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The Mature Traveler : STRAC Group's on the Right Track

February 24, 1985|BILL HUGHES | Hughes is a 25-year veteran travel writer living in Sherman Oaks.

For mature travelers groups looking for free help and myriad ideas for planning tours and trips, there's a fine nonprofit organization today to help get them on the right track. It's STRAC.

STRAC is an acronym for Senior Travel and Recreation Assn. of California, 60 California and Arizona companies that banded together to make travel planning easier for senior groups.

STRAC is made up of attractions, including such top names as NBC Tours, Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farm, Sea World and many others; accommodations ranging from San Diego to Monterey to Mesa, Ariz.; more than 15 sightseeing and motor-coach tour companies, plus a number of allied travel and recreation services.

"We're in our second year of operation," said Justin K. Aldrich, STRAC's president, "and we are growing constantly with new members who wish to help senior group travel planners.

Recreation Specialists

"The concept was the brainstorm of Domingo Delgado, recreation specialist for seniors for the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department, who recognized the need to offer seniors free help and information in planning trips and tours and on where and how to get discounts and savings," Aldrich added, "and it has really taken off."

The group meets quarterly to exchange ideas and is working on a second trade show for senior travel planners. "Our mail tool," Aldrich said, "is our 'Senior Citizens Calendar of Special Events,' now published twice a year."

It's mailed free to any senior group planner or tour coordinator who writes to STRAC, c/o NBC Studios, Room 1501, 1300 W. Alameda Ave., Burbank 91523. Include the name of the group, club or association you represent.

The calendar, which lists numerous events and special-rate days for seniors, is more than just that. It lists all STRAC members, what is available from each, plus contacts for more information from each to help plan anything from a one-day excursion, overnight or extended tour.

Geared to Leisurely Pace

All contacts are senior group specialists who can work within almost any budget and gear their travel plans to the more leisurely-paced mature traveler.

Senior tour group planners or coordinators will find that most of the sightseeing tour and motor-coach companies among STRAC's membership, can deal with groups in two ways:

If a group already has a specific attraction, destination or recreational pursuit planned, it can obtain free information on how to charter anything from a small van to one or more motor coaches. In addition to special senior rates for the charter service, STRAC provides restaurant and accommodation suggestions as needed.

If the group is looking for travel ideas, STRAC's tour and motor-coach service members will provide details on a wide range of packaged tours for seniors to any one or a grouping of Southern California attractions, as well as tours to Las Vegas, San Diego, Catalina Island, Hearst Castle, the Grand Canyon, plus overnight or extended-length tours to almost any other destination in the continental United States.

When, Where and How

If the group has its own transportation, the STRAC guide provides information on when, where and how to obtain special senior or group rates at most area attractions, plus certain recreational services such as bowling or miniature golf. In addition, hotels, motels and inns are listed that have special package rates and plans for seniors.

On the local scene, STRAC members take in the Hollywood Bowl, Inglewood Forum, Los Angeles County Fair, Santa Anita, Los Angeles Philharmonic and other commercial attractions that provide information on special events, performances and specific days when seniors (the age can vary) are given free or reduced rates.

For senior groups wishing to view taping of top TV shows free, Audiences Limited and NBC tell how to arrange tours; the latter even providing transportation in most cases.

One final notation: STRAC continues to recruit other attractions, recreation services, transportation, tour companies, restaurants, accommodations and anyone in travel or entertainment services wishing to help senior and mature traveler groups. They can contact STRAC through the same address.

REMINDER--The STRAC Calendar is not for individuals. It is designed for group planners of senior or mature traveler organizations, clubs, associations, etc. Just make sure that your group travel planner knows of it.

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