Meet 5 families who travelled the world full time with kids

Families that travelled long term with their kids

This is a collection of families who travelled the globe long-term for years. Many of these families no longer travel, but their stories are still interesting to read about. Not only did they make their dream of extended and long-term travel a reality, but they also did it despite having children and not being rich.

Meet five amazing couples and families who travel full time.

1- The Dennings of Discover Share Inspire (website closed)

  • Number of kids:  5 kids ( Under ten years old)
  • Type of travel: Road Trip In a Veggie powered truck and slow travel.
  • Where: Alaska to Argentina
  • Length of travel: 10+ years
  • Challenges: Internet connectivity. Balancing work time, education time etc…
  • Finances: Currently use their savings, but their long-term plan is to grow their online business.

The Dennings are homeless on purpose. They live in a veggie-powered truck and are travelling from Alaska to Argentina with five kids in tow. That’s right, FIVE KIDS, Five. 

I think you’ll be in total awe of this amazing family and what they have done so far. The Dennings don’t just want to live abroad. They want to explore the world. Since 2007, they have been determined to create a location-independent lifestyle to live the way they want to. Who doesn’t? But they have gone to great lengths to make this happen and in an exciting way.

They’ve simplified their lives to the bare essentials. No mortgage, no utilities, nothing except their truck and what they can put in it. To fund their lifestyle initially, they were living off of an income, but they lost that in 2008. Now they live off of their savings and have all they need to continue to live simply – which they are more than pleased with. However, their long-term strategy is to grow their online business which is already generating some money. They even have a few products teaching other people how to design their lifestyle as they have.

The Denning family are a special case, and it looks like there is no end in sight for their adventure. Their latest adventure is taking them across North and South American. They ‘live’ in their truck when they are travelling in-between places, but whenever they get a chance, they stop and rent a place so they can stay longer. The last time I spoke to them, they rented a house in Panajachel, Guatemala, and were there for almost two months. Before that, they spent seven weeks in Bacalar, Mexico.

2- The Burns Family 

(No longer travelling)

  • Number of kids: 2 (Under 8 years old)
  • Type of travel: Slow travel 6 months travel and six at home base in Malaysia
  • Where: Goal is to travel the world
  • Length of travel: 1+ years
  • Challenges:
  • Finances: They started a web programming company that run entirely online.


The burns family says that they are a pretty average family of four who decided they weren’t happy with their lives in suburban Australia. They were trying to juggle careers, maintain a house, pay the bills, have a social life on the weekends and most importantly, still find time to be with their children. They decided they needed to do something different with their lives.

They considered a bunch of options, including career changes, selling the house and moving from the suburbs to a smaller town and even considered finding work overseas. But none of that seemed like the right answer. in late 2009 the Burns decided to take ACTION and act on a long-term fantasy of long-term with their two young children.

The Burns didn’t have a huge savings, so they opted to use their web programming skills to set up a business online. Exactly two years after they decided to take action and pursue their dream of long-term travel, they set up a house in Penang, Malaysia, to use as a base to travel the world from. They aim to spend six months in Malaysia and six months of the year travelling. They also have a great site for other travelling families and couples to meet called Vagabond Family.  I joined it myself and loved connecting and reading about other families. 

3- 1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure 

Has settled down on the west coast of the US after years of travelling. 

  • Number of kids: 1 (Under 10 Years old.)
  • Type of travel: Slow travel
  • Where: South America, Asia, and who knows where else
  • Length of time: 6+ years
  • Challenges: Single Dad with a special needs son
  • Finances: Started teaching Scuba Diving, various jobs writing, photography and medical transcription

1 dad 1 kid 1 crazy adventure   Our next family is a father-son team.  Talon is a single dad to an impressive 10-year-old boy named  Tigger.  The fact that he’s a single dad travelling is impressive but what blew me away was what he told me about his son. You see, his son has special needs.

Let me first tell you how their journey began. Everyone has their reasons for wanting to travel or live abroad, and their story is great.   In May 2011, after years of working in intensive care, trauma, and dying, Talon left his traditional work-life to embark on a round-the-world trip.

Talon and Tigger began their journey with $900 in the bank. Talon has been very creative in supporting him and his son, from medical transcription and writing to photography.  He even became a scuba instructor in Honduras, which has helped them bring in some decent money. Talon says their expenses usually average about USD 1,000 a month and says he could even cut it down further if he wanted but doesn’t because they enjoy eating out.

His son Tigger has done so well that he is now off all his meds. Talon attributes the marked improvement in his son’s anxiety and sensory issues to the amount of time he spends with his son and “world schooling.” His son’s progression has reaffirmed and eliminated all the doubts he used to have, and he is now 100 percent positive that his decision to live abroad, travel and home-school his son was the best decision he could have made for his two-person family.

4-  International Cravings

No longer travelling! has settled down after many years of travelling. 

  • Number of kids: 2 ( Under 5 years old)
  • Type of travel: Expats living in one place.
  • Where: Guangzhou China
  • Length of time: 1+ years
  • Finances: Dad works remotely as a web designer. Mom teaches English. Created a product online, teach and run a web-based business.

image Our fourth story is about another family, and rather than living nomadically and constantly travelling, they chose to stay in one place, China.

Their story is similar to the Burns in terms of why they chose to live abroad. They were a family that was tired of waiting for the right time to travel, the right time to experience things, enough money to do it all, and tired of waiting for the pieces to fall together, so they took action to make it happen.

In Feb. 2011, they moved their family of four to Guangzhou, China. With two small children (1 & 3 at the time), there were many things that they were unsure of, but they knew one thing for sure: they wanted to go on adventures with their children and experience the world as a family. They have made some amazing friends and have had some unforgettable experiences together.

Mom says the ability to give her older child the opportunity to learn Mandarin and experience a culture at such a young age has been fun and exciting. Now both of their children speak Mandarin, and their almost five-year-old is fluent.  Mom told me a funny story; Their 2 yr old son has learned potty training “split pant” style, and she thinks it’s hilarious watching him flip back and forth.

Dad of the family is a web designer and asked his U.S. company if he could work remotely. Something that before they would never have dreamed of asking. The Mom of the family completed an online TESOL certificate before moving to China to teach English while living abroad. While living in China, they lived on $16 a day per person….much cheaper than their U.S. cost of living.   They have also spent a month in Thailand and hope to experience more of Southeast Asia while we can. 

5- Man vs. Debt, The Bakers

  • Number of kids: 1
  • Type of travel: Expats living in one place.
  • Where: Australia, Thailand, New Zealand, Thailand
  • Length of time: 1 + years
  • Challenges: Had over 18,000 us dollars in consumer debt that they paid off.
  • Finance: Sold his crap on eBay and got out of debt. Now makes a living online and can work anywhere he wants to when he wants to.

image   Adam Baker from Man vs. Debt decided to leave it all behind to travel for a few years. If you haven’t heard of Man vs. Debt, then let me fill you in.

In 2008 after the birth of their daughter, Adam Baker and his wife Courtenay spent a year selling all their crap and paid off over 18,000 dollars in consumer debt. Then In June 2009, they left for what was to be a year in Australia, but quickly turned into more mobile travels through Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and finally back to Indiana.

Now Adam and his wife are running several businesses online and have several products that help others do the same thing they did, and he’s not done yet. That’s it for now. Stay tuned as I add to this growing list of unique and inspirational families and couples who left it all behind to travel or live abroad.

Photo of Annie André:

Annie André

About the author 

I’m A Bilingual North American With Thai And French Canadian Roots Who's Been Living In The South Of France For Over 10 Years. I Love Writing Weird, Wonderful, Interesting, Forgotten, And Fascinating Articles For Intellectually Curious People Amazed By France, French Culture, And World Travel.


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  1. Hello Annie!

    We are a family of four (our girls are 3 and 5)from Vancouver, BC. We lived in Costa Rica (in the jungle) and our first daughter was born while we were living in Bermuda. We are getting a bit desperate for our next adventure as we have now been back in Vancouver for almost 5 years. My husband is a chef and restaurant manager and I have an extensive background in restaurants/wine and recreation. We are thinking that we could be great as resident managers of a B and B or gites in France. Any advice on how to look for such an opportunity? Love your site! Any info much appreciated!

    1. Joanna,
      Let this is a great question. I have some ideas but let me ask my network of travellers and do some research on the matter of finding B&B’S or Gites.

      Off the top of my head, I think you will have no problem finding a place that is willing to exchange lodging for your work however whether you can find paid work this way is going to be a bit harder as this to me seems like a very sought after job. Plus, you would have to deal with the visa issue if you are not an EU resident. Meaning, you would need that Gites or B&B to sponsor you which is probably going to be pretty hard to do.

  2. Hi there! Too bad we didn’t find your site sooner! We are a family of four on a year abroad adventure and we too lived in the south of france for three months near St. Tropez from October 2012 to January 2013. The village was called Grimaud and we had a wonderful time. Where are you? We are now on our Southeast Asia leg of the journey having visited Singapore, Sri Lanka, Indonesia. Next week we leave for China and then Japan before heading back to the states and home by July 1st. It’s been an amazing year with out kids and I would do it again in a heartbeat!

    All the best!


    1. Hello there Gigi,
      we are now in la Garde France. last year we were in Marseille.
      That is too bad indeed since St Tropez is only an hour from where we are now. Crazy isnt it, so close yet so far.
      We may be heading to Thailand for the summer. We are not sure if we want to do Asia or not. me being half Asian and born in Thailand has a little to do with that i suppose. By the time we do get to Asia you will be back in the states. :(
      We are planning on staying for one more year in France. All our kids are integrated and mainstreamed in French school. One of our goals was to make sure they were fully bilingual which they are all now but one more year will solidify that. After next year, we plan to return to the US or Canada and set up a homebase again. Where that is, or will be we have no idea just yet.

  3. Hi, I watched your story on HHI last year sometime. At that time, we were planning our “life abroad” Just ran across your site tonight, hopefully all is working well for you. We are in Southern Spain and loving it! Just need to figure out how to keep it going longer than the 2 years we plan. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Well Hello there Heidi. I just popped by your site and read up on your story. LOVED IT. You’ve inspired me to write a post about “our French public school”. I have not found many travelling families that are putting their kids in public school like you and i so i am super excited to get to know you.

      We are doing fine. And we are on our second year now. We’re workign hard to make it last longer than 2 years but money is an issue of course.

      I would love to feature you and your family on my site. I have a section about travelling families. All you have to do is fill out this questionnaire and i’ll do the rest.

  4. Six months ago our family left our comfortable job, sold everything we owned and moved to China. Three of our daughters are adopted from China and we wanted them to have a deeper experience with their own culture while they were young! My husband and my 15 year old daughter are attending Nanjing University in the 2 year intensive language program, my younger three are working daily with a Chinese tutor and I am the pit crew keeping it all going! We are having the experience of a life time and I recommend that everyone do something like this, at least once in their life! Dare to take a chance! Dare to really live!

    1. Amazing story. Thank you for sharing it with me and the readers on this site. I love how you coined yourself the “PIT CREW”.

      What i find most interesting is you have a teenager like. Many of the family travellers i’ve come across have younger children who are pre school aged and therefore don’t need to be in school. Question, In addition to the kids Chinese lessons are you homeschooling the kids?

      1. Yes, in addition to the Chinese lessons, we are homeschooling our children. We always have, so this is nothing new to them. There are no laws in China that affect how expats educate their children, so in a way, I feel more free here to homeschool than I do in the U.S.

  5. Giving up the security was easy. Realizing that all along it was a false sense of security and looking through a lens with a different paradigm is easy.
    Watching others in the old paradigm be barely alive by being stressed, faking it and filling it with stuff is the hard part.

  6. Hello Annie,

    And all this time I thought I was alone in my dreams. Yes, I too have the travel bug and I have done my share already. But like you and your husband I too find myself in Palm Beach, Florida unemployed for the past two years.

    I started an online business and an annual event which will bring me back here yearly. I have no interest in going back to the corporate world and waisting my years away to make money and wait to die. I would rather eat peanut butter and jelly and be happy then rich and miserable.

    I too love France but the cost is simply too high for the best locations. Hard to beat Paris.

    I have a love for eastern Europe and my ancestors are from Lithuania so it feels right to live there. The cost of living there is much lower (50% lower then Palm Beach) then many places I would ever consider living in.

    I am doing all this as a single dad with my 14 year old son. This will be a little scary but I am find myself so excited that I can hardly sit still.

    Putting the house on the market next week and I am going for it!

    I will keep an eye your progress.

  7. Inspirational post Annie and a great read. Some of the stories are truly amazing, it takes a lot of guts to give up on security in exchange for a life that is less secure. However, it is empowering and gives a new lease of life.

    Whilst my story may not be as glamorous as some. My wife and I both left behind secure jobs and lifestyle to re-locate to a fairly remote Scottish island. To be honest we have never looked back though it did take a lot of soul searching and thought before finally making the decision.

    So I can relate to some of the stories and would recommend to anyone who has the urge to try a new experience to give it a go.

    Thanks for sharing, I have bookmarked your site and look forward to reading more of your posts.

  8. One of my major concerns is health care?? Getting your prescribed meds??? I want to take my family to Italy its a scary idea and wish I could sell everything and go. What about bringing pets???

  9. Six months ago my husband decided he didn’t want to be married anymore. We have six kids, four still at home, three we had just adopted from foster care after having them in our home for six years. I had been a stay at home mom for 15 years and there was no way I could afford the lifestyle the kids were accustomed to, nor could I take them from their home so I gave it all up. The house, the kids, my dream of what happily ever after was.

    I figured I had two choices. Sit at “home” a tiny one bedroom apartment, or I could do something.

    I settled on visiting all 50 states this summer, cooking school in Italy, and whatever else I come up with. Im staying on couches of friends, family and strangers I met on the Internet who are some of my very best friends. I’ve been on the road for over a month, I have visited 18 states.

    I’m having the time of my life. I miss my old life, but that life is gone and I’m making a new one.

    1. Annieology,
      holy hell. That’s a lot to take in. Especially with regards to the kids.

      But it looks like you are taking your life by the horns and really going for it. Tragedy and life changing events have a way of pushing us. Taking us out of our comfort zone. It can often remove complacency. Most of all it’s the perfect time to start over and reboot.

      I can’t wait to hear more about it. and cooking school sounds amazing.

  10. OMG I can’t believe I didn’t make your top 5.

    OK, OK I don’t live in a van fuelled by vegetables and I didn’t move to somewhere really exotic but I am location independent and I drive a really old car!!

    Do I have to get down to under 30 possessions to be on your list (because I can do that) – do I get to keep my new macbook air?

    love the post like I love all of your posts…

    keep em coming…

    1. Alan,
      it’s easy to get on the list. Just sell all your crap and live in a country where you don’t have citizenship or travel long term. But if you want to reduce your possessions down to less than 30 items i might make an exception.

  11. Hi Annie,

    I’m glad I got to know you through Adrienne Smith. I’ve done what you guys did, but the other way around, I moved from France to the US when I was 27 years old on my own. I love it when people ask me if I grew up in France LOL!

    I lived in New York for 5 years and then moved in North Carolina where I’ve been living for over 10 years.

    I have three blogs and one of them is called France Travel and Food and your blog inspired me an idea for a post.

    I will definitely check you out every week.

    1. Very interesting Sylviane,
      I need to find some French families like you who did the opposite and went from France to the U.S.
      I just checked out your site and it’s great.
      Can’t wait to see what post i inspired you to write.

  12. I love this list! Just the other day a friend of mine was telling me how having kids meant the end of travel. I tried to convince him otherwise because I’ve read blogs like these ones before.

    I’ve had other people I know think the same way. I don’t know why having a family would mean stopping something you love like travel. Nothing should get in the way of it, especially kids. In fact I think traveling with kids would make you a better parent since you’d expose them to more things around the world and different cultures.

    I think the next time someone talks like that, I’ll just forward them this page.

    1. Steve,
      I have many friends who say the same thing and that is exactly what inspired me to make this list. I hope that in the least it inspires people who have kids and want to live abroad or travel long term to do it.

      Maybe it’s that they don’t want to travel when they have kids which is perfectly understandable. It’s hard to do and it takes a lot of sacrifice an planning in the beginning. Not to mention money.
      But as you mention it is so worth it to me because of the exposure to other countries.

  13. Hi Annie,

    I found your site on Adrienne’s site, so decided to check it out since I love travelling. ;) I am also one of those people who love to travel the world especially Europe and the mediterrenean. I would love to live around 3 months abroad and the rest here in the US. Will this happen? I’m sure it will one day. ;) Thanks for sharing

  14. I am going to have to set aside some time to read about each of these families in more detail. I can see there are some very cool stories there.

  15. Hey Annie,

    Some great stories there about people who are living completely free.

    I love reading your blog and about the lives of how other people live.

    Taking that step is a very brave one indeed, but the rewards look so worth it.

    Thanks for sharing Annie :-D


    1. Thanks Dan,
      I really appreciate the kind words.

      i’m actually surprised at how may families i’ve found that travel long term.

      There are not a ton but way more than i first anticipated.

  16. Wow, and they all have kids. I think that’s amazing what someone can do if they just want it bad enough. I love that Tigger is off his meds and that just goes to show you what spending more time with your Dad can do.

    Plus, look at all these families who are doing their business online and because of it are able to travel around and spend more time with their kids.

    That’s an added plus and a great way to get out of the rat race, do something you enjoy, travel the world and spend time with your family. I love that Annie.

    Thanks for sharing these stories with us. Wow, I’m so impressed.

    1. Adrienne,
      These families really are amazing aren’t they.
      You know, you are doing the same thing. When you are ready to travel even if only for a few months, your online business will be really portable and you can run it from anywhere. Plus you can take your baby Kayla with you.. How nice to be able to work from anywhere you want right? Location independent life. It’s not glamerous but it’s nice to have options.

  17. Annie – After reading through these stories of the 5 families, i feel anyone can practically just pack and leave on a roadtrip and should be just fine.

    1. Hello Praveen,
      You are right. anyone can just pack up and go. It just takes more planning and longer to save money to do so..and that is what i want to show by featuring all these wonderful families and couples who travel long term.

  18. Hey Annie,
    You give us a great message with that list of families who travel! Most people believe that when they have kids they won’t be able to enjoy their life and travel anymore. Personally i believe that when you have a family it is more difficult to travel for so long but if it is not impossible. Here in your article is the proof! It is so great to see all these families with kids who manage to take action and travel or live abroad despite the difficulties. The above examples also show the flexibility and the opportunities that the world of internet can provide us.
    That was a great article. thank you for sharing.

    1. Lenia,
      No excuses right? I think a lot of people would love to travel but not bad enough to leave the comfort of their own home, their stuff and to do without. I hope that this article inspires those families WHO DO want to travel with the kids but didn’t think or know they could.

  19. Wonderful post! Can’t wait to read about other world travelers!

    Do you have Herman and Candelaria Zapp from Argentina in the queue? They’ve been driving for 11 years in a 1928 Detroit-made Graham Paige (Model 610), and had 4 children on the road! Here’s a story on them:

    I hope to make this list as well! I’m leaving in August — I’m going to slowly backpack to Brazil. It’s my dream to experience the 2014 World Cup in person. :)

    1. Mitchell,
      Holy hell. The zapp family is amazing. I will defenitely add them to the cue.

      I’m sure you will make it on to the list. The human spirit is an amazing thing. Don’t underestimate yourself which i doubt you do anyways.
      thanks for the tip.

  20. Living abroad is not for everyone. However, I believe we can learn much from the experience. I lived in China for nearly four years. It was fun and frustrating all at the same time. I met so many wonderful people from every corner of the earth.

    1. So true, living abroad is not for everyone. But for those that have the want i hope that they at least try to go for that dream or challenge. Sounds like you didn’t let your frustrations stop you from having some fun while living in China. I am sure you have some unforgettable memories from your time abroad too.

  21. Impressive! This is going to bring some traffic to you! Get this list together, and inspire the families of the world. Hopefully meg and I will be on here one day! :)

    1. You are going to be on this list. I plan on putting you both on it as soon as you start your journey abroad…

  22. I love the diversity of these families in terms of number of kids, type of lifestyle, how they’ve made it work, etc. It really shows that any type of family can do this, all that’s needed is determination and some creativity!

    1. Brasilicana,
      I really am amazed at how different yet similar everyones story is. I hope that more people are inspired to do the same thing if that’s what they want to do rather than feeling like they have to live a certain way just because they were raised to live that way..

    2. You are EXACTLY right! ANYONE can do this. You just have to be determined to make it work.

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