No, doubt in all professions there are times when we borrow ideas from others; I know it was like that when I was coaching, and it's been like that while in the travel agent profession. Of course I have had some travel adivsors (writers) that I gravitate to each week who have impressed me with their ideas and suggestions....among them Christopher Elliott of the Dallas Morning News, Richard Turen of Travel Truth, and Charlie Funk, a Nashville agent...just to name a few.
The Travel Factory Blog
Some folks resistance to cruising is that “there are too many people on those big ships”...especially first time cruisers as well as some who have limited cruising experience. But really, it has been my experience on some of the largest cruise ships in the world, that after you get checked in and on board, there is really no feeling of there being a lot of people on board. Yes, a lot of people or not, the day of embarkation is typically a little hectic and chaotic, until you get on board.
Thanksgiving turns to Christmas, which means we need to begin thinking what kind of Christmas present we can give....or get!!! It's been true ever since I've been in the business, and that's a long time, that one of the best, if not the best present, is a life-long memory. And one of the best memories is wrapped around a travel product; a trip to Disney, a ski trip, an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean, a Hawaiian vacation, a cruise experience......even a drive in the car for a week at Grandmas.
I keep getting requests from folks who have been to Alaska and those who have not. I'm reasonably confident that they have heard about our Travel Factory Gang trips for the past 25 years to that beautiful state and want to get on with us in 2020.
I'm sure our listeners and readers wouldn't mind a little personal privilege today. It just so happens that this is the day,(and I'll have to be careful), several years ago, a little girl was born in Anadarko, Oklahoma. She grew up in a family with one spoiled brother and two sisters, she being the middle sister. I'm sure psychologically that means something, but I don't have a clue what!! Her name was Paula Rowlett.
As many of you know, I've had the privilege of escorting groups to Alaska for the past 25 years....we started out calling our group “The Travel Factory Gang”, and have kept that moniker for all our other groups since.
I did a quick count this week of the number of guests we've had as a part of the Alaska Gangs, and it numbered over a thousand people. Probably 100+ more made reservations but for some reason or another could not make it with our group, but traveled later on their own.
Some of the best education you and your family can experience is through travel, getting away from your comfort zones and discovering new cultures and lifestyles. One travel contributor to the Dallas Morning News said, and rightly so, “the freedom to travel is something to savor”. That is an attitude or reality that we often forget or just take for granted, but when I see on the news and pictures of folks over in Syria or other parts of Africa in their day to day struggle just to survive, that's when the concept of “freedom to travel” becomes a reality for us in the United States.
Carnival Cruise Lines recently made the announcement that they were moving the Carnival Radiance to Galveston in May, and that will make the presence for that cruise line largest in the state. In fact, that will give them 4 ships in the Galveston market, and that is as many ships as they have in their Miami home market.
One travel writer commented that those mandatory resort fees that have cropped up all over the nation, especially in Las Vegas, New York and other resort communities are a “rip off”.
The month of October has typically been designated by the Cruise Lines International Association as “Plan A Cruise Month”. My opinion is that anytime is a good time to plan a cruise, but I can certainly understand why October is such a good time to start those plans.
We had a program on this topic several months ago, last March to be specific, but in light of some recent events in the past week, I thought it would be a good idea to visit that topic again.
A recent study of the U. S. Travel Insurance Association reported that in 2018, Americans spent almost $4 billion on all types of travel protection, and that was an increase of over 40% from 2016. Those policies were purchased through travel insurance providers, through travel agents, as well as on-line suppliers.
It's getting close to holiday time and we always get the question, “When is the best time to travel”, and I usually answer, “Whenever you want to go!!!”. Then their real question comes out, “no, when is the best price or what day is the best day to get the best price”. In this day and time, those are hard questions to answer in precise and definite terms.
The heritage of this agency started back in the late forties when the airline industry was just getting off the ground. Mrs. Ruth Gay who initiated the travel agency business back then was focused primarily on ocean travel, but air travel was beginning to make a little headway.
When I started in the business in 1976, travel agents were appreciated and loved because we were the lifeblood of the airlines business, 'course it was the phone and Official Airline Guide operation back then. To show their appreciation, the airlines paid the travel agencies a commission for selling and servicing their (our) customers.
Do You Have A Real ID???
Congress passed the “Real ID Act” into law in 2005 following a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission on setting minimum national security standards for state drivers' licenses and ID cards. The enforcement of those requirements has been repeatedly delayed. Real ID's require state applicants to submit paperwork to prove who they are and their established residence in the U.S. Some states have made considerable progress in meeting this key recommendation of the 9/11 Commission.
Don't ask me when, it's been too long to remember when or why, but I decided, for lack of another name, (you might say I am creatively challenged), to refer to the groups that my wife and I host as “The Travel Factory Gang”. Some tour operators and cruise lines have a little hesitation and suspicion when I announce the name of our group, so most of the time I have to explain the nature of the group.
We get questions all the time from folks who want to take a vacation to the Hawaiian Islands, and because we've been there, done that, my response has always been, “take a cruise of the Islands on Norwegian Cruise Lines Pride of America”. Why would I say that?
With the grounding of the Boeing's 737 Max planes last February, and the anticipated weather interruptions, the airline industry has had a frustrating summer trying to keep juggling those balls (planes) up in the air to keep those passengers reasonably satisfied. It was estimated that there were 41 million fewer seats on airplanes available this summer as a result of the disruptions.
It really is hard to get enough of the cruising experience......laid back, have folks take care of your every need, enjoy real good food.....and plenty of it if you wish, quality entertainment every night that you've already paid for, enrichment programs covering various subjects, interesting active or inactive excursions in every port, or just enjoying the pleasure and time to read a good book, not to mention the opportunity to visit places you've always read about or heard of. Cruising is all that....and more!!
The Travel Factory has a great itinerary scheduled on a Viking River Cruise to Paris and the Heart of Normandy, departing on October 31-November 7, 2019. Reservations were secured for this group trip back on May 3, 2018. By mid-November, 2018, that departure was already sold out!!!