than $20 a day. Believe it or not, it can sometimes be cheaper to be on the road than to stay at home considering your normal rent and daily expenses! 

So without further ado, here is our updated list of the cheapest backpacking destinations for 2023.

Bulgaria – The best Eastern European country for budget travel

Even though Bulgaria is the cheapest backpacking country to visit in Eastern Europe, it has an abundance of gorgeous landscapes that rival its neighbors. During our 5 days in Bulgaria were able to see Alpine mountains, forested countryside, sandy beaches on the Black Sea, plus beautiful cities like Sofia and Veliko Tărnovo.

The Rila Monastery near Sofia in Bulgaria, one of the cheapest backpacking countries in the world

The Rila Monastery near Sofia, Bulgaria

Because we were traveling in the off-season, we were able to splurge on the occasional high-end luxury accommodation for less than $100 a night. Of course, you can always find cheaper hostels in Bulgaria. Food and drink are also super affordable, with the average price of a beer being about a dollar.

Learn more: Backpacking in Bulgaria


India is one of those countries where budget travel is almost entirely dependent on your willingness to haggle. If you strike the right tone, India can be one of the cheapest backpacking destinations in the world.

When booking guesthouses, you’ll most certainly get a better price by booking directly with the guest house versus booking online through an agency. Transportation-wise, it is super cheap to get around in India. In the big cities, we recommend using Uber it’s actually much cheaper than the prices you’ll be quoted for a tuk-tuk ride. For intercity travel, trains cost between $8 – $30, and you can even find flights within that price range!

Learn more: Backpacking in India

Portugal – The cheapest backpacking destination in Western Europe

Portugal is a great option in Western Europe for travelers on a budget. You’ll be able to experience the vibrant European culture as well as world-famous food and wine at a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay in France or Spain. 

Learn more: Backpacking in Portugal


Cambodia has so much to offer, and you can travel there for about $20 a day. Private rooms in a nice guesthouse will cost you about $10, and tuk-tuk rides are a savvy way to get around. Our guest house helped us arrange a private tuk-tuk driver to help us visit the many temples of Angkor Wat for just $12!  You can even get a 30-day SIM card with 1.5 GB of data for $2.

Ta Prohm Temple in the Angkor Wat Temple Complex in Cambodia, one of the cheapest backpacking countries

Ta Prohm Temple in the Angkor Wat Temple Complex

Learn more: Backpacking in Cambodia


With medieval fortresses, majestic mountains, and friendly locals, the country of Georgia should be much higher on the list of top backpacking destinations. And with delicious meals starting at $3, and $1 local buses, it’s one of the best countries for budget travel. You don’t have to withhold on the cultural activities here, since most entrance tickets cost around $2.

The Caucasus Mountains in Georgia

The Caucasus Mountains in Georgia

Learn more: Backpacking in Georgia


In the Czechia, the old trope ‘beer is cheaper than water’ is actually true. While Czechia boasts much of the same beauty as its neighbors like Germany and Austria, it’s possible to travel here at a fraction of the cost.

Learn more: Backpacking in Czechia

Bolivia – the cheapest backpacking country in South America

Bolivia is one of the cheapest backpacking destinations in the world and is very popular with adventurers. Here, it is possible to get a 3-course meal for less than $2. Accommodation in a hostel dorm room costs between $8-$12 a night, and local and long-distance buses are a cheap way to get around. Even the most famous backpacker destination in Bolivia, the Uyuni Salt Flats, won’t break the bank, costing around $200 for 3 days, which is relatively cheap for this bucket-list destination!

Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni Salt Flats in Bolivia

Learn more: Backpacking in Bolivia


Trekking in Nepal doesn’t have to cost as much as you might imagine. Other than the Everest Base Camp Trek (an exorbitant expense), there are plenty of beautiful Himalayan treks where it is possible to go by yourself. The Short Annapurna Circuit, for example, is well-marked with guesthouses along the path for about $5 a night, so you won’t have to carry tons of gear. (If you want to go all the way to Annapurna Base Camp, you’ll need to go with a guide). Food and drink in Nepal are also very affordable, with meals costing between $2-$3.

Learn more: Backpacking in Nepal

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is certainly one of those countries where you can travel on a budget or live in the lap of luxury for relatively affordable prices. Their infamous train system (a bucket-list item in itself) is the cheapest way to get around the country. Or, you could hire a private taxi to travel between cities with a few other people from your hostel. Keep a special travel budget set aside for entrance fees to nature reserves and UNESCO Heritage sites!

Learn more: Backpacking in Sri Lanka


Colombia is one of our favorite backpacking destinations because of the friendly locals, diverse landscapes, and of course, affordability. You could easily backpack in Colombia for a month with just $1000 in your bank account. By taking long-distance buses, staying in hostel dorm rooms, and cooking your own food in the hostel kitchens, you can visit destinations like Medellín, Cartagena, and Salento on a budget.

The Cocora Valley near Salento, Colombia

The Cocora Valley near Salento, Colombia

Learn more: Backpacking in Colombia

Honorable Mention


This country certainly doesn’t scream ‘budget travel’ but it’s the cheapest destination in Scandinavia. If visiting this part of the world has been a dream of yours, we can definitely recommend Denmark in comparison with its more expensive Scandinavian neighbors Norway, Sweden, or Finland.

Nyhavn Canal in Copenhagen, Denmark, one of the cheapest backpacking countries in Scandinavia

Nyhavn Canal in Copenhagen, Denmark

Learn more: Backpacking in Denmark

Every dog owner knows that their dog is their go-to companion for everyday life. Are you one such dog lover? If so, then we are sure that you’ll be excited about the adventure of a road trip with your dog by your side. And why shouldn’t you be? As long as you travel safely, having your favorite travel buddy by your side can make your road trip even more fun. Here are seven tips for you to know when planning a road trip with your dog for a smooth and safe experience.

1.   Keep Them Warm

Oftentimes, we forget to keep our dogs warm in cooler temperatures. If you plan a trip somewhere cold, you should take some Dog Jackets for Winter. These will help keep your dog warm to prevent any health issues caused by the cold. Naturally, you will enjoy the trip much more, knowing that your dog is entirely safe and sound in the pullover you bought for them.

Apart from caring for your pup by taking along warm clothes, you should also make sure that your vehicle’s heater is working correctly to make your dog’s ride more comfortable.

2.   Keep Important Pet Documents Handy

If you’re planning a road trip with your dog, be sure to carry all the pet-related documents with you in your car. Here’s a quick checklist:

  • State-issued dog or pet license.
  • Anti-rabies and vaccine record.
  • Medical check-up files in case of a visit to an out-of-town vet.

The medical files and records can come in handy if your dog gets sick during the vacation leading to a trip to a vet during your road trip. The new vet will be able to go through their medical history to conclude what treatment to begin with.

To be on the safe side, you can also use mobile apps that let you digitally store all the documents in one place. Most of these applications are cloud-based, so you can access them from any device you want, given you remember your account’s password.

3.   Practice Responsible Behavior in Public Places

Be a responsible pet owner during your road trip

Be a responsible dog owner during your road trip

We know your dog means the whole world to you, but the world as a whole might not always feel the sane way. Whenever you take a pit stop on your road trip with your dog, make sure to keep them on their leash.

If you don’t leash your dog in public places, they could chase people, or other animals, creating unrest in the surroundings, which we don’t want.

If not taken care of, this act might even land you and your dog in trouble, and you may be fined by local law enforcement. That would be a quick way to spoil your holiday mood.

Apart from this, you should also teach your dog to refrain from sticking their heads out from the windows of your car. This could cause them serious injury and can cost you a fortune in medical expenses.

4.   Carry The Essentials During a Road Trip with Your Dog

While you are planning a road trip with dogs, it’s natural that you’ll be excited about the experience. But with all the excitement, you shouldn’t forget to carry essential items that will come in handy later on your trip.

Make a list of things that you might need in different situations and carry those things with you. To start with, here is a generic list of items that you might need:

  • An extra blanket for your dog.
  • Extra tough and durable mats for seats so that your dog doesn’t ruin your car seat covers.
  • Some packets of your dog’s favorite biscuits and snacks to ease the journey a bit.
  • Some medicines to help soothe any nausea that your dog might experience during the ride.
  • Life safety tubes if you are headed to the poolside or a beach. This will let your dogs enjoy the water safely.
  • A leash to keep your dog’s excitement under control.

5.   Give Your Dog Their Own Space During the Road Trip

To make their ride more comfortable, your dog shouldn’t ride shotgun. Instead, it would be best for your dog to ride in the backseat of the car. This way, it will be comfortable for both of you. You and your dog will get optimum space for yourself and will enjoy the ride a lot more comfortably. If possible, you can also have a barrier between the driver’s seat and the passenger’s seat. This will make your dog even more comfortable and will keep them safe in the event of an accident. The barrier will also prevent your dog from distracting you throughout the ride.

6.   Don’t Plan A Road Trip When Your Dog is… Grumpy

Plan your road trip with your pet's condition in mind

Plan your road trip with your dog’s condition in mind

Dogs are lovely, but they can be grumpy too. During their heat, female dogs can also be pretty much in a mood to wreak havoc here and there. They might feel sick and nauseous also. An excellent way to avoid this is to keep track of their cycle and plan your road trip accordingly.

7.   Keep Track of Your Dog using GPS

Your road trip might include some time to camp in the countryside or somewhere remote. In that case, it’s natural that your dog would want to roam in the wilderness, and you can’t run everywhere behind them.

Naturally, they might lose their way in the woods, or a wild animal might try to prey on them. For emergencies, you can tie a GPS tracker on their collar or ankle. This will ensure that you will be able to locate your dog if they happen to wander off.

As you can see, you need to be extra careful while planning a road trip with dogs. In addition to items in your own suitcase, you’ll need to do some extra planning to ensure that your dog has a comfortable experience. In addition to the eight items discussed, a few essential things to consider adding to the list are the dog’s full photograph, extra food, odor eliminator, pet wipes, bells and a whistle, an extra leash, and portable water and food bowls. With these items and the proper preparation, you can have a memorable road trip out with your dog.

You’ve decided on a destination. You’ve scoured the internet for packing essentials. But have you considered all of your responsibilities at home before you embark on a long-term adventure? It would be great if you could simply forget about things like mail delivery and bills while you trek through New Zealand, Bolivia, or Budapest – but the adulting show must go on! You’ll enjoy your trip much more if you’re well-prepared. 

Here are just a few things to do before you take off on a long trip:

Set Up Electronic Billing 

Set up electronic billing from home before backpacking

Set up electronic billing from home before departing your trip

Even while galavanting around the world, you still have to pay bills, unfortunately. Thankfully today, almost all services use electronic billing, allowing you to pay from virtually anywhere and even set up payments in advance. 

If you’re not already using automated billing, be sure to set this feature up well before you leave for your trip. This can be done online or on the phone. Setting this feature up at least one billing cycle before a long trip is a great way to confirm that the feature is working and that money is being taken out of the correct account. 

However, even with autopay, it’s still important to have access to your accounts and statements. Most companies offer apps where you can see statements from anywhere you have cell service or a Wi-Fi connection. Downloading these apps allows you to check your accounts while you’re away in case of fraud or an unexpected charge. It’s also wise to have the customer service numbers of any services you have, in case there is an issue. 

These tips will help you most of the time, but there are a few services that do not offer online billing. For these utilities, contact the service provider to make a plan regarding payment during your trip. If possible, suspending these services while you’re away will save you money and a headache. 

Stop Mail Delivery

Though setting up electronic billing will cut down on the amount of physical mail you receive, that doesn’t cover everything. Everyone receives junk mail, letters from friends and family, as well as important documents (particularly around tax season). 

Especially if your mail is delivered to your address in an unlockable box, there is the risk of others snooping through your mail and even stealing packages delivered to you. This, of course, puts you at risk for identity theft and the loss of important documents and packages. 

If you’re going on a shorter adventure, consider asking a trusted friend or family member to pick up your mail and keep it safe until you return. Keep in mind, that according to the United States Postal Service (USPS), to have someone else pick up your mail at the post office, you must give them written permission. If you use a P.O. Box or live in an area where mailboxes are locked, make sure to give the other person a key.

If your trip is longer, make sure to reach out to your post office to hold your mail while you’re away. Your post office can hold your mail for up to 30 days while you’re traveling. It’s important to put in the request to hold your mail early to ensure mail doesn’t arrive at your address after you leave. 

For trips longer than 30 days, there is the option of forwarding your mail to another address for up to one year. If you will not have access to a set address while traveling, consider asking a family member or friend if they would be willing to receive and set aside your mail during that time. You can also sign up for Informed Delivery, which allows you to see previews of your mail on your phone to make sure you don’t miss anything important. 

Let Your Bank Know You’ll be Traveling 

Let your bank know before departing on your backpacking trip to avoid any issues

Let your bank know before departing on a long trip to avoid any issues

If you’ll be traveling outside of your home state or country, it’s wise to let your bank know ahead of time. Oftentimes, banks will flag purchases made outside a certain geographic area as “suspicious,” and will freeze or restrict your account to help protect you from fraud. However, this could be a major inconvenience if it occurs while traveling. 

To prevent this, make sure to call your bank ahead of time and tell them the general area you will be traveling in and for how long you plan to be there. If your trip is taking place outside of the country, check your bank’s policies on foreign/international transaction fees. These fees can be quite expensive and cost you a significant amount of money. 

If you plan on making several purchases during your trip using a debit or credit card, consider opening a bank account without foreign transaction fees. This can save you a significant amount in fees throughout the length of your trip. The account can then be used on other international trips you make in the future. 

Prepare Your Home to Rent or Sublet 

Why not make some extra cash while you are exploring? In today’s world, there are several safe and reliable ways to rent or sublet your home while you’re away. Taking advantage of this opportunity allows you to bring in income while you’re gone, and believe it or not, many long-term travelers have benefited from this arrangement. 

However, if you want to lease out your home to others, there’s more to it than tidying up quickly. It’s important to make all necessary repairs before renting out your home. A rental with issues can lead to bad reviews, or worse, the tenants leaving and requesting their money back. You also want to make sure any problem areas of your home are fixed before your long trip starts. Something like a busted pipe or roof leak can be catastrophic if you’re not around to immediately notice and fix the issue. 

Homeowners can tap into their home equity to cover the costs of any necessary home improvements. For example, features like a coffee nook, quality lighting, and fresh new flooring can help you get more renters and better reviews. Investing in quality furniture, towels and bedding can also positively impact your guests’ stay (and your rental rate).  

These improvements will also increase the value (and equity) of your home as well as making your home a more pleasant place to live. For renters, make sure to reach out to your landlord for any needed repairs before you leave. Also, make sure your landlord allows subletting as some leases do not allow this. 

Cancel Unnecessary Subscriptions Before Your Long Trip

Subscription boxes like meal kits and beauty packages are awesome, but will be of no use to you during your long trip. Oftentimes, the product will be expired or unusable by the time you get back. 

Before you leave, make a list of any subscriptions you have (this is also a helpful tip for budgeting in general). Then, determine which ones need to be cancelled while you’re away and which ones are worth keeping active. For example, a subscription like Netflix or Hulu might be useful on a trip, while something like a meal kit would go bad quickly. 

Also keep in mind that some companies allow you to temporarily suspend your subscription while you’re away instead of outright cancelling. This can save you a lot of headaches when you return. And of course, make sure to resubscribe to everything once you’re back home. 

Consider Adjusting Your Mobile Plan 

Mobile phones are a necessary expense for the vast majority of people. However, depending on your mobile service, you may be charged extra for international usage. If you’re travelling internationally, this can be a significant added expense. 

Adjust your mobile phone plan before your backpacking trip to avoid hassle on the road

Adjust your mobile phone plan before a long trip to avoid hassle on the road

Before your long trip, review your mobile plan and see if you have coverage in other countries and if there are additional fees. If your provider doesn’t enable service where you’re traveling, you can consider buying a prepaid phone to keep in contact with others during the trip. 

If you need suggestions, ask other long-term travelers who have visited the area for their suggestions for remaining connected during your trip. In the case that you don’t know anyone personally, consider looking at online forums and sites about how to manage your mobile plan abroad.

Have Someone to Check on Your Home 

If you can’t or don’t want to rent out your home, finding a house sitter is an important step in securing your home. There are several options for making sure your home is safe while you’re away. For example, you could ask a trusted friend, neighbor, or family member to check in on your home once a week to make sure nothing is out of place. 

When this isn’t an option, there are also several services that will match you up with a person to house-sit your living space. These services offer verified sitters and support and communication through an app. These apps are especially helpful for pet owners because they often offer veterinary support in case something goes wrong. Regardless of who you choose to watch your home, remember to provide them with keys and anything they will need as well as a list of things to look out for. 

Going on a long trip is an excellent way to see the world, stay in shape and make lifelong friends. Although the preparation for a trip may be stressful, follow these tips, and you’ll be on your way in no time.

Planning for a trip can be a daunting task, especially if you are a beginner. You can easily get overwhelmed when you have no clue where to start and even the more minor details that might hurt your experience. Luckily, there’s plenty of information out there nowadays. All you need to do is do your research and figure out some travel tips for beginners. Social media, guidebooks, and blogs have never been more plentiful. Just pick what suits your ideas best.

Hopefully, this travel planning guide for beginners will put you on the right path just as you desire and help you travel frequently and more efficiently.

Decide When to Travel

Timing is one of the critical travel factors to consider. One of the best travel tips for beginners is to travel during the off-season as compared to travelling during peak season.

Being flexible with your travel dates saves you a good chunk of money on both accommodation and transportation. Additionally, you get to enjoy popular tourist attractions when it’s less crowded and shorter wait periods.

Pick a Destination

Travel tips for beginners

Step 1 when planning a trip: pick your destination

One of the most exciting parts of planning a trip is researching and choosing a travel destination. The whole world is your oyster at this point, and you can go anywhere and do anything.

However, it’s essential to have an excellent strategy to narrow down your options.  You may opt to pick a destination from your bucket list that you had created, the most economical to fly to, or one that you got inspired to travel to through travel magazines or travel bloggers. Go ahead and get detailed and specific with your plans.

Every little detail would count, such as luggage storage places in Seattle, or bike rentals in London. The idea is to be as explicitly detailed about your destination as possible.

Research Flights and Dates

Research a few dates to find the best time to travel

Research a few dates to find the best time to travel

Hotel or activity prices are not as volatile as airline prices and availability are. In that, there’s still a good chance you can find another place to stay that will still fall within your budget and meet your needs if the hotel room you had booked is no longer available. 

On the other hand, consider if you had booked a hotel, but the flight you were looking at is no longer available or has doubled in price? Therefore, you must take your time researching flight routes and dates. Book your flight early enough to get your desired flight and also for the best deals.

One of our best travel tips for beginners is to use apps such as Skyscanner, Momondo, and Google Flights to help you find cheap air tickets. 

Remember to find a good parking spot for your car. You can also try to save more on the parking spots you pick. For example, you can save more if you park your car near the airport you intend to use.

For example, you can book parking at the Embassy Suites RDU Airport if you use the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. You can then use a free shuttle service to and from the airport. It will save you a lot. Remember to pick a spot that can guarantee you security for your car for the time you will be away. 

Decide on the Duration of Your Stay

The length of your trip will highly depend on your monetary budget since the longer your trip, the more you spend. On top of that, vacation time is another factor to consider. How much time do you have at your disposal?  How much of it do you want to commit to this trip?

Also, think about the time needed to explore and enjoy your destination and the travel time to the destination. One of the hardest parts about planning your first trip is figuring out the balance between taking your time, and trying to see it all.

One of our travel tips for beginners is to spend at least 2 days in each city in order to really immerse yourself. For large destinations like Paris or Rome, you should plan to spend even more time.  

Set Your Budget

Setting a travel budget is one of our essential travel tips for beginners

Setting a travel budget is an important part of planning your trip

Go the extra mile and research your total costs with your preferred travel style. Would you rather stay in hotels, or do you want to backpack to the destination? What’s the cost of restaurants, hotels, and attraction sites?

These questions will guide you in coming up with a rough estimate of your total costs. If working with a limited budget, look for destinations that fit into your range and rule out unaffordable destinations. If you are flexible, figure out how much you are comfortable spending and squeeze your expenses into that budget.

Wrap up

It’s always important to have almost as much of your trip planned out in advance as possible to avoid getting into sticky situations on your travel. We hope the simple travel tips for beginners will help you organize better and prepare for your trip.

On July 8, 2019, my husband and I started to travel the world for a year… with our two kids. People thought we were a little crazy. Do I blame them? No. What is that adage, “A vacation with children is called a trip”.

We knew that it would take mental strength and a lot of deep breaths. But we also knew that it would be worth it.

I had always dreamt of selling everything and traveling long term. But, honestly, I gave up on that idea once we had kids. That was until I read about a family of six who traveled around the world for a year.

In that moment, the dream of traveling long term wedged itself inside my head. I began thinking about it constantly and finally worked up the nerve to share my far-fetched plan with my husband.

We pondered it many nights after putting the kids to bed. You can probably imagine the questions that we asked ourselves. “Shouldn’t we just save money and travel when we retire?” “Would the kids get anything out of traveling while they’re young?” But deep down we knew that if we pushed ourselves out of our comfort zones, there were so many experiences out there that would change us forever.

After a year on the road, we’ve learned the ins and outs of how to travel the world with our kids. And I’m sharing all of our most successful travel survival tips here with you.

Traveling the world with our kids in Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Our kids exploring Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Before the Trip – Preparing Your Kids for Travel

Traveling abroad can be daunting for adults and children alike. Even if your child doesn’t seem phased by the upcoming trip, they are aware of so much more than you think. Step away from your packing list and take time to chat about your upcoming travels.

How to Help Your Child Get Excited About Travel:

  • Read children’s travel-based books: I love to pour over beautiful travel books (like Maps, This Is How We Do It, and Everything & Everywhere) with my kids. Take note when something on the page interests them. Ask them questions about what they think kids in that country eat for breakfast or what games they might play at school.
  • Play Airport: Airports can be overwhelming for kids. So many rules! Set up a little airport in your home and practice the steps. With backpacks on and maybe even a suitcase or two, walk through your front door and pretend to head to “check-in” in your living room. Put your bags through “Airport Security” in your kitchen, etc. Also, ask them questions about what they think the airport and flight will feel like and listen for concerns. If our kids are nervous about traveling, they usually have concerns about the flight.

Packing Tips for Traveling with Kids:

  • Pack their Favorites: Yes, I’m on team carry-on luggage. I’m also on team sleep through the night. It’s worth ditching a few other items so that I can pack my kids’ favorite blanket and stuffed animal. Travel is a lot easier when you have your favorite lovey.
  • Toys: Your kids will need less of their toys than you think. Our kids become fascinated with life around them while we travel. Also, hotel phones (unplugged) make for hours of entertainment.
  • Be Prepared for Pool Time: Bring an inflatable pool float so that you can actually enjoy the pool without holding a small child the whole time.

Our world travelers - traveling the world with kids

How we Homeschooled Our Kids While Traveling the World

A huge benefit of spending a year together was that we were immersed in our children’s learning unlike ever before. Instead of getting a glimpse of what they were learning in school by way of homework or a school project, we were their main teachers. It was a struggle and there were more than a few tears, but it was such an amazing investment as parents.

Deciding What Type of Homeschooling is Right for Your Family

Ask yourself: Will we spend multiple hours each day on school? Do we want school hours to occur every weekday, like regular school, or would we like to set our own schedule? What sort of breaks will we take? These questions will help you narrow down what type of schooling you’re looking for. 

How to travel the world with kids – Homeschooling options: 

  • World Schooling: On one end of the educational spectrum is World Schooling, where kids learn from the experiences and world around them. The idea is that travel presents learning opportunities through reading, visiting museums, and learning about the environment they are in, supplemented with resources to strengthen the fundamentals.
  • Your Home-Country School District: On the other end is homeschooling through an educational system based in your home country where they learn online from a teacher or have regular check ins.
  • Local Schools: Enroll your children in a local school in your destination. Best when you are based in a location for three months or longer.
  • Online Homeschooling Programs: Independent, online-only program that provides a curriculum and learning resources that you can complete at your own pace. This is the option that we went with and loved.

Other Ways Your Child will Learn While Traveling

  • Museums: Visit museums that the whole family will enjoy. We love ethnographic and archeological museums. And, always get the audio guide!
  • Languages: Our children love learning new languages. Often by the first week in a new destination, they were correcting our use of the language.
  • Local History: We would look up YouTube videos that covered the history of the country we were visiting. Many are beautifully produced and presented by university professors or experts in their field.
  • Khan Academy: Older kids can learn about a country’s history through Khan Academy’s courses. They are relatively short videos and have quizzes throughout the learning to make sure you are actually digesting the information along the way. Also, their lessons are downloadable. An important element for learning on the road!

Traveling abroad with our kids

Travel Day Tips for Kids

Travel days fill our kids with energy. We could be taking an international flight or moving to a new accommodation on the other side of town, travel days always bring the same excitement, no matter the destination. And they always exhaust us more than we expect. Here are our favorite travel day survival tips:

  • Get to the airport early. Yes, I know you want to squeeze in one last sight to see or to sleep in. Children walk slowly, and it will never be more obvious than when you’re rushing for your gate.
  • Board as late as possible. As long as you’ve already checked your luggage, try to board the plane on the later side. You will already be spending hours onboard. No need to add an additional 45 minutes.
  • Snacks and unlimited screen time for the win! There are no rules when it comes to how our kids spend their time on a flight. Pack disposable, paper cups to portion out snacks.
  • After arriving at your destination, always use the restroom before passport control. We’ve experienced an hour-long wait before officially entering the country. Which only seems to take longer with a small child who needs to pee.

Helping our kids become world travelers

Teaching Your Kids to Be Travelers

Our early travel days were filled with carrying more luggage than our share and all of the responsibilities that come with getting kids ready for the day. After one week of travel, my husband and I looked at each other and committed to teaching our children to be capable travelers (for their age). We quickly learned that while it’s much faster to do something for them, kids are so much more capable than we think!

4 Ways to Teach Your Child to Be a Capable Traveler:

  • Teach them to pack: You might pick out what they’re packing in their backpack, but they can put the items inside. Extra benefit: they might remember where something is located and not constantly ask you for help. No promises!
  • Walking long distances: Don’t offer to carry your little ones. (I catch myself doing this too often!) When they ask to be carried, challenge them to walk five more blocks. The same goes for when they ask you to carry their backpacks. Our kids also love to make boring things a game. Can you walk along that wall or skip to the next light? Little games like this go a long way in keeping your kid from melting into a pool of tears right there on the sidewalk.
  • Applying sunscreen: Kids hate getting sunscreen applied and I don’t think any parent loves that responsibility. We taught our kids how to apply sunscreen and never looked back. Everyone was happier for it. And, honestly, their success rate of not missing spots is as good as mine!
  • Ordering for themselves: Ordering for your kids isn’t hard, but it sure is a lot cuter when they order for themselves. Especially if they can do it in the local language! Servers would often compliment our kids on their use of the language and their effort occasionally was rewarded with free ice cream.

 5 Ways to Get Your Kids Engaged in Travel

  • Be the Travel Planner: The kids loved learning how to navigate maps and museum guides. They would lead us home on the metro or search the internet and guide books for things to do in a new destination. Also, nothing will keep them engaged like being the one who picked how the whole family spends the afternoon.
  • Scavenger Hunts: While we visited Musée d’Orsay in Paris, my son played a game of finding all of the paintings in the museum brochure. Instead of constantly telling him to quiet down and keep his hands to himself, it became a time where he was engrossed in looking at the art around him. Our children have also been challenged to find 20 dragons through Ljubljana and to follow a route through the streets of Hoi An.
  • Restaurants: Want to eat at a nice restaurant? I’m a big believer that any restaurant is kid-friendly before 7 o’clock. Have a handful of dinner games in your back pocket. We love Categories (where you take turns naming items in a category, e.g. “Animals”, alphabetically). Or the “What’s Missing” game (put 3-5 items from the table in front of your kid, have them close their eyes, and then take one away). Simple, requires no materials, and keeps them entertained.
  • Make Taking Photos Bearable: You don’t need the perfect photo of your kids in front of every landmark. Let kids pose themselves and stop when they’re over it. Nothing makes kids lose their patience like another photoshoot where they’re squinting into the sun. Put your phone away and make some memories.
  • Playgrounds & Ice Cream: The promise of ending the afternoon with a trip to the playground or a gelato can do wonders for your child’s attitude. Heck, the promise of a beer at the end of the day is usually what keeps me going!

Remember that the simple moments are the best. Your kids don’t have the same level of expectation around travel that you probably do. They are often amazed and more engaged with everyday experiences while traveling.

Finding Moments Sans Kids

One, seemingly obvious, aspect of traveling with your kids for a year? You’re going to be with your children all of the time. We obviously love our kids and we love being able to complete a conversation longer than two sentences.

Here are a few, creative ways that we found moments sans kids:

  • One word: balconies. A hotel balcony or outdoor seating area gives you a space to enjoy a glass of wine and talk once the kids are in bed.
  • In Koh Lanta, our kids got massages on the beach while we enjoyed a beer at a table less than 10 feet away. Best and cheapest babysitter we’ve hired so far!
  • Cruise ship or hotel kids’ clubs for the win.
  • While traveling with our kids in Europe, our ground-floor apartment window in Athens faced a tiny bar across the side street. Which means that we could enjoy a kid-free date and see our kids play in the apartment at the same time.
  • We once splurged on a babysitter who we met on a boat, and our hotel confirmed was legit, in Positano.
  • And sometimes, we simply handed over our phones to entertain the kids while we enjoyed dinner.

Travel Europe with our kids

Dealing with Homesickness while Traveling

During almost a year of long term travels, we didn’t experience homesickness very often. With the exception of our 5-year-old. She missed our friends and family back at home terribly.

I chalk it up to her being too young to truly understand what our travels would be like before we left. On the other hand, our 8-year-old son had a harder time before we left. He was settled into school, his friends, his martial arts classes. He had already gone through the process of being sad and saying goodbye, and then jumped into the excitement of our journey.

We came up with a few ways to cope with the homesickness on the road:

  • Standing FaceTime calls: Seeing our family member’s face is ten times better than just hearing their voice. FaceTime calls with friends usually resulted in the kids just showing each other their toys, but they still loved it.
  • Bring that favorite toy or blanket: A handful of their favorite toys help ease the longing for home.
  • Make a list of things to enjoy when you get back to your hometown. We would make a list of playgrounds and restaurants to visit when we were missing the comfort of a familiar place.
  • Hide the photographs of family and friends during hard times. Our friends made the kids a photo album to travel with, but it was hard for our kids to look at it. We only brought it out during moments when they were feeling good about traveling.

Traveling in Cambodia with our kids

International Travel = Valuable Life Lessons for Kids

When we arrived in Cambodia from Japan, my husband and I went through culture shock. Our kids didn’t blink an eye. They knew their surroundings were different, but it didn’t bother them much. I loved that they were so adaptable, but I also wanted them to learn more about the people and places around us.

Our family is incredibly privileged. A huge reason that we wanted to travel around the world with our kids was to teach them how lucky they are and that they have the ability to make a change in the world.

And for our kids, at their age, a big part of that learning is to get to know the people around them. Listening to how life is different for them, how it is the same. To learn that the world is filled with many different religions, different customs, different foods.

That people are different, and to respect and honor the differences, but that ultimately we are all also very much the same. These are lessons I certainly wished that I had learned at their ages.

At times, we did feel concerned and questioned what we were doing when we traveled to less safe areas. We felt guilty that we needed to educate our kids on what to do if someone took them from us or what would happen if they got lost.

But this is the role of a parent. At the end of the day, nowhere is 100% safe and even if we were at home we would need to be teaching our children these lessons. Ultimately, the biggest lesson we were teaching them is that, yes, the world can be dangerous, but it’s worth it to learn how to be aware and then go explore and enjoy it all anyway.

If you’re still wondering if traveling abroad with your kids is the right option for your family, I will leave you with this. We would 100% do it all over again. There are awesome benefits that come from traveling with kids.

People around the world love children. Our kids would attract so much attention from servers and guides, grocery cashiers and bus drivers. We would get to know the people around us so much more because of their interactions with our children. In Turkey, our son’s hair was constantly ruffled by servers and people that we met on the street. In Japan, a sweet, older man on the metro didn’t say a word, but gave our children a packet of origami paper. A restaurant owner in Cambodia, who we visited a handful of times, presented our kids with gifts during our last dinner together.

Countless people wanted to take pictures with our daughter in Southeast Asia which sounds crazy, but is a normal thing when you travel with a little, white kid with curly hair.

We would never have had memories like these while traveling alone. Meeting other people and the interactions that we made are the memories that our kids, and us adults, will remember most about our year of travels.