I finally attended my first LifeAt50+ expo in Miami as a guest of AARP Member Advantages. I expected it to be pretty much like the scores of other conferences and trade shows that I have attended with rows of vendors passing out brochures, and branded swag ranging from ink pens to plastic cups to t-shirts to tote-bags to koozies. What I didn’t expect was the enthusiasm of the attendees, the usefulness of the swag, and the wide range of discounts available to us 50+ers.


When the trade floor opened, the stampede of the crowd was reminiscent of a Black Friday sale at Walmart. These geezers with gusto (of which I am one) made their way through the exhibit hall, filling their official AARP tote bags with whatever swag the vendor had to offer. Some vendors created game-show like contest sporting exuberant participants who waited in long lines to spin a wheel or throw darts to “win” anything from a refrigerator magnet to a frisbee. It was definitely fun to watch …and to play!

Of the swag I collected at previous trade shows I would usually keep the ink pens (because I’m always losing ink pens) and the plastic cups – which my wife would always throw away. The rest I would give to my daughters to enjoy. But I found the swag at the LifeAt50+ conference to be , some of the most useful I’ve ever collected; a plastic pill organizer, a magnifying glass, gardening gloves, a collapsable water bottle, cloth for cleaning my glasses, chapstick, and an ice pack!


But more important than any of the swag was the opportunity to connect with some of the vendors who offer great discounts through AARP Member Advantages. I learned that Schwan’s has free home delivery and double rewards; that you can save up to $100 on trips with G Adventures, that no contract is necessary with Consumer Cellular, that gas and insurance is included with every Zipcar reservation, and that you can save 5% on train trips and rail tours with Vacations By Rail. Of course there are a LOT more benefits and savings you’ll want to check out at AARP Member Advantages.


Getting older does not suck …and the swag gets better!

What the best swag you’ve ever collected at a trade show? 

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