The Travel Factory Blog

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...

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...

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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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Get The Most From Your Travel Agent

Get The Most From Your Travel Agent

Buying travel is a unique purchase. What makes it unique is that you are buying both a product AND a service. A travel agent knows how to sell both parts, the airline, cruise line, or resort that matches the clients needs, and the service that will be available before and after the trip.

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Is There Any Such Thing As "Trouble-Free" Travel??

Is There Any Such Thing As "Trouble-Free" Travel??

This question was answered by what most would be considered an expert in this field, Captain Chesley Sullenberger, best known for his landing a USAirways plane on the Hudson River in 2009....has it really been that long ago?!!!

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Ski Vacations

Ski Vacations

It's getting that time of the year when some folks start thinking about going skiing. For a lot of them, especially if they want to go during the Christmas or New Years holidays or during Spring Break, they should have been thinking about it back in the summer!!!

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Cruising Demographics

Cruising Demographics

Often times when folks come into the office looking for a vacation, not really knowing what they want, they just know they want to get out of town for a while and away from “normal”, I will more often than not, suggest that they consider my favorite vacation, a cruise. And, more often than not, they respond with the comment that they thought cruising was only for older people, and that there wouldn't be a lot to do on the ship. WRONG!!!!.....on both counts!!!

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Holiday Vacations

Holiday Vacations

Over the years we've said, and it still holds true, that the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season is the most traveled, and generally most expensive, time in the year to travel. One of the reasons it is so expensive to travel by air is the airlines reduce the number of deeply discounted seats available during that time, and so by the time the traveler is ready to begin thinking of making reservations to go see Grandma, those “cheap seats” are already gone.

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Travel Insurance Revisited

Travel Insurance Revisited

Back the first of August I had a brief discussion regarding travel insurance and the benefits that are available to the traveler to protect their travel investment. On this past trip with a group going to Hawaii, I was privileged to see first-hand the benefit of having coverage.

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Vacation Bucket Lists

Vacation Bucket Lists

People say, “oh, you must have the best job in the world”.....and I say, “I do!!” But most folks don't have any idea of the behind-the-scenes activity that a travel agent performs to make someone's bucket list vacation a success. It's a great job because we get to be involved in people's lives with some of the most memorable moments in their lives. . .their vacation time!!

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Thursday Morning Travel Tips

Thursday Morning Travel Tips

We started this exercise of Thursday Morning Travel Tips back in the fall of 2002, and have faithfully kept it up for 14 years.....every week. Most weeks my favorite tip is to enjoy the services of an experienced travel agent; why?.......because as I've also mentioned on many weeks, we save you time and money!!

Today I have a smorgasbord of travel tips, in no organized order...just tips as they came to mind.


  • When you are going on long flights (3 hours or more) consider wearing support hose.....both men and women......and do your best to get up every hour or so and walk around; that's why I like an aisle seat, even though you are vulnerable for multiple bumps as people walk back and forth.

  • When you go cruising, take with you a multi-plug device. Most of the ships have only one available and accessible plug for use, so if you need to plug in a clock, charger, hair dryer and a curling iron, you need more than one plug.

  • A good thing to carry with you when going to a hotel or on a ship is a small LED flashlight. Keep it handy at night, especially if you have an inside room, and also available to be able to see when the closet does not have a light.

  • Some lotions have nitroglycerin in them and are detectable if in a carry-on going through security, so pack those items in your checked luggage, otherwise you'll arrive without lotion.

  • You would be surprised how many folks purchase new luggage, but do not put their names on them. So make sure you have your name on a luggage tag outside your luggage, and it is a good idea to have your names on a card inside your luggage. One person suggested a good idea when traveling internationally; make a copy of your passport and have it inside your checked luggage.

  • Take wipes with you on the airplane and wipe off the tray in front of you, the air vent and light switches as well as the seat belt. You don't know what sickness, infection or disease the person or persons sitting in that seat before you might have had.

  • I don't know why, but flying, and especially on long flights, drys your body out, and if you do not hydrate extensively, you are subject to dehydration.....so, drink plenty of water and avoid the alcohol.

  • Remember to pack all liquids over 3 oz. in your checked luggage; anything above that will be confiscated at security.

  • When checking in to a hotel, always ask that they consider you for an upgrade; you never can tell, you might be blessed with an oceanview room instead of one overlooking the alley. It doesn't hurt to ask, and the agent would feel good if they were able to upgrade you, and you would feel good too!!

We are always eager to hear what other travelers might experience that would help us and our clients as they travel, so if you have a tip, please let us know about it so we can share that idea with all our clients. We are at 4150 Southwest Drive, Ste. 120 at the Plaza at Park Central; you can find experienced travel agents at The Travel Factory: 325-698-1421 or toll-free 800-760-4040.

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What is Hot In Travel For Christmas And New Year???

What is Hot In Travel For Christmas And New Year???

It's this time of the year.....folks are beginning to think about a holiday vacation....and they should have been thinking about it back in May!!!

The weeks of Christmas and New Year are the most traveled, and as a result, generally the most expensive time to travel. From about Dec. 18 this year to January 7, the airlines, tour companies, cruise lines, auto rentals, and hotels all are aware of the increase in business, and they reduce the discounted inventory and increase the prices on all of their inventory

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Alaska Cruises in 2017

Alaska Cruises in 2017

The Alaska '16 cruise season ended a couple of weeks ago and the report from the Alaska Travel Industry Association is that they had a very positive year, not necessarily “gang busters”, but at least the visitor count was more than the previous year. In fact, overall visitor numbers recorded more than 2 million travelers to the “Last Frontier” state. The millionth cruise passenger was recently counted as the Alaska cruise industry's season was nearing its end.

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It's A Small World, After All

It's A Small World, After All

Walt Disney was a genius, not only creative, but obviously had sense enough to employ folks around him with the same creative entertainment juices that has captured the attention of travelers all over the world.

DisneyWorld and DisneyLand are two of our biggest family vacation requests every year, and Universal Studios is also been getting a lot of attention in the past 2-3 years with their Harry Potter emphasis. Our Disney sales representative sent us some interesting information about the Disney parks that I thought I would share with you today.

DisneyWorld in Orlando is really not a “small world” after all. It covers 40 square miles, about the size of San Francisco. Of the more than 25,000 acres, less than 35% has been developed with a quarter designated as a wilderness preserve.

Can you believe they have more than 62,000 persons making magic at the Magic Kingdom? They are the largest employer in the United States.

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