Holidays can often be difficult times for empty-nest mature travelers, particularly singles who have been left alone.
Bob Costa of Corliss Tours in Monrovia picked up on this eight years ago when he offered a Christmas tour and found a ready market. He has expanded his holiday tour program each year.
This season Corliss Tours has four Christmas trips plus one each for Thanksgiving, New Year's and Easter. As a tour wholesaler, Costa sells his personally planned tours in many states, though the major market is still the Los Angeles area. All holiday tours are fully escorted from Los Angeles.
Costa's holiday program starts with Thanksgiving in San Antonio, a six-day escorted tour leaving Los Angeles Nov. 23 and based at the Marriott Riverwalk Hotel.
The tour includes extensive sightseeing, with visits to the Alamo, El Mercado, missions and other sights, plus day tours to the Lyndon B. Johnson Ranch, Austin and the Texas hill country.
A traditional Thanksgiving dinner, Western-style barbecue plus two other meals are included. Other features are San Antonio's festive Holiday River Parade, the Christmas lighting of the Riverwalk area and the arrival of Santa Claus by boat.
The price is $745 per person, double occupancy. The land portion for those using alternate transportation or arriving from another city is $555. There is a $180 supplement for a single room.
"We find we get double the amount of single travelers on holiday tours than on our regular tours," Costa said. "And many do not wish a single room with the supplement charge. So we really try to match singles on a share basis."
For the Christmas holidays Corliss offers an escorted tour to San Antonio that is similar to the Thanksgiving six-day tour, leaving Dec. 22 and with special Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners. Prices are $15 more than the earlier tour.
Three other destinations are offered as Christmas tours by Corliss: Albuquerque, Natchez/New Orleans and Victoria, B.C. All depart Dec. 21.
The six-day Southwest Christmas tour to Albuquerque, which features the famous Luminarias Cavalcade, has accommodations at Hilton hotels in Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
Comprehensive sightseeing in both cities and along the Turquoise Trail, a chuck-wagon dinner at the Sandia Indian Reservation, Christmas Eve luncheon and a big Christmas Day dinner also are included. The tour costs $683 per person, double occupancy, from Los Angeles, $585 for the land portion only. There is a $170 single supplement charge.
Nine meals are included in the six-day tour to New Orleans and Natchez, which has accommodations at the Royal Orleans and the Sheraton Natchez.
Loads of sightseeing, a motor-coach tour between the two cities including several antebellum homes, plus Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners are among the tour highlights.
Escorted from Los Angeles, the tour costs $937 per person, double occupancy. Land portion only is $669 and there's a $160 single-supplement charge.
The final Corliss Christmas tour is seven days and includes 13 meals during a two-night stay at Hotel Vancouver, plus four nights at the charming Huntingdon Manor Inn in Victoria.
Sightseeing, a ferry excursion to Vancouver Island and holiday activities such as caroling and Christmas Eve/Christmas Day dinners are included. This escorted air tour is $1,016 per person, double occupancy, from Los Angeles. It's $779 for the land portion, with a $180 single supplement.
The same cities and hotels are used for the six-day New Year's in Victoria tour, which departs Los Angeles Dec. 28. Like the Christmas tour, the Victoria excursion is a dine-around tour with a dozen meals in as many restaurants. Cost: $898 per person, double occupancy, from Los Angeles, $649 for the land portion. Single supplement is $150.
Next March 21 is a seven-day Easter in Victoria tour that is similar to the two mentioned. The cost is $994 per person, double occupancy, from Los Angeles. Land portion is $745, with a single supplement of $210.
For tour information, contact Corliss Tours toll-free at (800) 456-571 or (818) 359-5458, or any travel agent.
Corliss also has a program of "Stay-Put" tours to both American and Canadian destinations. These tours are designed for mature travelers seeking a less hectic program. There's a one-stop base in a hotel or apartment for a week or longer offered almost all year.