Living abroad with kids

Living abroad with kids

We’ve lived in 4 different countries, some English speaking, some not. The first time you decide to start living abroad is always a big step. But we’re here to tell you that if you make the decision to change your life and live in a foreign country you won’t regret it. Here’s our guide to living abroad:

Benefits of living abroad

Living abroad can be a wonderful, life changing experience, whether or not your move is permanent. We’re passionate about helping people feel confident in making those moves for themselves. So if you’re considering a move, then start with our article on The benefits of moving abroad. In the article we cover:

  • Minimalism
  • Cost of living
  • Changing who you are
  • Getting what you want out of life
  • Getting away from the 9-5

Hopefully it’ll give you the confidence that you should go ahead and do it!

Moving abroad checklist

I suspect that it’s the moving abroad that puts most people off living abroad. First there’s the actual moving abroad. How many possessions will you take with you? Which possessions will you need in your new country? How will you get those possessions to your new home? How will you get to your new home?

The good news is that if you’re methodical about it moving abroad is doable.

In this moving abroad checklist we’ve listed all the things you need to think about when moving abroad.

Flying with children

At the airport with a 2 year old

Flying with children can be another thing that puts people off moving abroad, and even travelling. The good news is that there are lots of things you can do to make it easier. It also gets much easier the more you do it. We’ve been to 15 countries and done nearly 60 flights in the last 3 years, all with children.

Long haul flight with toddler and baby

In this article you can read about our 11 hour flight to Thailand with a 2 1/2 year old and an 8 month old. It contains:

  • Packing list
  • Itinerary
  • Tips and hints on surviving a long haul flight with children

Travelling with babies is easier than you think

I’d also recommend you read this article. People worry about flying with a baby, but they really shouldn’t. It’s much much easier than people think.

Helping your child to sleep whilst travelling

Long haul flight with toddler - Toddler sleeping on a plane in his sleep sack

Personally I feel that sleep is one of the main things that makes travelling with children hard. If you’re planning to fly with children, I recommend you read this article.

Becoming minimalist: A beneficial side effect of living abroad

One of the key benefits to living abroad is that it forces you to be minimalist. You have to choose which possessions to take with you. Anything you don’t take has to be either thrown out, sold or kept somewhere. Once you start travelling a lot you’ll find that doing anything with your possessions becomes tiresome. Especially once you also have children to manage.

Living abroad - our luggage for 6 months in Thailand
Luggage for 6 months in Thailand

When we moved to Germany we took a moving truck with 30 boxes plus stand alone furniture like our son’s cot. When we moved to Chiang Mai two years later we took 2 suitcases, 2 rucksacks and a carry on bag. We vowed not to repeat the palaver of Germany, so were forced into a minimalist move. We only kept the bare minimum (no more moving truck with 30 boxes!). If we didn’t need it for 6 months (or longer) then we probably didn’t need it at all.

Here are some articles on minimalism:

The purge

Minimalist travel for the modern family

Why declutter your home


Living in Chiang Mai

Thinking of moving to Chiang Mai, Thailand? Or just want to see what it might be like? Read on. We’ve pulled together lots of tips and hints that we wish we’d had when making our move.

Visas for Thailand

Anyone coming to Thailand will need either a visa or a visa waiver. For stays over 30 days everyone needs a visa for Thailand.

The type of visa you need will change depending on which country you come from. We recommend you visit the Thai Embassy website to determine the correct type of visa for you.

We were coming to Thailand as a family of 4 for 6 months and focussed on visitor visas. Here are some articles on our experiences:

Choosing a type of visa for entry to Thailand for families

Getting a multi entry visa to Thailand for families

First few weeks in Thailand

The first few weeks living abroad in a new country can be crucial. This is where you get to know the place that you now call home! Here are some articles on what we did when we first moved here:

Our first week living in Thailand

Living in Thailand with small children – initial thoughts

Searching for our dream house in Chiang Mai

Learning a foreign language

Part of the fun and challenge of living abroad is learning a new language. The good news is that in this age of digital media there are lots of things to help you. Here are some of our favourites:

Duolingo – A great little app that challenges you to learn for 10 minutes a day. They use gamification techniques to keep you learning. You can choose which sections to focus on (within reason), so you can tailor your learning to things you’re interested in. We used this to help learn German.

Memrise – A series of courses that use memes and other psychological tools to help you learn languages. Their Thai courses were some of the best I could find on the web.

Fluentin3months – An excellent, entertaining blog by Benny Lewis. He travels all over the world and picks up languages as he goes. It was this blog that gave me the confidence to start learning Thai.

BBC languages  – Essential phrases in almost 40 languages

Internet polyglot – A resource to help memorise words and phrases from other languages

Learning Thai

We set ourselves a 2 week challenge to get started. You can follow our progress of learning this amazing language here:

Learn Thai in 2 weeks

The most common letters in the Thai alphabet (Learn Thai challenge day 1)