(BPT) - With summer winding down, many are soaking up their last days at the beach or lake before the weather cools. With rest and relaxation on their minds, some have already started planning vacations for next year. A wise decision - especially with ongoing passport delays and soaring prices for airline tickets affecting travelers. For AARP members who are looking to book a trip for next year, a wide range of benefits and discounts can help you plan an affordable and stress-free getaway to a new or favorite travel destination. Start planning your trip today with the AARP Travel Center Powered by Expedia and take advantage of exclusive deals on hotels, cars, cruises and more!
'When one trip comes to an end, many immediately start daydreaming about the next adventure - a trip to Miami beach, a cruise in the Caribbean or a ski trip to Aspen with friends. There are so many exciting (and relaxing) destinations to visit regardless of the time of year or destination, but it's important to plan early and take advantage of all the travel discounts and benefits available to you so you can enjoy your hard-earned vacation,' said Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon, travel expert, JetSetSarah.com.
Here are six steps to plan a stress-free trip:
1) Renew Your Passport. If you're planning an international trip and it has been a few years since you've left the country - it's time to break out your passport and check the expiration. If your passport is expired, or your trip falls within six months of the expiration date, it's time to renew your passport. Unfortunately, passport delays have plagued U.S. travelers over the past year. But there's a solution - Rush My Passport provides expedited services for U.S. passports and global travel visas to help make the process for obtaining your vital travel documents easier. AARP members and their families can take advantage of exclusive passport renewal bundle pricing. Restrictions apply.
2) Choose Your Travel Destination. Early planning can ensure you're choosing the right location for your trip - whether it's a land or sea destination. Take into consideration factors like weather conditions such as extreme heat or hurricane season. If you're hitting the slopes this winter, make sure you're scheduling around a time that isn't calling for heavy snowfall to avoid flight cancellations. If escaping the cold to spend a week or two in the sun is more your style, a cruise might be a good option. Holland America Line offers 500 sailings a year visiting all seven continents, including warmer destinations like the Caribbean and Mexico. AARP members can save up to $200 in onboard credit per stateroom, based on the length of the cruise and the stateroom chosen.
3) Get Road Ready. If your destination is within driving distance, make sure you take care of all the necessary car maintenance before hitting the road - including oil changes, checking tire pressure and filling up the gas tank. If you need roadside assistance during the trip, you can look to Allstate for help. AARP members can save up to 20% on annual membership fees for Allstate Roadside plans, including Roadside Assist and Roadside Elite. Upon enrollment, benefits include 24/7 towing, jump-starts, tire changes, lockout assistance, fuel delivery and more.
4) Book Your Flight. As airfare prices continue to rise, it's important to book your tickets early if you need to fly to your vacation destination. Tip: track airfare and compare prices. Inventory can be limited, so if you have done the research on the average cost for flights to your destination, grab your ticket when you find the right price. You don't want to risk losing your seat and being forced to change your plans. AARP members who book with British Airways can also save $65 off World Traveller (economy) and World Traveller Plus (premium economy) or $200 off Club World (business class) fares when they purchase round-trip transatlantic tickets online to over 130 destinations, including Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Restrictions apply. Online only.
5) Find Lodging. Once you've renewed your passport, chosen your travel destination and booked your flight, it's time to find a comfortable, clean place to lay your head at night. Again, it's important to compare prices and find lodging that fits your needs. Consider the following questions:
- Do you need a suite or double beds?
- Is free continental breakfast important, or would you prefer a resort café? Is a kitchenette desired?
- Do you need an airport transfer?
- What type of amenities are you looking for? A gym, pool or recreational activities?
With over 1,400 locations in the U.S. and Canada, Motel 6 offers AARP members 10% off the best available rate and late checkout until 2 p.m., when available.
6) Stay Connected. While preparing to be away from home, make sure you have a way to stay connected with friends and family - especially if you're planning to have a house or pet sitter. In case of emergencies, it's always a smart idea to have a plan in the event you need to get in touch with loved ones while traveling. With Consumer Cellular, AARP members can save 5% on monthly service and usage charges and 30% on accessories. Talk, text and data plans start at $20 per month per line. No contract is required. Includes free activation and an extended, 45-day risk-free guarantee.
The end of summer may seem too early to plan your 2024 trips, but it really is the best way to get ahead in plotting out logistics and securing the best prices. Whether you're traveling by car, plane or cruise ship, don't forget to optimize your next adventure by taking advantage of discounts and savings available to AARP members. You can learn more about your saving options by visiting aarp.org/save.