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Nicole and Keith DeBickes touring Ireland with their sons.

Last month, we introduced TM101 graduate Nicole DeBickes, her husband, Keith, and their two sons. The family was in final preparation for their 30-month, around-the-world adventure that has been nearly a decade in the making.

When we last checked in, the DeBickes had completed their drive up the East Coast from their home in south Florida, spending time with family and friends before boarding their flight for Europe. Today, we catch up on their first several weeks overseas.

Views from the family’s drive through Ireland.

After rerouting their departure flight from the states to avoid a late-season blizzard in New England, the DeBickes landed in Dublin – a fitting location to kick off the European portion of their trip. And the perfect town in which to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, which arrived just 24 hours later.

Nicole said the event was a bit anticlimactic.

“The weather was terrible. It was very cold, even the Irish people were complaining about it! It rained the whole time for the parade.”

So instead of trying to force merriment out of a miserable rain, the family found their way to Howth, a suburb about 30 minutes east of Dublin where the town was celebrating their annual Dublin Bay Prawn Festival along the shore.

“We ate some excellent seafood and played footgolf. The kids had a blast,” Nicole said.

That kind of adaptability is serving the family well in these early days of their adventure. After three days in Dublin, they packed up their manual transmission rental car and headed to the Irish countryside of Ring of Beary, in southwest Ireland.

The view from their cottage.

Their Airbnb cottage offered a gorgeous view, as well as a full kitchen for preparing meals at home. Nicole said their diet has remained fairly unchanged from their American schedule when eating at home. Grocery store staples include sandwiches, tacos and spaghetti, although she has found grocery prices lower in Ireland than in her home stores in Florida.

“We have been eating a lot of simple foods when eating at home, and then eating the local specialties when we eat out,” Nicole said. The family did enjoy an English pork roast with potatoes and Yorkshire puddings in their cottage…a true English dining experience.

In addition to experiencing their new surroundings through hikes and long drives through the countryside, the family is keeping up with their work and school from the road. Nicole’s sons are staying on track with school through the Florida Virtual School portal, where they are registered for the next two years. Keith is on the road and in the office, thanks to (mostly) good wifi.

Driving through Ring of Kerry, Ireland.

You may remember that Nicole had two major criteria when booking accommodations for the trip – strong wifi and laundry facilities. The laundry facilities have served the family well so far. The wifi has been less reliable.

“We have found that the more rural cottages don’t have great wifi. In one place it was so bad it was impossible to do anything, and this was a cottage listed as having broadband,” Nicole said.

In the future, the family is requesting speed test results from owners before renting their homes, a change they hope will solve the wifi challenge.

Nicole reported that despite very light packing (a carry-on and a backpack for each family traveler), they already feel they over-packed, and are considering shipping some of their clothes back to the states.

Long-sleeved shirts are falling out of favor, especially as the weather warms. These Florida kids don’t love wearing jeans any time of year, so mom will likely return the single pair she packed for each them. And Nicole is returning her back-up pair of walking shoes.

“Every extra thing is just a hassle to transport from place to place,” she said.

Another change the family may make is to their long-term scheduling for the trip. Nicole said they found the short stays in each location to be exhausting.

“Even when you have a short hop to the next point, it really takes a whole day of cleaning up a place, packing up, travel, getting settled again and doing grocery shopping,” she said. “I think we will try and plan for some longer stays in the future around one to three months to break things up a bit.”

To date, Nicole reported that their spending is coming in under projections – by 12.5 percent, to be precise. The daily accommodation breakdown is listed below.

Nicole said the monthly total includes housing, water, electric, gas, internet (sort of), and all bills except food. “How many people pay more than this on a monthly basis at home for these costs?” she asked.

As the family finishes their tour through Ireland and moves on to England, including a month in London, Nicole reflected on their first few weeks in Ireland. After a decade of planning for the adventure and several years of serious preparation, the reality of their dream-come-true trip still sneaks up on her.

“While we were staying in the cottage in Ireland I was watching the weather roll in across the countryside. It was an amazing view and I was thinking that I didn’t have to check email or worry about something at work,” she said. “I can’t believe this is my life!”

In the next blog, we’ll get an update on the family’s time in England, including meeting up with relatives in Liverpool and nearly a month in London. Stay tuned!



Based in Tennessee, Christina spends her days helping clients tell their stories through her work at a marketing and communications firm. She and her husband hustle hard every day in their very grown-up, 8-5 jobs, while actively pursuing financial independence through joyful frugality, real estate investing and travel hacking.

Travel Miles 101 has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Travel Miles 101 and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers.