Whether you’re getting out in the world to cross those last few destinations off your bucket list or you’re hitting the road to catch up with grandkids and other family members, your golden years are a great time to travel. Many believe the days of travel and vacation discounts are over and whatever savings there are already exhausted or baked into the overall price. But there are still ways to save and plenty of unknown senior travel discounts available.
Here’s our look at some of the best discounts and special offers that seniors can tap into for thrifty travel and smart spending.
First things first: strongly consider joining the AARP. Anyone aged 50 and over is eligible, and with membership comes a wealth of discounts and special offers. Annual fees cost $16, but there are even discounts that might apply to your specific situation. With respect to travel, AARP discounts apply to virtually every facet of the industry and are offered from a variety of respected major brands.
Many airlines, including American and United Airlines, have various discounts for passengers who are 65 and up. In most cases, you need to call the airline for the senior discount to apply. If you’re looking for international flight discounts, then you should know that British Airways’ partnership with AARP means AARP members make substantial savings on bookings.
Most major car rental agencies offer discounts to drivers who are over 50 years old. Virtually all operators have discounts for AARP members, some as deep as 25% off.
Practically every large hotel group does some sort of senior discount. Ages requirements vary. Most discounts are around 10% and usually eligible only when booking directly or via AARP.
Boats, Trains, and Buses
It’s a similar story when seniors sail the seas, ride the rains, or leave the long haul driving to someone else. Most cruise lines allow mature passengers (55 and up usually) to save when they book. Often the discount is only available when asked about specifically. Rail passengers who are at least 62 years old get 15% off the lowest available fares with domestic services, and may see even greater savings when traveling by train overseas. Prefer taking the bus? Be sure to inquire about 5% (or more) off for seniors who take to the great American highway with certain bus companies.
Traveling in a city? Be sure to take advantage of discounts and even free rides on public transport. Rides are free for seniors in the Pennsylvanian cities of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Check with each municipality for what’s on offer for you there.
Whatever you’re booking or buying, it’s usually worth asking if there’s a discount or special offer for seniors. For example, did you know the National Parks Service has a Senior Lifetime Pass available for $10 that gives visitors aged 62 and over access to more than 2,000 recreation site managed by five federal agencies? And even if there’s nothing specific for you, you may learn about another way to save money or receive some sort of perk you wouldn’t have known about otherwise. Such a strategy can be a good way to determine which brands and businesses value seniors as customers the most and thus are more apt to cater to you and your interests.
Are you a senior who loves to travel? How do you get the most out of your money when planning trips and while traveling?