jannoon028/ShutterstockCollege alumni associations
Before you start planning your 2018 trips—here are the places you need to go next year, according to travel experts—make sure you’re taking full advantage of all the possible discounts available to you. Start with your alumni association: Maybe you’re just in it for the networking and awesome homecoming tailgate parties, but dig a little deeper into your alumni association membership and you’re bound to discover some travel perks. Take the Alumni Association of the University of Michigan for example. Sure, there’s up to 25 percent off car rentals through such partners as Budget, Auto Europe, and Alamo, but the alumni association also offers the Travel Collection, which offers a wide variety of destinations for the discerning traveler including Europe, Asia and the Middle East and even Antarctica. University of Florida alumni can get breaks on Disney cruises and at 123IslandRentals.com.
Being a senior citizen has its share of privileges, including special discounts like these. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) offers great deals and insurance perks, but did you know AARP has a variety of travel discounts? AARP Advantages.com is loaded with car rental, hotel, tours, and cruise deals. According to Matthew Phillips, director of travel for AARP Services, Inc., you can save up to 15 percent off a variety of hotels and resorts. Phillips encourages travel lovers to check out the AARP Travel Center Powered by Expedia for amazing deals on ocean and river cruises. “Cruises are a great option whether you are traveling solo, with your spouse, or on a multi-generational trip with the entire family.” You can experience new cities and destinations while on daily excursions and, on the ship, an incredible variety of activities and food, says Phillips. If you’re 50 years old, membership is just $16 year.
When it’s time for a vacation, don’t forget about professional memberships for travel discounts. Whether you’re a teacher, a sales clerk or an attorney, chances are, your membership can mean big discounts on your next vacation. For instance, The National Education Association (NEA) offers low prices on airlines, hotels, car rentals, guided tours, and vacation packages. As a bonus, members earn NEA Travel Dollars by completing activities like opting into the NEA Travel Newsletter or adding a birthday to your profile. Use the Travel Dollars towards your vacation essentials like hotels or a portion of any cruise. Save even more with these 11 secrets booking agents would prefer you didn’t know.
When you have a flat tire, AAA is the first call you make to get out of a jam. But a roadside membership isn’t the only benefit AAA members receive. In terms of travel, you can get you the lowest price in hotels, attraction tickets, and up to 20 percent off Hertz car rentals. Make your own travel plans online or take advantage of AAA travel agents. “Our experienced travel agents give you personalized recommendations, make the reservations, and send you on your way with ease,” says Jeanette Casselano, AAA spokesperson. “For example, when a booking a cruise, we can secure exclusive perks especially through combining AAA Vacation Benefits with existing offers in the marketplace,” says Casselano. Classic Membership starts at $52 a year. When planning your trip, make sure you’re not falling for these outdated travel tips.
If your weekend Costco run only includes buying toilet paper and laundry soap in bulk, you’re missing out on these other surprising Costco membership perks. Costco offers cruises, rental cars, hotels, and vacation packages with destinations like Hawaii, Costa Rica, and theme parks in Orlando at discounted rates. And if you’re bringing the kids, these 18 tips on traveling with children will help. According to Chris Hendrix, assistant general merchandise manager with Costco Travel, the travel experts at Costco routinely stay abreast of the best deals for members. An annual Costco membership is $60, but if you choose the Executive Membership at $120, you receive an annual 2 percent reward on eligible Costco and Costco travel purchases.
You’re already saving money on bank fees by being a credit union member, but have you checked out the other ways you can save with your membership benefits? Some partner with travel agencies or companies such as the Credit Union Travel Club. (If your credit union hasn’t partnered with them yet, Credit Union Travel Club will add them to their network.) Members can save an average of $46 per night on hotels and get discounts on cars, cruises, and other trips. How’s your money doing at that credit union, by the way? You can use these tips to grow your nest egg faster.
Remember those company perks HR told you about at orientation? Look them up again, because the savings can be significant. For example, many companies provide the Perks at Work program for employees, and it can save an average of $530 per year on vacations. Discounts on car rental, flights, hotels, vacation packages and even luggage are available for employees and their family members. Not sure you’re getting the best deal? There’s also a Best Price Guarantee: If you find a cheaper hotel, rental car or flight within 24 hours of booking, Perks at Work will refund 100 percent of the difference and give you 1,000 bonus WOWPoints. Looking forward to getting away from work stress? Don’t make these mistakes that could ruin your vacation.
If you’ve served in the armed forces, you are automatically qualified for the Armed Forces Vacation Club—and membership is free. However, members can choose to upgrade to a paid membership to unlock more savings. “The big selling point of AFVC membership is the access it gives to $349 per week vacations at resorts around the world,” says Steven Alessandrini, vice president of External Communications at the Wyndham Destination Network. “Members can choose from domestic destinations like Orlando, Las Vegas, and Branson, Missouri or international locations like Mexico, Dominican Republic, Australia, India, or Europe.” Check out these affordable destinations that feel like VIP trips.
BJ’s Wholesale Club
If you live in one of the 16 states with a BJ’s Wholesale Club, you’re already enjoying the advantage of warehouse savings; they also offer some travel discounts juicier than the rotisserie chicken you picked up for dinner. (Ever wonder why that grocery rotisserie chicken is so cheap? Now you know.) “BJ’s Travel offers members limited-time exclusive prices and bonus offers on select bookings to the most popular destinations across the globe,” says Laurie Lee, Director, Member Services. “They save up to 60 percent off retail rates when they book a vacation package with BJ’s Travel. BJ’s also offers a 110 percent best price guarantee on cruise and hotel/air vacation packages, so that members know they’re getting the lowest rates available.” Membership begins at $50 per year, but you don’t have to live in one of the 16 states to be a member or to take advantage of the travel discounts.