They absolutely love us. The “they” is almost anyone with a product or service to sell. The “us” is the geezer generation, and we’re growing by leaps and bounds. As we move into those golden years and are bestowed with the title of “Senior Citizen”, we’re being showered with discounts, and the age for eligibility keeps dropping. The reasons vary, but by and large we have more leisure time, more discretionary income, we trundle out adult kids and grandkids who pay full freight, and we often travel in packs. Here are some of the top price breaks. And believe me, we’ve earned them.
There is not much better in the way of a rock bottom price for seniors than free. For those of us still in physical condition to spend a day on a pair of skis at the age of 70, the lift tickets are free. A day on the mountain costs zip at 3 nearby ski resorts. There was a time that virtually every ski area in the country offered free sliding to the over 70 crowd. But the crowd kept getting bigger and now most resorts just deeply discount tags for anyone 65 and older. The three that still offer a free ride are nearby Bear Creek Mountain Resort, Jack Frost Mountain in the Poconos and sister resort Big Boulder.
Skiing should continue deep into March.
NATIONAL PARKS AND RECREATION AREAS
Locations in all 50 states
What a deal! Not only will the federal government start sending us Social Security checks when coming of age and bankrolling health care, but it also picks up our tab to enjoy the bountiful resources of America’s open spaces, parks, forests and recreation areas. For a one-time $10 fee, any U.S. citizen 62 or older can buy a lifetime “Senior Pass” that allows free access to the park and recreation areas of 5 government agencies, including the national park service where entrance and usage fees might be charged. They can be used at government protected areas in all 50 states. The wildly popular pass also provides discounts for amenity fees such as campgrounds and boat launching ramps. For listing of locations, tours and amenities, visit: http://www.recreation.gov/
Various routes and locations
Getting around is the key to a devil-may-care senior life style, and no end of transportation agencies and services are greasing the wheels of mobility. Closest to home, both SEPTA and New Jersey Transit offer senior discounts. SEPTA’s are exceptional. Anyone 65 and older rides absolutely free on buses, subways and trolleys. The fare on the regional rail lines is a single dollar each way. New Jersey transit drops the regular one-way fare by half or more for riders over 62. If you want to ride from Metro North stations the age bumps up to 65. Getting to New York from Trenton becomes very affordable. While AMTRAK fares are normally stratospheric, seniors 62 and up can hack 15% off the rail lines lowest fares. Check them out at:
If your leisure time travels take you overseas, the discounts can be substantial and Europeans peg the senior age at 60. British National railways for instance offer a third off travel through most of the United Kingdom. Look it all up before you go at: http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/site_help/search.html?query=senior+fares&x=31&y=11
On the continent most rail services offer senior discounts to the 60+ crowd. In Italy for instance, reductions of 25% are available for rail travel if you buy a “Carta D’Argento pass. http://www.trenitalia.com/cms/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=ad1ce14114bc9110VgnVCM10000080a3e90aRCRD .
Many passes include International options to travel from country to country within the European Union. But before buying, check into the popular Eurail Passes which offer a variety of options for single or multiple countries and for varying periods of time, depending on the length of your visit. Some passes may provide lower costs than senior discounts. Explore Eurail at: http://www.eurail.com/home
Local and nationwide
Of course, all that traveling is tiring and when the end of a fun-filled day arrives and it’s time to pack it in, senior hotel discounts can make you sleep a lot easier. Most hotel chains and many independents offer rate breaks. Here are some examples: If you’re 62 Holiday Inns offer varying discounts, Marriott advertises 15% and Hyatt promotes discounts up to 50%. Ramada and Best Western drop the qualifying age to 55 and offer varying discount rates. Many senior hotel rates are about what you also earn with membership in AARP and AAA. When making reservations always ask if there are other senior rates or privileges including early check in and late check out or room upgrades.
Senior status buys a lot more for the money whether it’s a night on the town in Philadelphia or ambling along the canals of Amsterdam.
Reported by Jay Lloyd