Are AARP Senior Travel Discounts Available on All Airlines?
Retirement is the perfect time for traveling the world and taking in all of the experiences you may have missed during a lifetime of full-time work. Just because you now have the time and the money, however, doesn't mean you shouldn't still be on the lookout for potential savings, especially on long-distance airfare. While the practice of offering seniors a discount rate for flights has declined over the years, some great deals are still offered for AARP members, and the association can be a great help in locating them.
Individual Airlines Still Offer Discount Fares
An effective first step in finding senior travel discounts is simply to ask the carrier at the time of booking. Though some airlines have stopped offering discounts for senior travel, most still offer special discounts for AARP members. Asking a customer service rep over the phone, or even browsing the company's website, can turn up a discount that can save hundreds of dollars on international travel.
Travel Agents and Booking Sites Offer Packages
If the prospect of cold calling one airline after another during your trip planning seems like too much trouble, especially with all of the other work you have to get done before the trip, you can save a lot of time by searching travel websites for discount packages or by identifying yourself as an AARP member to your travel agent. Travel agents are professional trip planners, and staying up to speed on all of the options available for your vacation is part of the job. Going through an agent also has the advantage that you're likely to earn discounts on rental cars and hotel rooms as part of a single travel package. Taken together, these discounts may save you more in expenses than the agency takes as its fee.
Senior Groups Often Negotiate Low Rates
Many seniors find it useful to join the AARP. In many ways, going through the AARP offers the best of all possible worlds when you're planning a trip. The AARP partners with Expedia to offer steep discounts on flights and lodging, thus combining the research capabilities of Expedia with the group buying power of the AARP to secure much larger discounts than any individual traveler could command. AARP members are also able to claim their discounts simply by entering their membership numbers, which saves time and effort on the verification process some airlines require before issuing certain types of discounts.
Discount airfare for seniors is still an option, despite changes in the way the industry operates. Individual airlines sometimes offer reduced rates for seniors, and professional travel agents often know just where to find some of the best savings available. Membership in the AARP may be your best option for easily — and cheaply — taking that trip you've spent a lifetime planning.