Cassie De Pecol has given us major passport envy. The 27-year-old from Connecticut was the first woman to visit every single country in the world. (And, she did it in 18 months and 10 days, which also made her the fastest person to ever spin the globe.)
But if you have a hard enough time saving for a summer vacation to, say, Branson, Missouri, you’re probably wondering how exactly De Pecol funded her solo expedition of 196 sovereign countries. In a Facebook live video with Money, De Pecol gives an explanation of how she afforded the trip on, wait for it … a babysitter’s salary.
The trip cost her $111,000 total. She saved $10,000 from two babysitting jobs while taking some cost-saving measures in her budget. “I pretty much had to give up my social life,” she confesses.
She also found sponsors and investors to help fund her trip, doing a lot of legwork when it came to networking and drawing up pitches. She said she used Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps as an example for how to rally sponsors.
Of course, every good travel story has some plot twists along the way. De Pecol’s trip was almost cut short when she ran out of funding about halfway through, and she had to come home to the United States.
In order to qualify for the Guinness Book of World Records, she couldn’t stay in one country for more than two weeks. She did a quick fundraising push and was back to jet setting. She ended up nabbing two Guinness records as the fastest person and the fastest female to visit all sovereign countries.
During the Facebook live video, De Pecol was asked what advice she has for millennials who want to save up money for travel. She suggested having a cushion (it’s a bummer to run out of money mid-trip or not be able to afford a meal and she knows this from experience!).
She also suggests setting aside 10 percent of your paycheck, which can then be used for travel. Also, she says, couch surfing can help you trim down your travel expenses.
De Pecol also suggests using travel sites to book trips when they’re cheapest, and also recommends considering other countries that were maybe off your radar, but that you can travel to for less money.
For her own travel budget, De Pecol kept an Excel spreadsheet and budgeted week-by-week.
“I’m not a money person,” De Pecol admitted to viewers. “I’ve never been great at keeping up with my finances, but on this trip I really learned to have to do that because I was the only one that was in control of it. It was up to me whether I failed or succeeded.”
From here on out, she says, she’ll be maintaining a travel budget.
The around-the-world trip, she said, also helped refine her career search. De Pecol hinted at a book or possible travel show. Stay tuned!