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Traveling in Retirement on a Budget

How to Make the Most of Senior Discounts for US Travelers

The need to travel never really goes away– the excitement of exploring new places and learning about new cultures is ingrained in us from a young age. However, as we get older, the urge to travel may decrease for many reasons, like convenience, affordability or lack of incentives. But, in old age, you can still enjoy yourself as much as always when traveling, thanks to the multiple senior discounts, schemes and programs from numerous airlines, transportation companies and accommodations.

Traveling in Retirement

Hitting the Road: Senior Travel Savings in the USA

Let’s look at some of the best ways to ensure you are living your retirement years to the fullest, and how to make the most of any senior discounts. Here are some tips on how best to maximize the rewards available to you and how to make sure you never go over budget:

Join Loyalty Programs: Loyalty programs can be offered by numerous hotels or airlines, that offer special rewards or benefits to members or frequent flyers. The more you travel, the more you can take advantage of these rewards and enjoy cheaper prices in the long run.

Book in Advance: This is often considered the golden rule of booking anything, as booking in advance is a foolproof way of ensuring prices stay low and availability and convenience remain high. Traveling during peak tourist seasons can cause hotel prices to increase, so booking around 2-3 months in advance is usually recommended.

Travel at Quieter Times of Year: When tourist season gets underway, prices can rise dramatically to accommodate the large crowds. Hotels can sell out or raise their rates rapidly, so staying organized and informed can help you in securing your dream hotel.

Keep your ID in Hand: Be prepared to be able to prove your age and your eligibility for any loyalty programs or discounts available. Senior discounts usually have a minimum age requirement of 60-65, but this can vary depending on the company and type of discount available.

Types of Discounts Available

Most major airline, hotel and transport companies offer senior discounts of varying rates, and with certain eligibility requirements. Let’s take a look at some of these here:

AARP Discounts

AARP stands for American Association of Retired Persons and enables those who are considered senior citizens to sign up for a membership that gives them access to hundreds of discounts and deals on things like hotels, attractions, car hire, transport and restaurants, plus more. AARP discount is usually available for those aged 50 and above.

AAA Discounts

AAA members can be any age (above the age of 18) and have access to numerous discounts, such as automotive, travel, dining, entertainment and accommodation, among many others. These rates and discounts usually change regularly, so ensure you’re up to date with deals as and when they become available. Combining AAA and AARP rewards can help you save even more on travel, accommodation and other rewards.

Transport Discounts

Car Rental

Certain car rental companies, such as Avis, Budget and Zipcar offer AARP discounts that’ll help you save money on car rental. For those over 50, Avis and Budget offer 30% off plus other benefits, Hertz offers a 20% discount and with Thrifty, you can save 5% on mileage. Sixt also offers a 5% discount to those aged 50 and above.

Car Rental


You’ll be pleased to know that America’s main airlines American Airlines, Delta, and United all offer senior discounts of varying amounts, which include:

AA: Around 10-20% off on full and valid ticket prices.

United: Discounts for certain flights (double check eligibility when booking). Accessible facilities and allowances, e.g. service dogs, wheelchairs, oxygen masks and facilities for those with hard of hearing or vision loss.

Delta: Discounts for certain flights and selected routes. This can be double-checked at the airport.

Train Discounts

Companies like Amtrak offer a 10% discount on travel for passengers aged 65 and over. For cross-border travel, such as traveling into Canada, passengers aged 60 and above can receive a 10% discount for services offered by Amtrak and VIA Rail Canada. Seniors can also expect special on-board accommodations and access to certain facilities if required.

Accommodation Discounts

Hotel Discounts/Offers

Certain chains or brands of hotels offer senior discounts, such as Best Western, Marriott, Hilton, Wyndham Hotels and LaQuinta. Keep in mind that not all hotels within a chain offer discounts. You’ll also need to ensure you show proof of age to qualify for these discounts, but let’s take a look at what you may be entitled to:

Best Western: Those aged 55+ can save on room rates and receive free breakfast, only at certain locations. *Subject to availability

Marriott: Discounts are available for those aged 62 and above. ID will be required to receive this discount, and discounts may only be available at participating locations.

Hilton: For guests aged 65 and over, you can receive 7% off Hilton’s Best Available Rate (17% off if you are an AARP member). For AARP members, you can receive parking included, special discounts for hotel facilities, longer stays and you can save up to 40% when booking your stay early. Special discounts are also available for AAA members. *Only available at select locations/hotels.

Wyndham Hotel & Resorts: For select Days Inn locations, guests aged 60 and above can receive discounts and offers on certain services and facilities. AARP members can save up to 10% on Wyndham’s Best Available Rate. AAA members can also save up to 15% on their stay.

Cambria Suites: 10% discount for AARP members. *Participating locations only.

Cruise Discounts

Cruise Discounts

Certain cruise liner companies offer special prices and discounts for senior citizens.

Royal Caribbean Cruises: Discounts and special rates for passengers aged 55 and over.

Norwegian Cruise Lines: Discounts and special rates for passengers aged 55 and over.

Carnival Cruises: Discounts and special rates for passengers aged 55 and over.

AARP members: $100 credit to spend onboard select cruises *dependent on the cruise line and route.

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