You don’t have to be old to qualify for senior discounts these days. For some, you only have to be 50 years old; others start for those 55 and older. If you’re of “a certain age” and you’re not asking for a senior discount, you’re leaving money on the table.
There are literally tens of thousands of senior travel discounts around the country. Here are ten of the best:
1. AARP hotel discounts
Many of the AARP so-called discounts are no better than you can get by belonging to other organizations, such as AAA. However, AARP’s hotel program is worth a second look. You only have to be 50 years old to join AARP, and membership is $25 per year. Hotel discounts include 20 percent off at Best Western Hotels, Days Inns, Knights Inns, Motel 6 and several other chains.
The nation’s largest bus company offers a 5 percent senior discount off of their already low fares on all routes for travelers age 62 and older.
3. America the Beautiful Senior Pass
This may be the best senior discount of all. For a one-time $10 fee, travelers age 62 and older qualify for free admission for all United States national parks and monuments for the rest of their life! What’s more: you can take up to three adults and an unlimited number of children in the same car, also for free. The pass also entitles holders to a 50 percent discount on park services, such as camping, swimming and boat launching.
4. Amtrak senior discounts
Amtrak offers discounts of 15 percent for riders age 62 and older. On their Downeaster, which connects Boston and Portland, Maine, the discount increases to 50 percent.
5. Road Scholars
The Road Scholar program features dozens of educational tours throughout the United States and abroad designed specifically for travelers over age 55. The trips are much more affordable than traditional tours and often feature accommodations in college dorms or other non-traditional spaces.
6. State-sponsored discounts
Some states offer discount cards to seniors that are accepted at retailers and service providers, including travel vendors, all over the state. For instance, Ohio sends a “Golden Buckeye” card to all residents when they turn 60. This card is accepted at more than 20,000 retailers throughout the state, including hotels, restaurants and campgrounds. Discounts range from 5 to 30 percent. It pays to ask if your state offers a similar discount program.
7. Cedar Fair amusement parks
Cedar Fair, the parent company of such popular amusement parks as Cedar Point in northern Ohio, Carowinds in North Carolina and Knott’s Berry Farm in California, offers dramatic discounts to guests age 62 and older. For example, Cedar Point admission for seniors is $29.99, a $15 savings over the regular adult admission.
8. AARP car rental discounts
9. Hyatt hotels
Hyatt offers a whopping 50 percent discount to those age 62 and older at most of their locations (some Hyatts are franchises and choose not to participate in the promotion). This discount is taken from the standard (non-discounted) rate, but can still offer a good savings, especially if you’re traveling during the holidays or other peak travel periods. The only restrictions are that you must make your reservations in advance (you can’t just walk up to the front desk), and you can only reserve one room per senior.
10. Tanger Outlets
If you like to hit the outlet stores when you travel (and who doesn’t), Tanger Outlets makes the deals a little sweeter by offering a free discount coupon book to AARP members, with discounts of up to 20 percent. Ask at the customer service desk for your booklet. Tanger manages 43 outlet malls in 26 U.S. states and Canada.