They had to de-register as citizens of the Netherlands to legally take the children out of school, and used trains, hire cars, boats, buses and planes to move through 14 countries over the course of a year.
In total, their trip cost over £85,000, but Dennis said it was well worth it – because of rising costs at home, it was actually cheaper for them to be on the move.
Since Dennis owns a small production company that allowed him to work on projects abroad, the family were able to combine his work with travel.
They were also able to earn money by renting out their home and selling their car.
Their first stop was Germany, on August 8, 2022 and, after visiting Canada and the US, New Zealand, Australia and Asia, they flew back to the Netherlands on July 25, 2023.
Dennis, a production company owner, from Arnhem, the Netherlands, said: ‘When we thought it was an option, we made the decision to do it quite quickly.
‘I had some job opportunities with my creative production, and we thought it would be nice to travel with the kids and school them as we go.
‘We had to rent out our house and sell the car, but the house had tenants within a week, and it was a nice way of making passive income whilst we were away for the year.
‘I budgeted about €100,000 [£85,871] for the trip. We didn’t have that in the beginning but doing some of my production work along the way helped with costs.
‘In general we paid around €100 [£85] for accommodation a night, €3,000 [£2,576] a month for car rental and the around-the-world travel ticket was €15,000 [£12,881].
‘For some it’s a lot of money but in general I think we did it pretty well and if you look at your costs in general for a family of four for a year I don’t think it’s too much.’
Despite Sheila suffering from the effects of long covid, Dennis says they still wanted to travel the world as a family.
Dennis said: ‘Because of my wife’s long covid she’s not as physically capable but because we are seasoned travellers, we knew we’d be able to make it work.
‘We knew what it’d be like and knew what we’d encounter.’
They also needed to factor in time for the kids to do their schoolwork. The children’s school was ‘supportive’ of their plan to travel with the kids, even giving them work to do while they were away.
Dennis said: ‘We contacted the school before we left and they were very supportive with our plans.
‘They did some online bits and every two months we would contact the school to check in and make sure they’re keeping up with their studies.
‘They did bits of work on their experiences of travelling too.
‘But it does change your way of travelling.
‘They needed time to adjust and have time to work without being on the move all the time.
‘In Australia, they were able to work in the car on the long car journeys.
‘It does take an effort, and you have to keep up with it – it’s not just a holiday for a year.’
The family set off on their travels after renting out their home and selling their car, and decided to travel west around the world to follow the warm season. This meant they could pack lightly.
Dennis said: ‘Every country has its beauty and New Zealand is always the country we come back to as it’s wide open, and you have the vast remoteness.
‘But we loved the US as well because of the national parks.
‘Every national park had assignments that you could do for kids and badges they could collect – that was amazing
‘Eight days of theme parks in Florida for the kids was great as well.
‘The Hawaiian culture was great.’
Further afield, the family also had some incredible experiences.
‘Japan was very beautiful for us as adults, perhaps a bit less for the kids as it has a very structured culture,’ Dennis says.
‘But Australia the kids loved because of all the wild animals – the wallabies, the crocodiles, snakes, they loved that and found it so interesting.
‘We had two weeks in Taiwan and there were so many parts that weren’t frequented by tourists so that was really nice.
‘We had an amazing time in the Philippines as well, which was beautiful – we rented a motorbike and just being with the kids on this small island was amazing.
‘We roughly wanted to spend a few weeks or months in each place.’
The parents put plans and rules in place to help them balance their time effectively.
Dennis said: ‘It can be very challenging, and you need to set proper rules and be flexible – every now, and then you need some time off.
‘We knew we needed to be close to playgrounds and theme parks and activities that the kids could do.
‘Every other day we’d make it a “kids day” so we could find that balance.
‘Also with my wife being sick meant we had to keep in constant conversation to make sure everyone was happy.
‘You need to be able to enjoy a holiday on your travels too.
‘Every two months we would plan a “holiday” week where the kids wouldn’t do any school work and enjoy some downtime.’
Dennis said the family is still ‘readjusting’ to going back to their old life since they touched back down in Arnhem just seven weeks ago.
Even though most of their savings went on the trip, Dennis said they ‘valued the experience more than watching their costs.’
He added: ‘It’s not about the money, it’s about the mindset.
‘If you’re prepared to make the sacrifices then you can do it.
‘If you really want to do it, it’s the mindset that matters – I think most people in general don’t want to leave their homes for a year.
‘Even though my wife lost her job, I worked in healthcare for 20 years and I knew that if I couldn’t find any work with my production company that I could always fall back on my healthcare work to rebuild savings.’
To anyone looking to turn their families into globetrotters, Dennis recommends: ‘Pick your countries wisely and I think if you really know your kids you’ll know what countries will work for them.
‘Everybody loves kids in Asia for example, and you should really look into your identity as a family – you need to include what they like.
‘I think it’s good to have options that you can change and divert from.
‘You’re going to encounter problems – we encountered four or five national disasters meaning we had to change our plans.
‘We knew it would be the rainy season in Asia, so we picked an island in the Philippines that gets less rain.
‘We went to Bali because of good health care, for example.
‘So we always had in my mind about how long it would take to get good healthcare.’
Germany – two days
Ireland – three weeks
Canada – four or five weeks
US – six weeks total
Hawaii (US) – three weeks
New Zealand – two months
Australia – two months
Asia total was three months, including:
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