The Travel Factory Blog

Travel Tips, Stories, Deals and Info...

The Travel Factory employs 4 full time agents with 100 years total experience in the travel industry. Our agents specialize in cruise, tour and resort vacations as well as corporate incentive and school groups. Our mission is to provide the best, most courteous, most detailed, most informative service. Our slogan, "Building vacations to your specifications" says it all.

Cruising Looking Good!!!!

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The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has just released its 2017 Cruise Industry Consumer Outlook, and the report indicates that cruise popularity is on the rise....and that's good....for both the cruise lines and their travel agent partners.

CLIA engaged J. D. Power with the job of checking on consumer travel behaviors and opinions regarding the cruise industry, and the first report found that 64% of the responders said their awareness of a cruise vacation had improved over the last two years.

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Revisiting Passport Information

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NOW is a good time to apply and obtain a passport, particularly if one is considering traveling outside of the United States in the near future. If you already have a passport, it is a good time to check it and make sure there is adequate months before expiration. This topic was brought to mind when I was reading an article from The Travel Institute. They had some very good information that I thought might interest our friends who are considering a vacation outside of the United States.

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Airlines.....Remember When???....But Now!!!

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I remember almost 41 years ago when I began my journey in the travel service business, it was a real pleasure and quite an adventure to fly in an airplane. Men were dressed in business attire; women were fashionably dressed; stewardess were polite and accommodating, seemingly glad you were flying with them, the captain greeted you as you disembarked and thanked you for flying with him. Even checking in then was so seamless, and of course, luggage did not have to be paid for.

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Panama Canal Revisited

Panama Canal Revisited

We just returned last week from a wonderful trip that included the entire transit of the Panama Canal from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea. In my opinion, that is the only way to adequately view the magnificent engineering marvel that the Canal is.

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Visit Panama Now.....In 2017

Visit Panama Now.....In 2017

We've just returned from a wonderful cruise on Princess Cruise Line....the Love Boat line that has two ships (Island Princess and Coral Princess), specifically built to transverse the Panama Canal. We were on the Island Princess, and this was our third time through; the other two times we were on the Coral Princess.

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Know Before You Go (Travelling)

Know Before You Go (Travelling)

One of the best travel web sites that all travelers should visit before they travel belongs to all of us. It is a site managed by the U. S. Customs and Border Protection. The site is at this address:

www.cbp.gov/travel/us-citizens/know-before-you-go.

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Who's The Best In Travel??!!

Who's The Best In Travel??!!

Well, we've recently had the Oscar's, naming he best actors, actresses, and movies, and now we are winding down the collegiate basketball season to find out who is the best men's and women's basketball teams in the land.

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Picking The Right Cruise

Picking The Right Cruise

We have several folks going with us on our Alaska cruise this year who have never cruised before, and understandably, they are initially a little uncertain about what to do, how it all works. That's understandable, and an interesting statistic from the Cruise Lines International Association is that only 5-10% of the U. S. population has ever cruised before, so there is a lot of uncertainty about, what I think, is the best vacation one can take.

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How 'Bout Those Cheap Airline Seats???

How 'Bout Those Cheap Airline Seats???

The news is out now that the 3 major airlines, American, Delta, and United, are in the airfare race to see how many more customers they can entice over to their airplanes. Of course, they are offering the lesser expensive coach fares to compete with the low ball carriers who have shown some impressive growth, especially in several key markets like Dallas, Denver, and Chicago...enough to get the attention of the majors.

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Escape The Daily Humdrum.....At A Bargain!!!

Escape The Daily Humdrum.....At A Bargain!!!

For 11 years we have had the pleasant opportunity to take a great break as fall begins by sailing the Caribbean on beautiful and efficient cruise ships, catering to our every need and want. The first 8 years we were on a Carnival ship, the next four have been on a Royal Caribbean Cruise Line product.

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Why Not Holy Land????

Why Not Holy Land????

On three different occasions I have had the wonderful opportunity to take groups to visit the Holy Land. We have that opportunity to go again in March of next year, and the invitation is open to everyone to experience the walks where Jesus walked.

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Forgiving And Patience When Traveling

Forgiving And Patience When Traveling

The preacher had a two-fold sermon on Sunday. Sunday morning he talked about being a “forgiving person”. Sunday night he encouraged us to be “patient people”. Outstanding qualities desirable in all of us, but what does that have to do with travel?

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Unwelcomed Travelers

Unwelcomed Travelers

Some time or another I've had someone mention to me about bed bugs being on a cruise ship. Of course, they can also be on your bed at home or at your favorite resort hotel. To be honest, I never give bedbugs a second thought, I guess because I've never been bitten by one of them, I don't think. The story is out though that if you are infested with these little critters, it will take a professional exterminator to completely do the job.

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Why Reservations So Far In Advance??

Why Reservations So Far In Advance??

If you've listened to this radio show very often or have read our blogs on our website, then you know that my mantra has always been, “book early” for the best rates. It is never more so than today!!!

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Buffalo Gap Showplace(s)...With A Little Bit Of Abilene To Boot!!!

Buffalo Gap Showplace(s)...With A Little Bit Of Abilene To Boot!!!

Normally I don't print, virtually verbatim, from articles I've read, however, today's comments come from a contributor to the Dallas Morning News, June Naylor. She visits the Perini enterprises quite often, and had some real good things to say about their offerings of lodging, meals, and shopping in a recent article. We don't sell bed and breakfast properties, but this one is worth mentioning.

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Las Vegas... Love It and Leave It... But You'll Be Back!!!

Las Vegas... Love It and Leave It... But You'll Be Back!!!

Las Vegas is probably our most quoted destination. Seldom do we quote to someone who has never been there. It is also the most popular destination for conventions, workshops, and board meetings. In fact the World Travel Awards recognized Las Vegas as the top destination for meetings and conventions on the planet. . . . for the fourth year in a row!!! In 2015 they hosted almost 22,000 meetings and conventions and trade shows. The Trade Show News Network also recognized Las Vegas as the No. 1 trade-show destination in the U. S. for 22 consecutive years. It's just a fun place, especially for adults, to meet and enjoy the leisure time.

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Airlines And Airports.....Again?!!!

Airlines And Airports.....Again?!!!

Some folks ask me why I spend so much time talking about airlines, good and bad? I wonder about that too, especially since compared to the time we spend in selling their tickets, we make virtually nothing at all from the airlines. But, we have to answer as many airline questions each day as we do cruises and tours, so since they take up so much of our time.....we talk about them.

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Big Changes Coming In 2017 For Airline Travelers

Big Changes Coming In 2017 For Airline Travelers

Don't you just hate it!!! The way the airlines are talking, it's obvious they don't really care about the ones paying the fare for service.

United made the recent announcement where they said that customers who bought its cheapest fares would not be assigned seats until the day of departure. Also, those low-fare customers will be limited to one carry-on bag that fits under a seat. In addition, you would not be able to accrue miles toward elite status at this fare level. Now, if you paid a higher fare or wanted a particular aisle or window seat, then the ticket fare would increase, of course.

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How 'Bout An Adult-Only, All-Inclusive, Luxury Vacation?!!!

How 'Bout An Adult-Only, All-Inclusive, Luxury Vacation?!!!

Like a cruise, if you haven't been on an adult-only, all-inclusive vacation, then you are seriously missing a tremendous vacation experience. The publishers of the travel magazine for travel agents, TravelAgent, have suggested several reasons to book our guests on one of these vacations. We'll review a few of the “reasons to book”.

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A Holiday Pastime

A Holiday Pastime

I have a great idea for your leisure time during the holidays........travel down the web road and pay a visit to The Travel Factory website. You could easily spend some quality time just looking and dreaming, then getting ready to act as soon as the holidays are over.

Our website has been up over a year now, and we continue to get numerous looks, but I'm confident that if more folks knew about it, we would be getting a whole lot more. You can find the site at www.thetravelfactoryabilene.com.

When you go there, you can find information about the agents who get to help arrange travel memories for our good friends in the Big Country.....and you'll find that all of us have many years of experience under our belts which is the mark of a quality travel agency. There is a little section called “Client Testimonials”, reports from clients who are singing the praises of our agents.

Also on the “About” ladder is a section of blogs. These are posts of radio shows over the past two years, and we cover a myriad of travel related topics. Some we wrote over two years ago are still relevant in today's travel environment.

Then there are the helpful sections like converting currency the easy way. You can load X amount of British Pounds and convert it into US Dollar amount.....real quick and easy. Or, like our folks who went to Hungary last year and had to convert the US Dollar into the Hungarian forint...so easy with this currency converter on our website.

On this section you can also plan your own vacation with Funjet Vacations, or at least shop for it. You could even make a deposit on the site and because you made the reservation on our website, we would be notified so one of our agents could service the booking. Or you could at least see what a trip of your dreams might cost, then give us a call and we can easily put the package together for you.

Several of our friends who have traveled with us, or who have given us the privilege of helping them plan their vacation, have shared with us some of the pictures they have taken and our webmaster has put them on our website. There are truly some great photos that you can certainly enjoy, and as a result, decide you want to go there !!!

One of my favorite places to “camp out” on the website is the “Featured Cruises” and “Featured Tours” sections. This is where we have posted The Travel Factory Gang cruises and tours for the coming two years. There are fliers that tell some of the story like dates, itineraries, and approximate costs, but on some of them, our webmaster has put a video presentation showing some of what we will see on the trip. The video of the Holy Land tour in March, 2018 is quite good and one of the guides that is shown in the video will be our guide for that trip....he is so good!! The other video that will get you fired up to go is the Alaska Cruise/Tour; such a beautiful presentation. Oh, there are other vacation possibilities like the 12th annual Caribbean cruise with Rudy Fernandez in September 2017, or the Canada/New England fall cruise in October, 2018. The ship on the Rhine River cruise in November, '17 is already completely sold out!!!

See our contact information on the website; 698-1421 or 800-760-4040; come by to see us at 4150 Southwest Drive, Ste. 120. The Travel Factory agents would love to help with your memory-making vacation!!!

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