Aging has its share of drawbacks, like more aches and pains, new wrinkles and occasional forgetfulness. However, getting older has its upsides, too. You have more time for trips, and you are eligible to use senior travel discounts.
Many price reductions start when you turn 50, so you don’t even need to be retired to take advantage of them. Others kick in when you reach 55, 60, 62 or 65 years of age. Bankrate asked a few experts about how to find the best deals and when to draw on senior travel discounts.
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Always ask if there’s a senior discount, and then ask if it’s the best available rate, says Donna Hull, publisher of the blog “My Itchy Travel Feet: The Baby Boomer’s Guide to Travel.”
Many businesses don’t advertise any of their discounts, senior or otherwise, because they want you to pay full price. When you’re face to face with a desk clerk, restaurant server or cashier, these people don’t want to risk guessing your age.
“Every host wants to flatter you and doesn’t want to ask you if you’re a senior, so it’s up to you to ask,” says Sean Graw, outreach coordinator at Brad’s Deals in Chicago.
“It’s smart to check the senior travel discount against other deals,” Hull says. “Besides checking on social media sites, including Groupon and LivingSocial, inquire directly.”
For example, call the hotel you’re trying to book and ask about discounted rates, Hull says. Most of the time, you’ll come out much better than just booking online. Also, do your homework and research the hotel’s competitors. If you find a lower rate, ask your preferred hotel to match it.
Graw says the best travel deals give you a percentage off the regular price, so a discounted package trip might be cheaper than a senior price reduction that gives you 10 percent each off airfare, hotel and car rental.
With your smartphone, you can search for senior travel discounts for things such as hotels, attractions or flights, or you can find most of them in one place.
Apps like Sciddy, AARP Member Advantage and Senior Savings cater specifically to seniors, as does SeniorDiscounts.com. Brad’s Deals lists general price reductions and those specifically for the over-50 crowd.
“Generally speaking, the senior discounts on our site offer 10 to 20 percent off. For airfares and car rentals, even 10 percent can be significant,” says Graw of Brad’s Deals. “Plus, our site is constantly changing and updating, with at least 75 new deals posted every day.”