Tis the season for holiday travel. If you’re over 50 years of age and planning a holiday getaway to visit family and friends or heading somewhere tropical and looking to save money on your trip, you’re in luck. AARP’s Matt Phillips joined me for an interview yesterday to dish on Americans holiday travel plans, share social media tips and the must have discounts you can’t pass up on.
Candace Rose: What are you learning about Americans 2015 holiday travel plans?
Matt Phillips: “When speaking with AARP members, we know that many are doing the traditional things like planning to travel with their kids, their grandkids and to visit other family members as well as some of their friends. We know that this is not an atypical pattern or an atypical habit, people have been doing this. We know that our AARP members love to travel. In fact they spend about $120 billion dollars a year on leisure travel. And whereas most folks like you and I probably like to travel off-peak when it’s a little bit less crowded, you can typically save a little bit of money. During the holidays if you plan accordingly, your travel can be smoothly and you can find ways to save money as well.”
Candace Rose: Why are the holidays such a great time to travel?
Matt Phillips: “Well, it’s a great time because typically like I mentioned, it’s a good time to visit family, friends and to enjoy the holiday traditions. Most folks typically that we find either travel by air or they’re traveling by car. A lot of the 50 plus folks actually like to travel and take road trips. We actually find that our members take about three significant road trips a year. That usually involves traveling about at least nine hours or more away from their home.
During the holiday season these road trips between Thanksgiving and the New Years holiday, people can actually travel by car anywhere from 400 miles to 500 miles on average. It’s not always sometimes getting to the destination, but it’s also the journey along that and they’re enjoying the places that they’re visiting.”
Candace Rose: How can people take advantage of the travel discounts offered to AARP members?
Matt Phillips: “Sure, there are a couple different ways. The primary location, our website is located at AARPDiscounts.com. That is where you can find a constantly updated list of all the travel member benefits but also the things we do when they travel like dining and retail shopping and entertainment. Honestly, not just when you’re traveling but when you’re back at home. I want to encourage people to check out our website because there are a lot of things there that probably members aren’t aware of that we’ve added over the last several months.
For those folks that have a smartphone, we have a free mobile app that can be downloaded called the AARP Member Advantages app. It’s for your Apple or your Android device. Both the website, as well as the app are free to access. Anyone can do it but you actually have to be a member to take advantage of the benefits. For those folks that aren’t members, membership is just $16 a year.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Matt Phillips: “One of the things that I like to point out is safety and security while people are traveling. As more and more people are using social media and we all like to share what we’re doing and where we’re going and who we’re spending time with, I always encourage people to not necessarily do that while they’re away, but perhaps wait until they get home. Posting things while your away is just an announcement that you’re not home.
You also want to guard your identity and your personal belongings. With regard to personal belongings a couple of other suggestions: don’t take things that aren’t necessary. You don’t typically need to carry your social security card, any unnecessary or unused credit cards. You don’t need to carry those. Leave those at home in a safe and secure place. For those people who want to have an additional peace of mind, a home security system is always an option. AARP works with different providers in these areas to help protect your assets as well as your identity. We have a relationship with ADT for a discount on home security systems, as well as a relationship with TrustedID for identity theft protection.”
Candace Rose: Well, thank you so much, Matt. Where can we go for more information?
Matt Phillips: “You can actually go to our website, it’s AARPDiscounts.com. We’re going to be updating the website in the coming weeks, so make sure you check back often because we’ll be adding new features and functionality. We’re always adding new providers with whom we work with and different discounts.”