Many people face turning 50 with trepidation, but instead of looking at aging as growing older, men and women can embrace turning 50 and the growing freedom that typically accompanies reaching this milestone, such as increased travel benefits.
Nielsen reports that, over the next five years, around 80 million Americans will fit into the 50-plus age bracket. Many of these people will have extra time to devote to leisure activities. AARP, the leading nonprofit organization for aging adults, says that of the people with AARP memberships, nearly two-thirds take advantage of travel discounts and other benefits in a typical year. The following are some such travel perks.
■ Discounts. The minimum age to qualify for “senior” discounts varies among companies and for different products and services, so it's up to travelers to see what is available to them. Not all companies advertise their senior discounts, so read reviews in travel forums or on travel websites to find out which brands or places offer the best deals.
■ More discretionary time. Even if retirement is further down the road, older adults may have accrued more vacation time than their younger colleagues. That time can be translated into longer or more frequent trips.
■ Age-based memberships. Reaching age 50 or 60 may entitle people to join groups that negotiate deals for their members. For example, the minimum membership age for AARP is 50, meaning travelers who join AARP can enjoy discounts roughly five years before they're eligible for senior discounts offered by other organizations.
■ Opportunities for off-season travel. When not constrained by school schedules, men and women over 50 can travel during times of the year when prices are most affordable. This means savings and smaller crowds. This flexibility also can translate into airline discounts, as men and women over 50 with no time constraints can choose to be standby passengers in exchange for discounted or free tickets.