By Jim Craigie. Money magazine, September edition.
Travel helps senior citizens live longer. At least that’s what Dr David Lipschitz of the University of Arkansas told The Dallas Morning News, relayed to the national USA Today. The extremely useful US website independenttraveler.com took up the theory and added savings tips for senior travellers.
It’s certainly true that seniors make up a significant proportion of fit-looking Australian domestic and international travellers. A recent driving trip in north Queensland confirmed that legions of “grey nomads” are still crowding the roads and camp sites in their caravans and camper vans, far outnumbering European backpackers. Most of them keep up with the traffic these days, keeping jams to a minimum.
Of course the ongoing value of the Aussie dollar greatly increases options abroad, as busy seniors increasingly tell you. But they still can use all the help they can get. As independenttraveller.com underlines, never book anything without asking whether there’s a special rate for seniors. And compare discounts – while many hotels offer 5% to 10%, Hyatt discounts as much as 50% for travellers 62 or over.
The senior rate is not always the lowest so check “best available” too. Rates can be low during off seasons but make sure (particularly in England) that museums and stately homes won’t be closed.
Over-62s also get transport benefits. In the US they get a 15% discount on most Amtrak rail fares, and it’s a great way to travel the big country. Take the Empire Builder from Chicago to Seattle, stopping off at magnificent Glacier Park which stretches into Canada. Those 60 and over get 10% off on cross-border services with Amtrak and VIA Rail Canada, and VIA Rail within Canada. That’s just a taste.
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