Are You Thinking Of Moving Abroad As A Single Mom?
-Updated April 13, 2109-
Living abroad is a game changer for single moms. I have traveled and lived abroad in 6 different countries since leaving my emotionally abusive marriage back in 2016 and setting off on an adventure around the world with my three daughters.
If you want to read more about our journey, start here. Moving abroad as a single mom is not only possible, it is something I highly recommend.
My life back in the U.S. was the typical single mom narrative of struggle and stress. My rent in Austin, TX was $1500 a month and my mortgage payment before that was nearly $1900 a month.
Now, here in beautiful Merida, Mexico, I live well off of less than $2000 a month and I still get to travel. I know moms in my Single Moms DO Travel Facebook group living abroad who are living and traveling abroad with a $1200 a month budget! It is pretty spectacular.
Not only is it financially a smart move, but it is also a physically, emotionally, and mentally smart move. I have learned so much from living abroad as a single mom.
Change The Narrative
I know moving as a single mom is scary. Moving abroad as a single mom can be even scarier but it can also be very rewarding. If your life is anything like mine was, you are overworked and overly tired.
You want to spend more quality time with your kids but you are either too exhausted at the end of the day or you can’t find the extra time in the day to even attempt to spend more time with your babies.
It is heartbreaking. You might have a job that pays well but you still find yourself struggling financially.
You are buried with bills and responsibilities and you might feel very alone. I sure did!
When I was living back in the U.S., I felt very alone and struggled to connect with others. They say it takes a village to raise a child, yet there was no one there to help me. I yearned for positive adult interaction but spent most days feeling alone.
Deep in thought while on the train in Italy
There are 5 things you need to know before making the leap abroad.
[affiliate disclosure: I may get a small commission if you make a purchase through the links on this page at no additional cost to you]
This is number 1 because it is the biggest question I receive and one of the most important parts of moving abroad.
You will absolutely need an income source of some sort. That might mean a nest egg, retirement, an online job, your own online business, any remote income, or an actual job abroad. There are endless possibilities. If you want it, you absolutely can make it happen.
Starting Your Own Online Business
If you want to start your own online business, start today. I am still building up my blog. It takes a ton of work and time. It is not overnight, despite what others might say. I’ve learned so much over the past year and a half of blogging but I only turned into a business within the last few months. I talk more about that in this post here.
I truly believe you have to have a passion for it or you are going to want to give up. You can start by taking The Business Of Travel Blogging course by the top blogger Nomadic Matt. This will help you set up your blog as an actual business instead of just a hobby.
Start with your passions and from there, learn everything about creating your own online business.
There are tons of businesses you could start with very little initial investment. Don’t get discouraged. Explore your passions and find out what people need and then package it up into your very own business.
If you need digital nomad job ideas, click here read the ultimate list of digital nomad jobs.
Teaching English Online
A lot of the moms that I meet or talk to teach English online to finance their living abroad lifestyle and travels. Teaching English online is a great way to earn a remote income and not every company requires a degree.
Here are just a few companies that you can work for online:
There are so many more so please do your research for all the opportunities out there.
After applying online in Mexico, I was hired by the online tutoring company, Cambly. It was super easy to apply and required no degree but it is also the lowest paying.
Even though I was hired over a year ago, I have yet to teach for them because I would rather put that time into my own passions and have been having way too much fun with my own online business of mentoring women on how to live this lifestyle and, of course, writing for this blog.
I was also hired by Verblio, but I only wrote a few articles before deciding I wanted to focus exclusively on my own business.
If you work 6 hours a day for Cambly, that is about $1200 a month. You could work as much as you want or as little as you want. The great thing about a lot of these online teaching and writing companies is that you get to choose your own hours and schedule.
If you want to to get a job abroad you can look at USA Jobs. The jobs are open to the public but they do give priority to veterans like me. They list all types of government jobs.
You might already have an income source but don’t know if you can legally travel and live abroad with your child?
When I was going through my divorce, I knew I wanted to travel and live abroad so I had my lawyer design my papers to fit my lifestyle. I am so thankful for the guidance I received and for standing my ground with what I wanted in the divorce decree. My divorce papers are extremely specific. I had my lawyer rewrite them six times before they were exactly how I wanted them.
You don’t want to fly to a country and get denied entry for not having the proper legal documents, right?
You also need to research visas and residency for the country you are interested in. I only have experience with tourists visas so far. I have not applied for residency anywhere and I plan to keep it that way for a while because of how often we move.
In Mexico, Americans can stay for up to 180 days on a tourist visa. You can leave for a few days or few hours to a neighboring country and then come back in to reset it. Please understand that if you choose to do this, there is always a chance that you will not be given another 180 days. There are no guarantees.
In Albania, Americans can stay for up to a year without any visa at all. You just fly in and stay. In order to reset your year, you need to leave the country for 90 days.
Check what your potential country allows based on your citizenship.
3. What about schooling?
Schooling was never an issue for me because I choose to unschool/worldschool my kids. However, I know that is not the case for many others. Luckily, there are options when it comes to school depending on the country you choose.
Some moms choose to put their children in a private school abroad, public school, or online school. I know moms who do all three. Private schools, even though they are abroad, can still be pretty expensive but they might not be as expensive as they can be back in the United States.
If you are interested in unschooling, check out our YouTube video below or read more about it here.
The best part about living abroad in a more affordable country is that you can get really nice accomodations for a lot less.
I recommend booking an Airbnb or a place on booking.com for a week or month and then getting a realtor in your future country to help find you a place on the local economy. You could also look in the local paper, join the expat groups and ask around, walk around looking for rental signs, or look on Facebook marketplace.
After staying in two different Airbnb here in Tirana, we finally found a place with a realtor on the local economy. We love our new home.
The best part about it is all I need in order to sign the besides the deposit and for us two months rent was my ID card.
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Communty is important no matter wehere you are at in the world.
We have learned that it is super important to connect with others beforehand in the city you plan to move to. This can make a huge difference in how quickly you adjust when you move abroad as a single mom. Here in Guanajuato, I reached out to a momma prior to coming and she was super helpful. Look on Facebook for expat groups for the country and city you are interested in. There are loads of information within these groups as well as potential connections you could make prior to your move. Having some sort of support system is important especially for single moms. For example, I got super sick when I first arrived in Mexico. Two of the single mommas here helped get me groceries and helped with my kids. I am so thankful I made those connections prior to coming.
The best part about living abroad in a more affordable country is that you can get really nice accommodations for a lot less.
I recommend booking an Airbnb or a place on booking.com for a week or month and then getting a realtor in your future country to help find you a place on the local economy. In Merida, I secured a three-month rental for only $384 a month. We will most likely find a home on the local economy after our three-month stay. You can read more about how I secured such a great price off of Airbnb by clicking here.
You could also look in the local paper of the area you are interested in, join expat groups on Facebook and ask around, walk around looking for rental signs, or look on Facebook marketplace.
During our five-month stay in Albania, we stayed in two different Airbnbs before hiring a realtor who found us a place on the local economy.
The first time we visited Mexico back in January 2018, we used Airbnb at first as well. After that, we used a realtor to find our home. However, I made a big mistake in Mexico by signing a lease for a big fancy villa that was completely unfurnished. I paid a deposit and first month’s rent.
One day we were out shopping for couches when I had a complete breakdown. We set out on a journey of full-time travel not living abroad shopping for furniture.
I was not quite ready for a home base and to settle down so I decided to break my lease. In Mexico, this means you have to pay one month’s rent as the penalty. That meant losing my deposit which was not the end of the world but it was a huge lesson.
After that, we did not sign another lease for almost a year when we fell in love with Tirana, Albania. In both Mexico and Albania, breaking a lease is not that big of a deal.
I know that can be hard to understand because it can be such a big deal in the United States. Just expect to lose your deposit if you do break your lease in either of those countries but not much more will happen. I always factor losing the deposit before signing a lease now.
Healthcare is amazing and affordable in Mexico. During our first trip to Merida, my oldest daughter got sick. The doctor came to our hotel instead of us having to go to him for only $25. There is no way it would cost that little in the United States.
I do have health insurance through the military, luckily, in case anything major happens but I have always just paid out of pocket while traveling.
If you are interested in getting health insurance for traveling, check out World Nomads.
A community is important no matter where you are at in the world. We have learned that it is super important to connect with others beforehand in the city you plan to move to. This can make a huge difference in how quickly you adjust when you move abroad as a single mom. In Merida, Mexico, there is a large dynamic community of single moms.
Making friends around the world is one of the amazing things about living abroad as a single mom. Somehow, this lifestyle allows you to make deeper connections with people. It is pretty amazing.
Look on Facebook for expat groups for the country and city you are interested in. There is loads of information within these groups as well as potential connections you could make prior to your move. Having some sort of support system is important especially for single moms.
Now, you are ready to move abroad. Make sure to connect with other single moms in our Facebook group Single Moms DO Travel.
If you want a crash course on moving abroad, set up an appointment with me through this link for my Travel The World With Your Babies crash course.
We will spend an hour on a video chat coming up with the perfect plan for you so you know everything you need to know to make the launch abroad. You can do this!
Share this post with others who want to move abroad. I truly believe everyone should live abroad at least once in their life.