Program Offers Home-Stays in Foreign Places

Seniors Abroad home-stay programs are set for 1991 in Australia/New Zealand, Scandinavia and Japan, according to Evelyn Zivetz, San Diego-based president of what she says is the only such program for travelers age 50 and over.

Limited to just 20 participants, the Seniors Abroad programs usually sell out quickly. Yet as Zivetz explains, such travel isn't for everyone.

Home-stay programs are a learning experience that offer insights into a foreign culture through sharing the life style of foreign hosts, Zivetz said.

There is sightseeing and entertainment. But participants also help with meals, visit other senior groups or relatives and share ordinary day-to-day experiences such as shopping or market trips.

Generally, Seniors Abroad groups travel from the United States to foreign destinations and stay together the first few days after arrival for orientation and sightseeing. Then the group is divided and single members and couples go to two or three different places for one week each with local hosts, usually in different cities.

The program can also include an optional longer stay for general sightseeing in the host country or on the route back to the United States. Rates for 1991 home-stays are dependent upon air-fare changes, but Zivetz expects that they will be close to 1990 rates: Australia/New Zealand, Feb. 4-26, $2,675; Scandinavia, Aug. 16 to Sept. 7, $2,375, and Japan, Oct. 3-25, $2,225. Transportation costs are included.

Home-stay members live as family guests with their foreign hosts and there is no payment to the hosts for room and meals. Guests often offer to help share entertainment costs, and a parting non-monetary gift is appropriate.

Zivetz, who was in foreign diplomatic service with her husband, has traveled extensively. She also holds a degree in gerontology and is dedicated to helping American seniors extend their horizons through close contact with older people in other cultures. She began Seniors Abroad six years ago.

In addition to sending seniors off on foreign visits, Zivetz is looking for Californians to host six-day home-stays for Scandinavian seniors (April 7-25), Japanese seniors (May 5-25) and Australia and New Zealand seniors (June 15 to July 8).

For more information and a brochure on specific home-stays or becoming a U.S. host, contact Evelyn Zivetz, Director, Seniors Abroad, 12533 Pacato Circle North, San Diego 92128, (619) 485-1696.

Hilton Hotels has added foreign hotels to its Senior HHonors disHcount program for 1991, bringing the total to 90 hotels in 39 countries. More than 250 U.S. hotels are already included in the program for travelers age 60 and over.

The discount, up to 50% off regular rates, is among the highest in the industry. The Senior HHonors rates is also guaranteed to be the lowest published by the hotel and lower than those offered by senior organizations such as AARP.

As a bonus for members, the discount rate is also applicable to an extra room for parents, children or grandchildren traveling with the Senior HHonors member.

Other benefits include free spouse membership; 20% discount for dinner for two at most Hilton domestic hotels, whether or not diners are staying at the hotel; a members-only reservations line, and separate check-in and late check-out.

Program cost is $25 annually for domestic membership (including Hawaii and Alaska), $50 for an annual worldwide membership and $150 for a lifetime worldwide membership. Rates will rise Jan. 1 to $35 for domestic and $200 for lifetime membership. The annual worldwide membership rate will not change.

Another feature: If you join and do not use the program within 30 days and wish to cancel, Hilton will provide a full refund.

For more information, call (800) 432-3600.

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