Live Talk Transcript: Senior discounts Writer Joan Heilman answered your questions on how to take advantage of your age Budget Travel Tuesday, Aug 10, 2004, 12:00 AM Budget Travel LLC, 2016


Live Talk Transcript: Senior discounts

Writer Joan Heilman answered your questions on how to take advantage of your age

Are you one of those people who hates to be called a Â"seniorÂ"? Well, snap out of it! There are plenty of bargains out there, especially when it comes to travel, that are yours simply because youÂ've lived long enough. It makes no sense to pass them up, especially when some of those special privileges are yours when youÂ've only turned 50. Others, of course, require that youÂ're somewhat more mature, 55, 62, or even 65, before you qualify.

So learn how to take advantage of your age. YouÂ're not only getting older, youÂ're getting cheaper. These days all kinds of companies are courting the gray-around-the-temples market and the huge spending power of the fastest-growing segment of the population. About a third of Americans are over 50 and 13 percent are over 65, most of us remarkably healthy and ready for action. Besides, as a group, we have more money than before and the time to spend it.

Joan Heilman is ready to answer your questions about senior discounts and special privileges from the airlines, hotels and motels, trains, buses and car rentals, both in this country and overseas. She can tell you about cheaper lodgings on the road, such as bed-and-breakfast clubs for 50+, intergenerational vacations, matchmakers and trips for mature singles, age-related breaks in department stores, pharmacies, and restaurants. And for sporty seniors: golf vacations, tennis camps, walking tours, bike trips, and ski clubs, all specifically designed for you. Plus tour operators that specialize in travel just for us.

Joan answered your questions on Tuesday, August 10, at noon ET. Read the transcript below.

Joan Rattner Heilman is the countryÂ's leading authority today on senior privileges. She is the author of Unbelievably Good Deals and Great Adventures That You Absolutely Can't Get Unless You're Over 50 (Contemporary Books, $14.95), the best-selling guide that has now sold nearly a million copies. Thoroughly revised every year, it is currently in its 15th annual edition.


Joan Rattner Heilman: Hello. This is Joan Heilman and I am ready to answer your questions about special privileges for senior travelers.


Trnton, MI: Why can't you get special deals over the phone instead of having to go to the Internet?

Joan Rattner Heilman: You can get special senior deals over the phone as well as the Internet; it just depends on the company you are dealing with. For example, Southwest Airlines' senior fares are available ONLY by phone. And so, in most cases, are the other Senior Fares from the airlines. American Airlines' Senior Fares, offered here and there on certain flights, can be had by telephone only. But always remember, senior fares may not be the best out there. Sometimes you can find an even better deal on the set site or by telephone.
As for hotels, it's hit and miss. Sometimes you'll find the discounts online, sometimes there's no reference to them at all. So always ask on the telephone.


Walled Lake, MI: I enjoy weekends in New York (midtown Manhattan) and am over 65. Any discounts with hotels, theatre, and dining?

Joan Rattner Heilman: You can get senior discounts at hotels, especially on weekends at hotels that cater to business people. And you can also get some good sales then too. These may be better than the senior rate. Call the hotel directly and ASK FOR THE BEST AVAILABLE RATES, senior or otherwise.


San Juan, Puerto Rico: My mother is 63. She lives in Puerto Rico and has relatives in the states, which makes her travel every now and then. Are these senior privileges applicable to her?

Joan Rattner Heilman: Your mother can take advantage of any senior discounts available to any other American at her age. And these include discounts on hotels, vacation packages, etc. For senior deals on the airlines, in most cases she needs to be 65.


Los Angeles, CA: I am a 51-year-old teacher and I work at a year-round school which provides me with vacation during the year that may not be the "peak season", i.e., this year it is Oct.-Nov. and April-May. I would like to find resources on renting a condo for 2 weeks to a month throughout the U.S. (or even Mexico/Italy) so that I may enjoy and learn of about a different region first hand and also give my 78-year-old mother a break and take her with me. Thank you so much for any leads or guidance you can provide me.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

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