Finance

These are Dave Ramsey’s top 5 tips for keeping your travel costs down. Should you follow them?

A young adult wearing a mask uses a kiosk to check in for a flight.

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If you’re planning to take a trip, check out these tips to cut costs.


Key points

  • Many people are traveling again now that the threat of COVID-19 has subsided.
  • Traveling can be expensive, but Dave Ramsey has some suggestions for reducing the amount you spend on vacation.
  • Choosing your travel days carefully and looking for free upgrades are just two ways to save on vacation costs.

COVID-19 has halted travel for many people for several years. But with the lockdowns over and safe vaccines and boosters now available, chances are good that you can start traveling again. While that may be good for your psyche, it’s not necessarily good for your wallet.

If you don’t want to give your credit cards too much exercise while you’re making up for lost time, you might want to check out these tips from financial expert Dave Ramsey to help you save on travel expenses.

1. Consider baggage fees when choosing your airline

Ramsey recommends bringing a carry-on instead of a checked bag when you can, as fees are generally lower for carry-ons you carry on board rather than checked bags. However, if you do need a suitcase, Ramsey suggests checking out airlines that make it cheaper to bring it — like Southwest, which actually allows two free checked bags.

Packing light and paying attention to baggage fees is great advice worth following, as paying to take on a lot of luggage can sometimes double the price of your flight (especially if you have discount tickets).

Another way to cut this cost (and one Ramsey wouldn’t recommend because of his stance against credit cards) is to sign up for a travel card that offers free checked bags as a perk.

2. Book a ticket at a strategic moment

Your time frame for booking air travel can actually determine the price. Ramsey suggests buying a ticket about three and a half months before departure, or three weeks.

If this works with your timing and you either know in advance where you want to go or you’re not afraid to book at the last minute, it’s worth taking this advice as well. There is no reason to pay more than necessary for a flight just because you are not aware of the optimal time to buy a ticket.

3. Travel on cheaper days

If you can be flexible about when you go on vacation, Ramsey says this can also help you save money. Flights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays usually cost less than flights on other days of the week.

This advice may be difficult to implement depending on the holiday policy at work and whether or not you have children in school. But if you don’t care when you leave, traveling on these days can help you cut costs and avoid major crowds.

4. Avoid major tourist attractions

Ramsey suggests that you’ll usually pay less to go on vacation if you choose areas off the beaten track rather than major tourist destinations.

This can be a great tip if you want to avoid the crowds and do something different. Of course, popular tourist destinations are usually popular for a reason, so don’t compromise your desire to visit your dream city or island paradise just to save a few bucks.

5. Request free upgrades

Finally, Ramsey’s last great tip is to simply ask for free upgrades. You can do this at the airport and in your hotel. If you make your request polite, you never know when someone might give you a better seat or a nicer room—especially if you’re celebrating a special occasion.

Each of these tips can go a long way to making your vacation less expensive, so try them out the next time you’re on your way.

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