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LearnLiveTravel discuss travel with teens & more: our interview with An Epic Education

We’re certainly not the only family who have left the rat-race to travel the world, but might be one of the few who did it with older kids and a tag-along-teacher. Our travels caught the attention of blogger and podcaster Jason Jenkins of An Epic Education. In his recently published podcast we discuss travel resources, spreadsheets, coffee makers, Rick Steves, library cards and the challenges of family travel with teens. Some highlights about world-schooling while traveling (

Youth Hostels can be a great choice for families: here's why

Every long-term traveler we've met or follow thinks differently about how they spend their hard-earned travel-funds. Some want to eat at fancy restaurants, but will skip hiring a guide to show them the city. Others will stay in a premier hotel, but won't buy souvenirs. Many have different financial priorities during different parts of their trips. (We wrote about our point of view here.) Lodging can be one of the most expensive parts of a long-term trip, but we've read about

Buenos Aires Dollars and Sense

In this new series we are sharing our exact costs for some of the larger, more famous cities we stayed in. We’ll also share a tip or two about finances in the city, things we wish we’d realized before we arrived. For a more details about what we spent in all of Argentina, read our post: We were introduced to Argentina’s Dollar-Hungry, Blue-Market, Ever-Fluid Economy. Buenos Aires Stats 10 nights. 8 in a 3-bedroom short-term rental apartment, 2 in a hotel (we rented 2 rooms).

"It's no wonder that Recoleta is one of Buenos Aires's most-visited sites."

I had my first cemetery-history-lesson in Bastos, a rural town in Sao Paulo state. My host, a young 3rd generation Japanese-Brazilian, took me on a chronological tour to show how the immigrant-founded community changed over time. Early graves were Buddhist with obelisk tombstones covered in Kanji and framed photos of the deceased. In the 1950s and 60s, names like Eduardo Fujisaki and Beatrice Suzuki began appearing on tombstones, demonstrating that the townspeople had begun i

For every traveling family ... there are thousands more migrating because they have no choice

This is my fifth time returning home from a year abroad. The first was after being an exchange student to Brazil with Rotary. The next several times I was in my twenties. And yes, I experienced reverse culture-shock and felt directionless and went through many other emotions as I reintegrated home. And I’m feeling those things again. And so is my husband. And my kids. And Heather. And I could write about all of that, but Michael Huxley nailed it in his article last December:

There was something immediately magical about River Bend Lodge

We’d been driving along South Africa’s gorgeous southern coastline and the famous Garden Route for 10 days. Heather was my trusty navigator, spotting road signs, tracking our mileage, and guiding me through the turns. I’d gotten comfortable driving on the left side of the road from the right side of the car, but still appreciated her reminders to “hug, hug, hug the curb” when turning left. Approaching Port Elizabeth we veered north, following signs for Addo National Elephant

Three types of not-so-touristy teen travel

Our teens are great travelers, but they’ll be the first to tell you that they hate being tourists. They cringe when they see package-deal-holiday busloads unloading at site entrances. They’ll skittle away from groups in museums, lest someone think we’re with them. After almost a year traveling around the world with a 12-year-old and a 16-year-old, we’ve identified three types of not-so-touristy teen travel by tapping in to our kids’ passions and focusing on immersive activiti

"South Africa was far more expensive than any other country"

I hesitate to include a budget report about South Africa, as it was the only country where we stopped being independent travelers and hired both a travel agent and a safari company. Determining a plan for Africa took longer and was more difficult, somehow, than the other countries on our itinerary. Perhaps this was because Africa felt more unknown and dangerous than South America and Europe. (Read my blog post “South Africa: we are already looking forward to the day we return

"I don't think there's truly a 'Goldilocks' moment for family travel..."

I shared our RTW plan with a long-time friend and mentor over coffee one day. He was surprised, incredulous even. His response was something like, “What?! You’re going to do what? That’s crazy! Aren’t you afraid you’re going to screw up your kids?” It was the first time someone had expressed doubts about what we were doing, he was genuinely concerned that quitting school and traveling for a year would negatively affect our tween son and teen daughter. “No way!” I replied conf

"Temporarily living like locals"

We love the experience of temporarily living like locals that we get by renting homes through VRBO.com, Homeaway and Airbnb. We double-love how easy it has become over the past 10 years to find and pay for rental online. With the exception of one apartment – I’m looking at you, Santiago! – most of the homes we’ve rented have been great. But invariably there has been one or two things amiss, so we’d like to share our thoughts with current and future owners of short-term rental

"The key to a successful shared experience is intentional communication."

What could be better than traveling the world? Traveling the world with those that you love! We are two families who decided to combine our 'Round the World trips for one month in Turkey. The idea of traveling together around the world was born years earlier, with dreams shared around the dinner table and conversations over bottles of wine. The seed had been planted, but could we really do it? As experienced travelers, we knew that group travel meant more expectations and uni

When you're staying with family, your expenses are subsidized

Let’s be honest. When you’re staying with family, your expenses are subsidized. We are forever grateful to our Brazilian friends and family who took care of us during our three months in-country. Similarly, when you’re in one spot for 3 months, you create time-based economies. With those two things in mind, and despite a serious 2-week splurge for New Year’s in Rio, Brazil was the least expensive country of our trip. Also, compared to every other country we’ve visited, we had

"By the numbers list to reflect on the journey thus far."

It’s hard to believe that our six months south of the equator are now behind us. Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and South Africa: each country offered experiences we’d been looking forward to, experiences we couldn’t have imagined, and truth-be-told, some that we hope not to go through again. We compiled this by-the-numbers list to reflect on the journey thus far. ONE Number of times we had to change our plane tickets. We had to cancel Dubai at the very last minute (see TWO

"We were introduced to Argentina’s dollar-hungry, blue-market, ever-fluid economy."

I handed our hostess two stacks of bills, one of dollars, one of Argentine pesos. We’d withdrawn money at the Buenos Aires airport to pay the remaining rent on the apartment we’d rented in the Recoleta neighborhood. She looked at the second stack disappointedly. “Oh,” she said, “I thought I told you I only take cash.” I glanced at Rodrigo out of the corner of my eye noticing that he was looking as confused as I felt. I hesitated, “that is cash.” “No,” she said. “I don’t acce

"South Africa: we are already looking forward to the day that we ­return."

For me, half the fun of traveling is planning the journey. During the three years that we were saving money, I read countless books about the countries we were considering. I sketched out possible routes on a poster-sized wet-erase map and tracked airline ticket prices online. I followed travel bloggers and thought about our budget. Determining a plan for Africa took longer and was more difficult, somehow, than the other countries on our itinerary. Perhaps this was because Af

"Despite the overages, Chile was a relatively cheap country."

Below are tables that detail our projected costs, actual costs, and the differences between the two. We saved on lodging by staying two full weeks in Las Cruces, a small beach town near Valparaiso. In addition to being easy on the budget, we all appreciated the time to make ourselves at home and relax. Though it doesn’t show up as an overage in our budget, we did waste some money by checking out of our Santiago apartment early to visit the Colchagua Valley. In essence, we pai

"Rio: mahogany grandmothers with their leopard-print suits and bangle-stacked wrists gossip in

By Gretchen Richter de Medeiros Rio de Janeiro – the Marvelous City – the first time I came it was 1987, and people warned me to “be careful, it’s the most dangerous city in the world”. The second time I came, I spent a week in a youth hostel and celebrated New Year’s on the beach with newly-made friends from all over the world. Like mine, their friends and family were quite worried about their plans. Then, when Bella was 16 months old, some folks said “you’re crazy to take a

Peru-Chile-Argentina Summary

By Gretchen Richter de Medeiros PERU Peru: land of misty mountains and pan pipes, ancient ruins, gorgeous textiles and world-class food. Our first stop, it was one of our best-planned itineraries. We spent just a few days in Lima getting acclimatized to being on the road. Despite a minor challenge with checking in to our rental apartment, and the kids being sick for the first few days, we enjoyed eating Peruvian specialties at neighborhood restaurants, a bike tour of the city

"Pretty amazing how much cheaper medical care is in South America."

By Gretchen Richter de Medeiros Below are tables that detail our projected costs, actual costs, and the differences between the two. We saved a ton on transportation and lodging by opting out of renting a house in the Sacred Valley and instead staying in a travelers’ lodge in Ollantaytambo. There were two interesting ruins right in town, we could walk to the train for Machupicchu, and we spent some of our savings on a guide to drive us to Chinchero and Pisac. The five of us a

"On a particularly chilly day, we ate chili in Chile."

By Gretchen Richter de Medeiros Planning the trip was a multi-disciplinary exercise. We had a giant write-and-wipe world map in the hallway where we sketched out itinerary options. We swapped travel stories with friends, watched travel-adventure videos, and read blogs written by other RTW families (we're not the only ones!) Once we had nailed our South America calendar and itinerary, we started having brunch and mimosa decision-making-sessions with Heather and her mom, Terrie