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 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... More

Hawaii.....Here We Come!!!!

Hawaii - Here We Come - The Travel Factory Hawaii - Here We Come - The Travel Factory

Frequently we have folks who come in and want to talk about a trip to Hawaii. My eyes light up because it is one of the best trips we ever take. I've taken groups over there in years past where we just visited Oahu (Honolulu and surrounding area), and it was ok, fun and a lot of things to do, but I wanted to be able to visit the other islands too, but didn't have time. So, here's the best solution.

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Travel Advisors Do More Than Sell Travel....They Help Keep You From Being Depressed!!

Travel Advisors Sell Happiness! Travel Advisors Sell Happiness!

We could have probably had a shorter title, but I wanted to get your attention. According to the 10th annual Allianz Global Assistance Vacation Confidence Index, Americans who don't feel like they can take a vacation, despite wanting to, are nearly two times as likely to show signs of moderately severe to severe depression. So, the first thing to do is to realize that you do need to relax, then secondly, reach out to your travel advisor who will take the stress out of planning a vacation that will make you a more productive employee or owner. Taking time off is not a frivolous thing, it has real benefits to your mental well-being.

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Airline Germophobia

Airline-Germophobia-with-The-Travel-Factory Airline Germophobia

One of the travel websites that I visit quite often is posted by one of my favorite travel agent owners and writers, Richard Turen. The site is titled “Traveltruth.com”. He and his staff are very intentional in “telling it like it is”. They answer various and sundry questions sent to them by travelers, and one that I thought was interesting and wanted to share was the question about how to avoid getting sick while traveling on an airplane.

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Cruising The Caribbean In September

Cruising The Carribean in September Cruising The Carribean in September

We just returned last Sunday from a great cruise experience, cruising the Western Caribbean out of the Texas port of Galveston. It was our 13th September cruise, and a good time was had by all!!!

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Norwegian Cruise Line's Bliss

Norwegian Cruise Line's Bliss Norwegian Cruise Line's Bliss

NCL aptly named their newest ship in the fleet, Bliss. The dictionary defines this word as “great happiness”, and if you go on her and don't find bliss, I don't think it will be the ships fault.

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Flying With Medical Concerns

Flying-with-Medical-Concerns---The-Travel-Factory Flying with Medical Concerns

One of my favorite websites to visit regarding regulations in flying on airlines today is the Transportation Security Administration website: www.tsa.gov. There is a world of information on there especially regarding what you can and cannot bring, along with some valuable tips.

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Hey Siri, What Do You Call Those People Who Do Travel??

Hey-Siri-What-Do-You-Call-Those-People-Who-Do-Travel---The-Travel-Factory Hey Sir What Do You Call Those People Who Travel??

Over the past 42 years since I've been in the travel business, travel sellers have had a variety of titles. Probably the most favored over the years is 'travel agent'. But there have been other handles like travel counselor, travel consultant, travel adviser, travel advisor, or as one in our office mentioned, travel slave based on the amount of money I pay her. Interestingly enough, the American Society of Travel Agents, after going by that name for 75 years, made the decision last week to rename themselves. That organization that represents those of us who work in the travel business have decided to name themselves, American Society of Travel Advisors....that's AdvisOrs. Obviously, they didn't have to change the initials.....still ASTA.

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Flying Tips

Flying Tips with The Travel Factory Flying Tips with The Travel Factory

Occasionally we have clients who come in and want to talk about taking a flight to a certain destination. In fact, we had some folks recently who were totally unfamiliar with the flight process.....at 75 years of age, they had never flown in a commercial airplane. In this day and time, that is really unusual.....but not so terribly. I remember when I got into the travel business over 40 years ago, my parents who at that time were in their late 60's had never flown, so I got to accompany them on their first airplane flight.....a neat memory.

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"Texas, Our Texas, All Hail The Mighty State"

Texas Our Texas - All Hail The Mighty State Texas Our Texas - All Hail The Mighty State

Seldom do travel agents extol the virtues of a driving vacation; they can't make a living talking about places where they can't realize a commission for their efforts. But, here in the middle of August, I thought it was about time I praised the efforts of the Texas Historical Commission, Texas Department of Transportation, and Convention and Visitors Bureaus of virtually every city in Texas to make our state a viable vacation destination.

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Different Approach To Ocean Cruising

Different Approach To Ocean Cruising with Viking Cruises Different Approach To Ocean Cruising with Viking Cruises

Three years ago, the owner of Viking River Cruises made the decision to return to ocean cruising, but with a different model currently employed by the major cruise lines. He took a hint from the popular features of the river cruising business and morphed them into a new concept of ocean cruising.

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Cruising's Best Of "The Best"

Glacier Bay in Alaska - The Travel Factory Glacier Bay in Alaska

Quite often I get asked which cruise line or ship do I prefer, in fact that question was asked yesterday in an interview with a potential cruiser. They usually don't like my answer because I've never been on one I didn't like!!!

For some folks, that question was answered in a survey conducted by Cruise Critic which is an on-line cruise review site. This was a survey covering a lot of “Bests” from their loyal and opinionated website participants.

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You Get The Vacation That You Pay For!

You Get The Vacation You Pay For You Get The Vacation You Pay For

A couple of weeks back, one of my favorite travel columnist, Richard Turen, had a tongue-in-cheek piece with a little reality included in the Travel Weekly that I thought bears additional coverage. My guess is that he had received several phone calls from folks wanting him to help plan their vacation, but with the caveat that they wanted a “good deal”, and “good, but cheap” vacation.

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Oh My Goodness, PART 24.....ALASKA 2018!!!

Alaska 2018 With The Travel Factory Alaska 2018 With The Travel Factory Gang

Each year when we return from our outstanding trip with The Travel Factory Gang to Alaska, my blog always starts out the same.....you should have been with us!!!

We visited “The Last Frontier” again and it was an exciting trip again, beside all the beautiful scenery and wildlife, our group this year became part of the “1% Club”. That is a club made up of folks who were fortunate enough to see Mt. McKinley (officially now, Denali), and she was wide open all day long; no clouds, no fog, no smoke, just 20,320 feet of her!!!!

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Lets Go On A Vacation With “The Travel Factory Gang”!!!!

Group Travel with The Travel Factory

For over thirty years, we have planned group vacation travel.  Most of our plans have been on cruises to different parts of the world, primarily because those types of vacations are easier to plan in addition to having a positive experience.  In the past several years, we have limited our offerings to about 4 trips a year; the reason being when I'm escorting a group, I'm not selling!!

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Should I Buy Travel Insurance??

Travel Insurance Travel Insurance

One of the more vexing quandaries facing a traveler today is the question posed above.....should I buy travel insurance?

To answer that question depends on several factors.....(1)how big is the travel investment? (2)health condition of the family? (3) how big a gambler are you or what are you willing to lose?

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Trip Packing Reminders

Trip Packing Reminders  - The Travel Factory

Piggy-backing on last weeks message about summer vacations, I thought it might be a good idea to talk about some trip packing reminders, whether you are going in the summer or any time of the year.  Here's some things you might want to remember to pack with you:

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Summer Air Travel

Summer-Air-Travel-with-The-Travel-Factory Summer Air Travel with the Travel Factory

Hopefully you are like some “travel smart” people and have already purchased your summer vacation airline tickets, and if so, you have been rewarded with a good deal!! The report came out last week that airline customers and travel sellers should brace up for a series of airfare increases because of the hefty hike expected in the cost of jet fuel.

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Travel Consumer Protection

Travel Consumer Protection Travel Consumer Protection

I was reminded again the other day when a person came in talking about a vacation that they had “won”, but had not been able to make the arrangements to travel on the days they wanted to travel. I was someone they knew and trusted, and I got to help her crystallize their vacation plans, just as she wanted it.

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Hawaii and the Kilauea Volcano in 2018

Hawaii-and-their-Volcano-in-2018---The-Travel-Factory Hawaii and the Kilauea Volcano in 2018

Thanks to the Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island, we have a “new” word.....well new to me anyway......”vog”. That's volcanic smog, or air pollution created by vapor, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide gas released from Kilauea. It reacts in the atmosphere with oxygen, sunlight, moisture and other gases and particles creating a haze downwind from Kilauea. One person who lives over there and grew up in Southern California compared it to “Los Angeles-like smog”.

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How 'Bout A Little Alaska Weather??

How Bout A Little Alaska Weather? How Bout A Little Alaska Weather?

Just looked at the weather in Alaska today and they were showing at 1PM the temperature to be 60F degrees with 37% humidity. Doesn't that sound inviting? Well, The Travel Factory Gang is going to be going there in about a month, and with 100+ degree weather like this in Abilene, it can't come too soon!!

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