Digital Nomad With Kids: How To Thrive as a Digital Nomad Family

It was 2016 when I found myself with little one-year-old Giulia and my husband Matteo in a small guest house in Chiang Mai, the homeland of all digital nomads. I looked around and saw only young men and women, couples, friends, and siblings, but not a single child in sight.

I felt out of place, I must admit it. I thought I didn't have enough time to work, enough time to be a mom, enough time to be my daughter's teacher. I felt like I was always late: late for work calls, late for deadlines, late for that life that seemed apparently unsuitable for parents.

Everything changed when we moved from that guest house: Chiang Mai is perfect for digital nomads, but not for digital nomads with children. That was the moment I realized that I didn't have to mimic the lifestyle of the digital nomads I saw idolized on social media but that we had to find our own way. And from there, everything changed for the better.

In this article then, I want to try to show you that not all digital nomads have sold everything to travel the world, but that it is possible to live while traveling even without savings, simply by packing what you have into a backpack. By the end of this guide, you’ll hopefully see with your own eyes that it’s possible to live as digital nomads with children and I’ll share my best tips on how to do so.

What is a digital nomad family?

Digital nomad family on a mountain

The term digital nomad family has now become common usage and refers to families that have chosen a nomadic lifestyle, leaving behind the place they call home in favor of a neverending journey with their kids.

Unlike those who travel following well-defined itineraries and budgets, digital nomads with children have no rush to move or to visit all the points of interest in a place. In fact, when you live as a digital nomad with your kids always present 24/7, you encounter an endless series of situations to manage, with work being the foremost among them.

What Work Do Digital Nomads with Kids Do?

In reality, the parents of any digital nomad family do the same work that traditional digital nomads do, with the added challenge of having kids in tow.

When you are a digital nomad with kids, you must consider that the time required for everything increases exponentially: you will need to schedule your work calls during moments when your children are resting or playing independently. At the same time, you will always need to prepare plans A, B, C, and D and accept the fact that, most likely, none of them will come out as expected.

The most complex part of managing our work is time. We rarely manage to carve out moments of total silence or 100% focus on what we are doing. Personally, I believe that a digital nomad family reaches an extreme level of multitasking.... seriously!

Jokes aside, beyond the work sector, a family living on the road must consider that for most of the time, they will not have the option to delegate childcare to anyone: there are no grandparents, friends, uncles, or relatives around, and this is perhaps the biggest social hurdle to overcome.

Let's Debunk Some Myths About Digital Nomad Families

Digital nomad family in a seaside town in Italy

We've been traveling for a long time, and I can assure you that we've heard every kind of misconception about our lifestyle.

Beyond the whole budget discussion, which always sparks a lot of controversy because people often think that living on the road is an unattainable and financially unsustainable lifestyle, the topic that gets the most criticism is always the socialization of our kids.

It is often believed that digital nomad children do not have friends and struggle to relate to others. The reality is quite different because they spend 90% of their days outdoors and meet new children daily to interact and engage with.

The standard concept of friendship is obviously over, but what I can assure you is that kids who live traveling have an open-mindedness that allows them to make friends anywhere, anytime, and under any conditions.

Seeing my kids find their own way to interact with children who don't speak their language and whom they might never see again is undoubtedly one of the most stimulating moments of our lives.

Can You Really Be Digital Nomads with Kids?

Digital nomad family with child

When I got pregnant with Giulia, my first daughter, I was in Australia. During the pregnancy, I continued to travel, either alone or with Matteo, his dad. Nothing ever stopped us, and two months after our daughter was born, we simply hit the road again. For us, living on the road is our daily life; it's something natural, a lifestyle we had always sought and chosen even before we met.

That's why it was easy for us to simply start traveling again.

We didn't always have remote jobs; that came later, when Giulia was born because we felt the need and the desire to spend all our time with her and be 100% present.

In my opinion, being a digital nomad when you have children is the most natural and straightforward choice for leading a peaceful, stress-free life. Fortunately, today, the range of possibilities for remote work is vast, providing much more stability than one might think.

You may be interested in:

6 Digital Nomad Jobs For Beginners To Work From Anywhere
Explore 6 beginner-friendly digital nomad jobs, perfect for those eager to work remotely and travel. Start your digital nomad journey today.
35+ Digital Nomad Jobs To Travel and Work Anywhere
In this guide, we will go through the list of the best 35 jobs that will allow you to become a digital nomad and work while traveling.

Addressing Concerns About a Digital Nomad Life with Kids

Digital nomad mom with child

If you want to embark on this extraordinary adventure of traveling with children, you will undoubtedly have doubts and uncertainties about the feasibility of this lifestyle.

Leaving aside the economic factor, which is extremely subjective (although I can assure you that the number of digital jobs available today is practically endless), I can confirm that this life choice will surely bring you a lot of quality time with your family that you would miss in a traditional 9-to-5 work routine.

One of the most important decisions that will lighten your life as a digital nomad with kids is choosing homeschooling.

Our Adventure in Homeschooling as Digital Nomads with Kids

Digital nomad family in a lavander field

We have always followed the path of homeschooling, even during the three years we settled in Italy. And it has proven to be the best and most natural solution for our children's education.

Starting with the bureaucratic side, as Italian citizens, we are legally obliged to ensure our children receive an education, but not necessarily through the traditional school system. The difference is minimal and lies in a few terms within our legislation, which makes Italy one of the few European countries where homeschooling is still legally accepted.

Thanks to this loophole, we chose homeschooling, deciding to be primarily responsible for our children's education and not tying their learning journey to a specific location.

In a perfect world without budget constraints, we would certainly consider some alternative international school systems. Unfortunately, these options are very costly and require stability that we, as digital nomads, cannot provide.

Our approach is extremely simple and is based on the initial assumption that every child can learn independently at their own pace. We provide tools, perspectives, and observation points, but everything our kids learn is done autonomously.

I could talk for hours about this topic, which fills our days, but what I want to convey is that homeschooling is indeed a viable path. You don't need to know everything to teach, and the most beautiful part of this journey is learning new things together with the kids and watching them learn on their own without interference.

How to Find Childcare During Travels

Digital nomad dad with children in a European city

Once the education issue is resolved, the next concern that arises is healthcare.

Assuming we are not overly anxious and that in our three backpacks, which contain everything we own, the medicines take up a tiny pouch that is practically untouched (except for a few missing band-aids), it is important to have a good health insurance.

Children are always on the brink of danger, and even for us adults, it is essential to be covered for any eventuality.

If you are a digital nomad with a family, this is undoubtedly the most important and significant expense to consider in your budget. A simple travel insurance policy will rarely cover all the needs of a digital nomad family traveling indefinitely.

Quotes in this regard often hover around $1,000 per month. However, to mitigate this cost, if you decide to travel as we do, staying at least 3-4 months in a country, numerous digital nomad health insurance options like SafetyWing Nomad Health offer comprehensive coverage at very advantageous prices.

You could always opt for travel insurance for each individual trip, but aside from the high cost, travel insurance agencies often have hidden clauses that do not cover many situations crucial for those traveling with kids (sometimes, for example, being even one day late with a scheduled vaccine dose can completely void the insurance coverage).

You may be interested in:

6 Best Health Insurance for Digital Nomads & Remote Workers
Discover the top international health insurance plans for digital nomads, ensuring peace of mind and quality healthcare wherever your work takes you.

Choosing Your Lifestyle as a Digital Nomad Family

There are many more digital nomad families than you might imagine. On our travels, we meet people daily who have chosen our lifestyle, but not all digital nomads with children have the same approach.

We chose this life to slow down our pace. We abandoned all sorts of routines and traveled slowly and without schedules. We find ourselves facing an endless series of daily challenges, and thinking about planning where to go, what to see, and how long to stay would be overwhelming.

Find the Right Solution for Your Nomad Family

Digital nomad dad with child

Our choice is not the same as all digital nomads with kids. There are families who have traveled the entire globe and seen every country, digital nomads who live constantly on the road, and those who, after much traveling, found their place in the world and decided to stay put, becoming more expats and less digital nomads.

Personally, our way of living this choice leads us to travel very slowly, visiting half the places twice the time. We like to stay in locations until we have absorbed all their vibes… and then we move on.

On our Instagram bio, we wrote that "we don't count the countries we’ve seen, but the ones we’ve lived in", and the essence of our traveling is encapsulated in these words.

How to Choose Digital Nomad Destinations Suitable for Families

Digital nomad kid in Barcelona, Spain

Often, on our social media, we are criticized for choosing locations that are not kid-friendly, and it's true. We have traveled all over Asia with our backpacks and our kids, hopping from one country to another, from one hostel to another, without paying much attention to the amenities we lacked.

Personally, we don't need comfort and luxury, and above all, not having an unlimited budget, we always prioritize the length of stay over the amenities of various accommodations.

People think that children have heaps of needs, but in reality, they are the best travel mates ever. In eight years of traveling with children, our kids have never complained about the accommodations. On the contrary, sometimes it was harder for us to close our eyes to certain guest houses.

I don't believe there is a place unsuitable for kids. Right now, we are in Portugal, where the ocean crashes against the high cliffs, yet we go to the beach every day.

It's important for us that our children understand the dangers and learn to live with them. We are not parents who forbid going to a place because it is dangerous; instead, we are the kind of parents who take their children to the edge of the cliff to show them how to approach nature.

You may be interested in:

Best Digital Nomad Destinations | Digital Nomad Guides
Discover top digital nomad destinations worldwide, and find the best accommodation and coworking. Learn local tips and connect with other nomads.

Factors to Consider Before Becoming Digital Nomads with Kids

There are three key factors to consider if you decide to take the plunge into digital nomad life:

  • Visas: Based on your own citizenship, when you travel, you'll need a visa. Most of the time, you will have to deal with tourist or digital nomad visas. This is the most complex part of managing life on the road, not only because the costs can be very prohibitive but also due to the documentation required. The longer your stay, the more complicated the visa process will be.
  • Climate: If the world is your only limit, choose carefully the climate in which you want to live. Especially when it comes to packing your bags, consider the available space for your clothing and travel gear based on the climate you'll be heading to.
  • Budget: Choose your destination based on your available budget. Don't overextend yourself or you’ll find yourself chasing extra work every month. Remember, the life of a digital nomad with children is full of unforeseen events to deal with.

You may be interested in:

How To Budget as a Digital Nomad: The Ultimate Guide
Budgeting as a digital nomad is essential if you want to live this lifestyle long-term. Here’s how to create the perfect budget for you.

How to Maintain a Healthy Family Life Balance on the Road

Digital nomad kid taking pictures while traveling

Regardless of the type of digital nomad you are or will be with kids, it is important not to lose sight of the reasons you made this choice. If your goal is to spend time with your children and live life to the fullest with them, remember to find the right balance between work, play, and education.

How to do this?

I don't have a definitive answer, but for me, the first step in this direction was accepting that I would never be able to do everything. Often, my kids will have dinner with ice cream or French fries, I will submit my work late, and during my video calls, a child's head or a flying toy might appear in the background.

However, I have gained the digital nomad life with kids that I have always dreamed of.

With this guide on living as a digital nomad with kids, I hope to have dispelled any misconceptions you might have about this lifestyle. More importantly, I aim to open your mind to the infinite possibilities that a full-time traveling life with kids can present.

Living as a digital nomad with your family is not only feasible but can be incredibly enriching. It requires careful consideration of various factors like visas, climate, and budget, but the rewards are immense. The key is finding the right balance and being flexible and adaptive.

Remember, the goal is to spend quality time with your children and fully experience life together. Whether you're homeschooling on the road, navigating healthcare in foreign countries, or finding suitable destinations, every step is part of an extraordinary journey that offers unique learning and bonding opportunities.

So, if you're considering this path, take the plunge. The world is vast and full of adventures waiting to be explored with your little ones.

You may also be interested in:

12 Best Digital Nomad Family Blogs To Follow
Explore top digital nomad family blogs for unique insights on travel, remote work, and family life. Be inspired to embrace your nomadic journey!

Ready to Live Life to the Fullest as a Digital Nomad Family?

If you want more digital nomad guides like these, sign up for our free newsletter and get upcoming articles straight to your inbox!

You can also follow us on Instagram and join our Facebook Group if you want to get in touch with other members of our growing digital nomad community!

We'll see you there, Freaking Nomads!

About the Author: Sara Alessandri

Sara, founder of the Miniwanderlust Team, travels with her family, showing how children are the best travel companions ever. On her Instagram @miniwanderlustteam they share their daily life on the road between work, homeschooling and unusual adventures.

Disclosure: Hey, just a heads up that some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means that, if you buy through our links, we may earn a small commission that helps us create helpful content for the community. We only recommend products if we think they will add value, so thanks for supporting us!