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.

My initial working career was as a teacher, coach, and administrator at the high school and university levels for 13 years. Those responsibilities certainly prepared me for the travel business which I entered in May, 1976. I have been a partner in the business since 1981, primarily specializing in group business. My initial group efforts were with high school and college groups, especially athletic teams and senior trips. Then we escorted many groups doing mission efforts to France, Denmark, Norway, Australia, Korea, Brazil, Japan, Taiwan, and Great Britain and the Holy Land. Domestically we’ve planned and escorted groups to Las Vegas, Reno, Hawaii, San Francisco, Phoenix, and Idaho. Read more...

Trust Me, Something Every American Needs Is A Vacation!!!

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And, right now is a good time to begin planning your 2018 vacation. Any travel partner or travel agent will tell you that the best prices are found soon after the plane or boat has opened up for sell the next years airline seats and cruise staterooms.

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October Is "Plan A Cruise Month"

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I realize I painted a pretty bleak picture of cruising last week describing the devastation in parts of the Caribbean because of Harvey, Irma, and Maria, but by the time most of you want to go, most of those ports will be up and running. They know how valuable that tourist dollar is to their economy, so you can be sure it's 24-7 to get recovered . And, October is the month to plan to go!!!

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Will We Ever Get To Cruise In The Caribbean Again???

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The past three weeks have been wild and crazy, especially in the cruise industry, thanks to several hurricanes that visited the Atlantic and Caribbean. Some cruise lines had ships rescuing stranded visitors as well as doing their best to make lemonade out of real sour lemons. Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line received particular notice for their humanitarian efforts in helping guests escape the island dangers from the hurricanes.

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Tips For Shopping At The Airport

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This report today was inspired after reading an article in Airfarewatchdog, entitled “Things You Should Never Buy at the Airport”. I could probably write an article on “things you never see at the airport anymore”!!

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Disney Tips for First Timers!

Disney Tips by The Travel Factory

Going to Disney World in Orlando or Disney Land in Anaheim or going on a Disney cruise at any time of the year is going to be busy. If there are less busy times it would be after the second week in January through the first week of February, and the third week of August through the first week of October. As you can tell, those are when school semesters begin. Of course, if you can't go at those times, the best thing to do is to plan a long way in advance....how long? A good suggestion would be at least 10 months out. That way you could get the best airfare too.

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GROUP TRAVEL

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The other day I came across an article that got my attention regarding group travel. It got my attention because we sell a good bit of group travel, both in land packages as well as group cruises.

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Is It Safe To Travel To Mexico???

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That's a good question, especially considering all the recent negative reports that have been in the news. Let me see if I can answer that question with intelligent (well, reasonably) rational.

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Just Relax......Take A Cruise!!!!

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Did you know that a week ago, Tuesday, was National Relaxation Day in the United States.....and I guess the world!!! I didn't even know there was such a designation, but I do know the antidote for the stress of work and everyday life.......take a cruise!!!

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Good News On The Cruising Front

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It's that time of the year when the second quarter financial reports, and the cruise lines and tour operators start scratching their heads as to different strategies to increase sales or devise new promotions to make more bookings, thereby making more money.

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Traveling Safely

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One person I interviewed about safety in travel said, “my best advice is to just stay home”!! Of course I disagree!! What about those falls at home, or breaking a glass and cutting your hand, or someone running into you on your way to the grocery, or when coming out of the mall, someone runs by you and grabs your purse, jumps in a car and before you can think to move or react, they are gone. And those incidents happen right here in Abilene!!

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Hidden Travel Gems

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Occasionally we get requests from folks to suggest some place to go for a weekend or a short stay that is different, not a lot of people, not real busy but with some character to it.....and they'll say, “you know what I mean”.

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OH MY GOODNESS......ALASKA 2017!!!!

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You should have been with us!!! We just returned from another fantastic experience to “The Last Frontier”, Alaska, and those who traveled with The Travel Factory Gang enjoyed the chance to see Alaska in all her glory.

Of course, we can't predict what the weather is going to be with any vacation trip, but we can always hope, and picking the right time to visit Alaska gives one the best opportunity to have good weather and good animal sightings. This was our 23rd time to escort/host a group, and we've learned over the years that the last of June and through July gives the vacationer the best chance, weather-wise, to visit our 49th state of the Union. We left on July 3, returned on July 15, and the temperature ranged from 54-65F the entire time. It sprinkled on us one day for a short period of time, and that was it.....so no complaints from the participants on this trip because of the weather.

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Visiting Cuba

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We have had quite a few questions and requests to visit Cuba last year and this year, and even though during the latter part of President Obama's administration, he made it a whole lot easier, there have been a good bit of questions still to be answered, especially since President Trump arrived on the scene.

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How 'Bout Mexico???

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We often have folks walk into the office having no idea about where to go or what to do about a vacation.....they want some ideas. So..after a few questions about their intent and expectations, most of the time we start with a suggestion about the all-inclusive vacations offered in most of the Mexico resorts.

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Preparing For A Busy Travel Summer

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I read in a recent article that the number of passengers expected to travel through airports this summer are at a record high, with peak periods during June and July......just when I want to travel!!!

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is expected to screen more than 2.5 million passengers A DAY during the upcoming busy travel season. Of course over the past few months they have been anticipating this surge and have added more officers and canine teams at many of the major airports, but it is still incumbent on the traveler to take a little responsibility in helping things to run smoothly.

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Alaska Or Bust!!!!

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We are now about a month away from enjoying taking our 23rd group to experience the fantastic state that Alaska has evolved to be. I guess it has always been an exciting vacation opportunity, even back in the 40's and 50's, but it has become here in the 21st century, a positive bucket-list vacation item for a lot of folks.

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Travel Tips From "The Wayfarer's Handbook"

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Looking through some websites the other day, I came across an interesting blog on the “Independenttraveler.com” website. The author of the blog, Elissa Poma, had referenced some tips from a little handbook titled “The Wayfarer's Handbook” written by Evan Rice.

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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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