The National Park Service (NPS) offers an America the Beautiful -- National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass -- Senior Pass (formerly the Golden Age Passport), which gives seniors 62 years or older lifetime entrance to all properties administered by the NPS -- national parks, monuments, historic sites, recreation areas, and national wildlife refuges -- for a one-time processing fee of $10. The pass must be purchased in person at any NPS facility that charges an entrance fee. Besides free entry, the America the Beautiful pass also offers a 50% discount on some federal-use fees. For more information, go to www.nps.gov/fees_passes.htm or call the United States Geological Survey (USGS), which issues the passes, at tel. 888/275-8747.
Nearly all major U.S. hotel and motel chains now offer seniors a discount, so ask for the reduction when you make the reservation; there may be restrictions during peak days. Then be sure to carry proof of your age (driver's license, passport, and so on) when you check in. Among the chains that offer the best discounts are Marriott Hotels (tel. 800/228-9290) for those 62 and older, and La Quinta Inns (tel. 800/531-5900) for ages 55 and older.
Members of AARP, 601 E St. NW, Washington, DC 20049 (tel. 888/687-2277; www.aarp.org), get discounts on hotels, airfares, and car rentals. AARP offers members a wide range of benefits, including AARP The Magazine and a monthly newsletter. Anyone older than 50 can join.
Many reliable agencies and organizations target the 50-plus market. Elderhostel (tel. 877/426-5768; www.elderhostel.org) arranges study programs for those 55 and over.
Recommended publications offering travel resources and discounts for seniors include the quarterly magazine Travel 50 & Beyond (www.travel50andbeyond.com) and Unbelievably Good Deals and Great Adventures That You Absolutely Can't Get Unless You're Over 50 (2009), by Joann Rattner Heilman.
Seniors may want to contact the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (tel. 803/252-7734; www.seniorresourcesinc.org). When you're sightseeing or attending entertainment events, always inquire about senior discounts.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.