How we take working vacations

Working vacations have allowed our family to go on some significant road trips, spend weeks and months in beautiful places, and have amazing experiences together. And we've done all this for minimal cost.

This video explains how.

Video outline:

  • Why "working" vacations
  • Where we've gone
  • How we've done it
  • Finding cheap accommodations
  • What works best for us
  • A work schedule for working vacations

One thing I wanted to clarify is that our family has taken non-working vacation time in the last few years. We've taken days off between Christmas and New Years. And during our road trips we take a few days here and there as vacation days. But significant, week-long or two week chunks, have not happened during these past seven years of self-employment.

I forgot to mention one of our big trips in my video. It was partly a working vacation but also just vacation for Damien and I and our first trip alone since our honeymoon, which happily coincided with our 15th Wedding Anniversary. So it wasn't a family working vacation, and also we flew out west so it definitely wasn't "on the cheap".

However, almost all accommodations were similar to the ones I talk about in the video, finding places to stay through our network of acquaintances and friends. In two weeks we didn't spend any money on accommodations.

A few blog posts about our various working vacation and adventures mentioned in the video.

Out West (2011)

Destinations: Montana, Wyoming, Utah

OR & Hospitality Out West

Hospitality to travelers. It's not about having a guest room, a perfect house, or even cooking a meal. It's about sharing what you've been given.

Big Sky, Big Dreams

We experienced such wonderful community on this trip. We are going home in a couple days with hearts full of love and support and our heads full of ideas and action plans. Best combination possible.

Three Week road trip Eastern USA (2013)

Destinations: Maine, Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, & Maine again

Road Trip Life 3.0 Style

We won't figure out how to eat healthy on the road without being on the road. We won't figure out how to fit in time for writing and programming until we try. We won't figure out how much or how little we need to take with us if we never leave home.

So, like all things in life, we're figuring it out by doing it. Not by armchair travel (reading about it) but by packing the gear and getting on the road.

Six Week road trip (2016)

Major destinations: Montana & Alberta

A good story - Three stories (of just many in our lives) of sharing hospitality with friends we've met online.

For me, building kindred-spirit relationships with people is a good story. Sharing is a good story. Hospitality is a good story.

Homebase in Livingston Montana

It was the best of both worlds for me. A functional kitchen, a tent under the stars. Making home while having an working vacation adventure. It was a perfect fit for our needs.

A working vacation and feeding the piglets - Even the kids worked on this trip, helping feed the piglets at the neighbor's ranch.

I wasn't expecting this trip out west to be vacation. When our friends in Montreal found out we were traveling for 6 weeks I was clear that this wasn't a vacation, it was a trip.

But the delightful surprise and gift is that there have been days of vacation on this journey. And a vacation vibe to much of our time here. This is true for the kids and I, unfortunately less so for Damien, who is working a mostly full schedule.

Nine Week road trip (2017)

Major destinations: Colorado, Tahoe/Reno Nevada, Berkeley, British Columbia, & Alberta

Road trip 2017 Blog Series

This page is a summary of all the posts related to this trip. It was a summer full of adventure and new experiences, stress with our rental house and finances, work challenges, meeting new people, reconnecting with family, and another bout of anxiety (for me).

It was beautiful, amazing, difficult, and memorable. I'm so glad we did it!

Showing hospitality

Come stay in Montreal (2017)

An invitation to stay in Montreal (2016)

Other reduced-cost travel posts

Traveling light and on the cheap

One of our family goals is to experience natural beauty and adventure and to encourage other families to do the same. But a real barrier for people is the cost of accommodations and simply getting from point A to B with children. After all, you need a van with a monthly payment when you have kids. Don't you??

Camping as a means to an end

Camping was an affordable way to travel and we often used camping as the means, not the end. Which is not the same as camping "as a vacation"".

Cheaper than a hotel family-friendly travel accommodations - Our family's experience with tenting, couchsurfing, airbnb & hostels for family travel.

Other big adventures of the past seven years

Appalachian Trail thru-hike (2014) - Our epic family adventure.

A month in Montreal (2012) - A one month stay in the city while in-between houses. We had no idea we'd end up moving to the city three years later!

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  • Kate  Pascoe

    Kate Pascoe on Nov. 6, 2018, 8:38 a.m.

    Thankyou for generously sharing!! You have created a beautiful family life. I don't even have children, so not sure why I am here, but your blogs on home schooling were so interesting and I just got sucked in!!


    • Renee

      Renee on Nov. 6, 2018, 2:32 p.m.

      Kate, I'm happy you're here! I read blogs of people who don't have children or who have lives very different from my own. it's the difference that is intriguing.


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