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Not all measures of age are equal. Here are some benefits to look for and pitfalls to avoid, as well as tips on how to stretch your budget.

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For many older Americans, travel is a priority coming out of the pandemic. A late 2021 survey by AARP, the nonprofit organization representing Americans 50 and older, found that members planned to take an average of four trips in 2022, just below pre-pandemic figures, and more spend more, with the average travel budget at nearly $8,400, up from about $8,400. $6,500 in 2019.

To stretch those budgets, travelers age 50 and older can join AARP and access many travel discounts, including discounts on car rentals, hotels and tours.

Still, senior travel status isn’t the universal gateway to discounts that are standard on purchases like museum admission or movie tickets. But there are age-related advantages to be exploited and pitfalls to be avoided, as follows.

Maximize your flexibility

If you have the time and resources to travel, lean into your strength – flexibility – to get the best deals. On the same subject : Travel insurance for a trip to Austria. Most retirees or semi-retirees can make their own schedules and thus avoid high season traps generated by winter school holidays and spring breaks (unless you want to travel with children or grandchildren).

Traveling in low and shoulder seasons can generate huge savings. Flights this summer, for example, averaged $380 for a roundtrip ticket, according to the booking app Hopper. In the fall, the equivalent average is $238.

Depending on occupancy, hotels often charge very different rates between busy and quiet times. The availability calendar at the Dorr hotel in Sister Bay in Door County, Wis., recently had rooms at about $117 a night in November compared to some peak fall foliage nights in October at more than $600 . Between November and the end of March, rooms at the Wickaninnish Inn on Vancouver Island start at 540 Canadian dollars (about $410) compared to 860 Canadian dollars ($653) during the summer.

It will be cheaper to ski almost any week except Presidents Day week, when vacationing families flood the slopes and the prices for everything from airfare to hotel jumps.

If you can wait longer, you may be better off financially. For example, you’ll be able to reduce your cost per night on Airbnb by amortizing a $200 cleaning fee, say, on a $100 per night reservation for a few extra dollars per day for seven or 14-. a day stay, compared to a weekend where the fee adds proportionally more to the final bill.

Longer periods also offer an opportunity to negotiate a rate. Suzan Haskins, senior editor at International Living, a publication focused on moving or retiring abroad, uses her long stays — often several weeks — as leverage to approach vacation home owners for a discount.

“I always message the owner, especially if I’m coming at a time that’s not high season,” Ms Haskins said. “I’ll look at Airbnb’s calendar and say, gosh, they have a lot of dates available.” Typically, she said, she gets about 10 percent off using the strategy.

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Look for senior discounts

While age-related discounts aren’t universal, they do exist in some activities, like skiing, where senior status can knock a few dollars off your access to the slopes. In some cases, the following are few: Steamboat Ski & Resort in Steamboat Springs, Colo. This may interest you : How to Get Better Travel Insurance for Your Cruise., pre-purchased daily lift tickets for adults are $177 in January and $167 for seniors 70+. Deer Valley in Park City, Utah, is more generous, listing tickets from $149 per day in January 2023 for those 65 and older, compared to younger adults at $199.

Among the season pass deals, Arapahoe Basin in Dillon, Colo., is selling its season pass for adults for $619, which drops to $379 for skiers and riders 70 and older. The website is a good source for more discounts.

If your travels include a national park, consider the National Park Service Senior Pass, offering lifetime admission to national parks and federal recreation sites for $80 to US citizens age 62 and older. By comparison, a regular annual pass costs $80.

Transport is a good place to look for discounts. Eurail passes often apply to students and offer train travel in 33 European countries. Travel with the pass starts at $189 for four days of travel per month for those aged 12 to 27. At $225, the senior pass offers a 10 percent discount off the full price for travelers 60 and over.

Stateside, Amtrak offers 65 and up to 10 percent off most Amtrak trains. On trains that cross the US-Canada border and operate jointly with VIA Rail Canada, the senior discount starts at age 60.

Airlines are much less transparent. United allows travelers to search for senior fares at 65 and over — using the advanced search feature — but discounts are rarely applied. There was no difference between adult fares and senior fares for some searches on domestic and international flights in November.

Southwest and American do not offer senior fares. Delta Air Lines makes senior discounts “available in select markets” according to its website. But you won’t find them at; you will have to call (fortunately, there is no charge for calling to book).

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Avoid offline fees

The exception is Delta fares. See the article : The Senate deal could prevent millions from losing health insurance. As the world of travel has become automated, and travel providers have found the reliable revenue streams that fares provide, booking fees for offline purchases have increased, especially among airlines.

If you want to book a flight with agents at Hawaiian Airlines or United Airlines, for example, that will cost an additional $25. Alaska charges $15 to speak with a reservation agent. Bookings by phone will set you back $35 at Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines.

Online purchases do not trigger ticket fees and most airlines offer free assistance on their apps or via chat platforms. But if you’re not comfortable booking and paying for an airline reservation online, you’ll likely pay more to fly. Airlines are forcing you to adapt to e-commerce, which also gives you the advantage of seeing carriers that compete on certain routes and finding the lowest fares using a search engine like Kayak.

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Evaluate travel insurance

Before the pandemic, older travelers were the biggest buyers of travel insurance. Since then, with airline delays, trip cancellations and the shift to Covid-19 protocols, travel insurance has attracted wider interest.

Older travelers may still want to protect against the vagaries of travel with travel insurance. But when it comes to using their medical insurance from home, travelers should review their current policies.

Medicare covers health care while traveling within the United States, including the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, but not outside the country. Medicare Supplement Insurance, known as Medigap, was designed to cover such a service gap and includes overseas health care.

Ari Parker, chief Medicare consultant and co-founder of Chapter, a free service that offers advice on Medicare plans, described a client who was traveling in Paris when he suffered a heart attack. Medigap covered 80 percent of his hospital bill of more than $30,000 after a $250 deductible, and he was able to fly back commercially to the United States after his release.

However, Medicare plans do not cover returning home by ambulance or air evacuation.

“Here, a person should consider travel insurance to provide protection in the event that they have to be repatriated and they know they need to come back to the US for treatment if something happens,” said the Mr. Parker.

Travel insurance is priced according to the traveller’s age, destination, trip cost and trip length. Prices vary significantly based on these variables and the coverage the plans offer, but typically average about four to 10 percent of trip costs, according to, an online marketplace for travel insurance.

Pay in foreign currencies

To get the best exchange rate when using a credit card to pay for something overseas, always choose the “pay in local currency” option when offered. This ensures that you get an exchange rate from a bank, which is as close to the official currency exchange rate as possible, compared to a merchant who is not using the best rate.

Recently in Costa Rica, where the United States dollar and the Costa Rican colonies are widely accepted, Ms. Haskins of International Living found a bill in a restaurant that showed both currencies. “And the conversion from colonies, I saw that it should have been $23, but it was $29,” she said. “He would add a dollar on every meal.”

Although the death of cash has been much discussed, in many foreign destinations cash is still king and allows merchants to pay the fee they have to pay to credit card companies on every transaction. If you plan to use cash, take metered withdrawals from local A.T.M.s to avoid many transaction fees.

Become a digital nomad

There is no age limit to become a digital nomad and the 50+ travelers who are still working could consider getting a digital nomad visa to a foreign country for an extended stay. A recent AARP survey found that nearly half of all older adults are either already retired or planning to work.

Digital nomadic visas typically require applicants to show bank statements and steady income, but can be cheaper than retirement visas, according to International Living.

In Costa Rica, the digital nomadic visa extends the 90-day tourist visa to a year, with the option to renew for another year and requires applicants to demonstrate an income of at least $3,000 per month ($100 application fee). Greece requires applicants to prove that they have a monthly salary of at least 3,500 euros (about $3,500) from employers outside Greece (fees cost about $225).

Tourist visas, which are usually free and last up to 90 days, are often enough for most travelers. But for those hoping for life abroad, the nomad option provides a trial.

“If you’re not sure you want to live there, becoming a digital nomad might be the way to go,” Ms Haskins said.

Elaine Glusac writes the Frugal Traveler column. Follow her on Instagram @eglusac

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