Unlocking Savings: Discover Travel Discounts for Your 50+ Trips

50 Plus Hub Research Team

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Traveling the world is often atop bucket lists for people over 50. With more free time after retirement, you finally have the opportunity to see the places you’ve always dreamed about. But with the rising costs of airfare, hotels, dining and entertainment, travel can put a strain on your budget.

The good news? There are abundant money-saving discounts and deals available specifically for travelers aged 50 and over. With some savvy trip planning and creative thinking, you can cut costs and still experience the adventures of a lifetime even on a fixed income.

This comprehensive guide uncovers the best travel discounts and budget tips tailored to the 50+ crowd. Follow these suggestions to keep more cash in your wallet without sacrificing comfort, fun or making memories.

Transportation Discounts

Big savings on flights, rail passes, car rentals and more:

Senior Airfare Discounts

Many major airlines offer discounted fares to passengers 65+. American, United, Delta and Southwest all provide 10% off. Sign up for airline email lists to receive alerts on sales and codes. Booking sites like Orbitz and Expedia also list senior fares. Midweek travel tends to offer lower rates.

Amtrak Senior Discounts

Train travelers aged 62+ get 15% off the lowest available rail fare on most Amtrak lines. Discounts apply to tickets bought online, by phone or at a station.

AARP Member Car Rental Discounts

AARP members over 50 can save up to 30% off base rates from budget to luxury car companies like Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, Payless, and Thrifty. Provide your AARP card when booking online or at pick-up. Joining AARP only costs $16 annually.

Senior National Park Pass

The $80 lifetime America the Beautiful senior pass for ages 62+ offers unlimited free entry to over 2,000 national parks and recreation sites. It can pay for itself quickly if you visit national parks often.

Local Public Transit Discounts

Many local bus and metro systems offer reduced senior fares, usually from ages 65-74. For instance, NYC’s MTA gives a 50% discount, San Francisco MUNI deducts 62.5% for ages 65-67. Check your local transit website.

Lodging Savings

Stretch your budget staying at these wallet-friendly accommodations:

AARP Hotel Discounts

Several major hotel brands like Best Western, Choice Hotels, Hilton, IHG, Marriott and Wyndham offer discounts from 5-15% for AARP members. You must book directly through the hotel site and show your AARP card upon check-in.

Senior Long-Stay Hotel Rates

Many hotels offer senior rate discounts for extended stays of 5 nights or longer. The longer you stay, the lower the nightly rate. Marriott offers up to 20% off while Hilton provides 5-15% discounts. Inquire when booking.

Bed & Breakfast Discounts

Many B&Bs offer lower rates for older travelers, especially on weekdays and in the off-season. Mention you are a senior when booking – discounts typically range from 10-15%. B&B associations like Select Registry also provide member deals.

Campground Discounts

Look for senior discounts at RV parks, campgrounds and National Park Service campsites, generally starting between ages 55 to 62. Examples include up to 15% off at KOA or 50% off at California State Parks.

Vacation Rentals

Ask owners of vacation home rentals about potential senior discounts – many accommodate older renters with a 5-10% reduced rate, particularly for last-minute bookings.

Food Money Savers

Dining out doesn’t have to sabotage your budget. Take advantage of these dining discounts:

Senior Restaurant Discounts

Many restaurants offer senior discounts, usually starting between ages 55 to 65. Percentages range from 10-25% off your total bill. National chains like Applebee’s, Arby’s, Bob Evans, and IHOP have senior menus, but local eateries often provide discounts too.

Grocery Store Savings

Many grocery stores offer senior discount days where those over 60 get 5-10% off regular prices. For example, Fred Meyer, Fry’s Food Stores, New Seasons Market, and Safeway designate Tuesdays and Wednesdays as Senior Savings days. Sign up for rewards programs and email lists to receive relevant coupons and discounts. Price match with grocery apps to obtain the lowest prices.

AAA Dining Discounts

AAA members can take advantage of discounts at thousands of hotels and restaurants nationwide. Show your AAA card to save up to 10% off meals and room rates. Discounts vary by location.

Early Bird Specials

Take advantage of early bird reduced-price meals offered at many diners and family restaurants starting around 3 to 5 p.m. These allow you to eat out affordably and avoid busier dining hours.

Senior Cooking Classes

Many grocery stores, community centers and independent cooking schools offer discounted cooking class rates for older adults to learn culinary skills and tips for preparing economical meals at home.

Attraction Entry Deals

Access parks, tours, museums and theaters on the cheap:

Senior National Park Annual Pass

For just $20, seniors over 62 get unlimited access to over 2,000 federal recreation sites. The pass is valid for 12 months from issuance and pays for itself quickly.

Senior Museum Discounts

Thousands of museums nationwide offer senior discounted entry or memberships. For example, the Smithsonian Institute provides free entry for 65+, half-priced tickets start at 60. Museums also designate senior discount days.

Historic Sites

Historical places like Colonial Williamsburg and Mount Vernon offer reduced rates for older visitors. For example, Colonial Williamsburg tickets are just $18 for seniors over 65 compared to $44.50 for adults.

Senior Theater, Concert and Sporting Event Tickets

Theaters, concert venues, sports teams often provide senior ticket discounts. Sign up for AARP or Groupon discounts. Ask the box office directly about reduced rates for seniors. Matinee show tickets tend to cost less.

Tour Company Discounts

Many tour companies and online resellers like Viator offer 5-10% discounts on tours, excursions and sightseeing passes for travelers 65 and over. Look for senior prices when comparing tour options.

Additional Ways to Save

Apply these strategies to trim costs across your travel spending:

  • Avoid excess baggage fees – pack light carry-on only
  • Book trips during shoulder seasons for lower rates
  • Take advantage of hotel and rental car loyalty programs
  • Choose cheaper destinations and avoid expensive hotspots
  • Use an AARP membership card for every possible discount
  • Check out deals sites like Groupon and Travel Zoo for local discounts
  • Enroll in travel price monitoring services for airfare/hotel deals
  • Purchase an Entertainment book for local discounts
  • Travel with a companion to split costs
  • Sign up for airline mailing lists – they often send senior promo codes and sale alerts
  • Book mid-week flights, which are typically cheaper than weekends
  • Fly budget airlines like Southwest for lower fares
  • Consider repositioning cruises that move ships between regions
  • Share rides with other travelers through UberPOOL or Lyft Shared
  • Use public transportation or walk to avoid taxi/rental car costs
  • Research if your insurance or memberships offer travel discounts
  • Buy travel insurance through AARP or other providers catering to 50+
  • Avoid expensive travel agent fees by planning yourself
  • Book tours directly rather than through a cruise line or agency
  • Stay in home swaps or homestay networks for free housing
  • Try house sitting to save on accommodation costs
  • Take overnight buses or trains instead of paying for hotels
  • Stay outside expensive downtowns and use public transit
  • Buy groceries and make your own meals when possible
  • Take advantage of hotel breakfast, happy hours, receptions
  • Use discounted travel sites like Last Minute Travel Club
  • Try off-season destinations to save on costs
  • Volunteer abroad in exchange for free room and board
  • Book mid-week performances for lower-priced tickets
  • Join a senior center or club membership for travel perks
  • Always ask about senior rates, even if not advertised

Finding Ongoing Senior Discounts

Use these resources to identify deals before your trip:

  • Visit AARP Travel Center online for exclusive member pricing
  • Check SeniorDiscounts.com directory for travel and local discounts
  • Search “senior discount” and your destination
  • Ask friends, relatives and colleagues over 50 for tips
  • Call ahead to verify discounts – don’t assume all places offer them

With some simple research and flexible trip planning, travelers over 50 can make the most of the many budget-friendly discounts available to seniors. Experience the adventures you’ve dreamt about while making your retirement dollars stretch further. The treasures you’ll take home will be memories that far outlast any trip’s monetary costs.

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