Updated: May 29, 2020
1. Save on car rentals
Show your AARP card when you rent a car and get significant discounts. AARP members will save as much as 30 percent with Avis. That would get you $90 off a $300 rental.
2. Get Amtrak’s senior discount
Folks 65-plus can get a 10 percent discount on most Amtrak train travel. You could save $22 on a round trip ticket between New York and Chicago. Caveat: The senior discount can’t be combined with other discounts.
3. Skip rental car insurance
Most of the time you already have adequate coverage through your personal insurance. Check and save up to $40 a day.
4. Get an America the Beautiful Senior Pass
If you’re 62 or older, $20 a year will get you and a carload of people admission to more than 2,000 national parks and recreation sites. That’s a savings of $60 over a regular annual pass.
5. Check different travel dates
Shifting an arrival or departure date by a single day can save you a surprisingly large amount of cash. Flight search engines such as Matrix.itasoftware.com show lower-priced options. A recent round-trip ticket from New York to Los Angeles was $81 cheaper if you flew a day earlier.
6. Check airline consolidators
They buy tickets in bulk and sell them at a discount. A round trip flight from Boston to London was $419 through AirlineConsolidator.com versus $546 on Aer Lingus, saving $127.
7. Blind-book a hotel
Tell Hotwire.com the neighborhood, star rating and amenities you want and you’ll save up to 60 percent if you book before knowing the name of the hotel. That’s $120 saved on a $200 room.
8. Vacation in a dorm
Colleges overseas rent dorm rooms in the summer. In Perugia, Italy, a week at Casa Monteripido costs $260 versus $430 for the Primavera Mini Hotel. Save $170. Go to UniversityRooms.com.
9. Ski for cheap
Multi-mountain passes from websites such as EpicPass.com or MountainCollective.com can save you big. IkonPass.com charges an adult $699 for eight days of skiing at any of 26 destinations. That’s $175 less than eight tickets at the window.
10. Take a farming vacation
Learn about organic farming and enjoy a trip overseas by volunteering to work with World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms. A room and food are free. You could easily save $1,500 over a week at hotels and restaurants.
11. Drive, don’t fly
That is, if your family vacation is less than 500 miles away. Four tickets from Washington, D.C., to Cincinnati over a recent week cost about $315 each. Gas for driving would have been under $70. That would save you $1,190 — and you’d have your car and gear with you.