COVID-19 put an end to travel for many people for several years. But with lockdowns over and safe vaccines and boosters now available, chances are good you’re taking trips again. While that may be good for your psyche, it’s not necessarily great for your wallet.
If you don’t want to give your credit cards too much of a workout as you make up for lost time, you may want to check out these tips from finance expert Dave Ramsey to help you save on travel costs.
1. Consider baggage costs when choosing your airline
Ramsey recommends bringing a carry-on instead of a checked bag when you can, as fees are generally lower for handheld luggage you bring aboard rather than for checking bags. If you do need a suitcase, though, Ramsey suggests checking out airlines that make it cheaper to bring one — like Southwest, which actually allows two free checked bags.
Packing light and paying attention to baggage fees is a great tip worth following, as paying to bring lots of luggage can sometimes double the cost of your flight (especially if you got discounted tickets).
Another way to reduce this expense (and one Ramsey wouldn’t recommend due to his anti-credit-card stance) is to sign up for a travel card that offers free checked bags as one of its perks.
2. Book your ticket at a strategic time
Your timeline for booking air travel can actually determine the price. Ramsey suggests buying a ticket around three and a half months before departure, or three weeks out.
If this works with your timing and you either know in advance where you want to go or aren’t afraid to book last minute, this advice is also worth listening to. There’s no reason to pay more than necessary for a flight just because you aren’t aware of the optimum time to buy your ticket.
3. Travel on cheaper days
If you can be flexible with when you leave for your vacations, Ramsey says this can also help save you money. Flights taken on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays tend to cost less than planes departing on other days of the week.
It may be hard to implement this advice depending on your work’s vacation policy and whether you have kids in school or not. But if it doesn’t matter to you when you leave, traveling on these days can both help you reduce costs and enable you to avoid bigger crowds.
4. Avoid big tourist attractions
Ramsey suggests you will usually pay less to go on vacation if you select areas off the beaten path rather than the biggest tourist destinations.
This can be great advice if you want to avoid crowded places and do something different. Of course, popular tourist destinations are usually popular for a reason, so don’t compromise on your wish to visit your dream city or island in paradise just to save a few bucks.
5. Ask for free upgrades
Finally, Ramsey’s last great tip is to simply ask for free upgrades. You can do this at the airport and your hotel. If you make your request politely, you never know when someone may give you a better seat or a nicer room — especially if you’re celebrating a special occasion.
Each of these tips can do a lot to help make your vacation cost less, so try them out next time you go on a trip.
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