For years I have been fascinated with the idea of full-time travel. It’s the main reason why I decided to homeschool my youngest children. I wanted them to see the world beyond our front door. For us, downsizing our family was a potential first step. But what are other families doing to plan and prepare for a life of full-time travel with a family? This Colorado family made the leap into full-time travel in 2018 and haven’t looked back. I got the chance to interview them to learn more about how they downsized, saved and planned in order to make their dreams a reality.
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Can you tell my readers a little bit about yourselves?
We are Jess, Rod, Santi (6) and Nora (3). We are from Colorado USA, but a year ago we sold our stuff, quit our jobs, and have been traveling the world as family travel photographers and bloggers! We’ve been blessed to visit 20 countries and 91 cities during that time, and our kids have enjoyed meeting new friends, playing in playgrounds all over the world, and being with their parents all day every day.
What made you start to think that
We started to feel a pull towards full-time travel in March of 2017. We went on a 2-week vacation to Ixtapa, Zihuatanejo, and were brainstorming ways that we could spend more time together as a family
Rod was an officer in the US Air Force at the time, so he had limited vacation days and often worked long hours.
We were inspired by other families that we followed on Instagram that made a location independent, full-time family travel lifestyle possible, and wondered if we would be able to do it too. So we began an Instagram account (@thejetsettingfamily) and started posting pictures of our adventures to see if building a social media following was something that we could use to find remote work opportunities in the future.
When did you begin to plan your life of full-time travel with family and how long did it take?
That summer in 2017, we were committed to exploring as much of our home state of Colorado as we could!
We did glamping trips in Aspen, explored the Great Sand Dunes National Park, and took in the views at the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs.
During this time, we posted our adventures to our Instagram page and started to grow the account steadily.
At the end of the summer, we made the commitment to prepare for about a year, sell our stuff, quit our jobs, and depart on our full-time journey by June 2018. That year was extremely grueling, as we downsized our lives and prepared to live a life of uncertainty and adventure.
How have you created an income that has allowed you to travel full-time?
We knew that finances were going to be the most difficult thing when it came for planning for full-time travel with family, so we made a commitment to save as much as we could during that year that we were preparing.
We also sold pretty much everything we owned, including our cars, and were able to save up about $65,000 that we hoped would last us for about a year of travel.
During that year, we also started reaching out to hotels and brands to see if they’d be willing to collaborate on photography and social media projects with us.
We started building a portfolio and planned to continue to work with brands as we traveled in order to offset costs and begin to gain an income while traveling.
Want to learn how to pitch to brands for travel? Check out The Jetsetting Family’s course, The Art of the Pitch.
Have you had a favorite place that you’ve visited?
We were blown away by the unexpected cultural beauty of Cambodia. We spent a week in Siem Reap learning about the mystique of the temples at Angkor Wat and then worked with Heritage Cruise Line to cover a 4-night cruise down the Mekong River. See how they pitch these brands.
We made several stops along the river to visit small villages and learn all about Khmer culture.
We learned how workers harvest palm sugar from trees, craft clay pottery, and how teachers educate the children in the community.
We’ve heard about the tragic history of the Khmer Rouge and the effects of the genocide that the entire country has been recovering from.
Ultimately, our visit to Cambodia has been the most enriching one that we’ve experienced to date, and we hope to go back and visit again sometime soon.
Any advice for families dreaming of full-time travel with a family?
Making the transition to full-time travel is completely possible with a lot of hard work and planning!
One of the big keys is minimizing your costs and budgeting appropriately.
We began our journey in Southeast Asia, where the cost of living is lower and it’s much cheaper to fly from one place to another.
In terms of income, there are plenty of ways to make money while traveling!
We chose the path of building a brand that would allow us to work with hotels and other companies in the travel industry. However, we know of other families that do remote work for companies in the US, teach English online, manage digital storefronts on Amazon, or act as consultants to others.
Learn more ways to make money remotely:
During the planning stage, it’s important to set the foundation for your future income, because your savings will only stretch for so long. And if your travels do have an end date, that’s ok!
I can promise you that the journey is absolutely worth it for you and your family. You’re going to treasure the time spent together, make unforgettable memories, and learn so much about our incredible world.