The holidays and how we celebrate them are different for everyone. Many people 50+ are happily decorating trees, baking pies, and wrapping presents for their grandchildren. Others use the winter months for holiday travel. I’m a big fan of winter vacations because I love to experience holiday traditions, markets, and festivals outside my hometown. If you decide to travel during the winter season, making smart decisions will maximize your trip experience.
AARP has partnered with a list of companies its members can use for holiday travel. Below are a few of my favorites.
Going on a holiday road trip? Save wear and tear on your car by renting one
Renting a car on a road trip, especially if you own an older car, is a good idea because there will be less chance of it breaking down. Two companies that AARP Members may want to choose are Budget-Rent-a-Car and Avis. And, remember, wintertime means you should be extra careful driving.
Budget-Rent-a-Car stands out because of its nationwide locations and is a top-rated company. If you’re at an airport, you can bet there will be a Budget-Rent-a-Car kiosk. AARP members receive exclusive rental car benefits and can save 10-25% on all vehicles (domestic and international) Your car rental includes a free upgrade for a Garmin GPS at $6.99/day and unlimited mileage on most rentals.
Avis is another top-rated car rental company. AARP members receive $10 off $100+. Rentals include a free upgrade to a Garmin GPS at $6.99/day and unlimited mileage for most rentals. Avis car rental locations can be found throughout the U.S. and all over the world. Loyal customers of Avis love their Rapid Return system because it takes less than a minute. Another plus is their Avis” Tripit Service. You can organize your trip all in one place using the Tripit app.
Zipcar is a car-sharing service and is an alternative if you prefer to drive rather than take a cab. It’s perfect for short jaunts in town. You can rent a Zipcar for a quick one-hour trip or as long as 7 hours.
We have a Zipcar sitting at our apartment complex and it’s so easy to use the service. The first thing you do is join Zipcar either for sporatic driving or on a monthly basis. (they have several plans depending on your needs) Once you reserve your car, you will be given a location to pick it up. Unlock the car using a Zipcard and the keys will be inside. When you’re done, return it to its parking place and lock it using the Zipcar mobile app. You can also use the app or text message to extend your time.
If you don’t own a car, and only need to drive occasionally, you’ll save bigtime using Zipcar because you can drive it on demand without worrying about a car payment, insurance, gas, license, taxes, maintenance, or parking. AARP members save 43% off on membership for Zipcar.
Sleep in comfort at an affordable or luxurious hotel
If you’re on a long road trip during the holidays you need a reliable place to sleep when you get tired. AARP Members can choose from a list of hotels that have multiple locations all over the U.S. and around the world. Here are some of my favorites for holiday travel lodging that you can find in almost any town or city.
Best Western Hotels – AARP members receive 10% off and earn 10% bonus points. I’ve stayed at many Best Western Hotels through the years and have always found them to be clean and comfy.
Choice Hotels – AARP members receive up to 10% off the best available rates. Hotels include Comfort Inn, Roadway, Clarion, Quality Inns and more.
Hilton– AARP members receive 5% off their room. Their brands include Waldorf Astoria, Conrad, Canopy, Curio, Doubletree, Tapestry, Embassy Suites, Hilton Garden, Hampton, Homewood Suites, Home2 Suites, Hilton Grand Vacations, and Tru.
Wyndham – AARP members receive 10% off the best available room rate. Their brands include La Quinta, Days Inn, Super 8, Trademark, Dolce, Ramada, Baymont, Tryp, Howard Johnson, Travelodge, Microtel, Hawthorn, Wingate, AmericInn, Wyndham Grand, Wyndham Garden, Dazzler, and Esplendor.
Radisson – Includes Radisson Red, and Radisson Blu – Members save 10% off the best available rate. Plus, when you join Radisson Rewards, you can earn Gold Elite status in as little as four stays.
If you’re driving where the wind takes you rather than making reservations in advance, I suggest you keep a list of AARP member hotels in your car for easy reference. That way, you’ll always be able to find a reliable place to stay.
Do you enjoy holiday travel and where do you like to go? Please leave a comment below.