Family Travel Goal Story: Kellie from 4 Worn Passports

July 25, 2018

This week’s family travel goal interview is with Kellie from 4 Worn Passports. If you’re looking for global family travel inspiration, look no further. This Alabama-based family completed their goal of seeing six out of the seven continents (no Antarctica…yet) before their oldest graduated from high school, including a five-month trip across the globe!

You can find more family travel goal stories here.


A bit about Kellie:

We are an Alabama family with a passion for independent global travel. Kellie is the Chief Blogging Officer and travel planner. Dale works in the real estate industry; Delaney (18) begins Auburn University next month; and Riley (17) is a senior in high school.


Does your family have any travel goals? If so, what are they?

We set a family goal when Delaney and Riley were in elementary school to take them to every continent except for Antarctica before they finished high school. Many parents think their traveling days are over when kids come along. But we disagree! Travel is one of the greatest things you can do as a family.

A lot of U.S. families start their international travel with Europe, but we chose a different path. Our philosophy was that Europe is (relatively) close and super easy to travel independently. We wanted to take them to the far away places–like Africa, Asia, and Australia–that wouldn’t be as easy for them to do on their own when they get older.

Why did your family choose these travel goals?

We believe that travel is the greatest gift that parents can give to their kids. It’s the one gift that won’t break or go out of style. Additionally, we believe that life’s greatest lessons are not learned in the classroom; they are learned in the real world. We wanted to explore the world and learn these life lessons as a family.


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Have you made progress toward your travel goals? How’s it going?

We met our “six continents” goal two years early! Africa was our last continent; we spent three weeks in South Africa and Namibia in 2016. Our eldest daughter, Delaney, just graduated from high school in May 2018. She has visited 34 countries to date. Her sister, Riley, has been to 31. (Delaney picked up an additional three countries–Czech, Austria, and Hungary–on her recent senior graduation trip.) Dale and Kellie are tied at 41 countries and counting.

Riley is trying hard to convince us to take a family trip to Antarctica so we can have “all 7 continents” bragging rights. I just haven’t figured out a budget way to get there. Stay tuned…

What excites you most about your family’s travel goals?

Planning and creating the best 5-star itineraries–featuring bucket list adventures, boutique lodging, and authentic experiences–at a 3-star price!

What has been your family’s favorite trip so far? Why?

Our favorite trip is what we call our “big trip.” When Delaney and Riley were 14 and 12, we withdrew them from middle school to travel around the world. We spent 5 months “world-schooling” our way from Iceland to Thailand, and from the Great Wall to the Great Barrier Reef. We visited 10 countries across three continents and spent less money than many people spend on cars…and our memories won’t depreciate! Without a doubt, it is the best parenting decision we’ve ever made, and the highlight of my life. Besides our big trip, we each have different favorites:

  • Dale loved every minute of our month in New Zealand!
  • Kellie loved the African safari in the Timbavati and New Year’s Eve in Sydney
  • Delaney loves the European cities of London, Paris, and Prague
  • Riley loves Thailand and all other beach destinations

If you had to give other families advice about traveling, what would you say?

I have two main pieces of advice:

1) Most of the world can be traveled independently. If you are willing to do the research and make your own plans and reservations, you can enjoy authentic experiences while saving enormous amounts of money.

2) Middle school is the absolute best time to travel with kids. Why?

  • They are old enough to pack and carry their own bags;
  • they are old enough to engage and learn in a meaningful way with their experiences;
  • and they will REMEMBER it!

Once they hit high school, it’s harder to take them away from school and friends for extended periods.

Tell us about the name of your blog, 4 Worn Passports. What does the name tell us about your family travel approach?

We are a family of four who is passionate about independent, global travel. Our mission is to help other families travel boldly. Our motto: No Travel Agent. No Tour Group. No Trust Fund. No Problem!

With careful planning, we have been fortunate to experience many of the world’s most extraordinary adventures on an ordinary travel budget.

Tell us more about your blog. Where can people find it, and how can they follow you on social media?

We started our blog as a way to document our around-the-world trip and meet homeschooling requirements. Since then, it has become a travel site full of valuable information and inspiration for fellow travelers. Whether you are planning a two week adventure vacation or trying to muster the courage to take a family gap year, we provide tips, itineraries, ideas and advice for traveling the world.

You can follow us on:

4 Worn Passports:






If you want to learn more about how your family can create and reach their travel goals, you can subscribe here for my free quick and easy guide, How to Create Your Family’s Travel Bucket List:

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  • Reply
    DeAnna Z
    July 26, 2018 at 6:45 am

    We talked and talked about taking our girls out of school for a year or so to travel. Now they are starting high school in a couple of weeks as freshman, it seems impossible. Wish we had jobs that we could take that much time off, our longest trip has been 3 weeks, and it was an amazing trip!!!! So jealous? i agree planning it yourself you can save a ton of money!

    • Reply
      July 26, 2018 at 6:53 am

      Same here. Our oldest starts high school next week, and I’m thinking we maybe should have planned ahead more. 3 weeks is an amazing vacation! My husband and I did that on our wedding/honeymoon in Europe. I also took a month-long trip to Europe a few years prior to that. It’s a lot of work to get ready to be gone that long, and a lot of work when you get back, but so worth it!

    • Reply
      July 31, 2018 at 7:55 am

      I just met with a mom this week who is traveling with her son for the fall semester. He is a sophomore in high school. He is going to do online schooling for the fall, then go back to traditional school in January. It is definitely easier to do in middle school but not impossible in high school! ?

  • Reply
    July 26, 2018 at 8:35 am

    I love the quote “Travel is the greatest gift you can give your kids!” So very true! This is an excellent read

    • Reply
      July 26, 2018 at 9:30 am

      Agreed…perfect quotation. 🙂

  • Reply
    July 26, 2018 at 9:22 am

    I love this. We traveled a lot more when our kids were little – now they are both involved in year round sports and find it hard to get away. So, we make the best of it with extended weekends on sporting trips, and short vacations wherever we can squeeze them in.

    • Reply
      July 26, 2018 at 9:30 am

      It’s so hard to squeeze in travel with busy lives. I’m so impressed with how this family has made it work!

    • Reply
      July 31, 2018 at 8:01 am

      When our daughter cried because she MADE the basketball team, we knew travel sports were not in our future! ? That was when we made the decision to put our time and money into travel instead of sports. For some families it is a really difficult decision because their kids are either super talented or really love their sport. We didn’t fall into either camp so it was an easy decision for us.

  • Reply
    alison netzer
    July 27, 2018 at 8:00 am

    I love this. We have been traveling with our kids since they were babies and watching them grow and travel is the best. They learn and are more accepting of change. My actual Motto on my home page is “Travel is a gift to your children, at every age.” So I completely agree with this family.

    • Reply
      July 27, 2018 at 8:42 am

      And I agree with you. 🙂

  • Reply
    July 27, 2018 at 7:15 pm

    We just had our first baby daughter and my husband and I have started a list of travel goals. I totally agree that it’s the best gift you can give.

    • Reply
      July 27, 2018 at 9:04 pm

      Me too. 🙂 Travel with them gets better as they get older.

  • Reply
    July 27, 2018 at 7:52 pm

    For the first time I feel excited for my little people’s Middle School years! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Reply
      July 27, 2018 at 9:05 pm

      Ha! We’ve got one that survived middle school and another starting next year. 🙂

  • Reply
    July 27, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    It is great that parents understand that they can travel with their children. I loved that they wanted to show their children “real world” experiences.”

    • Reply
      July 27, 2018 at 9:05 pm

      Agreed. 🙂

  • Reply
    July 29, 2018 at 7:01 am

    Oh how inspiring and amazing! I have two boys, 4 and 9 months, and I have a goal to travel them around the world as well! I’ll definitely have to read up on your blog for ideas!!!

    • Reply
      July 29, 2018 at 7:08 am

      Thanks so much, Kirstie! Travel is definitely the best gift you can give your kids.

  • Reply
    July 29, 2018 at 7:09 am

    Wow! This family has it all going on! Good for them for instilling the adventurous spirit in their children at an early age. The kids will be much more well-rounded individuals and appreciative of all they have after experiencing other cultures.

    • Reply
      July 29, 2018 at 12:59 pm

      I agree, Shirley. 🙂

    • Reply
      July 31, 2018 at 8:07 am

      Thank you Shirley! My oldest daughter was a keynote speaker at the local middle school’s International Day recently. She loved sharing some of the valuable life lessons she’s learned through traveling with younger students.

  • Reply
    Natashia Ogunyemi
    July 30, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    Growing up, my family and I didn’t travel so I promised myself that when I had kids, I would take them to as many places as possible. My travel was always with school (band trips & college organization trips). So far, my children have been on a Disney Cruise, Florida, and D.C. My oldest son travels with his track team (Kansas, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, and Tennessee). Because they are so young (16, 10, 8) we are going to do more travel. I started my blog with the hopes of having more time to travel with my family.

    • Reply
      July 31, 2018 at 7:06 am

      Good for you! If you don’t prioritize travel, it won’t happen as much as if you make it a priority like you have. Happy travels!

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