Is it still possible to find amazing senior travel discounts? This was the question that I posed to train expert, Mark Smith during our last interview. After all, if anyone would know how to find the best travel deals, it’s Mark.
As the founder of Seat61, he has taken hundreds of train trips all over the world. He has crossed Egypt on a $1 ticket and he has lounged in some of the most luxurious specialty trains in the world. Through it all, he has acquired an encyclopedic knowledge of trains.
So, back to the question at hand. Is it still possible people in their 60s to get special rates on train travel? Or, are there better ways to save? Here’s what I learned from my conversation with Mark.
The way that we travel depends as much on our habits as anything else. When we fly, we are used to ordering online or through a travel agency. When we travel by train, many of us are in the habit of buying tickets at the train station. We’ve just always done it this way.
Mark points out that you can actually save a lot of money on train travel by booking way in advance. Having just travelled from Amsterdam to Zurich by train for around $90, I completely agree. I also paid about 1/3 the usual price on a ticket from Paris to London on the Eurostar. The trick, in both cases, was to purchase 2 months in advance.
So, if this article is about senior travel discounts, why bring this up here? I’m raising this issue now because, in many cases, ordering early can save you more than waiting for a senior discount to become available.
Mark is brutally honest when it comes to senior travel discounts. He points out that, in many case, the discounts that are offered, at least in Europe, are off of a higher base price. In addition, the local train carriers often charge for a senior card, erasing much, if not all, of the benefit.
One caveat here is that many of the attractions the countries that you visit will offer senior discounts, so, don’t be shy to ask about them.
I hope that Mark’s answer doesn’t dissuade you, in any way, from setting out on your next train adventure. The truth is that booking in advance is simply more effective than waiting for promotions that are targeted specifically at our age group.
What are the best travel deals that you have ever found? Do you love to travel by train? Please join the conversation now.