It's described as the "cheapest vacation package in the U.S." The destination: Mission San Luis Rey Retreat Center near Oceanside. The cost: $150 for two persons for accommodations, breakfast/dinner daily, Monday to Friday. If a child shares the room there's an additional charge of $40. The program (May to September) is in its eighth year. Mission San Luis Rey is four miles inland from Oceanside. There's a swimming pool along with tennis, volleyball, basketball courts. For details call (619) 757-3659 or write to the Retreat Center, P.O. Box 409, San Luis Rey, Calif. 92068.
New Zealand House Swap
A couple in New Zealand wants to swap homes with a family in Southern California. The New Zealanders will be vacationing in the United States during September. Their three-bedroom home is near Rotorua, the hot springs area on New Zealand's North Island. (This is a good base for exploring dozens of attractions.) The exchange includes a Chrysler sedan. Write to Robert Harnor, 65 A. Pitau Road, Mt. Maunganui, New Zealand 53606.
Loews has opened a new hotel in Denver. It's called Giorgio. $65 (single or double) between now and Sept. 7. Features an Italian theme with imported furnishings, an Italian-style continental breakfast plus other Old World touches. "A total Italian experience," Loews says. (There are also views of the Colorado Rockies.) A free lift to the airport in a limousine is included in the price of your room. Loews calls the Giorgio "America's most simpatico hotel." See your travel agent or call toll-free (800) 223-0888.
London for Kids
London Friends does tours to Windsor, Hampton Court, Eton, the Thames Valley, Greenwich, Oxford, Stratford, Blenheim, Sussex, the Cotswolds, Bath, Canterbury, Salisbury and Stonehenge. Now they've put together an all-day romp around London for children, ages 5 and older. "Our guides have families of their own and are trustworthy, patient and enjoy being with children," London Friends says. The traditional London tour takes in the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, St. James's Palace, 10 Downing St. (where Margaret Thatcher lives), the Horse Guards, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, the Olde Curiosity Shop, Tower of London, museums, galleries and Fleet Street. Contact London Friends, 27a Elsworthy Road, London NW3 3BT, England.
Around-the-world cruises for freighter buffs are scheduled to begin operation out of Long Beach in late May or June. Six to 12 passengers. Ages to 79. Both east- and westbound trips. (All outside cabins.) Ports to include Yokohama, Pusan, Keelung, Hong Kong, Singapore, Genoa, Antwerp, Rotterdam, Hamburg or Bremen, Philadelphia and Jacksonville along with transits of both Suez/Panama canals. The majority of the vessels will be of German registry. Some with swimming pools, saunas. Contact Freighter World Cruises, 180 S. Lake Ave., Suite 335, Pasadena 91101 or telephone (818) 449-3106.
You can obtain a free catalogue from Travel Accessories & Things, P.O. Box 1178, Agoura Hills, Calif. 91301. This is a mail-order company. Handles folding canes, door locks (for hotel rooms), inflatable hangers, neck pillows (for those interminable airplane trips), converters, money belts. These plus other useful items for the traveler. The catalogue also provides helpful tips on shopping, packing, credit cards, dining, drinking water, etc. It's worth the postage stamp.
A "Spirit of Massachusetts Vacation Kit" has been assembled by the Massachusetts Division of Tourism. Contains a region-by-region guide, a spring/summer calendar of events, a set of post cards. Call toll-free (800) 942-MASS. The same people have assembled a B&B guide. Free copies by writing to the Massachusetts Division of Tourism, 100 Cambridge St., 13th floor, Boston, Mass. 02202.
If you plan to be in the Cape Cod area, the Charles Hinckley House (circa 1809) is a small, romantic inn on Olde King's Highway. Acclaimed as the most photographed inn on Cape Cod. A two-story frame with red shutters. Antique furnishings. All rooms with private baths, working fireplaces. Fruit baskets, chocolates, fresh flowers, English country breakfasts. The owners describe the old home as "a small, intimate country inn where great expectations are quietly met." A five-minute stroll to Cape Cod Bay. Rates: $85/$115. For reservations write to Charles Hinckley House, Box 723, Barnstable Village, Mass. 02630.
England--Bill Cooper, Los Angeles: Enjoyed Suncrest Guest House, 3 Wellington Crescent, Ramsgate, Kent, England. Phone (0843) 592 702. "Owned by retired sea captain and former nurse; both made us feel welcome and comfortable. Rates $22.50 per couple. We chose the Sally Line Ferry (Dunkirk to Ramsgate) for $61.50, which is half the other crossing fares for two people and auto."