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The Mature Traveler

Venture Club Offers Discounts to Seniors

April 27, 1986|BILL HUGHES | Hughes is a 25-year veteran travel writer living in Sherman Oaks. and

Holiday Inns Inc. continues to court the mature travel market, this time with the "Travel Venture Club" for those 55 and older.

Major feature of the club is a 15% discount weekdays and 25% discount on weekends at 900 participating hotels in the United States (out of about 1,500 overall). Restaurant discounts ranging from free dessert specials to "two for the price of one" entrees are also included.

There is an annual membership fee of $25. This also includes express check-ins, Rand McNally road maps, rental car discounts and a quarterly newsletter with a variety of articles and tour packages built around Holiday Inns around the country.

Airline and Auto Coupons

For club members 65 and older there are also 10% discounts for most air fares, including Ultimate Super Savers, on both Republic and Western airlines. As a special sign-up bonus, Republic is offering members a "buy one ticket and companion flies free" coupon. And Hertz is giving a coupon for "two weekend days for the price of one."

Venture Club benefits, notes the chain, will not apply in connection with any other Holiday Inn promotions or discounts, or during special events listed in the Holiday Inn directory.

Applications are available at participating Holiday Inns or by writing to Holiday Inn Travel Venture Club, P.O. Box 7642, Mount Prospect, Ill. 60056.

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Passages Unlimited, the Connecticut-based tour operator specializing in escorted tours and packages for the mature traveler, has announced an affiliated enterprise, "Travel for Mature Singles." These are tours designed just for single men and women in the 35-and-older bracket.

The tour operator, which works with Global of London on some tours and some on its own, said it began the program in response to input from travel agents and their single clients, many of whom all too often find themselves a minority on tours filled with couples.

"Singles differ from one another in their taste for travel," notes Ian Vincent in the announcement, "and so do these tours in terms of destination as well as price and content.

Discreet Support

"Included activities and options take into account the single person's desire for some regular social contact with his or her fellow travelers," adds Vincent, director of operations for the new program. "But as independent as singles may be, we still will have hosts and representatives on hand to answer questions, make special arrangements and generally provide discreet support."

Every effort will be made on tours to see that similar age ranges are grouped in departures. Shares will be arranged upon request, through a questionnaire designed to help assure compatibility.

Among the initial "mature singles" offerings: Spring on the Costa del Sol, May 13-21, $299 with most meals but not including air fare; a three-week tour of Great Britain, July 19-Aug. 6, $1,429 plus air; a 12-day tour of London, Leningrad and Moscow, four nights in each, Sept. 24-Oct. 6, $1,109 plus air fare. Other tours are being planned.

"So far the only national programming being offered single travelers is generally focused on the young," said John Byers, president of Passages Unlimited. "Ours will be the first program for single men and women 35 and older and available through travel agents."

For information, contact your travel agent or phone Passages Unlimited, (800) 472-7724.

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Make a note of the dates May 17, 18 and 19, then save time for the "Third Annual Time of Your Life Expo," the big Los Angeles event for those 50 and older to be held in the Convention Center.

Although the three-day event is an all-inclusive show for the mature audience, focusing on financial and retirement planning, health, medical, hobbies, crafts and more, travel and leisure is a major part.

Many tour companies, hotel chains, airlines and other travel and travel-related services will be represented.

Admission will be $3.50, but $1 discounts are available at Lucky Stores, Thrifty Drug stores, Kentucky Fried Chicken outlets and in the women's shoe departments at May Co. stores.

American Airlines has added flights to Mexico and Canada to its Senior Saaver Discount program as well as flights to Germany that originate in the United States. Also new are discounts on ground tour packages and fly/drive packages for tours in Germany, France and Great Britain.

For those who don't already know the details of the program designed for those 65 years and older, information is available by phoning (800) 433-7300.

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