Last week we talked a little about the sports environment that was being relied on to help with the entertainment package available in Las Vegas. Trust me, that's just one piece of the entertainment opportunities that visitors can enjoy.
The Travel Factory Blog
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.
It's been quite a while since I've talked about one of the best vacation spots in the United States...Las Vegas. It's been a hot ticket item for many years and it's going to get hotter in more ways than one!!
Someone ask me the other day it we were still selling airline tickets. I answered, yes we certainly are. However since about 2000, we have been charging a service fee, but the airlines are doing the same thing. Of course the airlines discontinued paying commissions to us for serving their (our) clients for over the past twenty years. They're so kind!!!
#1 For years when one purchased an airline ticket that entitled them to a seat assignment; they could check a bag without cost, and you were allowed a carry-on bag as long as it fit in the overhead compartment or under your seat.
Some of you have heard me say, quite often, that we are available to help with your travel needs. Our aim is good, honest, travel advice and planning, as......in other sign-off comments.....we exist to serve!!!
The Trump Administration announced yesterday that they were placing new restrictions on U.S. citizens traveling to Cuba. The restrictions will no longer allow the group educational and cultural trips known as “people to people” travel to the island. It will also impact the cruise lines traveling to that country.
It took several years in the travel business before I could convince my wife to go on a cruise with me, but finally, after the introduction of the “transderm patch”, she relented, and we took our first cruise out of New York to Bermuda for 7 days. That was back in 1985, and we have never looked back after discovering our favorite type of vacation.
A couple of weeks ago I announced our intention for The Travel Factory Gang to take a river cruise on the Elbe River, an itinerary that starts in Prague and ends in Berlin. That ship's capacity is only 98 persons.
The past two Thursdays I've been visiting with you about the airlines and their problems. So as not to play favorites, I thought I'd visit with you this week about a cruise line...the largest in the world!!
Staying on the theme started on last week's blog, we'll visit today about the serious situation some of the airlines are experiencing......all because of the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX. One writer said because of that situation, especially considering the upcoming busiest time of the year, that the airlines are looking at “scarce planes and booming demand”.
I have the hardest time defending the airlines........of course my main reason is that for the past twenty-plus years, they have not paid the travel agents who sell their product one red cent!!! We still provide that service, and for the longest time, we continued to provide that service without charge. Currently when we do sell an airline ticket, depending on whether it is a domestic or international ticket, we charge a very minimum service charge. But...most of the airlines do the same thing, charge a service charge to sell their own product.
I use that headline to make the point that when planning a vacation, wanting it to be the best for the least amount of money, the best tip I can give is to start making those plans early for the best rates.
The very best government-issued ID is a passport. You should have one, in case someone asked you to go with them at the last minute to Mexico, or London, or Finland (the happiest place on earth), or just about any other country.
The World Happiness Report just made their announcement recently and for the second year in a row, Finland stayed at the top as the happiest country in the world. Data came from the Gallup World Poll survey.
The explanation was that this country has a strong social safety net, including a progressive, successful approach to ending homelessness. It also has a high-quality education system and the only country in the developed world where fathers spend more time with school-aged children than mothers.
My goodness, what a crowd yesterday at Business Expo at the Convention Center downtown. In fact, they had all the booths sold out, over 220 of them, so there were a lot of folks trying to get your attention. It's a great event where there are a lot of connecting and re-connecting with folks and getting to know some new ones too. And, of course, getting to talk travel.....that is the object!!!
We have visited before about the value of having travel insurance especially when one has a significant investment in the trip. Most travel companies, if not all, refer to this as “travel protection”, with cruise companies especially using this title for coverage. Most folks take the travel protection to provide protection if they have to cancel the reservations. There are other coverages too including accident, sickness, lost baggage, and delays.
The above stated topic is one of my favorite places to travel....and for it to be so small, it gets in inordinate amount of world attention. Some say it was established in 1948, but in reality, it was established a long, long time before that. It has land borders on the north with Lebanon, Syria on the northeast, Jordan on the east, and Egypt to the southwest. Also the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip borders the east and west. There is so much written about that little country; it even takes up over 80 pages on Wikipedia!! They ranked 11th in the UN's World Happiness Report....whatever that is!! I looked into it and would still be reading it of all the information found.
For the past nine years, Princess Cruises has had a research company surveying folks about the benefits of cruising. Most of the other years they have limited their research to North American travelers, but this year they expanded the survey to include a global audience from United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, and where our president has just been, Vietnam.
I remember when I first started in the travel business, and even before that when I was flying all over the U.S.with basketball teams, the dress for the day was coat and tie. We looked really good with a team of 6'10” and 6'8” guys and a few 6'3”- 6' guys.
Back in the late 90's, we started, really by chance, group cruises and tours. Every time we started to book a group the tour operator or cruise line always asked “what do you want to call the group?” So, not being the overly imaginative guy in the room, I usually just said “ just call it The Travel Factory Gang”. That sounded easy to remember and if you imagined, kinda exciting!!!