Whatever time of year, getaways are always fun – but planning ahead is an important part of the process, especially for senior travelers. AAA– The Auto Club Group and Better Business Bureau ® of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) offer seniors some timely tips to help them stay safe while traveling and also save money.
“Many people deem driving to be the essence of freedom in our society,” stated Gail Weinholzer, Director, AAA- The Auto Club Group. “AAA’s efforts are to keep seniors driving as long and as safely as possible.”
Here are some ways seniors can stay safe and possibly save some cash when preparing for their next getaway:
Be prepared – If you’re planning on driving, be sure your car is tuned-up and road-ready. Then drivers should do the same thing for themselves; take your medications and also be sure those medications won’t impair your performance behind the wheel. If you are not sure of your medication’s impact on driving, RoadwiseRX.com can help you prevent prescription drug impairment. If you have health concerns, see your physician or an optometrist before setting out. Older drivers can also keep their minds healthy and fit for driving by using programs such as Drivesharp and checking out the resources at SeniorDriving.AAA.com.
Get retrained – Older adults can also keep their driving skills sharp by taking a seasoned driver training course. According to Minnesota law, people ages 55 and older who complete a state-approved defensive driving course are eligible to receive a 10 percent, three-year discount on auto insurance.
Make a budget – Planning is important. Having a budget in place will help keep a lid on expenses. However, be sure to include a little breathing room in your budget by accounting for an unexpected emergency.
Be resourceful – As the nation’s largest leisure travel company, AAA has voluminous resources about vacation planning, reservations, maps and directions as well as theme parks and attractions at AAA.com. Also, check the State Tourism Board or local Chamber of Commerce website where you will be vacationing for interesting recreational ideas. Look online to find any money-saving discount offers (such as AAA’s Discount and Rewards, Groupon or LivingSocial) in the city you’re visiting.
Short and sweet – You don’t have to go on a two-week trip in order to feel refreshed after a vacation. Make a long weekend of it and maximize your itinerary by planning activities well ahead of time.
Consider an extended stay hotel – You can lock in a weekly rate and – sometimes – secure a room with kitchen accommodations at hotels that offer extended stay packages. Be sure to get a detailed price quote and research the hotel at bbb.org. It’s also a good idea to see what kind of rates you can find through travel services such as Priceline, Kayak, Hotels.com and AAA.com. You’ll want to research these services through BBB, as well.
Pack some meals to-go – When you’re on the road, travel with a cooler and purchase snacks ahead of time. When you arrive at your destination, look for rooms with a kitchenette or hotels that offer free continental breakfasts.
Use public transportation – Choose a destination with lots to see and do, and simply walk from place to place. Also, consider using local bus or transit service rather than driving and parking.
“Seniors have more flexibility than most when it comes to hitting the road,” said Susan Adams Loyd, President and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “But getting things right in the planning stage of a road trip is often the key to a successful vacation.”
To help ensure an enjoyable summer vacation, it’s always a good idea to first research the businesses behind the travel offers you’re considering at bbb.org. From there, senior travelers can stay up to date by visiting seniordrivingAAA.com and drivinglaws.AAA.com.
About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, financial services and travel offerings to over 9 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 57 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
The mission of Better Business Bureau is to be the leader in building marketplace trust by promoting, through self-regulation, the highest standards of business ethics and conduct, and to instill confidence in responsible businesses through programs of education and action that inform, assist and protect the general public. We are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Contact BBB at bbb.org or 651-699-1111, toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.