You don't have to be "old" to qualify for AARP travel discounts. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), the largest senior advocacy group in the United States, accepts members age 50 and older. One of the many benefits of belonging to AARP is the travel benefits the organization offers. Plus, membership is only $12.50/year and it automatically includes membership for your spouse or partner, even if he or she is under age 50. Among the travel benefits offered are:
Hotel and Car Rental Discounts
AARP travel discounts apply at 33 different hotel chains, representing thousands of properties, both in North America and overseas. Discounts vary by season, room category, and day of the week, but most are in the 10 to 15 percent range.
AARP also offers members discounts on car rentals from Hertz, Avis, National, Enterprise, and Budget Rent-a-Car that range from 5 to 30 percent.
Note that even if you have a valid driver's license, some countries and some car rental agencies have maximum age limits for renters, usually 65 to 75 years old. Ireland, particularly, places strict age limits on older renters.
For both hotel and car rental discounts, you may request the discount directly from the operator or make your reservation via AARP's Passport reservations system.
In addition to discounts on hotels and car rentals for individual travel, AARP sponsors a full schedule of group departures, in which AARP members travel together on tours and cruises and often realize a discount based on the group size. Such tours offer the benefit of traveling with other people of your same age and often include extras such as cocktail parties, group photos, and travel bags.
Discounts on Tour Packages
AARP offers discounts with a number of tour operators, on everything from ski packages to beach vacations. Among the current offerings are discounts with Brennan Vacations, Collette Vacations, Cosmos Tours, Globus, and World on Skis.
AARP members also qualify for discounts on admission at theme parks, such as Busch Gardens and Sea World.
In addition to the number of group cruises that AARP promotes each year, they offer discounts for individual travel on a number of cruise lines. Among these are Carnival Cruises, Holland America Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, and Princess Cruises.
AARP Travel Community
In addition to discounts, AARP hosts a travelers' forum where AARP member from around the country can share their travel experiences. No guidebook is as good as getting fellow travelers' first-hand impressions. AARP also features travel articles regularly in their monthly magazine and e-newsletter.
Where to Find AARP Travel Discounts
Information on AARP travel discounts may be found on the AARP website, along with information on health insurance, driving directions, and sightseeing, among other services. As with any discount, make sure to compare the AARP with the regular rate or other special discount. The AARP travel discount may not always be the lowest rate.