Digital Nomads have been the new buzzword for quite some time now – but what about those who want to take their children along for the ride? The digital nomad lifestyle has exploded in popularity, most likely due to the fact that it offers an extremely flexible lifestyle that allows you to work from anywhere. If you love traveling and working remotely, then this is a great lifestyle for you. However, if you have kids, it can be a little more difficult to figure out how to make it work.
The first thing to do is get clear on your reasons for wanting to travel with your kids. Is it because you want them to have a different life experience? Is it because you think they will learn more from seeing the world? Is it because you’ll get some amazing family photos that will make all your friends jealous? Or is it because you just want to spend more time together?
Traveling with kids is a great way to build bonds and create lasting memories together as a family. Furthermore, traveling as a digital nomad with kids means that you can also earn money at the same time. Traveling with kids will not be easy – ever. But it doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
Choosing a Kid-friendly Destination
With so many places around the globe to choose from, what are the determining factors in deciding your family’s next destination? It’s hard enough to choose a destination when you’re traveling with one or two other adults. If you have kids in tow, it can be much more challenging.
Here are five things to consider when picking a family-friendly destination:
Is it safe? Crime rates are down globally, but some places are still safer than others. The U.S. Department of State can provide good guidance on the best and worst places to travel with children. Be sure to check for local laws about where you can and cannot take your children. Do your own research especially if you are traveling to a different country altogether.
How easy is it to get around? Are there plenty of taxis and ride-hailing services? Is the public transit system reliable? Are there lots of pedestrian walkways? In many developing countries, even getting from the airport to downtown can be a challenge. Look up reviews on TripAdvisor and see what other families say about getting around.
What kind of food will you find? Some kids are less adventurous than others, so it’s important to know that restaurants with kid-friendly fare will be close at hand if necessary. If you’re looking at lesser developed countries, it may not be so wise to dine on street food.
What will entertain the kids? There’s no point in taking your family somewhere that doesn’t have much for the kids to do. It’s also worth remembering that kids can get bored very easily — so don’t plan on spending all day every day enjoying local attractions. Try to find places close by where they can run around and expend their seemingly endless energy reserves.
What are my budget considerations? Different destinations have different price tags attached — and not just for accommodation, flights, and activities. You’ll also need to think about how much money will go towards feeding everyone, getting around, and anything else that might crop up while you’re living a mobile lifestyle.
Establishing Rules for Remote Working with Kids
In order for the nomad lifestyle to be effective, there has to be some sort of structure within the family. Here comes the importance of creating rules to ensure that all aspects are covered. I’ve come up with basic rules that you could start implementing but feel free to tweak them according to your family’s needs.
- Keep your kids safe and happy. When a child is happy, everyone tends to feel the same way. The harmony that a safe and happy environment creates is the key to a successful long-term nomad lifestyle for the whole family.
- Be sure to work as much as you can. Practically, the family needs a source of income to survive. Work must not be neglected by the providers. Every member has to be fed at the very least. Expect other expenses to include travel and medical costs. It is a big plus if you practice homeschooling to lessen educational costs.
- Prepare for interruptions and distractions, but don’t let them rule you. Being with the family means work-life balance must exist. Your kids will sometimes want to play or spend time with you and this is okay. Allow breaks or downtime from the daily routine to make room for quality time and relaxation from work.
While it’s tempting to avoid working while the kids are around, if you can be present with them while still being productive, it’s a great way to spend time with them and still get everything done at the same time.
The Role of the Parents
Being a nurturing parent myself, I believe that families can find success together with a remote work lifestyle and I have seen many thriving digital nomad family adventures. I’ve realized that the best way to travel long-term with kids is to embrace your role as an educator. Digital nomad kids are getting a different kind of education than their peers, one that focuses more on experiences and less on memorization. In many ways, it is a much more well-rounded education that prepares them for the real world.
Digital nomad families are truly a special breed. They show the world that it is possible to raise children on the road. From Hong Kong to Bali, from Paris to Sevilla, remote workers and their families learn more about each other every day as they explore new frontiers together.
Traveling with kids can be a blast or a hellish torment. The goal here is to find ways to minimize the pain and maximize the fun. Sure, you might not have all the luxuries of traveling without kids, but that doesn’t mean they need to be ruled out completely. By applying some smart strategies to your itinerary, as well as some tools to make life easier for everyone, you will be able to enjoy more than just the vacation – you’ll get the best family bonding experience possible.
Written By: Frances De Guzman