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Spend $80 to Utterly Change Your Retirement

Expensive vacations will make you go gray. Try this instead.

Senior couple enjoy their retirement camping in a park

When we think of “retirement,” we usually visualize palm trees, sandy beaches, and a cool fruity drink in hand.

And, of course, spending thousands of dollars.

Of course, vacationing is the name of the game as far as retirees go. But do they really have to spend an exorbitant sum to get their well-deserved R&R?

Here’s some good news for retirees: $80 will suffice.

A Game-Changer for Retirees

For this not-so-outrageous price, they can get their hands on a National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Annual Pass. Provided by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), this Annual Pass allows the holder to have access to over 2,000 recreation areas spread across all 50 states (plus the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico).

What kind of recreation areas, you ask? Annual Passes are honored by sites supervised by the following bureaus:

  • Forest Service
  • National Park Service
  • Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • US Army Corp of Engineers

Take your pick of beautiful lakes, luscious forests, national parks, wildlife refuges, monuments and historical sites. In other words: Mother Nature and Father Time can be great retirement companions, and you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy what they have to offer. 

Who Gets to Use an Annual Pass?

An Annual Pass can actually be shared by two “owners,” but each Pass holder has to be 16 years or older. (Children under 16, by the way, get free admission to these recreation areas.)

Some areas admit guests on a per-vehicle basis; in this case, the Annual Pass grants admission to the owner/s and their companions inside their vehicle. What about companions in another vehicle? The USGS site makes it clear: “Only the vehicle with the pass owner is covered. The second vehicle is subject to an entrance fee, or must have a second pass.”

In the case of motorcycle riders, the Annual Pass can cover the occupants of up to two motorcycles that arrive at the venue at the same time. The same goes for a Pass holder riding a bicycle, plus three fellow bicyclists. (Because bicycles, of course, are more environmentally friendly!)

Meanwhile, in areas that implement per-person admission, the Pass admits up to four adults (including the owner/s); each person in excess of this maximum will have to pay the applicable fees.

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Be mindful of the time frame, though: the Annual Pass is valid only up to a year from the month of your purchase! Still, $80 a year is a good trade-off when you consider the thousands that you could be spending at some heavily populated resort.

How Do I Get My Hands on an Annual Pass?

You can grab your Annual Pass multiple ways. First, you can get a Pass at the site locations themselves (although it’s probably a good idea to give the site a call first before you head out there).

Visit http://store.usgs.gov/pass. Shipping time varies: it can take 5 to 10 business days for USPS to deliver your Pass, while FedEx Overnight can get it done in just one.

So if you’re about to wrap up your career—or you know someone who’ll be doing so—know that you don’t have to strain your retirement funds. With your USGS-issued Annual Pass, you can enjoy your retirement in meaningful, sustainable fashion.

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