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The Mature Traveler

Good News for Singles Who Like to Go Double

December 14, 1986|BILL HUGHES | Hughes is a 30-year veteran travel writer living in Sherman Oaks.

Partners in Travel is a perky little newsletter that's been around for six years helping solo travelers become duos to eliminate the dreaded single supplement charges.

Published six times a year by Miriam Tobolowsky here in Los Angeles, it is available to all travelers, but its listings are overwhelmingly geared for the mature travelers.

"The newsletter is basically a listing of members looking for travel companions," says Toby, as she prefers to be called. "It is really for the independent traveler seeking a compatible someone, male or female.

Many California Listings

"And although it is helpful in eliminating those often heavy extra charges on the single traveler, many respondents are seeking someone for camping or RV trips, motoring vacations and short trips," she adds.

While the newsletter does draw from as far away as the Midwest, most of the listings are from California, with a heavy emphasis on this area. All listings are first names only, with a code number. Readers reply to the newsletter office where Toby forwards them, unopened and unread, to the original listings and lets them arrange subsequent correspondence.

In addition to Partners in Travel, Toby also publishes a fact-packed, no-nonsense little booklet called "The Seasoned Savvy Traveler." It is heavy on senior discounts and brief profile listings of the many organizations, clubs and associations that offer special deals for mature travelers, plus some good travel tips.

Toby offers both a six-month and one-year membership; six months for $20, a year for $35, which includes six issues of Partners in Travel. Both include all office services involved in directing replies to listings.

If you would like a copy of the "Seasoned Savvy Traveler" and the current Partners in Travel newsletter, they are available to readers for $5. Contact: Partners in Travel, Dept. MT, P.O. Box 491145, Los Angeles 90049.

There's a new entry into the increasingly popular extended vacations along Spain's Costa del Sol. KLM, the Dutch airline, in cooperation with Spain's Melia International, offers long-stay vacations aimed at the mature traveler.

The basic package plan uses two hotels in Torremolinos. The first-class Melia Costa del Sol is priced at $185 per person for one week, two meals a day and $207 per person, all meals. The second hotel is the standard-class Natali Hotel at $110 per person for a week, with two meals a day or $124 per person with all meals for a week.

Both hotels feature a full program of social and cultural activities and the basic price also includes airport transfers, service charges and taxes, plus a Berlitz travel guide to the area.

In addition, local Melia guides can arrange optional sightseeing excursions to scenic Granada ($43), shopping in nearby Gibraltar ($52) and across the sea to Tangier in Morocco by hydrofoil for $89.

Ask Your Travel Agent

You may get more information from travel agents, and might want to compare the program with similar offerings from mature-oriented companies such as Grand Circle, Saga Holidays and Passages Unlimited to see which best suits your budget and tastes.

You may also want to check with your travel agent about MTI Vacations Inc., a Chicago-based travel wholesaler that recently announced a Senior Savers program to Hawaii for those 60 years and older.

Instead of a specific discount for seniors, the program provides upgraded hotel rooms plus some special features such as a free safe arrival phone call, flight bag, pineapples and cocktails.

Also available through travel agents is Passages Unlimited's "Mexican Passage" designed for "over 55s" and "mature singles (35 plus)."

This 10-day tour of Mexico begins in Mexico City and proceeds by motor coach to such destinations as Bafio, San Miguel Allende, Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta.

In addition to accommodations at superior or first-class hotels, the tour includes 18 meals, cocktail and dinner parties in addition to the sightseeing program.

The price per person is $1,048 based on double occupancy. Air fare is not included but the price does include trip cancellation, medical, baggage and trip delay insurance.

Single travelers who do wish to cruise along might also check with their travel agents about Royal Caribbean Lines' (Song of Norway, Song of America, Sun Viking and Nordic Prince) new fares for single passengers.

The cruise line, which operates chiefly out of Miami to the Caribbean, has adopted what it calls Category O, short for its "One-derful fare" for singles.

Category O carries a single supplement of just 15% for the value season, roughly spring through fall sailings, and from 33% to 45% for peak season and holiday cruise sailings.

Not bad, considering single supplements usually start at about 50% on most lines. The only problem is that Category O is limited to available space on various sailings. But it's worth checking.

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