Discover Park Passes & Discounts for the Ultimate Road Trip Experience
The Rest of Your Life
Everyone works towards retirement; however, few actually plan for it.
Many plan financially for a time when daily work obligations end, but how many consider what to do with all of the time? “I’ll play golf,” “I’ll spend time with the grandchildren,” ” I’ll work in the garden,” does this sound familiar?
As longevity increases, thanks to modern medical advances, retirement is also extended. Retirees have spent most of their adult life paying for a house and may still have a mortgage or ongoing rental costs. Do you want to spend your “golden years” in a “golden cage”?
There is another option that is exciting and stimulating. Haven’t you always wanted to see the Grand Canyon?
A Recreational Vehicle (RV) is the answer. The term “recreational vehicle” can describe a fifth wheel (living space pulled behind a vehicle), a motorhome (living space with locomotion), a camper, or an all-inclusive “travel trailer.” It can also be a converted van for minimalists.
What an RV really is, however, is freedom. The freedom to explore and enjoy retirement.
Most seniors don’t realize that many discounts are available to minimize adventure costs. The federal government, individual states, cities, and private enterprises offer reduced prices for many places to camp, national and local parks, historical sights, museums, amusement venues, restaurants, and more for those of a certain age.
Before everyone owned a handheld computer (cell), it was difficult to access these benefits. Now, however, it is all at the explorer’s fingertips. So now is the time to unlock the best RV deals for seniors and discover park passes and other discounts for the ultimate road trip experience.
Image Credit: USGS
Park Passes for Seniors
No one would argue that aging comes with some negative consequences. Consider the alternative. Many studies show that seniors who keep their minds and bodies active live longer and live happier. Exploring the wonders of America can do both.
The federal government encourages seniors to engage positively by offering an America Beautiful-the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, commonly called “The Senior Pass.” The pass provides free access and significant discounts at National Parks and other federal recreation areas. However, the passes are not free.
A lifetime Senior Pass costs $80. The government made it easier by extending yearly passes for $20. When a senior purchases four yearly passes, it automatically converts to a lifetime benefit. But be aware there are 16 free National Parks. However, there may be other costs, camping or parking fees, for example.
Passes can be purchased at any federal recreation site for a legal resident 62 years or older. They can also be purchased online at https://store.usgs.gov. In addition to the entrance, the pass provides discounts on some camping sites, swimming, and boat launches. Check the website of the park to find specifics.
City park passes for seniors are available in most communities. Each state has its own guidelines. For example, the senior pass in California allows a yearly $1 discount for day vehicle use and a $2 discount for family camping. Over time, these discounts add up. Again, check the city’s website to find the specifics. In general, the passes can be purchased at the park or online.
Are you or a traveling companion on active duty, retired military, veteran, or a Gold Star Family member? The federal government offers a free lifetime Military Pass to thank you for your service. The Interagency Military Pass provides free admission and basic facility fees at the following agency areas:
The free Military Pass does not cover camping fees, tours, or reservation fees. In addition, it will not help with concessions or group fees. Receive your free pass online at https://store.usgs.gov and select “MilitaryPass.”
One of the benefits of the RV lifestyle is the community. Multiple online sites and blogs specifically address senior discounts for the RV and other expenses along the way. One way to save money is by an RV Club. RV clubs make a financial deal with campgrounds for a discount. You save money, typically 25% per night, and the campground gets more business. Check out the Good Sam Club.
Save a buck on food, gas, and supplies. Keep a record of restaurants that offer senior discounts. If you have a Costco card, the gas prices are lower. Fill up there. You can also buy a gas discount card online, offered by several companies. AARP card? More discounts. As you start your voyage, talk to other RVers, find out how they save money with senior discounts and spend time searching online.
A good idea is to rent an RV for a trial run. You may find it isn’t for you before laying out a lot of money. Several companies offer senior discounts. Don’t jump at the first RV rental place; compare and ask each if they provide a “maturity” discount.
Where to go?
One way to approach a trip is to select a place you want to see. Then, research what else is of interest along the way. For example, on your way to the Grand Canyon, stop in Cawker City, Kansas, to see the world’s largest ball of twine.
–Nature– The diverse national parks and natural wonders of America span all 50 states (Hawaii may be hard to reach) and change with the seasons. There are unlimited places and things to experience.
-Coastal Adventures- Do you like the beach? Start in Maine in the spring and end up in Florida for the winter driving along the coast. Next year. Start in Port Townsend, Washington, and get to Mexico for warmer weather.
-History- If you are a history buff, map a trip that hits all the civil war battlegrounds or head to the Alamo.
-Big Cities- Start in the largest city closest to you and pick a direction. Visiting and comparing foods, lifestyles, and local activities will introduce you to many new experiences.
Don’t just show up, Do your due diligence. Research campground locations (did you know Walmart allows RVs overnight in their parking lot?). Find safe areas ahead of time and read what other RVers had to say about a destination. Being prepared is a safety measure.
On Your Way
Now you have committed to the vagabond lifestyle, get started. The first order of business is selecting an RV that meets your needs. The first and most important consideration is choosing a rig (slang for RV) that you can handle. It doesn’t matter what else the RV offers; if you can’t drive and park it, it doesn’t matter.
There are three categories of RVs:
- Class A Motorhomes are strong, large, and heavy. These are similar to the high-end tour bus a band might use on the road.
- Class B RVs are similar to an oversized van. They are tiny; however, they are the least expensive, provide the cheapest gas mileage, and are the easiest to drive and park.
- Class C combines the other two classes. There is an overhead sleeping compartment and more living space. They may have slide-outs for additional inside space while parked. Another benefit is the ability to tow a car or motorcycle trailer behind.
Packing and Preparing
One thing you must accept is that less is more. While some things can be stored, it becomes a matter of priority. Bring your favorite coffee maker and pictures of the grandchildren. Leave unnecessary knick-knacks, wall art, superfluous dishware, and anything else you will not need and can do without. Remember that more items in a small space equals clutter.
Health and Safety
Another concern for traveling seniors concerns well-being. Bring as much as possible if you are on medications, and consider having refills available through a national brand pharmacy for easy refills. As you plan your escapades, always research hospitals or clinics along the route in case of emergency.
If you have any physical limitations, find ways to accommodate potential difficulties. For example, if you have a class C rig and arthritis of the knees, climbing up to reach the sleeping area can be a problem. Buy a collapsible stool. Consider where your RV hooks up to water and electricity. Are you able to reach and strong enough to make secure couplings? You may need a large wrench and a flat roller, such as car mechanics use.
Additionally, it is important to consider the use of RV skirting for both winter and summer to protect your RV from harsh weather conditions and reduce energy costs. Make sure that your skirting is properly fitted to the contours of your RV to prevent air infiltration.
When on the road for extended periods, someone must know your itinerary. Call, text, or email that person on a routine basis. If anything untold should happen and you don’t make the expected contact, your contact can notify officials and have a good idea of where to find you.
What Are You Waiting For?
Exploring the country is good for your health and well-being. There are different-sized RVs to fit all needs. With a little time planning and research, you can save a lot of money. It is exciting and gives you direction and purpose after a lifetime of working. You stay mentally stimulated and see and learn new things.
Or, you could sit in front of the TV with a beer and watch I Love Lucy reruns day after day. Get up and get moving; live life; it’s not over until it’s over. Most people today will spend 10 to 30 years as retired seniors. So, get busy and start logging the discounts that are due to you as a senior. And get on the road.
- The Federal Senior Pass: Good All Over – https://rvlifestyle.com/the-federal-senior-pass-good-all-over/
- Tips and Tricks: The Best Senior Passes for RVers – https://blog.campingworld.com/at-the-campsite/tips-tricks/the-best-senior-passes-for-rvers/
- RV Trip Planning 101: How to Plan the Perfect RV Adventure – https://www.thervgeeks.com/rv-trip-planner/
- National Park Passes: How to Get the Best Deals and Discounts – https://rvshare.com/blog/national-park-pass-2/
- Exploring America’s Natural Beauty: How to Get the America the Beautiful National Park Passport – https://www.theevolista.com/america-the-beautiful-national-park-passport/
- Canada’s Gift to American RVers: How to Get a Free National Park Pass – https://thepointsguy.com/guide/canada-giving-free-park-passes-to-americans-get-one-where-use-it/
- Rewards for RVers: How to Take Advantage of KOA’s Discounts and Perks – https://koa.com/rewards/
- RV Itineraries for National Parks: Inspirato’s Top Picks – https://www.travelandleisure.com/trip-ideas/road-trips/inspirato-rv-itineraries-national-parks
- Discount Camping and RV Clubs: How to Save Money on Your Next Adventure – https://campaddict.com/discount-camping-rv-clubs/
- Yellowstone National Park: The Ultimate RV Destination – https://www.xanterra.com/our-brands-properties/yellowstone-national-park/
- The Ultimate American Road Trip Guide: Tips and Tricks for RVers – https://www.rd.com/article/the-ultimate-american-road-trip-guide/
- Best State Park Passes for Camping: How to Find the Best Deals – https://www.outdoorsy.com/blog/best-state-park-passes-camping
- Yellowstone National Park Packages: How to Make the Most of Your Visit – https://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/packages/
- RVing in Style: How to Upgrade Your RV Experience with Pursuit Collection – https://www.pursuitcollection.com/
- Boomer Travel in Utah: How to Make the Most of Your Visit – https://www.visitutah.com/plan-your-trip/boomer-travel
- 3 Days in Big Bend: The Perfect RV Itinerary – https://www.earthtrekkers.com/3-days-in-big-bend-itinerary/
- AAA Travel: How to Get Discounts and Perks for RVers – https://travel.aaa.com/