Educators are eligible for a variety of travel discounts—many of which you may not know about. Here are seven insider tips for finding fabulous vacation values at museums, hotels, theme parks, and other travel attractions.
1. Use your NEA member benefits.
As an NEA member, you qualify for exclusive travel discounts. The NEA Click & Save program can help you save on luggage, theme park tickets, restaurant gift certificates, travel apparel, and more. Members are also eligible for discounts on car rentals from five major companies and guided vacations offered by Trafalgar. Don’t miss NEA Vacations for travel discounts that range from flights to hotels to cruises.
2. Take advantage of student discounts.
Several student-oriented travel discount programs are also open to school employees. The Student Universe website extends its discounted airfare, hotel, and tour rates to teachers and college or university faculty, and there’s no membership fee!
The International Teacher Identity Card offered by student travel agency STA Travel helps teachers, lecturers, professors, and tutors get discounts in more than 125,000 locations for an annual fee of $20.
3. Get the government rate on hotel rooms.
Employees of public school districts can take advantage of the government rate at some national hotel chains. Inquire about your hotel’s policies at the time of booking, and be prepared to show your school ID at check-in. Educators are eligible for government rates at various hotel chains: Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hyatt, IHG, Marriott, Starwood, and Wyndham Hotel Group Hotels.
4. Stay with fellow educators.
Long before Airbnb became a phenomenon, TeacherHomeSwap.com was developed as the home exchange network exclusively for educators. All teachers in this home swap community are verified, and it’s easy to find the perfect match for your needs. Search by location or availability and then suggest a swap to connect with the homeowner. Membership in the site costs only $99 per year—what a huge saving!
More than just a home swap site for teachers all over the world, Teacher Tourist offers additional useful services, including hosting, guide, and home and pet sitting. Mini swaps are also available for those traveling spontaneously, or vacationing nearby or for shorter duration. Teachers in this community are guided by a code of etiquette that aims to keep all members safe and respected, and transactions smooth and successful.
5. Explore museums for free.
Museums from coast to coast offer free or discounted admission to school employees living in-state or in neighboring states. For example, New England K-12 teachers are eligible for a free two-year educator’s pass to Boston’s renowned New England Aquarium.
Note that in many cases you must complete an online request form well in advance of your visit and provide specified identification. Check out this list of free museums and other attractions throughout the country.
6. Get souvenir discounts at national parks.
Many concessionaires that run gifts shops at national parks offer teacher discounts on purchases. Whether it’s a souvenir T-shirt for you or a book or map for your classroom, you might be able to knock up to 15% off the price tag. Inquire at the register; you’ll likely need to show your school ID.
7. Just ask.
Wherever you’re traveling, simply inquire about educator discounts. You’ll be surprised just how many places offer one, including the Wyndham Hotel Group, Marriott, Waldorf Astoria Orlando, Hilton Bonnet Creek (Orlando), Walt Disney World’s Swan and Dolphin resorts and cruise lines such as MSC Cruises. And, don’t forget that if you’re a public school educator, you ‘re eligible for government rates. See tip No. 4 above.