The digital nomad lifestyle is not a new thing any more. The concept is known to almost everybody by now, especially with companies opening their doors to remote work.
Because of the responsibilities of adult life, travelling the world was reserved for the youngsters to experience life before adulthood and for retired folks who have the time and money to travel.
Now, with the world being more accessible than ever, and with more people going remote, everybody can travel the world, and that’s a great thing! But with all these previously considered youth experiences prolonging into adulthood, many people decide not to settle down that fast. And that often means not having a family until a certain age.
Mainly, these decisions don’t come from the fact that people don’t want a family, but from the fact that it seems, a family would limit their opportunities to experience the world. Well, the truth is that it doesn’t have to be like that. Travelling with kids is definitely a challenge, but not an impossible one. And the benefits that come out of the experience for the parents, the family, and the kids are worth a shot.
There are people who decided to jump on this adventure, so if you’re thinking about it – you’re not alone. Digital nomad families exist, and we want to show you how you can make it happen, too.
What are digital nomad families?
So, what are digital nomad families? How do you define it?
Well, even though the term is flexible enough to look at it through your family’s lens, a digital nomad family is a family in which one or both parents have the full flexibility of working online remotely from whichever part of the world they want to. So, based on this flexibility, the whole family travels the world together without settling down for more than a few months.
Digital nomad families typically start travelling when the children are toddlers and proceed with either homeschooling or enrolling kids into local schools for shorter times. Some schools are open to this kind of enrolment, but homeschooling might be an easier option.
A difference between a digital nomad and a nomad is only in the fact that digital nomads work online. Using laptops, computers, or other electronic devices, they also orient their travelling needs to their work needs. When searching for places to stay, digital nomads will look for a stable and fast internet connection as their top priority.
How to be a digital nomad with children/family?
Being a digital nomad with a family is a challenge and requires going out of your comfort zone.
If you’re a traveller, and you have only recently had kids or are thinking about having them, parenting on the road might scare you. But, in reality, it scares you only because it’s not the standard way to do it; because society is not teaching you how to. But as a traveller, you already know so much about travelling. Being a new parent is a challenge on or off the road, right? If you are yourself when you travel, you will easily figure out how to incorporate your family into that.
On the other hand, if you’re a family that’s thinking about travelling the world but has never done it before, the important thing is that it’s a family decision. If you’re up for it, you’ll find your way into it.
One of the main concerns about this lifestyle is schooling, but if you keep a certain amount of structured learning and combine it with the experiences your child will receive on the travels, there is no need to worry.
Think about it – children learn about and through the things around them. Math can be learned through real-life practice. Language skills will blossom through interactions, and science, nature, sports, and art will be something children will experience at every step.
Of course, looking into the methods of homeschooling and finding material that will help you on the path is very important, but the biggest part of education for young children is socialization and learning to function as an individual. And this is something that travelling teaches you more than anything.
Worldschooling is a very popular educational movement and something that inspired some parents to take a leap into digital nomadism with their kids. Supporters of worldschooling believe that children can learn the best by interacting with the world around them and using the world as their educational resource.
Making a home on the road
Even though digital nomad families don’t have one family settlement but change locations and places they often stay, it’s important to make some home-like stability for the kids.
Moving a lot, it is important to have something that makes the kids feel safe and sound if they get overwhelmed by new things.
If you’re travelling by car or a van, this can be a place the kids can hide or lay down—something that can feel like home in every new place you go. If you’re not travelling by car, having a small foldable tent for the kids can also be a good solution, as a transportable room.
Bringing something they feel connected to, like their blanket, a pillow, or a stuffed animal, is also a good idea. Maybe even some books or cartoons they love that they can focus on when they want to be alone.
Socialising and family dynamics
For a digital nomad family, family dynamics will not be the same as if they’re not travelling. Kids will have to learn more boundaries because they will be living with people other than their families. Different cultures and different expectations will teach kids how to respect communal rules.
In a travel setting, kids will also have to learn special behaviours and could learn responsibilities faster. A digital nomad family has to have at least some strict general rules of behaviour that will keep the children safe at all times during their travels.
Family-friendly coliving spaces (as a solution/option)
So, as many digital nomads started having families, but also many families got interested in the digital nomad lifestyle, a need for a new type of accommodation arose.
First of all, when travelling with kids, the best practice is slow travelling. Slow travelling means staying for a longer time in one place, preferably a month or two. This is also the best option for a digital nomad, as it gives a person enough time to settle into a new space and find a spot to work uninterruptedly.
Booking options for these types of stays are not very easy to find. The rental needs to be equipped for something between a short-term and a long-term stay. Being a nomad means you will carry only the essentials with you, as you do when you go on a holiday. Having that in mind, a place should have the amenities like a coffee machine, towels, sheets, plates, glassware, etc. Basically, everything you would need for a 5-day stay. But, on top of that, it also has to have amenities for a long-term stay like a washing machine, super stable internet connection, etc. Basically, everything a home would have needed for a family to lead a comfortable everyday life.
So, booking a regular long-term rental for a month might not be an ideal solution for the homeowner, but also it might not come with some amenities that people normally buy as they move in. Booking a short-term rental for a longer time might be very expensive for so many days, especially in a hotel or an Airbnb rental.
Family-friendly colivings as the perfect solution for digital nomad families
With all the needs of a digital nomad family in mind, one of the upcoming solutions that can help digital nomad parents to continue traveling and working with their children is the concept of a family-friendly coliving space.
In general, coliving spaces started blooming all around the world with the goal of supporting the needs of digital nomads. These are fully-equipped places with spaces to work, live, and connect with others, with slow travellers, especially in mind.
Today, coliving places are all over, but somebody is still being left out – families.
As a parent, you know that finding accommodation for a family can be complicated. Many Airbnbs are not suitable for children and infants. So, you can imagine that a place like a coliving that is focused on digital nomads is definitely hard to find for a family.
That’s why the concept of family-friendly and family-focused coliving is such a good solution for a travelling family.
Benefits of a family-friendly coliving for a nomad family
There are plenty of benefits in colivings for a digital nomad family.
Not only that colivings support the parents’ needs as digital nomads, but they also help families connect with other like-minded families.
This setting can be an amazing opportunity for digital nomad families to share their experiences and tips and gives space for this group to be heard and understood.
On top of that, family-focused colivings have spaces designed to stimulate learning and creativity in kids and provide safe nooks for kids to hide out, play, or be alone.
Living with other families can also be helpful for a parent in the sense that instead of one or two adults who should work with and care for children, now there are 6-8 parents that can take the lead. By sharing responsibilities in a group, parents will have more time for themselves but also more quality time with their children.
Another great thing about colivings that makes them different from other accommodations is that they have clear definitions of the spaces they provide. The coworking area is for working, the kitchen is for meals and spending time together, the living room is for playing and hanging out, and the bedroom is for chilling and relaxing. This division of space gives clear messages and can help with organization and even inspire the desired activity. Every room is designed for a specific purpose (like coworking for working), so going there can even put your head in the mindset for the purpose (ex. put you in the working mindset).
iSlow – Family-friendly coliving in rural Galicia
iSlow is one of those family-friendly colivings!
With twins on their hands, Ines and Julio saw that the coliving movement lacked space for families. So, they decided that they’d be the ones who will make the first family-focused coliving in Galicia (and maybe even in Spain).
As a family, they are aware of the needs of a digital nomad family so their coliving has all in one place – private spaces, a coworking area, an enormous kitchen, and nooks for the kids.
As the only family-friendly coliving in the area, iSlow wants to make a comfortable and safe space for all the travelling families and give them something they didn’t have up until now. Other than that, iSlow also wants to use the opportunity to connect the travelling families with the local families and enrich the experience of both travellers and locals.
The coliving is set just outside a Galician village called Laxe, only 15 minutes to the ocean and the beach, and in the heart of greenery and nature. It’s a great place for the kids to spend their time and grow together.
Exploring the world with your kids doesn’t have to be hard, and iSlow is there to provide a safe space and a support system that will make this journey easier.