How to live a Nomad life with kids? Is it possible? The answer is yes! Of course it takes some planning and forethought. Its not without some element of RISK and Stress of course. We quit our jobs, I closed my yoga studio down. Yikes that’s scary enough in itself right! Yet, what’s life without risk? Yes, there is the budget and the family home, affordability. All this needs to be weighed up realistically before you make any BOLD moves.
Homeschooling kids when travelling long term and living nomadically is possible, it takes some time and planning but once things are in place its really a wonderful opportunity to spend time with you kids. Learning and educating them through the lense of world travel, experiencing other cultures, food, languages, cities, great outdoors, history. Complimenting these experiences home schooling your kids can fit in nicely with your travel abroad.
These days we are able to access pretty much any information at a click of a mouse or swipe of a finger. So homeschooling is accessible and achievable for our kids regardless of whether we are travelling short or long term, there are many wonderful options out there now for our kids.
We decided after much debate and research that we would continue to educate our daughter during our sabbatical. Ella is 11 now so we didn’t want her to get too far behind in her studies whilst we were away. We knew we would be away for at least 12 months so we decided that it was best to keep our daughter engaged in some schooling curriculum during our travels. Best decision we made for our family.
We have been on the road travelling through Europe since June this year. We bought a van in the UK and began our journey in the UK. Prior to leaving Australia we took our time to weigh up the homeschooling options that are available to us in Australia. There are many online curriculum options, we were surprised how many in fact.
In our country Australia we have many options available to us as families. If we choose to home school our children. It is legal to home school your kids in Australia, NZ, USA, Canada and many parts of Europe and Asia. However, there are some countries that do not allow kids to be home schooled. I have referred to this in another blog that I have written if you are interested in seeing which countries allow home schooling click here
I would advise to first check if you can take your kids out of school legally. Or, if there is a process you must undergo to apply to home school them. Be well informed and prepared. Do you research and homework and see what home schooling or long distance options are available for you kids before applying to do so. We needed to inform our school of our intentions to travel, we had fill in a form that was sent to the Education Department of our intentions, they approved and our deputy principal met with us informing us of our options on our return. Fairly straight forward. However, other countries can impose fines if you take your kids out of school and as I mentioned earlier, in some cases it is illegal to not send your kids to school.
There are many ways you can home school your kids. You can choose to enrol and pay for packages that map across closely to your countries school curriculum. Or you can choose to purchase an online subscription that facilitates main subjects and learning such as Maths, English, Sciences, Health, Geography, History and Arts. These may be in the form of an online program, using a combination of online learning packages such as:
This is an online program that facilitates 1000’s of children’s learning all over the world.
Another global software provider that supports in school education as well as home schooling education.
Is an Australian online program, they have created animations, videos, games, activities and more to help you develop your understanding, complete assignments and revise for assessments, across English, Maths, Science, History, Geography and Commerce! They have a free trial you can do as well!
A US based online school curriculum for families, who benefit from their unique private school/homeschooling hybrid, which allows us to partner with families around the globe to create engaging, creative, flexible, and personalized school experiences.
More than 750,000 students worldwide have studied with us. And this experience enables their homeschooling students to gain the best grades possible in their examinations.
You may also decide to use distance education or home schooling programs. There are many available worldwide. Finding the right course curriculum for your kids is so important, just as it is important to send them to a school that you know they will flourish and explore, excel and develop. When we started to look at the programs we got our daughter involved as well. It was important she could see what the programs had to offer and what she would be doing on a day to day basis in terms of her studies and interactions, learning and the curriculum.
In the end we chose Complete Education Australia because it seemed the most balanced curriculum including subjects such as PE and Arts, along with all the standard classes you would find at school. It also allows us to map across to the Australian school curriculum. You can enrol term to term and they provide manuals in PDF format for you to be able to print off so you kids can work manually as well. Great for keeping these as work samples. And a parent guide so that you and your kids can fill in and keep as work examples to their school on their return should you decide to re-enrol you child back into the school system.
Whether you are travelling with your kids or perhaps you have decided to home school you kids and take them out of a 9-5 environment, we have found many benefits to home schooling since we begun back in June this year.
Its a wonderful opportunity to spend more hands on time with you kids as they grow up so fast. Since we begun our travel journey we have been able to enjoy more time with our daughter. Supporting her to learn in many ways, not just via a curriculum but seeing her experience the world in such a unique and exciting way through her eyes. Ella is learning about Roman history, Art, Religion, Culture, Food and Community as we travel. These lessons cannot be learnt alone in a text book. Its the real deal. We have time now to sit and eat together, explore together and learn together. During our crazy busy lifestyle back home, everything was a rush, a push and shove to cram things in and it felt like life was passing by. Our kid was growing up and we were missing all the fine details.
Homeschooling gives you and most importantly your kids freedom and flexibility, creativity to move away from a standardised system. Your child is given the opportunity to flourish in many ways. Teaching them the importance of commitment, self regulation, self esteem, planning, research, timelines, deadlines and self exploration. Setting guidelines for when to complete their own studies allows your kid to become organised and responsible for their own learning. Its a powerful skill to learn and one that is not easily learnt in a school classroom environment.
Ella sets up her weekly schedule herself at the beginning of the week. She choose which subjects and what she will complete each day from Monday to Friday. If we know that we have a lot of exciting travels coming up she can choose to have a week off but then make this up the following week. The course is self paced, we need to ensure she ticks all the boxes to get her studies done but there are no set times, we set the times, she sets the times. This means you and your kids can agree on your own schedule and curriculum.
The online packages guide you through the process, in most online cases help is on hand for your kids and for you as a parent and support home schooling teacher. We often sit together to work things out if there are things Ella is not clear on, and if we don’t know how to answer a question, we research together and learn together. Double bonus. Learning is life long. There is nothing that Google can assist with nowadays.
It is a collective adventure. I believe we have gotten so serious about our kids education nowadays that our kids are under too much pressure to achieve academically. There must be a balance in life. I have worked in the allied health profession for many years and see how too much pressure can increase the risks of symptoms of anxiety and or depression, apathy and stress in the kids of today. Remember balance in life is the key, if we tip toward one side something always has to give. Homeschooling your kids can be a welcome reprieve from the constant grind and stressor’s, pressure cooker we can see that is evident today in many of our societies. The need for our kids to over acheive, over commit, do something everyday after school, cram in as much as they can into each day. Where is the time to be a kid? Is there anytime left in your day to allow your kid to just be. ?
WHO CAN STAY WITHOUT A VISA?
What areas and which countries are included in Schengen zone? Click here for the list. Australian’s, Americans and New Zealanders do not need to apply for a visa at this point. Because things are changing and soon we will be required to apply for a visa to travel into Europe. As of 2020. For now you are ok to travel to Europe, enter and stay for up to 90 days in any of the listed 26 Schengen countries.
Also to note that UK (Which includes Scotland and Northern Ireland) allow us Aussies, Kiwi’s to stay for up to 180 in a 365 day period (you beauty). Ireland allows us to stay for up to 90 days (this is in addition to UK 180 days and 90 days in EU). So really, if you want to schlep around for a year you can. You just have to be prepared to move a lot!
EUROPEAN COUNTRIES THAT ARE NOT PART OF SCHENGEN
In addition to the time you can spend in UK and Ireland you can also legally stay in other European countries. These include Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Romania, Cyprus for up to 90 days in each of these aforementioned countries. Turkey is also another option if you are willing to drive that far. And, further afield you can also travel to Northern Africa, Morrocco, Casablanca, Fez.
SO, HOW DO I WORK OUT THE DAYS??? WHAT IF I OVERSTAY MY VISA?
Well, this is a good question, I was stressing about this one big time I must admit. It’s so tricky to work out the specifics. There is help though. There are other mad humans like us out there that want to travel the world and have some idea’s as you and me. So, thankfully there are some clever peeps who have made App’s that help you calculate you time in Schengen Zones. Phew, I hear ya.
Using an App to work out Schengen – OH GAH they are all terrible
These guys MSSDevLab have made an app that you can download both on Android and IPhone’s from Google play. The app is called Schengen calculator free or you may choose to pay a small fee for the premium app by same guys. It is not great but its the best one I could find. You can also search for other similar apps available via google play. If you find a better one please send me an email, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
WHAT’S MORE COST EFFECTIVE
Congratulations, you have made a decision. Because, it is the most cost effective way you can travel around the globe buying a van. To lease one for this period of time would cost way too much. Leasing is great for up to 3 months travel as you have the convenience of insurance, car break down, all your amenities on hand, the pick of the bunch. But, if you decide to travel for longer than 3 months, buying is your best bet!
WHERE TO BUY A VAN?
If you are from the USA, UK, Australia or NZ the best bet is to buy in the UK/ Scotland or Ireland. Buying in the UK means you can buy a right hand drive (although a bit challenging driving a right hand drive in Europe which is left hand drive you will adjust). If you are English speaking negotiations is much easier buying from English speaking country.
Then there is also the consideration that if you buy a reasonable van that you might also wish to ship it home to sell? Depending on the cost/value of your van it could be a viable option. And as long as you don’t spend over $66,000 AUD you keep you van under the luxury car import duty tax threshold. If you are not from Australia its worth while checking costs of shipping, duties and other taxes.
UK or EUROPE
There are several companies in Europe (namely, France, Germany and Netherlands) that offer buy back options where you can buy your van from them. Because, registration will be linked to their business address. And you will need to buy insurance still under your name, all you need is an address to link your insurance too. Once you have finished with the van you agree on terms of re-sale or buy back. The longer you have the van the less you will receive, losing a considerable amount of income.
SELLING IN AN ENGLISH SPEAKING COUNTRY
So we decided not to take this option. Because we wanted to be able to sell our van privately and to be honest with buy backs it seems much like renting really. Because, you end up selling back to they buyer at a premium. And, good van’s don’t depreciate that much over 12 months. The buy back system is convenient, but you will pay for it. I have not linked these companies here as I am not familiar with their practice so don’t wish to recommend as I have not had any personal experiences with them. If you google campervan/RV/Motorhome travel in Europe you will find them easily.
HOW TO BUY A MOTORHOME or CAMPERVAN
If you are buying a right hand drive in UK region then there are loads of FB pages with Campervan’s/Motothomes for sale! These are all private sales, or mostly private sells. Some of the pages I’ve been following are:
@Motorhome for sale around UK
@Hymer For Sale
@Motorhomes For Sale UK
You might also want to check out Auto Trader, Ebay and Gumtree for sales in the UK. Plenty there to choose from if you prefer to buy direct from a business rather than private sale. Please be wary though, not everyone is always upfront and totally honest. Our first van we had some guy say he was the owner of the van. When we went to view it, it was not his van but someone else’s.
BEFORE YOU HAND OVER ANY $$$
Once you have decided on a van, if you are not in the same country its really important you have a representative or friend, family member go and check out the van and make sure the sale is legitimate and all the books, history, motor registration known as MOT in UK checks out. And, once all is checked out if your friend, family member or representative is willing and able they can pick up the van for you.
Buying oversea’s or buying when you are in the country?
And they can store it until you arrive if you are planning on purchasing before you land. If that’s too much of a gamble for you then consider searching for your dream camper prior to landing and then make contact prior to landing with the owners/business and arrange times to view. We felt more comfortable buying Lottie once we landed. We only viewed 3 motorhomes in one day and bingo. We bought a van!
MAKE SURE YOU ARE BUYING A LEGITIMATE VAN
If you have decided to purchase prior to arrival, then make sure you representative/broker friend and or family can verify the legitimacy of the sale before ever sending or wiring any monies through. We preferred to wait till we arrived in the UK to buy our van so we could see it in the flesh. We wanted to view the van before we bought. Our representative went and viewed the van once we have narrowed down our preferences to 1 van that had all the bells and whistles and ticked all the boxes.
So, once the final decision has been made its time to hand over the DOSH right. So, this is always a bit scary, because lets face it most vans are anywhere between 20-60K. Its an expensive exercise. There are a number of ways you can transfer money from overseas if you decide to purchase and pick up direct prior to arriving.
The safest and cheapest option we have found to date is via Transferwise transactions. or you can also consider opening a HSBC Global account which is brilliant. Gives you the opportunity to load up in currencies and a debit card that doesn’t incur fee’s and exchange rate fee’s. You can check out their terms and conditions, costs as well via Google. Because, you will save you $$$ in transaction fee’s and conversion rates etc. We also use our ANZ Global account and international transfer as its relatively cheap, up to $9 per transaction (if you are in Australia).
REGISTERING YOUR VAN
Ok, so this is the tricky part. To be able to register your vehicle and insure it you need a UK address to register to. So, you need to be living or staying with someone such as a family or friend so that the V-LOG and registration papers can be sent to you. You will not be able to do it any other way unless you ask a family member or friend to insure it in their name which gets really complicated.
So best bet is to see if your family member, friend, or representative is happy for you to use their address when you go to insure your van and register it for the time that you own it. This will include MOT (Ministry of Transport vehicle safety check which is compulsory in the UK) as well as Insurance.
Once you have signed off on the deal you will need to transfer the previous owners name into your’s. In order to do this you need to sign a DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency UK) form and pay the transfer fee if you are purchasing in the UK its around 265 GBP. Ensure you hold onto the transfer slip as this allows you to on sell your van again.
Vlog and Registration
** Please note that you also need to ensure you pick up your V-LOG book if purchasing in the UK as this is a legal requirement and you will need to show this at border crossings in Europe if ever pulled over. This will show the officers that you are indeed the owner of van and you are legally allowed to drive it. Its basically a legal piece of paper stating you are the owner and its the transfer paper for when you sell, or export.
There are very few insurance companies that are willing to insure your van if you are not a resident of EU. We found that Down Under Insurance DUinsure.com.au are willing to provide insurance for Aussies Nomads whilst travelling in the UK. We chose Herts Insurance instead as they were considerably cheaper by around 400 GBP which is $800 in AUD. That’s a huge savings. For the same insurance.
Please**note Hert’s Insurance and Down Under Insurance will not cover your vehicle in Morocco, Montenegro, Turkey and further afield countries. However, when crossing over into these countries purchase insurance for the time you are there at the border. Border controls are stationed at each of these above mentioned crossings
INSURANCE INCLUSIONS AND EXCLUSIONS
Because there are limited options available premiums are very high. So, you want to travel on a budget for an extended amount of time, you have to pay the price. Make sure you check the policy, read the fine print and ensure it covers you for your whole intended stay and travels! **Note that you will not be reimbursed by either of the above underwriters if you do not have an immobiliser installed if your van is stolen. READ THE FINE PRINT ALWAYS. We ended up going with HERTS as they were 800 pounds cheaper than Down Under
WHAT IF I DON’T HAVE ANY FRIENDS OR FAMILY IN THE UK?
That’s what we were up against, so all this research only to come to another dead end, hence why I’m writing this blog to you good people out! You may instead nominate a representative instead. Please send me a quick email to find out all the details. We are really happy with our guy Mike or find Mike @Ukmotorhomefinder on FB
And, he is totally amazing and legit and really helpful to assist you on-selling your van (for a fee) and helping you to store it as well should you need to store it for a time. And, Mike will do all checks, ensuring that the van has not been stolen, or in a major accident, all the MOT registration checks and general inspection. If all checks out you are in the running for a new van!
WHAT TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A VAN
Time of the year you are travelling. If you will be travelling in winter, its so important to have heating! As well as cooling for hot summer days down the south. Consider seat belts. If you intend to have an extra friend stop buy or travel with you then having more than 2 seated belts is imperative. Check this out first. Storage, so you need to consider how much you can bring with you. If you have kids then you need to bring a lot less. You can buy when you are over there so make sure you are brutal when choosing what to bring.
Security – A safe is really important, if you buy a van with out one, then consider buying a good one to install, you wont lose money on this, it will be an added bonus on re-sale. Also, an Immobiliser is a must, an alarm, wheel clamp or steering wheel lock at the very least. Or you can buy individual alarms that are stuck to the doors and windows. These are cheap and easy to install. We bought Doberman Window Alarms and they are fantastic. You can attach to windows and doors and they will go off (loudly) if someone tries to tamper or enter your van.
Strap to ensure the doors can not be opened. Vans do get stolen all the time here so it pays to ensure you secure your precious belongings and expensive investment.
Bike Racks & Bikes – vans are usually longer than 5 metres in length, travelling in and out of ancient and old cities and villages can be really challenging. You want to make sure you stay outside of the cities. Park up in a RV campervan ground and then catch public transport. Better yet, get some exercise in and hit the road on your bikes. A great way to get around smaller cities and villages, you can lock them up and then just cruise back to your van when you are ready to hit the road again.
And, bikes will save money and time in the long run as you won’t be waiting for public transport (buses in Italy can be very unpredictable) as well as paying the extra costs to travel. Plus you are getting in your fitness as well. Bonus! We love walking everywhere and buses are usually great as well.
Solar panels and Refillable Gas – Rather than swap and go gas, which is 26 pounds per 6 kilo’s (UK). We opted to fit refillable LPG gas which is much cheaper when travelling for longer periods. for 14 kilo’s we can refill for around 18 pounds. We have an external filling point on the van, you can also connect your BBQ hose as well.
If you are wild camping you will need solar panels. Adding 110 watt solar panels which charges the leisure battery and gives us 12 volt from the sun for free. Installing in addition to the solar panels a power inverter, which is hooked up to the leisure battery. Converting 12 volt power to 30/23/240 mains power. We can plug in cords for mobiles, blender etc. The refillable gas and solar panels were an investment of an additional 900 pounds. Worth it in the end if you plan on travelling for longer than 3 months and want to save money on wild camping.
EXTRA’s and MUST HAVES on YOUR VAN
Below you will find some other must haves when buying your van. If it doesn’t already have them, these items will keep you safe, sane and savvy on your trip!
CLASS A, B, or C CAMPERVAN/MOTORHOME
As mentioned above, you need to check your current drivers licence and make sure that you are qualified to drive the van. Usually C class licences cover weight of the van for up to 3500 kg. Some drivers licences cover over this weight, make sure you check what you can drive before you purchase. Campervan’s/motorhomes that range from 5-7metres sit within this range and 3500 weight.
INTERNATIONAL DRIVERS LICENCE
You need to apply for your international drivers licence prior to leaving your country. Valid for up to 12 months. Check with your local Road Authorities. In saying that we have only had to show our drivers licence from home each time we have rented a car. They did not want to look at our international drivers licence. May be different if we were pulled over by police. Border police and wardens only ask for your passport.
We hope that you find this blog useful and would love to hear your comments or thoughts, or any feedback you might like to share!
Enjoy Van life. Its pretty magical. If you want to learn more about camping in Europe and UK and Home sits why not click here.
Motorhome storage in Europe and UK. You would think is easy to come by right? Well we thought it would be but turns out its not as easy to find storage in as we had thought. Cities storage options are costly and very expensive for intrepid traveller’s touring Europe. Touring Europe in campervan or motorhome is totally wild, we love it and love the freedom it gives us as a family.
The pro’s and con’s to owning a larger vehicle such as a motorhome, campervan or caravan when travelling. If you want to know how to buy a van when travelling to Europe if you are not a citizen then check out our post How to travel Europe in a Campervan
If you don’t have a scooter, or bikes, motorbike or small touring car it is more challenging to get around. Because parking in cities parking is limited. And, in London, its virtually impossible to find a park unless you park right out of the city. And they all are generally for permit holders only.
In the big cities you need to be prepared to park and pay and stay further out of central London. Trying to drive into small European cities with a motorhome/campervan is a no go. Its a nightmare! You have been warned. There is a great app called Just Park, for UK/ London, this gives you virtually 1000’s of car park options in the city where you can park out front of someone’s home, flat for a fee. Sometimes you can find a space thats big enough for your van. Make sure if you are in a van that you check if the park is big enough for your motorhome or campervan. And read the previous reviews.
Finding parking in smaller towns and villages is not as challenging. We use the app Park 4 night . It’s a great source and allows you to find free and cheaper parks. These range from caravan parks, to farm fields, pub car parks and council car parks. Here you can park overnight as well as during the day.
Another thing to consider is safety and security. Van life is amazing but as you are travelling with all your personal belongings you need to consider that you maybe a target for theft. Take all your personal belongings with you if you feel that you are not in a safe/secure. Make sure your van is as theft proof as possible. Adding wheel clamps, immobilser, Wheel locks, alarm system etc. If you want a full list of recommendations for safe proofing your van then check out our blog here
Because Big cities charge a premium for long term storage and space is again limited for large motorhomes. Motorhome home storage in Europe and Uk is challenging to find. Thats why Im writing this blog. Our van is 7.3 metres so it can be a challenge to find space to park the beast. Luckily there are a few options we found in UK that may help those of you travelling in Europe.
So you can drop and leave your van if you want a break from van life to get to other destinations quickly that are further afield. Like flying to Cyprus, or Iceland etc. And having some big space time once in awhile. Having some We recommend a few options like Trusted House Sitters You can also get a generous 25% off your membership by adding this coupon code RAF237366. We also recommend HomeAway, they offer some amazing home rentals worldwide
Motorhome storage in Europe, Uk and London London Central
We found Buzz Parking (also called Reed’s parking) near Heathrow to be a fantastic option for us. They facilitate long term parking for cars, vans, campervans and motorhomes for a reasonable price. They will also shuttle you to Heathrow from the car park inclusive of the price and offer a free pick up service on your return to the car park! We paid 65 GBP for 11 days long term parking. Although it is expensive, its the cheapest option we could find near London. They also have great reviews. You can find them here on google maps
We also join Caravan and Motorhome Touring Club, we didnt realise that they also specialise in storage options around the UK. Prices are very reasonable. If you are a club member even better. Check these site out here. Caravan Club and Motorhome Club Storage Options
Another option is Motorhome planet UK
There is a great app/website called parklet – long term parking and storage Which gives 1000’s of potential garage sites options for long term parking for those that need van storage.
After much searching and pulling out my hair as there seems to be very little information on long term storage. Then I came across this amazing website! Listing motorhome storage in Europe and Uk as well as links for any type of vehicles even boats. This website is a gem and lifesaver. It has literally 1000’s of sites listed throughout Europe. You can check dates and locations for long term secure parking, near airports, further out, various locations near major cities.
Not all have facilities for campervan and motorhome storage. But, searching for the dates will let you scour through the various pop ups that are listed and available. From there you can check if they store bigger vehicles when you click in details section. Its amazing! Reviews are also featured. Websites and contact numbers. You can also send for a quote and availability. Click here for all the details – PARK VIA
Knowing that your van is secure and safely locked away the world is your oyster right? You have a plethora of options on hand. Book a tour, or a cruise, a secret hideaway, adventure travel, a lazy week by the pool somewhere exotic? No matter what you plan you will need some help to plan your getaway (without your van).
We love to use Omio and HomeAway. Insight Travel and Trusted House Sitters (if you are on a budget but this needs some forward planning). When we book our travels in Europe and beyond.
Hope this blog has given you some juice to work with. And, that you find the right storage place for you and your van whilst you are away from your home on wheels. Bon Voyage. Happy travels. Please don’t forget to share this post on Facebook or Insta if you like it or send an email if you have any questions or feedback. Sharing is caring. Its good to share the juice !
Finding the best Sim card deals for long term travel in Europe and Uk was agonizing. I deliberated over this for months before we flew over to Europe. Only recently have roaming fee’s been abolished across Europe which is great news. Now we can roam across Europe on one Sim card. I’ll introduce these to you below. If you plan on staying longer than 3 months in Uk/Europe then you probably need to read on.
Having data and the ability to download and work whilst we are away is imperative! If you’re a digital nomad you hear what I’m saying. I scoured overseas websites for hours trying to find the best options and deals for roaming whilst in Europe. But we also need the ability to make texts and calls back to home as well right?
And, spending hours of time on the phone and in the store with my current local provider Vodaphone for the best options and or solutions. Even they were unsure of our best options as we were planning to travel longer than 3 months complicated things even more. If you want to find out more about how we travel around in Europe then click here for some tips and inspiration.
The issue is, I had just not long bought a new phone and signed new contracts for me and hubby again. Under the advice of our trusted sales people in Vodaphone. This proved to be a very costly exercise, one that I regret. So my only option was to pay out our contracts! OUCH! And, costing us a very hefty pay out figure $1800. So we own the phone out right but now we have to find a easy and affordable solution whilst in Europe.
We use our phones pretty much daily. Vodafone have got a good deal that allows Aussies to travel overseas and use their phone daily including texts, calls and data for an additional $5 per day. But, with the three of us using data and phones this would soon add up! And, we are staying longer than 3 months so what choices are available to long term traveller’s (not many).
We paid out our contract and bought a pay as you go bundle in the UK from Vodafone.If you want to keep your old number then make sure you add a pre-paid option to your current number which gives you some credit and 365 days to use the credit. Vodafone offers this option. So port your number if you have to over to Vodafone so you can keep it if you need it on your return.
The pro’s of keeping your contract are you can pay additional $5 per day roam when on holiday. And not have to worry about fair usage policy. You will still be able to use your data and phone as if you are at home with no penalties other than paying the additional $5 per day.
The con’s is the service isn’t great and download speeds are quite slow. Also, latency is also slow when overseas and when travelling out of main cities often you drop out completely. So buying a local SIM does definitely have its pro’s, when staying longer than average holiday. It will work out cheaper on a pay as you go sim card or rolling plan. BUT – you need a UK address and bank account to go on a plan here. If you do not have one then the only option you will have is to purchase a Pay as you Go bundle.
If you are planning to stay in the UK and have a UK address and UK bank account here are some options. EE has Flex plans that allow you to pay as you go monthly. Three has a Rolling plan which allows you to roll the plan over without having to lock into a contract. Both allow a great degree of flexibilty. They also allow you roaming whilst in Europe. Beware that you may get caught out with calling back home or texting back home (if outside UK or Europe).
There are add on costs for doing this. Three’s rolling plan is the best I find. It allows you to roll for up to 5 months if staying outside of UK. You will have a max of 19 GB of data. Check for SMS and Call costs as these often are additional if calling back home abroad. But should be included if texting and calling within UK and Europe. For plans in UK and use when in Europe I recommend Three
My advise is to read the fine print and then check in store and then again do your research. If you are looking for a good sim deal, go for the rolling plan if in the UK most of the time. Remember you must have a UK bank account and address to purchase. Otherwise you can buy a pay as you go with Three, Vodafone, EE, O2 and other smaller suppliers. Remember to check additional costs when abroad and using roaming. 12 month contracts are the cheapest if you’re staying in the same country, with great mobile Sim unlimited data plans. Vodafone has best deal at the moment.
If you do plan to travel over into Europe regularly check the fine print. You should be able to roam with most plans. But, do read the fine print and know that your data will be limited to less than 20 GB per month. You may have to pay additional for phone calls and texts. Best bet is to stick to using What’s App or Messenger to make calls back home using wifi or data.
You can buy a Pay as You Go SIM from Vodafone UK that will allow you to top up each month. This is a great option if you do not use much wifi and can access Wifi on your travels. 35 Pound gives you 20 GB per month, unlimited texts and calls in the UK and most European countries. But if calling abroad to States, Australia, NZ you will pay additional premium prices unless you pay for an ADD ON which currently costs 5 Pounds per month for 50 minutes of International calls.
Still this is a good option as you can top up when in Europe, continue to use same phone number, data and GB’s. There are Bundle packs that are really reasonable and will allow you to use your SIM whilst you are travelling in Europe. The downside is speed and connectivity. You will lose speed in Europe. But in UK Vodafone is the largest network.
These guys do it well too! 27 pounds per month will get you 50 GB of data, roaming in European countries, or you can check out their Roaming on EE plans here. EE also have a fair usage policy, if you use more than 15 per month you will incur surcharges. Just ensure your usage alerts are loaded prior to leaving to avoid any nasty surprises. If you wish to travel beyond Europe to the States, NZ or Australia it will cost you an additional 10 GBP per month. There are plenty of beefy add on’s you can also choose from to make the deal sweeter but at a cost as always. Again you can only roam for up to 3 months during a 12 month period.
My pic of the bunch for sim card only contracts in Europe would be with Three Advanced Plans. Now this is a great deal, you can currently pay 22 GBP per month. This includes unlimited data, texts, calls and roaming to over 71 destinations in Europe for no extra cost but it is a lock in contract of 12 months. Be wary though, you are not able to tether or hotspot your data to other devices on this plan. You will be limited to 19 GB when travelling abroad from UK, however the good news is you can do this for up to 5 months. Otherwise, you could try the pay as you go options. Please read the terms and conditions again regarding roaming zones, fee’s and allowances. Once you leave the UK your data is limited to 19 GB per month. These deals are changing all the time so check out latest offers.
This seems ridiculous to me. Why would all the big telco’s want you to ditch their plan and buy another whilst overseas for your 12 month stint? Beats me. Why would they not offer this $5 additional day for 12 months or longer to keep clients hooked into their service and network? I have no idea why not. I’d love to chat to a CEO of Vodaphone, Telstra or Optus in my home of Australia and ask them why its so difficult to stay with them whilst we are travelling. After all, Aussies do travel a lot and there are tens of thousands that travel abroad for longer than 3 months annually.
Because you can’t go longer than 3 months overseas and continue to use data without paying the exorbitant costs we used to pay 10 years ago. One where you would need to take out an additional mortgage to pay off your mobile phone bill upon your return (used to be me all the time, once I had a $700 bill!).
After 3 months your roaming will not allow you to pay the additional $5 per day. It will revert to charging you hefty roaming charges if you continue to use your sim whilst overseas. Then the only way to get through this dilemma is to choose a pay as you go SIM or SIM only Contract whilst overseas. There are some great deals over here now.
If you are like us and want to travel longer than 3 months in Europe you need to think smart! So lets consider we have a phone, most of us do, I’d imagine that if you are still here reading my blog then you must have a phone and one that you can use overseas. That is to say one that does not have a locked in sim contract.
Most providers don’t make you lock in your sim card nowadays as they appreciate that some flexibility is in order. If you do have a phone that doesn’t allow you the freedom to unlock your sim card and replace with another then it would most likely pay for you to buy a cheaper phone. One that allows you to unlock your Sim card.
If you’re not one to use your phone much but prefer to keep in touch via facebook or messenge. Or another possibility could be via What’s App. Then you could also consider not buying a SIM card, but a pocket wifi. There are some options available for Europe if you do not require more than 15 GB per month. This could be a good option. You could check out hip pocket wifi for their contracts and for European plans. Or alternatively you could also check out My Web Spot
My Web Spot allows up to 5 other services to link in as well. Roaming all over Europe. To rent the handsets you pay a rental and weekly fee. If you do need a phone and data and reasonable speeds then keep on reading! This is alot more expensive though than using a Sim Card option.
If you are travelling from country to country this can get really tricky. That’s why its worth while finding a SIM card that allows you to travel and roam without losing too much data on fair usage. Otherwise you will need to buy a new SIM card almost every time you hit a new country. Silly!
Vodafone is found in many European countries so therefore you can purchase similar deals when in Europe to what UK offers. Again check fine print and be informed. Particularly if you do not speak the language. Here are some other idea’s and options below you might like to consider if you are planning a longer nomadic trip.
You can check out the following providers if planning on European travel
We ended up with Voxi in the end as their deals were unbeatable, and seem to have good coverage. And have signed up for a 20 pound per month plan, this allows you 45 GB per month, unlimited texts and calls within the UK (not to be confused for texts overseas back home or calls overseas). UK to UK numbers only, not including some numbers within the UK that are service numbers. You can add extra’s as well. Add on’s also include international talk time and texts for 3 pounds per month. As well as unlimited downloads on your subscriptions such as Spotify and Netflix or Prime Amazon. That costs an additional 7 pounds per month. We have bought two cards so that we have enough data. We should also be able to travel on these as well once we hit Europe.
Remember to read the fine print to avoid disappointment. Digital nomad’s chat over the net and ask questions with the provider. Your data may be reduced to 19 GB per month as opposed to unlimited access from the primary country you bought or signed up. This is due to the fair usage policy when roaming. Also, check speeds and coverage you can expect when travelling. If its only 3G then it may well be worthwhile doing some more research and shopping around.
Let us know how you go and if you have any other awesome providers you might like to share.
Buying one way international flight tickets can be tricky nowadays. So you want to travel and see the world and you think, hey I want to go for longer than 9 months. Or there is this legitimate quandry. My mates are meeting me in Vietnam but they have yet to book their flights. Yep, so I don’t want to book yet either until I know when they are arriving.
What if I want flexibility to return, I’m not yet sure of my return date as its down the track? BAD LUCK! Yes you can change your ticket and pay hefty change fee’s. Yes you can cancel your ticket but will have to wait months until you receive a reduced refund.
Once upon a time ( no I’m not about to read you a bedtime story). You could book an open return flight within 12 months. Nowadays, you have to know book your return date, otherwise you risk getting sent back home or even worse refused to board your flight!
Well that is a good question, one that I am still yet to find a legitimate and legal answer for. So, we inquired about round the world flights. Those departing from Australia and then open ending flights ex Europe to America. Stopping in Bali and then onward to home. Although, we wanted to stay in Europe for longer than 9 months. We were advised that you can only book up to 9 months in advance and you had to nominate return dates. WHAAAAT??
When I worked in travel open ended tickets were allowed. And, bookings of up to 12 months return were also acceptable. Why would you need to book your return ticket you ask? Still a mystery to us, but, mainly because of border control. When you board a flight its up to the airline to ensure you are returning back to your country of origin. Not intending to stay illegally. We did not get asked if we had a return ticket when boarding with Qantas. Mainly because Qantas check in now is all done via computer we think.
A number of people advised that we would be stopped upon entry into England. And, we should have return tickets, and if not we may be sent home. That we may be questioned on our travels and how long we intended to stay. So, when we did arrive we were asked about our trip. We told them we were staying in Camden which we were. And meeting with friends in London, also true. So best to have some plans on arrival at least proof of accommodation.
But, we were not asked when we were going home, how long we were staying. Just what plans we had. However, we could have and people do get asked. Questions via customs such as when they are returning home, dates and what the purpose of their stay is. Particularly, if you are under 35 and have the potential to work or have a working visa. You are most likely going to be asked if you have a return ticket and your means of supporting yourself.
At customs we did not go into a spiel about us buying a campervan. Nor, our intentions to travel for next 12 months. Had we, we could have spent hours at customs potentially being questioned by immigration. Showing them our finances, how we could support ourselves. How we intended to travel, where and when. As we are legally allowed to stay in Europe and travel if we have the means to. Keeping within the rules of the EU countries or independent countries.
Not over staying your welcome basically. I have heard people stay longer in Europe and get away with it. We have a child so not willing to risk overstay. And we are not advocating to do so. It is your life so we will not tell you what you can and can’t do! Our intention is to stay less than the allowed 180 days in UK (Northern Ireland and Scotland) in 1 year. And, we intend to stay no longer than our 90 days in (180 days in Europe). There are many variables though. Stick around to find out the details below.
Yes you could try to get away with overstay. But,is it worth the hassle and the stress at customs? Probably not, maybe for some it is. There are so many options. You can stay as mentioned before for up to 180 in UK legally, this includes Northern Ireland and Scotland. You can stay in Croatia legally for 90 days. Montenegro for another 90 days, Cyprus for another 90 days. Morocco for another 90 days and Turkey for up to 30 days if you’re Australian, NZ, American and Canadian.
To find out more about Schengen Visa’s and length of stay, you can visit our blog here Check your visa restrictions and requirements with your local consulates or go directly to Schengen Visa. Another good idea is to check the countries you are travelling to individual consular websites. Email them with your query.
Australia has Bi-Lateral agreements with many EU countries. If you are wishing to stay a little longer places like Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Austria, Netherlands, these countries allow some citizens to stay another 3 months longer on top of the 90 days in EU countries. You must however, check in with them upon arrival and negotiate these terms. Thereby after your stay you must exit the EU for another 180 days before re-entering. You cannot then go back to another EU country.
So why cant we fly one way if we do not know when we wish to return?
There are many reasons why we did not wish to book a return flight, here are some you may also be thinking:
If you plan on travelling for longer than 3 months. Be sure to keep copies of rental income, income invoices, pay slips, returns on investments etc. If you don’t have any means of proving you can support yourself and no return ticket you may need to seriously reconsider your trip.
We used to be able to reserve tickets and then pay for our tickets. You still can technically, but nowadays travel agencies make you pay full fares upfront. You cant hold a seat anymore like you used to unless you pay for it. So, I found this great alternative. Keep on reading below.
There is a great solution, to travel with some degree of flexibility. For those of us that do not wish to commit to return dates if we do not yet know them. Who legally and legitimately do not wish to pay $1000’s of additional dollars on return flights if we do not have a firm plan yet. Thank god for these sweet people.
These little beauties decided to start an agency just for people like you and me! They understand that in this day and age, the fast life or perhaps the slow life, we just want to take it all in. Not to have planned everything to the very last. And, that somethings in life just can’t be thought through 9 months in advance. Not even 3 months in advance. Hell not even 3 weeks in advance. In a world of ever increasing stress and anxiety. Should we not have some level of freedom over our own travel plans for gods sakes!
Provides the nomadic traveller with some skerrit of relif. You can purchase/rent/ pre-book your flights in advance. This is an awesome service. I was a bit dubious in the first instance. But, after having purchased our return flights was very relieved that I had. A simple, easy and efficient, quick transaction. Choosing a random return date, booking online our return tickets. We were sent our confirmation of return flights with Emirates within minutes.
Not a fake booking by any means. But, you have pre-booked and reserved your flights, not paid for them in full is all. You get an email confirming your flights a booking number. You can even check with the airline and add your details etc, passports. Your address and full names. However, you do not receive an e-ticket. Because its not paid in full. Jump on board and check our onewayfly
One Way Return tickets are registered travel agency. You can read all about them at the link above. For as little as 30 AUD (price varies with currency or stop overs). You can book your return ticket. After 2 weeks this ticket (or pre booked ticket ) will expire unless paid for. There are other services similar to this one. Google is your best bet. But,I can highly recommend these guys! One Way Flight.
So, I guess the moral to this story is to be informed. Be prepared, make sure you know the risks you are taking. And, as I mentioned before, its not illegal to have a one way ticket only. They are available to buy after all. They are not always the cheapest option, they can end up being more expensive. However, if you are not sure of your return travel and plan on winging it then it can be better to buy a one way. Rather than forking out for a return and not using it, or having to refund it or cancel it.
Not a big risk taker? take the safer option. Rent a ticket and make sure you are adding dates that are realistic, or close to the time you think you may wish to travel home on. Do have somewhere to stay on your arrival to your destination, or ongoing travel booked for the first couple of weeks.
Like this blog? please share any feedback or comments. Anything you wish to add or share I’m all ears. Thanks for reading and staying focused. And don’t forget to like us on facebook and instagram and follow us on You Tube. See links.
Home is where the heart is! My Mum was born in Amsterdam and my Dad in Nymegen. I have not travelled back to the Netherlands since I was 27. It didnt disappoint. We were pretty jet lagged this time. Ella basically was falling asleep everywhere we went. So we just carried a 6 year old around the cobbled stones of Amsterdam for the most part.
So if its your first trip to Amsterdam