Hometours International provides vacation rentals in London, villas in Italy. A one-week visit to London followed by a week in Italy starts at $1,100 per person. Includes the flight from London. A bargain in Italy: villa for two weeks for four persons at Sorte dei Mami on the Mediterranean (30 miles north of Pisa) for only $990 total. Includes a car. Other properties near Florence, in Venice, Tellaro, Amalfi, and one of my favorite places in all the world, Positano.
Caution: Although Hometours represents more than 400 villas in Italy, last year they were booked for the entire April-November season by mid-February, so hurry. (Hometours also represents properties in Paris, Nice, Madrid, certain areas of Switzerland and New York.)
Hometours International, 1170 Broadway, New York 10001. Telephone toll-free (800) 367-4668.
Fishing in Scotland
Vacationers searching for an unusual fishing destination are zeroing in on the Ulbster Arms Hotel in Scotland. The package includes room, meals, angling. Set in the most northerly county in Scotland. The Thurso River is divided into 14 sections, varying from half a mile to two miles per section with only two fishermen to a section. Fishing is by rod and fly only. No worming, spinning permitted. Besides the river, the hotel controls 50,000 acres of moorland with grouse shooting, trout lochs. Proprietors of the Ulbster Arms Hotel promise "warmth, comfort, friendly service," but describe the hotel as "a pub with rooms." No pretense of luxury. Weekly salmon packages from 212 to 384, trout fishing from 192 to 234. (Best fishing: April/May and mid-August to the first week of October.) The Ulbster Arms also operates as a B&B (10/16.50 a night, with VAT extra). The village (population 2,000) is in the county of Caithness. Airport nearby.
For details, contact the Ulbster Arms Hotel, Halkirk, Caithness, Scotland.
Britain on the Cheap
London's Tim Darby is operating a Los Angeles-based B&B service for visitors to Britain. Represents more than 100 homes in London. Another 800 throughout the U.K. London prices: $40/$60 per person (includes breakfast, taxes). Outside London: $22/$23 per person. Most of Darby's London homes are convenient to the Underground. "These are hosts who makes you feel at home," Darby says. Properties throughout England, Scotland, Wales. Darby and his colleagues have published a guide (368 pages) titled "The Best Bed & Breakfast in the World."
For free brochures, call Darby toll-free at (800) 852-2632, or write to U.K. Bed & Breakfast Service, 3472 Oak Glen Drive, Los Angeles 90068.
Families on the island of Corsica will play host again this summer to American students ages 10 to 20. Seven days to three weeks for as little as $10 a day, meals included. This is in the capital city of Ajaccio. School dormitories will be open to visitors (all ages) at the same $10-a-day rate. This Mediterranean city off the coast of France (population: 100,000) has fair to excellent restaurants, shopping, discos, movie theaters, beaches.
Contact I.F.S., 22994 El Toro Road, El Toro, Calif. 92230, or call (714) 458-8868.
San Francisco Bay Area
Here's an alternative to checking into a Bay Area hotel. Condominium suites are being marketed by The Hotel Alternative. Prices: $58 and up. More than 100 one- and two-bedroom properties. Downtown San Francisco, East Bay, South Bay. The same company represents condominium owners in Seattle. Popular with corporate executives. (Family/friends stay at no additional charge.)
Write to The Hotel Alternative, 1125 E. Hillsdale Blvd., Suite 105, Foster City, Calif. 94404, or call collect: (415) 578-1366.
If you're planning a white-water rafting trip this summer, discounts are possible by signing on as a standby guest with Outdoor Adventures. Costs $10 to register. (If trips don't materialize, your $10 is refunded at the end of the season.) Outdoor Adventures rafts rivers in California, Oregon, Idaho. Here's an example of values: a six-day trip down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho costs $995. If you qualify as a standby guest you pay only $575. When you sign up with Outdoor Adventures you name three rivers you prefer to raft as well as the month you will be available. If space opens, Outdoor will contact you.
Outdoor Adventures, P.O. Box 1149, Point Reyes, Calif. 94956. Telephone (415) 663-8300.
Air Inter (France's domestic airline) is offering its popular Le France pass again in '89. Sells for $210 in the United States. Good for unlimited travel between Paris, Lyon, Strasbourg, Bordeaux and 26 other French cities for seven days during a one-month period. The price is less than the regular Paris-Nice round-trip air fare. See your travel agent or call Jet Vacations toll-free at (800) 538-0999. Other details on France from the French Government Tourist Office, 9454 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 303, Beverly Hills 90212. Telephone 271-6665 or 272-2661.