They didn’t have trust funds or substantial savings accounts to pay their way through 13 countries over seven months — to make it work financially, they committed to socking away as much money as possible in the six months leading up to their trip.
Gallagher, who was working in sales for an IT consulting firm, and Carson, who was teaching yoga, modelling, and acting, managed to save $8,000, despite living in Santa Monica, just outside of pricey Los Angeles. They cooked 90% of their meals at home, cut back on weekend trips to save on gas and other travel expenses, and eliminated the little things, like their daily Starbucks coffee.
“It was so annoying,” Gallagher remembers. “We are both so keen on doing fun things all the time and we’re foodies, so we really like to have good food all the time. And we have our vices — we both like Starbucks very much.”
A simple shift in mindset made it ten times easier to cut back on spending and increase their savings: They envisioned what the money spent on each purchase at home would buy them abroad.
“Say we wanted to go somewhere an hour away, which is about $20 in gas money,” Gallagher explains. “That $20 is a night in a hostel, or the best pizza in the world sitting over the Arno River in Florence, or a full day’s worth of food in Bali.”
They aren’t the only long term travellers who thought like this. Nick Wharton of Goats on the Road, who is on an open-ended trip around the world with his partner Dariece Swift, told Business Insider that while they worked on saving $30,000 over eight months at home in Canada, “Our mindset had changed. We weren’t making money, we were making travel experiences. I would work an hour and think, ‘This hour is buying me a day in Thailand.'”
Gallagher and Carson became much more intentional with each purchase, particularly pricier ones. “Especially if we were considering something that was $100, we would say, ‘Stop. Let’s think about this. If you take that $100 that you were going to spend on a pair of yoga pants and you just wear the yoga pants that you have now for the next six months or so, that’s a flight,'” Gallagher says. “We really started to put it like that, which made all the difference.”