Attempting the lifestyle of a digital nomad with a family, as opposed to doing so solo, comes with its fair share of challenges.
There are many things that a digital nomad family might want, such as a well-paying remote job or gig, a safe and comfortable place to live for the kids, or child-friendly digital nomad housing.
The idea of being a digital nomad with a family might sound like an impossible dream, but it’s not—and it can be done!
However, you need to take the time to plan out your finances and figure out how to make everything work.
If you are thinking about being a digital nomad with your family, here are some things to think about before making the leap.
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Can you be a digital nomad with a family?
The answer is yes, but it is not as easy or straightforward as it might seem. First of all, there are some things you need to consider before deciding if this lifestyle is right for you.
Obviously if you still have kids that go to school, then life on the road as a digital nomad might not be viable. But if it is just you and your partner, or perhaps you plan to stay in one country for an extended period of time so your kids can get an uninterrupted education, then it can work.
You would also need to consider other factors, such as:
You need self-discipline and planning skills.
Being able to work from anywhere requires discipline, so make sure each member of your family has those qualities before heading out on an extended trip with them.
Make sure everyone knows how they can handle working remotely as a digital nomad. Know what works best for everyone involved so no one gets frustrated later down the road.
You need to be able to communicate effectively.
If you’re planning a trip that will take you away from home for months at a time, then make sure everyone in your family has strong communication skills so they can handle any situation that arises in the best way possible.
Communication is key to any relationship, especially in tense or stressful situations such as having emergencies in another country. Which leads to the next point.
You need to be able to handle emergencies.
This is especially important when traveling with children, who can get sick or injured at the drop of a hat. You will also likely have other emergencies along the way, such as losing personal belongings while traveling, so make sure everyone knows what to do in these situations.
You have to be flexible and adaptable.
If your plans change at the last minute because someone got sick, or any other emergency while abroad, then you should not stress out too much about it. This kind of thing happens all the time when people travel.
It is important that everyone in the family understands this from day one so everyone can relax and enjoy their travels together.
It’s possible to be a digital nomad with a family, but it’s not necessarily easy. You have to be prepared for challenges and extra work, because there are things that you will have to consider that others do not.
How should you think about finances?
Money is a big concern for many people, especially for digital nomads. How much money do you need to make as a digital nomad to support yourself and your family?
The answer depends on where you choose to live, how much you spend, and how much of that goes toward savings or debt repayment. You also need to factor in the cost of health insurance for yourself and your family members.
The first thing to do is figure out what the cost of living is like where you want or need to go. Are there any websites that compare prices between cities?
What kind of housing would suit your family best? Do most people own cars or take public transportation? Is food cheap enough for everyone in your family?
Keep your expenses low. Make sure you are not spending too much on living costs by searching for cheap apartments or houses. It pays to do your research before you move to a different country with your family so you can live like a local instead of spending like a tourist.
One way to ensure your finances are in order is to get the help of a professional financial planner who can help you figure out the best way to manage your money as a digital nomad with a family.
A financial planner or adviser can also help in deciding on a monthly budget—the amount of money that will cover rent, food, transportation and other essentials like utilities and healthcare.
If these things total more than what is coming in each month from working remotely, then being a digital nomad may not be feasible until some changes are made elsewhere in your budgeting plan.
What should you look for when finding a place to live?
There are many things to consider when looking for a place to live when you are a digital nomad with a family. Safety is the most important, followed by comfort and affordability.
You will also want to look into the local school system, health care system and culture of your chosen location as these factors will affect your family’s happiness and well-being.
Naturally, you need a place with fast internet (so avoid the countryside) and welcoming locals who can teach you the language and customs if you get stuck.
Budgeting for your new life in a foreign country is essential. If you want to be a digital nomad with a family, it is a good idea to research the average cost of living in that area.
It is important to consider what kind of lifestyle you want before deciding whether or not your family can be part of it.
Working from a fixed location like a hostel or apartment for an extended period of time is more predictable and stable, and traveling around constantly has its own set of challenges. However, if you can manage it, if you and your partner can find ways around your childcare responsibilities, then there is no reason why you cannot travel as much as you like.
Plan your travel wisely
If you do, however, be wary not to plan too many things at once. You are going to be traveling a lot as a digital nomad, but that does not mean you should plan every single thing at once.
It can be really overwhelming if you have too many trips planned in one area or season, so try not to do this unless absolutely necessary for the sake of business or family reasons, like if your child has school to attend to.
Especially do not get too caught up in the digital nomad lifestyle that you plan too many trips in different parts of the world.
If there are particular places that interest you more than others–for example, maybe Thailand is more appealing than Malaysia or Indonesia–then it would be better fine to stay there longer and explore those areas more thoroughly rather than rushing around from place to place like some sort of tourist tour bus driver on speed.
Consider countries that offer digital nomad visas.
If you are planning to spend time in another country as a digital nomad family, it’s worth looking into the possibility of getting a visa that allows all of you to stay in one place for an extended period of time.
These are called “digital nomad visas” and they can be a great way to make sure your family has everything they need while on the road.
The first step is figuring out whether or not your desired country offers one. There are several countries that have these types of visas, such as Portugal, Thailand, or Dubai, among others.
As a requirement, you must either be self-employed with a business that can be run remotely, or you must be employed by a company or employer located outside of your country of residence.
There is also typically a minimum required income that should come from outside the country offering the visa.
Digital nomad visas are typically short-term and do not offer a path to citizenship; however, depending on the country’s regulations, it may be possible to obtain a residence permit under certain circumstances.
Digital nomad visa programs are available in many countries at the national level.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of being a digital nomad with a family?
Moving abroad with family is a major decision. You and your spouse are making a life-changing commitment to each other and your children, which means you have to consider what moving abroad entails.
While there are many benefits to becoming a digital nomad with a family, there are also some drawbacks that may impact your overall experience.
One of the biggest benefits is the ability to live in a beautiful country and embrace a new culture. You will have an opportunity to learn about other cultures and languages, while saving money on housing and other expenses.
You can decide how much time you want to spend working and how much time you want to spend with your family making priceless memories. You are providing your kids with opportunities they wouldn’t have if they stayed put at home all the time.
Your family can travel and learn about new cultures. A child who grows up as a digital nomad will have many doors opened to them. If you are a traveler, you will get to experience many different cultures. Education and lifelong learning can be done anywhere, at any time, when you are a digital nomad with a family.
Taking the kids on the road full time, however, is a challenge. It is already challenging to juggle work, life, and parenting responsibilities. Trying to juggle all three while on the move is no easy feat.
You also need a lot of time for readjustment. A parent’s daily routine should include more than just watching over a child; it should also include things like finding a places to work, making sure all your daily needs are met, and trying to establish a connection with your local community.
There is also the fact that money is always going to be an object. Even if you have a large nest egg to fall back on, traveling constantly can cause unexpected scenarios such as difficulties in transferring money from abroad, or currency exchange trouble, or challenges working with local banks.
Everyone worries about making ends meet, but those with families must do so even more carefully. Maintaining a sufficient emergency fund is always a must. As freelancers and self-employed people, the uncertainty of your monthly income can be a source of stress.
How should you handle childcare as a digital nomad with a family?
Consider your child’s age. If you have a young child, it may be more difficult to find a suitable childcare arrangement while traveling. That said, many digital nomads do manage it–and some even bring their kids along with them as they travel.
Find a good nanny or babysitter who can watch over your children when necessary. Look for daycare centers near where you will be staying. You can even consider hiring nannies who travel with families on long-term trips if needed.
How should you think about your kids’ education?
One of the most important considerations when you are thinking about becoming a digital nomad with a family is education. If you have children, they will need to receive adequate schooling even abroad, so it is worth planning ahead for how that will happen.
There are many ways to do this.
- If you can stay in one place for an extended period, the first and most straightforward step is to find a local school system that fits your child’s needs and make sure it fits within your budget wherever you are staying.
- The local school system is another important factor to consider when deciding where to settle down. If your kids are already enrolled in a particular school, or if they’ve expressed an interest in attending a certain school, it may be worth looking into whether the options available at their current location will meet their needs.
- It’s up to you how much research and effort you want to put into finding the right school for your children. Keep in mind that there are many factors involved when selecting a foreign education provider.
- Cost, location (urban vs rural), size of campus and classrooms, and the teacher-student ratio are all things you should consider when choosing where your child will attend class each day.
- You can also look into tutors who live near where you will be living. Sometimes there are educators who are willing to come over once or twice per week depending on their schedules. This could be helpful if you cannot find any good local schools nearby.
- Another option is homeschooling if there is not an appropriate option available locally or if you prefer not to engage with the local education system where you are staying.
- Homeschooling may require more work on behalf of parents than traditional schooling does, but it can also give parents more flexibility and control over what their kids learn in class.
- Homeschooling families can access a variety of helpful materials. Even if they are not geared toward digital nomads specifically, the information they provide is useful.
- When it comes to homeschooling, there is no one set curriculum or approach. You may be familiar with some of these educational approaches, such as the Classical or Principle method, the Charlotte Mason method, the Montessori method, and the Unschooling approach.
- Alternatively, you could put your kids through an online school. It will be less flexible than homeschooling because of the need for an internet connection, but as you typically need good internet speeds to earn a living as a digital nomad it should pose no problem.
- When using an online school system, you take on the role of parent rather than teacher, which is more akin to traditional schooling. Most forms of online education are highly flexible, allowing your children to study anywhere they have access to the internet.
Understand your insurance options
In becoming a digital nomad with a family, you will need to make sure that your health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance and travel insurance are all up-to-date. The last thing you want is for something to happen while traveling and not have the right coverage in place.
In addition to these basic types of coverage, it’s also important that you understand the other types of policies available so that if something unexpected happens while abroad, for instance, an accident with a rental car. Estimate how much money would be needed for medical care or repairs.
Consider your family’s social needs as well.
If you have children, and especially if they’re young, social needs can become more important as they grow up. The regularity of school and extracurricular activities provides structure and helps kids develop social skills, and it is also crucial for them to learn how to interact with others outside those settings.
When families uproot and move around a lot, it can be difficult for children to settle in and make friends. While this may not be as important for toddlers and preschoolers, it is likely to be a priority for kids and teens in elementary school and high school. For children, the transition to digital nomadism can be especially difficult if it means leaving behind their friends.
Consider whether your family has found ways to meet their social needs where they live now—whether through clubs or sports teams or churches. Think about whether there are opportunities for these kinds of connections every time you move.
If not, consider how being able to access online communities could help fill this gap; maybe there is an active Facebook group where expats from your area get together regularly? Or maybe there are meetup groups nearby where people who love hiking go on trips together every weekend?
Even if your family is determined to travel, difficulties communicating and bonding with locals due to language barriers may make the experience less enjoyable overall.
However, if you are willing to spend an extended amount of time in one country or region, the nomadic lifestyle can be a great way to pick up new languages through immersion.
Taking part in activities like listening to music, watching TV, and reading books written in the local language or using content that has been translated can all help.
Regardless, moving abroad will give your children a chance to meet kids from around the world and learn about what it is like living in different places.
They will be exposed to new cultures, languages, foods, and customs. If you move to an area where there are other expats with young families, it may even help your child make friends more easily than if they were living in their home country.
Your children will also learn about other languages and cultures without having to leave your side.
There is no better way to learn about other cultures than by living them. Your kids will be exposed to new ideas, traditions, and opportunities that they might not have otherwise.
They will also be more likely to pick up foreign languages with ease because they’re spoken around them all day long. This can be especially helpful if you plan on moving back home after a few years abroad; knowing another language will help them professionally when they are older.
Should I take my family abroad as a digital nomad?
For many people, moving abroad is a dream. Whether it is the allure of a new culture or the desire to escape your current situation, moving overseas can be an exciting experience. This is the appeal of the digital nomad life.
However, before becoming a digital nomad with a family, it is important to consider both the benefits and drawbacks before taking the plunge.
Here are some pros:
- You and your children will get to learn about other cultures. Your kids will have an opportunity to experience new ways of life firsthand, which they might not get if they stayed in your home country.
- This can help them develop empathy for people from around the world as well as become more culturally aware themselves.
- Children are more open to new ideas, which is why they can learn so much from their experiences abroad. They will be exposed to new cultures and languages, which can increase their creativity and problem-solving skills.
- They will also learn how to be more independent–a skill that will help them later in life when they are living on their own or going off to college. You will probably find yourself becoming more open minded as well!
- You can save money by living abroad— especially if you move somewhere that offers cheaper housing costs or lower taxes than where you currently live.
- Moving abroad can offer unique learning experiences for children and adults. For kids, it can be a chance to learn another language, explore new cultures and adapt to different ways of life.
- For parents, it is an opportunity to immerse themselves in a foreign country while raising their family there.
- This cultural immersion can help you understand yourself better as well as see things differently than if you were living back home or traveling on vacation alone–and this can be especially helpful when raising kids!
Then, there are some challenges involved in raising children in a new country.
- For example, the language barrier can make it difficult for your child to communicate with others and learn at school.
- The culture shock may also affect your child’s adjustment to life abroad, especially if they are used to living in an English-speaking country or have never lived outside their home country before.
- The cost of living varies greatly depending on where you choose to live abroad; some countries are more expensive than others.
- If your budget does not allow for private schooling, this might be another factor worth considering when deciding whether or not it’s worth moving somewhere else with your family. What’s more, schools may not be up to par with what you’re used to at home.
- The curriculum might not be as rigorous as what you are used to back home, or there could be fewer options for classes and extracurricular activities. For example, there might not be any sports teams for your children.
- In some countries where English is not spoken as widely or fluently, this can create an additional challenge for the teachers who are trying their best but do not always have enough resources available to them.
- Safety should also be taken into consideration when choosing whether or not it’s safe for children in general—especially young ones. Some countries and cities have higher crime rates than others, and could pose more risk than others.
- You might not know the culture as well as you would like, so there could be bumps in the road if you have cultural expectations that clash with what is really going on around you.
It is possible to be a digital nomad with a family, but it takes extra work and planning.
If you want to become a digital nomad with a family, it may be harder to find than just going at it solo. You will likely need to spend more time looking for the right school, or consider moving somewhere where there is more stability and an expat community.
You should think about things like remote work restrictions, visas, healthcare and insurance, and finances before packing up the family and hitting the road (taxes, travel costs, etc.).
The digital nomad lifestyle offers a certain degree of spontaneity and flexibility, but when traveling with children, careful preparation is essential.
Given how many countries are starting to offer digital nomad visas as a way to attract people like you, there is no better time to try to become a digital nomad with a family.
It only takes bravery to take the plunge. Full-time family travel requires decisive action and careful preparation.
The transition to a digital nomad lifestyle as a family may take some time (months or even years), but it will be well worth it.
We hope that this article has given you some ideas on how to be a digital nomad with a family. It is not easy, but it can be done.
The key is to plan ahead and find the right place for your family’s needs. You might also want to consider getting some extra insurance coverage just in case something goes wrong while traveling abroad.
For extra peace of mind in your travels, consider also seeking a financial planner that you can trust so you can receive financial guidance as needed to help with your adventures as a digital nomad with a family.
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