frugal

Senior discounts for the 50-plus crowd

Vacations
Vacations © e X p o s e/Shutterstock.com

If you've always dreamed of exploring the spectacular scenery of America's national parks, now's your chance to do it for next to nothing.

The National Park Service makes a $10 senior pass available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are 62 or older. The pass is good for a lifetime of access to more than 2,000 federal recreational sites -- including the national parks -- plus discounts on such amenities as camping, swimming, boat launching and guided tours.

You can purchase a senior pass at participating federal recreation sites and offices or by mail. Mail orders include an additional $10 document processing fee.

Seniors can also score huge savings on ski vacations. "You can save up to 90 percent off lift-ticket rates or season passes, depending on the ski area and age requirement," Smidt says.

When shopping for lodging bargains, Smidt recommends you check the lowest rates on the travel sites before inquiring about senior discounts at individual hotels.

"I would say that 50 percent of the time, you're probably going to get a better discount with the senior discount, and the other (times), there is going to be some special out there where you will get a better rate," he says.

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