So you have just retired, and you don’t know what to do with yourself. You don’t want to spend a whole lot of money, but you want to find things you can do with your grand kids, and things to do that won’t kill you! You find yourself with a lot of time, and not a whole lot of money. So, I have put together a list of things you can do, with discounts you can look for, and advice on how to go about these activities as a senior. So take a look at this leisure advice for retirees and future retirees, and see if this helps you find something fun to do.
AARP (click here for my review) has a lot of discounts for travel and leisure. There are tons of discounts for air fare, hotels, restaurants, car rental, and more. AARP has a travel booking program through Expedia. Also available are tour packages: Bus tours, train tours, car tours, and chartered plane tours. These are tours that cater mainly to senior citizens, so you are likely to find compatible travel companions on the trips.
Senior Citizen Discounts
Thousands of businesses across the country provide senior citizen discounts. Just ask where ever you are shopping or dining or having activities. Here are just a few of my local discounts:
- 10% off purchases for seniors at participating Dairy Queen locations.
- Denny’s 55-plus menu, which offers discounted prices for seniors.
- Discounts on beverages and coffee at participating McDonald’s locations.
- IHOP’s 55+ breakfast sampler, which offers deals for seniors.
- Ace Hardware: Grants seniors 10% off at participating locations.
- Amazon Prime: Offers a discounted membership to those with a Medicaid card.
- Kohl’s: Offers a senior discount of 15% every Wednesday.
- Ross Store: Features 10% off for seniors every Tuesday.
- Albertsons: Grants seniors 10% off on the first Wednesday of the month.
- BI-LO: Offers 5% off on a specific day at participating locations.
- Hy-Vee: Gives seniors 5% off on Wednesdays at participating locations.
- Best Western: Offers up to 15% savings on rooms for seniors.
- Red Roof Inn: Includes a 10% discount for seniors on their stay.
- Marriott: Offers a 15% discount or more on stays at participating locations.
- EZ Rent-A-Car: Provides a 10% discount for seniors.
- Hertz: Offers 20% off for senior travelers.
- American Airlines: Offers deals for those who select the 65+ passenger option when booking a flight.
- Southwest: Includes offers on some flights for passengers who indicate they are traveling as a senior when booking a flight.
- United Airlines: Offers a discounted price to older passengers for select destinations when booking a flight.
- Amtrak: 10% off on most rail fares for seniors.
- Art Institute of Chicago: $6 off a general admissions ticket for seniors.
- Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City: $8 off ticket prices for seniors.
- The National Baseball Hall of Fame: $5 off of admission for seniors.
- Consumer Cellular: 5% discount on usage and monthly fees for AARP members and 30% off select accessories.
- Sprint: The Unlimited 55+ plan offers special deals for seniors.
- T-Mobile One: The Unlimited 55+ plan is designed for seniors.
- Carnival: Offers cruises for seniors at lowered rates, although exact prices depend on sailing dates and destinations.
- Norwegian Cruise Line: Includes up to $100 off select cruises for AARP members and a 5% discount on cruises if you book at least nine months in advance.
- Royal Caribbean: Special prices are available on select cruises for senior travelers.
In Colorado, we have a BUNCH of National Parks and National Monuments. At the National Park Foundation, you can get a lifetime pass for $80 (if you are over age 62), or an annual senior pass for $20. Since the price per carload of people became $35 for a day/week pass, it’s a pretty good deal, considering your carload of grandkids gets in free with your pass. Besides that, the National Parks have great programs like nature walks, slide shows, wildlife viewing outings, and a myriad other great communal things to join in on.
Check out Groupon. You can search for activities by zip code. I was just looking at the Denver area, which I live close to, and found literally thousands of deals for any kind of activity you can think of, and some you wouldn’t really know about unless you looked on Groupon! And, using Groupon, you can usually do that activity at a reduced price. Here is a taste of what you may find:
Bowling, mini golf, movies, wine tasting and tours, distillery tours, brewery tours, farms, climbing walls, dance classes, bike rentals, zoos, museums, art classes, ceramics, comedy clubs, supper clubs, lectures, libraries, axe throwing (which I thought was WAY cool!) zip line tours, rafting, fishing and hunting expeditions, jeep tours, cannabis tours (interesting! Remember pot is legal in Colorado!), glassblowing, chocolate tasting parties, regular golf outings, and seasonal things like Halloween haunted house tours, Easter Egg Hunts, Holiday train rides, and summer swimming programs.
RV Travel and Camping
After your initial investment of a camper and a tow vehicle, camping and RV travel is one of the least expensive, most enjoyable types of recreation that senior citizens can enjoy. You can get a small tent trailer used for around $2000 for a nicer one. And a tent trailer can be hauled by a midsize SUV, so you may be able to use the car you already have. Campers (even some tent trailers) are equipped with kitchens, where you can cook your own food (cheaper!). Some have bathrooms including showers and flush toilets, so you can camp “off the grid” for nothing in some places (be sure to check before you camp!)
You can stay in camp grounds and RV parks, which range from $5 per night in the National Forest areas, to $35-$60 per night in a KOA, where you will have all the hook ups, fire rings, picnic tables, shower houses, and even pools and playgrounds. These campgrounds also offer senior discounts, so don’t be afraid to ask!
Take your camping trips to places you have always wanted to go. My goal when I retire is to go to all the National Parks in the lower 48. I have been to a fare amount already and have really enjoyed myself. You may want to take your camping trips to your favorite activities. Do you realize you can even take your camper to Las Vegas on a gambling outing? Do a little research on where your next event takes place, and take your camper! It will be much less expensive.
Here’s my article on RV work-camping that may interest you.
Helpful Hints for Senior Leisure
- Leisure activities are great places to meet people. So, if you are alone, but don’t feel comfortable enjoying leisure activities by yourself, start out with activities where you will meet like-minded seniors who want someone to do things with.
- Start slow and small. In my research I have seen that new retirees have a tendency of wanting to do everything, all at once. This is because they have been cooped up in their jobs all their lives, and once they get the retirement freedom bug, they want to jump into anything and everything. Starting slow and small is helpful to your body as well as your budget. You may find you don’t like an activity. So don’t jump in with a full year membership in the advanced class before you have checked it out for a couple weeks.
- Schedule your time and stick with it. If the ladies are meeting every Wednesday for coffee, go every Wednesday. The routine is great for your mental health because you have a place to go, and a reason to get dressed in the morning. Scheduling time also prevents you from overextending yourself. As a newly free retiree, you may feel inclined to say yes to every opportunity out there. Putting your activities on a calendar will help you keep from scheduling too many things in a day or a week.
- Quantity or Quality? You decide what works best for you. I feel that I would want a lot of activities for as few dollars as I can get. But you may prefer one really nice concert to a bunch of little craft camps. Decide how much bang you want out of your buck. Be sure to write it all down so you remember what your thought process is.
- Keep in mind your capabilities. I know that because I have arthritis, I have to be careful about what I do. Walking is OK, but I’m not much for climbing. So spelunking and rock climbing are not for me. I am also deathly afraid of heights, so I try to avoid situations where there’s not a good sturdy railing between me and the thousand-foot drop. No zip lining for me. However, there are a boat load of other things I can do.
- Make it a variety of activities instead of just one type. You want to challenge your whole self. So mix up physical activities with brain teasers, or mix relaxation into your activity. One of my favorite trips was to the Black Hills in South Dakota. We (my kids and me) did all the touristy stuff in the morning, then relaxed by the pool in the afternoons, then went on the night excursions after supper. It was a really fun trip, because we broke up the activities into different modes, so we weren’t over stressed or over bored.
One Activity That is Inexpensive AND Pays You Back
I of course am an advocate for retirees learning affiliate marketing. This is something you can start in your spare time that will bring in extra cash for all of your retirement needs, including all the fun activities you want to be doing. And of course the best place to learn affiliate marketing is at Wealthy Affiliate. See my review and other articles by clicking below.
So, go out there and find some fun things to do, that challenge your brain and your body, and make you want to get up in the morning! You will find plenty of inexpensive things that will be fulfilling and worthwhile.
Please put your comments and questions below, and thank you for reading!