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THE MATURE TRAVELER

Tours Make Education a Moving Experience

September 16, 1990|HANK KOVELL

Mature travelers who enjoy combining travel with education will appreciate the program offered by ElderFolk, a fast-growing program founded in 1984 by the Oregon-based Folkways Institute.

ElderFolk is designed for adults age 55 and older, and is described as a "school without walls" because, unlike many study programs for seniors that take place on college campuses in the United States and abroad, ElderFolk provides on-site lectures, discussions and individual exploration in the countries visited.

Programs are designed to be economical while still providing participants the opportunity to explore other cultures by direct contact with local citizens.

ElderFolk programs vary in length and do not require any specific education level or previous knowledge of the areas visited. There are no textbooks, homework or study preparation.

The Folkways Institute has scheduled more than 15 tours for the remainder of 1990 and through 1991, with other destinations to be added.

A sampling of the types of tours and subject matter includes: "Discover the Agean" (Greece and Turkey), emphasizing the region's influence on the modern world, May 3-24, 1991, $2,160; "Back Country Hawaii," devoted to an ecological, cultural and geological overview of the Big Island of Hawaii, Jan. 11-20, 1991, $1,260, and "Myanmar (Burma), Rangoon to Inle Lake," focusing on the natural and cultural wonders of the Republic of Myanmar, Feb. 6-22, 1991, $2,325.

The free ElderFolk catalogue contains details of the philosophy and background of the Folkways Institute and a brief description of all of the tours scheduled for 1990-91.

For the listing of tours or a copy of the catalogue, write Folkways Institute, 14600 S.E. Aldridge Road, Portland, Ore. 97236-6518, or call (800) 225-4666.

Mature travelers make up a high percentage of passengers on freighters, according to a spokesman for the Cruise & Freighter Travel Assn. Flexibility is the key to freighter travel since the vessels' schedules are dictated by the cargo on board and any that might be picked up along the way.

Newer freighters are being constructed with the express intent of carrying passengers, too, and cabins are increasingly more spacious and better decorated. One new freighter, Ivaran Lines' Americana, can book 88 passengers, although most freighters offering service from the United States carry a maximum of 12.

The Cruise & Freighter Travel Assn. has published a free booklet entitled, "35 Most Commonly Asked Questions About Freighter Travel." It tells about length of trips, shipboard activities, possible destinations, food service, language problems on foreign carriers, accommodations, health requirements, fares and discounts, booking procedures and other subjects.

For a free copy of the booklet, write to the Cruise & Freighter Travel Assn., P.O. Box 218, Flushing, N.Y. 11358, or call (800) 872-8584 during normal business hours.

Mature travelers who are considering a trip to the Hawaiian Islands this year can benefit from what are called "Prime Time Perks"--fringe benefits offered by Island Holidays Tours to persons over age 60. Bonus features may include tours, special amenities or upgrades at certain properties.

Island Holidays is a large tour operator that specializes in Hawaii and offers cruises, tours and resort hotel rooms and condominium rentals throughout the state.

For travelers who wish simply to book room reservations in Hawaii, Island Holidays has arrangements with 35 hotels in Waikiki, as well as with resorts and condominiums on Maui, Kauai and the Big Island. The company is able to supplement room rentals with discounted air transportation, airport transfers, day-tours and car rentals.

Also offered are so-called "supersavers" that include one or more islands. For example, the Super Saver Waikiki/Oahu provides round-trip air transportation from Los Angeles, airport transfers, flower lei greeting, seven nights' hotel and a welcome breakfast for $512 per person, based on two persons in a room, effective Jan. 1 to March 31. From April 1 to Dec. 14, deduct $40 per person.

A three-island trip includes Oahu, Kauai and Maui for nine days and provides round-trip air from the West Coast, lei greeting, three-day car rental on both Maui and Kaui and inter-island transportation. Cost for this package begins at $814 per person, double occupancy, and will vary according to the type of hotel or condo desired and the season selected for travel.

For more information, contact your travel agent or Island Holidays, 2222 Kalakaua Ave., Honolulu, Hawaii 96815, (800) 448-6877.

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