Around-The-World Family Travel

April 27, 2010

oxen crossing road sign, Andalusia Spain, soultravelers3, around the world travel

More and more families are choosing international travel and around the world trips perhaps inspired by the new economy and many changes in our world. Today, we begin a new category for random round-the-world thoughts. Things like this cow or ox crossing sign on a main highway, let you know that you are no longer in Kansas. After traveling the world non-stop since 2006 on 4 continents, as a family with a young child, there are three very important keys that  we suggest:




I worked all day to get a different post up today, but our slow internet connection did not cooperate as it did not let us upload the Youtube video that goes with the story. It's a fun one that is about a beautiful place in France rarely visited by Americans or even most Europeans. Oh well, on to plan B and it will be up tomorrow or as soon as we can get it up. Time to start this category, I guess. As good a plan B as any.

I've also been trying to get some of my articles up on the Huffington Post, but for some reason I'm having a bear of a time getting into the online place where I do that. You can see that we continually get lessons on flexibility and keeping a sense of  humor. All lives teach us this, but one on the move, even more so.

We thought we packed light when we started in 2006, but now we know we could have come with much less and we have become experts on minimalist, simple living and packing very light. Since we will no longer come back to Spain, we are doing a major purge this month of excess "stuff". Most of it is Mozart's and books, but things that need lots of sorting and attention. Less is more so we are thankful to be free of more "stuff" even if it is painful to say good bye to some beloved books. We will give most to the local school and library.

As we circumvent the globe this year we will take just 1 day-pack sized carry-on bag for each of us that needs to last us for seven months and many countries.  By October, when we get to the U.S.A. we will need to purchase something for books ( primarily) and dvd's. Mozart is a voracious reader ( as are her parents). We'd love your feedback on what  you think is best for this need....ipad, Kindle, Nook, or???

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Eric Normand

I am getting ready to travel with my girlfriend around the world. But we don't have kids, yet. Soon, though, I would love to show them the world. I want them to be citizens of the world first.

Jeff Parker

Such great advice (as always). My family of four will be taking a motorhome vacation around Europe. While fairly short (1 month), our goal is quality over quantity.

By the way - Thank You for your vote on where we'll go ("to the South" won, by one!).

Oh, and for Mozart's portable library, I'd go with the Kindle. Unless you're against DRM and you'd gather books from anywhere, then I'd suggest a low-cost netbook, like the one of the many Eee PCs.



My favorite subject, ebook readers! :) Actually, I've only experienced the Kindle and iPad.

If you really are going to just use it to read books, go with the Kindle, it's a little smaller and much lighter. It would be better for travel and keeps you focused on just reading.

If you want to add another computer to your portable arsenal, the iPad is great.


I loooove my kindle, but have not experienced any of the other readers. Books can still be kind of expensive (cheaper than hardcover), but many classics are very cheap or even free. There's also a feature where you can download a kindle reader for your computer which will sync with the kindle. I haven't done this yet, but it could be good.


Eric- Have a fantastic trip! Hang on to your dream of raising children as citizens of the's quite a joy!

Jeff- Hey have a great time, remember to go slow and easy to smell the roses along the way. ;) Mozart has had her own laptop since 7, but does have us limiting screen time & what she can do on it. Thanks for your thoughts on this topic!

Jim- So few have experienced both, thus I really appreciate your input! I love the bells & whistles of the ipad, but we do mostly want it as a reader for kidlet.

Elizabeth- Thanks so much! So far, I haven't met a Kindle user who doesn't love it. ;)

We do read lots of books on the computer now & have tons that are free, so makes me sometimes wonder why we need anything. BUT a small kindle would make it easier for kidlet.

GM Baker

I prefer the Kindle. It's super light and if you turn off the Wi Fi or cell option, the battery lasts for up to 2 weeks in between charges.

My youngest 8 loves looking through the online store and choosing her own books.


We have a Nook and it's awesome! In our research, it beat the Kindle hands down. We can store any pdf or mp3 or photos on it. It has made homeschooling 5 children easier. They can use it to go to wikipedia while reading a historical book to find out additional info, etc. As a bonus, it's half the price of an Ipad and has a longer battery life and larger memory than the Kindle. Most classics are free.

Make sure you buy most of your books for your e-reader while in the states. I believe there's some sort of restrictions as to what you can purchase while using them overseas. It may just be that you have to download books onto your computer first and then onto your e-reader.

I hear you say travel light, but how light? How many pairs of pants, shorts, shoes, etc does one need while traveling in an RV?

Jessica @ Life as I See It

I don't have an opinion on a reader, but am interested to see what you get and what you think of it!! Our boys are little - 2 and 3- but down the road we plan to do a lot of world traveling and I am stashing away a lot of your ideas!!

We just got back from our 5th anniversary trip we talked briefly about - so amazing and freeing driving, camping in our car and just taking in the beauty around us!
I have posted a few pictures from it a couple posts ago on my blog if you miss pictures from the US :)


GM- Thanks, I love the feedback! I wonder how this works buying books around the world & are there are extra charges as we will buy in many different countries.

Jo- Thanks so much for your input on the Nook, I will look into that deeper. One tends to hear less about it, but I've also heard that you can swap books with other Nook users which sounds great...if there are enough with kids. We won't be able to buy all of them in the States, so the one that is most flexible abroad will be important. I've heard a VPN helps as that makes it look like one is in the US, but need to learn more.

We travel VERY light...hubs only has 2 pair of pants, we've just had one pair of socks, 1 pair shoes each + 1pr berkies 4 me/flipflops 4 them , kidlet has the most clothes & the most books. We do keep much more in the RV than our carryon travel ( too much really & we are purging now) , but don't really need it. Now we are use to real minimalist living. Most things can be bought if one should need it.I've got pics of our clothes closet in RV under Q/A post We probably have a week or 2 of clothes, but don't use most peoples closets....most sit unused.

Jessica- That looks great! I do want to do another USA tour one of these days! One day I will post some of my pics from my 6 month road trip across USA in a tent & fiat. No one will recognize me because I'm young and thin. LOL. Happy Anniversary!


Hi Jeanne,

I don't have personal experience using a portable reader, but my employer has a Kindle. I pay his bills, so I've seen that he gets charged $4.99/download when he's traveling internationally, which he often does for business. I don't know what constitutes roaming; he lives in London, he purchased the Kindle when he was home in the US, and his credit card address of record is his NYC apt. The charge appears on his Amex card as "Kindle intl roaming". The actual download appears as a separate charge. I don't know if other readers also charge for roaming, but I hadn't heard of this so was surprised. I asked him if he knew of this roaming charge. He said he seems to remember something about it.


gopika- Thanks so much, those are REALLY important points for us and I need to know more about that area.

I have heard some use their VPN's to get around this when doing extended travel outside of the country, but I need to look at this deeper.

You are absolutely right, that our using a nook, kindle, ipad, iphone etc is quite different than most people as we are always in different countries & rarely in the US.

5 extra bucks a pop for my child's voracious book appetite would soon get us waaaay over budget! ;)


Thanks for answering my question about clothes. Very helpful. I've pared down my wardrobe quite a bit and love the simplicity of just a few lovely items instead of many so-so pieces.

One thing about the nook that I forgot to mention is that there are tons of books you can get for free that are the classics -- Jane Austen, etc. I think the loaning feature is cool and will happily share books with you. Most of the books we have are adventures that appeal to boys, but Mozart may like them. Also, the battery comes out of the nook and can be replaced. I heard that you can't replace a Kindle battery, but may have to send the whole unit in to be fixed. Good luck finding the right e-reader.


You're welcome.

You probably already know of these sites that offer some free classics or else are on the honor system for how much you pay:

Also, have you looked into on-line access to books to your home (California) library system? I see to remember that my brother's library system in PA offers this as long as one has a library card for that system.

I love following your travels. I didn't have parents like you and DaVinci, so I feel as if I'm repatterning my own childhood through your efforts. Thx.


Gopika- Thanks again! I didn't know those sources for online books, so really glad to add them to our list!!

Thankfully we did bring our library cards from both Santa Cruz & San Jose Libraries & they are great. I must admit I need to really dig into this a bit more now as I do not find it that easy to find what I'm looking for in digital books. The librarians also seem befuddled, but I just got the direct number to the guy in charge of ebooks, so should get better soon! ;)

Aw, thanks for your kind words too! ;) I think I'm repatterning my own childhood as well! LOl

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