You’ve probably seen them before. The Bucket List Family has been profiled by People, Today, and most recently on the homepage of Yahoo. This family of four — parents Garrett and Jessica Gee, and kids Dorothy and Manilla — have been traveling the world since August of 2015. In that time, they’ve visited more than 34 countries, sharing their experiences with almost half a million followers on Instagram and YouTube.

“We’ve always loved to travel,” Jessica told CheapOair, “But we never had the desire or thought to ‘travel around the world.’ When my husband was finishing school and had sold his business we were at a crossroads of some very important decisions. Where should we live? Should we buy a house? How should we raise our kids?”

After Garrett’s company was acquired by Snapchat, he and Jessica decided that instead of building a home and settling down, they would put their money in the bank and live frugally while traveling the world. With $45,000 earned from selling their cars, furniture, and other belongings, they began their journey. Currently on an island off the coast of Fiji, they have plans to visit Philippines, Africa, Europe and Asia this year, with no signs of slowing down.

“This year we are revisiting a few countries and will see some others,” Garrett told us. “We’re really looking forward to the Galapagos, Africa, Iceland, and the Philippines.”

“Now it has evolved into a family business,” Jessica said, “where we are able to continue to travel while promoting hotels and brands to fund our travels.”

With a huge emphasis on togetherness, along with their engaging videos and honest interactions with followers, it’s no wonder the Bucket List Family is everyone’s new favorite travel blog to watch and cheer on.

Part of the family’s appeal is probably the ease with which the Gees seem to have on their globe-trotting adventures while also being full-time parents to three-year-old Dorothy and one-year-old Manilla. They make taking along your toddlers, ages notorious for tantrums and meltdowns look totally doable. And though social media has a way of glossing over the rough side of parenting, according to Jessica: Traveling with kids is totally what you, as the parent, make it.

“If you’re stressed out high-maintenance, or unhappy, then that is what it will be,” she said. “Kids feed off of your energy.”

“I agree,” Garrett added. “We often remind each other on travel days to ‘chill out’ when we sense one of our moods is affecting the whole family.”

A lot of people often ask the Gees why they choose to travel now, when their kids are so young and unlikely to form lasting memories of their adventures.

“I’m totally fine if the kids don’t remember the details of our travels,” Jessica said. But I know that at a young age my kids have learned how to be brave, accepting of others, open-minded, and adventurous. And most importantly, I’m SO grateful for the time that we have been able to spend as a family.”

While travel is definitely the main goal for the family, It’s not their only one. They’ve used their platform to help others as much as possible. In August of 2016, the family teamed up with in Nepal, where they spent a week helping survivors of human trafficking, including participating in a hackathon to help create tech solutions to combat the problem.

After sharing their week with their social media followers, the Gees also set out to raise $50K to build a school. “Education,” they explained in their fundraising post, “is the number one way to prevent girls from being trafficked. Schools not only give young women a place of safety, but they gain the education, confidence, and skills necessary to keep them safe.”

“AND WE DID IT!” Jessica said. “I was over the moon excited that we were able to pull it off thanks to some very kind and generous people out there!”

Social media has been criticized for showing just the “highlight reel” of most people’s daily lives, and though the Bucket List Family keeps it pretty real, we wanted to know if it really is as easy as they make it look. They were both quick to say that it hasn’t always been easy.

“One time a few months ago we had a canceled flight leg on our way to the Caribbean,” Jessica recalled. “We had been waiting in line for hours. And then Manilla fell and had a bloody nose. The airline did nothing to help while I stood with a screaming child. Everything collapsed all at once and I wanted to go home. But then I realized I didn’t have a home. I remember looking at my crazy, stressed out, bloody family and realizing that wherever they are is home. Sounds cheesy. But I’ve learned that being together is the most important thing.”

But even if you’re not self-made millionaires, able to sell your belongings and explore the world with your adorable children, the Gees say that travel is within reach.

“You don’t need to travel far,” Garrett said. “But we strongly believe that spending the money you do have on experiences with your loved ones is better than physical things.”

“I think most Americans can have the ability to travel if they prioritize [it],” Jessica said. She points out that it’s not that hard to take a few unpaid days of vacation, cut out unnecessary expenses, and keep an eye out for sudden travel deals

“Sacrifice a little so that you can save for a trip,” she explained, adding: “Travel is more affordable than you think. Signing up for deal alerts is a great place to start!”

One Response

  1. G. Payne

    Awesome story! Continue to live your life like its “Golden”. Enjoy what God provides for you and your family. Thank you for sharing and may God continue to Bless you.


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About The Author

Hey I'm Mandy. Writer, traveler, wife, mother, author, woman, over-sharer. I like to talk about the grit of travel, the beautiful, and the people that I meet. Oh yeah - and traveling with kids.