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Tips on Travel From a Grandmother

August 27, 1989|BILL HUGHES | Hughes is a 30-year veteran travel writer living in Sherman Oaks

You can't tell a book by its cover is a corny cliche, but it does fit Frances Weaver's 102-page travel paperback, which bears the fanciful title, "Last Year I Went Around the World . . . This Year I Plan To Go Elsewhere."

I almost passed this off as just another of the many self-glorification travel books written each year. Luckly I took a second, longer look and found some good travel advice and helpful information.

Frances Weaver is 64, a widow and grandmother. Which, if you check travel profiles of many mature traveler tour groups and cruise parties, is pretty close to the average female traveler.

Weaver has turned out a guide for the mature traveler, but mostly for the suddenly single again women (and men) who are hesitant about traveling.

Pats on the Back

This is a surprisingly big travel segment--the person who has both the income and inclination to travel but needs the extra nudge to get going. Weaver does it with cajolery and pats on the back.

She helps provide the motivation and practical tips on getting started on short trips, group tours, educational excursions, plus lots about cruises and such important senior topics as choosing travel companions and how to work with travel agents.

Anyone under 55 years, or with some solo travel experiences, might find it too basic, but it should be must reading for those hesitant about traveling alone.

Weaver has a good answer:

"How can you be lonely in a world that's filling up with people just like you? It's because you're not looking and not trying very hard. Loneliness and boredom are basically self-inflicted. . . . There are people turning 55 every day. . . . It can be a new adventure, or it can be the living end, literally."

Weaver's guide, published by Fulcrum, Golden, Colo. ($9.95) is not found in many bookstores, perhaps because of its somewhat limited senior traveler appeal. However, it is available at Maps To Anywhere Travel Bookstore, 1514 N. Hillhurst Ave., Hollywood, (213) 660-2101.

Larry Duffing of the same Maps to Anywhere Travel Bookstore is offering a 10% discount on any item in his well-stocked store for all mature travelers (50 and over) in September. That includes a discount on all travel guides and books, maps, language guides, globes, travel accessories and other items.

The Embassy Suites Hotel in Downey, new member of the Senior Travel and Recreation Activities Council, has announced a weekend travel package for golfers and one for theatergoers.

Both are $99 per night for a two-room suite for one or two persons, and include the all-suite hotel's regular cooked-to-order breakfast and evening complimentary beverages for Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

The golf package includes a day at the Los Amigos Country Club, complete with golf cap, towel, two golf balls and souvenir tees. That's for one golfer; a second golfer is an additional $25.

The "Critic's Choice Weekend" includes two tickets to the La Mirada Civic Theater, plus a $15 gift certificate to the hotel's Gregory restaurant.

Shows scheduled at the La Mirada include "Murder Among Friends" next month, followed by "My One and Only" in October, another top Broadway show for November, to be named, then "Solid Gold Cadillac" and "The Nutcracker Suite" in December.

The 220-suite hotel has a heated-indoor pool, a sauna, a steam room and a whirlpool, in addition to a no-smoking floor and wheelchair facilities. It's at 8425 Firestone Blvd. For more information, call (213) 861-1900.

Calico Tours, a new STRAC member that is mature travel-oriented, has a special to Lake Arrowhead and Oak Glen set for Sept. 18-19.

The motor-coach tour includes an overnight at Lake Arrowhead Hilton, an old-fashioned hay ride and cookout dinner at Santa's Village, plus two other meals and a stop at Oak Glen for apples and cider. The price is $149 per person, double, with $10 off for members of the Calico Travel Club.

Another Calico senior special goes to Oceanside, Carlsbad and the old mining town of Julian Oct. 17-18. This two-day motor-coach trip includes accommodations at the Carlsbad Inn, an Old World retreat with a staffed health club, plus dinner and breakfast. Cost is $139 per person double, with $10 off for club members.

Calico's big fall tour is a 10-day, nine-night New England Fall Fantasy, which covers Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

This one is a bit more upscale than many other similar tours, as it includes deluxe accommodations-- such as Boston's Park Plaza Hotel, the Mt. Washington Inn in Bretton Woods, N.H., and Berkshire Hilton and Shawmut Inn in Kennebunkport, Me., not far from President George Bush's home.

Also included are eight breakfasts, four lunches and seven dinners, including a clambake with Maine lobster and loads of sightseeing.

Dates are Sept. 29 to Oct. 8. The tour costs $1,319 per person, double, plus air fare.

Calico's Peggy Kronenberger leaves the Los Angeles/Boston fare off the tour price so she can work with seniors who belong to various airline senior specials, the New England Fall Fantasy or other long and short tours coming up.

For more information, contact Calico Tours, 2265 Westwood Blvd., No. 247, Los Angeles 90064, (213) 478-5865.

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