EER016: Travel Hacking for Families

This post may contain affiliate links. Please visit our Disclosure page for details.

EER 016: Travel hacking for families with Kathrin Spaccarelli

Travel hacking, elephant poop and pillow fights. These are just a few details from the Spaccarelli family’s year of round-the-world family travel.

Travel Hacking for Families

In this Epic Education Interview, Kathrin Spaccarelli describes how they planned for their trip, how they educated on the road, what they carried with them and what they’ve learned after a year of constant travel, as well as a few details about where they are now and their plans for the future.

Kathrin and her husband were able to save heaps of cash from taking advantage of a variety of travel hacking techniques, a few of which she talks about here. Anyone interested in using credit card sign up programs and airline mileage systems may find some valuable information inside.

Subscribe to Our Podcast (iTunes, Stitcher, RSS, and more)


  • Names: Kathrin Spaccarelli, her husband, Nathan, and their sons Lorenzo (10) and Elio (6).
  • Hold passports from: USA
  • Type of travel: Year-long, round-the-world trip
  • A few places they’ve been: Japan, Southeast Asia, Australia and South Africa, including a re-positioning cruise.

Find Them On: Taking the Big Break | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


  • Both parents studied abroad as students.


  • The Spaccarellis had a “4-to-5 day rule,” trying to stay in each place at least 4 or 5 days before moving on.

EER 016: Travel hacking for families with Kathrin Spaccarelli


  • Sold their house, and put half the money in the bank and half into a Charles Schwaub account.
  • Experimented with lots of travel hacking: hear how they got a trip to both Japan and Thailand out of a one-way ticket.
  • Rented apartments through AirBnb instead of staying in hotels (did their own laundry, cooked their own meals, etc.). Especially handy in Japan and more expensive areas of Europe.
  • Chris Guillebeau
  • The Points Guy
  • Frugal Travel Guy


EER 016: Travel hacking for families with Kathrin SpaccarelliEPIC INSIGHT

  • Kids were in public school before the trip. No formal approach as they traveled — just lots of targeted “worldschooling” at every opportunity. The oldest son now homeschools back in the USA, while the youngest has returned to US primary school.



  • Prepare for everything, but have no expectations.
  • Try to see the trip through your kids’ eyes, as well (examples in the podcast).
  • Let the kids participate in deciding what to see & where to go. She mentioned Vienna’s Globe Museum as one example.
  • The pros & cons on repositioning cruises.


  • Japan: “For an off the beaten path experience in Japan, we really enjoyed our day of hiking the Nakasendo Samurai Trail.”
  • Thailand (especially the Elephant Nature Park)
  • Safaris in South Africa: “We had trouble finding a safari lodge that would accept children and were so fortunate to discover Tuningi Safari Lodge.  Highly recommend it!”
  • Australia’s Great Barrier Reef: “We spent three nights at an amazing eco-lodge on Heron Island.  Fantastic snorkeling, and we were there during turtle hatchling season, which was magical!”

Travel Hacking for Families #EER016: Interview with Spaccarelli

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means, at no extra cost to you,  we might receive a small commission if you make a purchase or book using those links. My opinions are my own and I only recommend places/services that I believe will genuinely help your travel.