Traveling as a Senior and Finding Travel Discounts

by Calyn Ehid
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Even though most people would agree that aging has its share of drawbacks, it also has a positive side: you have more leisure time, and therefore more time to plan fun and interesting vacations. Another benefit of traveling as you get older is the availability of senior discounts. The next time you are booking a vacation, you should research ways to obtain savings of this kind. Most big box stores, entertainment venues, transportation companies, restaurants, hotels and resorts provide age-related discounts.

U.S. News & World Report states that retired baby boomers are responsible for approximately 70 percent of all disposable income in the United States. In addition, older individuals usually have more time to explore the world. This is why many retailers offer people in this demographic significant savings on vacation related services and why you should search for such discounts before finalizing your travel plans.

Traveling as a Senior and Finding Travel Discounts

In decades past, a person typically had to be over the age of 62 to take advantage of a senior citizens discount. However, because of the statistics mentioned above, many travel service providers have lowered this age. Therefore, if you are over 55, it is definitely in your best interest to shop around for senior discounts on vacation packages.

There is a broad range of websites and agencies where outstanding deals on rental cars, hotels and airfare can be found. Some sites even combine multiple search engines to help you compare different packages and find the best deal for what you have in mind. Regardless of the venue you choose, you are practically guaranteed to save money when you shop around for senior discounts.

Traveling During Retirement

Traveling during retirement is often more enjoyable than traveling when you were younger. This is because you no longer have to plan your trip around your work schedule or worry about time constraints and obligations that may have interfered with your plans in the past. For this reason, traveling during retirement is a rich and fulfilling activity that you should not have to forgo due to budget restraints or other financial commitments.

Fortunately, even if you do not have unlimited disposable income, you can still travel after retirement by taking advantage of senior discounts. Begin by thinking about geographical locations in which you have always been interested, but did not have the time or money to visit. For example, you may have always wanted to take a cruise, but since most voyages of this type are costly and time-consuming, it may not have been an option prior to retirement.

Similarly, seeing foreign countries or exotic places may have been a lifelong desire, but not one that was practical during your working years. Ultimately, whether you are planning to travel within the United States or to a different part of the world, the following discounts will help whittle down the price of your vacation.

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Deals On Airfare

Although senior airfare discounts are not as common as they were in decades past, they are still offered by certain airlines. Therefore, if you are over 55 years of age, you should search for discounted flights. The most common senior discount is 10 percent off the cost of a full fare. Age eligibility for such discounts vary significantly from one airline to the next, but most discounts of this kind begin anywhere from 55-65 years of age. There are additional advantages to booking airfare with a senior discount. For example, such fares are often less restrictive than other discounted tickets, and are sometimes refundable if you must change or cancel your flight.

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Deals On Hotels

Senior citizen discounts have certainly not diminished in the hotel industry. Virtually every major hotel chain in the United States provides a discount of this type. However, they typically do not advertise these price reductions. Therefore, you should always ask when making vacation arrangements, even if you do not think a particular hotel offers a discount.

Another great tip when shopping for the best senior hotel rate is to compare the establishment’s senior discount with other price reductions for which you may be eligible, such as one through AARP or CAA. Although most hotels do not allow discounts to be combined, you should inquire about all of them and determine which one will save you the most money.

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Planning A Fun Itinerary

Part of the enjoyment of planning a trip is to pinpoint exactly what you want with regard to your vacation destination. The following should be kept in mind when completing this task:

  • Decide on a destination to which you have always wanted to travel. Base this choice on your desires and the desires of your traveling companions, not on the opinions of others.
  • Consider which type of establishment you prefer, such as a hotel, resort or bed-and-breakfast. This will help you narrow down your accommodation choices.
  • Give thought to the types of activities and attractions in which you like to participate and consider an all-inclusive package if you are a planning a themed vacation.
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Visiting Somewhere New

If you are like most people, you have likely taken leisure trips throughout your life, even prior to retirement. However, there may be a destination that was financially out of reach or that time constraints prevented you from visiting. One of the best parts about traveling after retirement is the fact that you can choose virtually any destination you desire. Consider traveling to an exotic location or historical place in which you have always been interested.

If you are traveling overseas and want to visit multiple countries, you should search for packages that include tours of interesting landmarks along the way. Careful planning in advance when visiting somewhere new is a great way to get the most out of your vacation.

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Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone

Travel means something different to everyone, but visits to new and interesting places virtually always broaden a person’s horizons. If you are stuck in a vacation rut, you can use the following tips to break out of it for good:

  • Learn a new language and plan visits to countries in which that language is spoken
  • Take a solo trip
  • Interact with locals when traveling
  • Forgo a planned itinerary and simply go where your heart leads
  • Challenge yourself with new vacation activities in which you have never yet participated
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Finding Other Seniors

Consider visiting websites that specialize in connecting individuals with others who have similar vacation interests. Such websites are often referred to as “travel buddy sites,” and some are dedicated to helping people find other seniors through the creation of a travel profile. Sites of this kind allow you to find an adventure pal by searching criteria such as travel dates, destinations, gender and age.

In addition, there are senior websites where you can search for unconventional vacation rentals, such as renting a room in someone’s home or apartment. Such rentals are ideal if you want to meet other seniors and essentially have a “host family” to introduce you to others in your age group during your visit.