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

What's On Your Travel Bucket List?

Whats On Your Bucket List? Whats On Your Bucket List?

Did you ever see that movie The Bucket List starring two of my favorite actors, Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman?  Ever since that movie came out, every time I turn around someone is promoting or talking about their “bucket list”.  It’s especially true in travel circles.

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Travel News Of The Week

Travel-News-Of-The-Week-The-Travel-Factory Travel News Of The Week with the Travel Factory

Something is always happening in the travel business. . .it’s seldom the same ‘ole, same ‘ole.  Airfares change by the minute, conventions spring up in resorts that our client wants to go to, the weather is always unpredictable, something is always changing.  

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Tell Me, How Do You Feel?

Tell-Me-How-Do-You-Feel Tell Me How Do You Feel?

It just gets my goat when some of these on-the-spot newscasters, usually sportscasters, put a microphone in the mouth of a coach or a player and asks them, after a hard-fought loss, “how does it feel to get beat by an extra point at the last second?”  The coach or player is extremely vulnerable at that moment to say exactly how they feel, and it might not be too pretty a public pronouncement.  Or the politician who had just lost an election gets the question concerning his feelings about the loss.  What do you expect them to say?!! 

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Let’s Go River Cruising!!!

River-Cruising-with-The-Travel-Factory River Cruising with The Travel Factory

For the past two years, we have seen an uptick in clients booking river cruises, especially in Europe. . . not only in Europe but also in China and now here in the United States.

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Don't Be Fooled by Cheap Online Travel

Beware-Of-Cheap-Airlines---The-Travel-Factory Beware Of Cheap Airlines

We get this response all the time when we are quoting an airfare and the caller will say, “we saw that price a whole lot less on the internet”.  Our quote is directly tied to the airline, so we know it is a current rate at that particular time, but one of the important factors the caller hasn’t told us is when they saw that price a lot less.  And they could have been on one of several on-line operators like Expedia, Travelocity, Kayak, Orbitz. 

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Travel Is A Good Thing!!!

Travel Is A Good Thing Travel Is A Good Thing

There is something uplifting and energizing when anticipating a vacation or a trip away from the daily activities of life.  I’m certainly not a psychologist, but I’m sure there is a psychological term to identify this emotional boost to our looking forward to a trip. My observation has always been that at least 75% of the enjoyment of a trip is the positive anticipation during the planning stage.

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Alaska. . . . The Land Of The Midnight Sun!!!

Alaska---The-Land-Of-The-Midnight-Sun---The-Travel-Factory Alaska - The Land Of The Midnight Sun

That title certainly does not apply to this time of the year, it’s really dark during the winters up in the 49th state.  But, during the summer, 18-20 hours of sunlight is commonplace.  That was the one thing that really amazed me on my first trip to Alaska back in the mid-90s; we’d go to bed at 10:30PM, and the sun would still be coming through our bedroom window.  It’s really not that bad though, in a day or two you are used to it, and glad that it is that way; it certainly gives you more time to do things. 

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Aloha State is Attractive!!!

Aloha-State-is-Attractive---The-Travel-Factory Aloha State is Attractive

Are you ready for 2013???. . .sure felt funny typing that date in today for the first time.

Last week I referred to several destinations and segments of the industry that were experiencing upticks in their current business and indications for the immediate future.  Both Mexico and Israel are very positive about their tourist trade for 2013, airlines are looking at their numbers enthusiastically rising, and the cruise trade is pumped about guests scheduling vacations with them.  One segment that I did not mention was the Hawaii market. 

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Things Are Looking Up!!!

Time To Visit Tulum Mexico?

Don’t ask me how, but based on reports from the travel industry, we are poised for one of the best years in a long time.  Read on:

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Airline Fees...Are We Hooked Yet???

airline-fees-are-we-hooked-yet-The-Travel-Factory

Way back in July I reported that American Airlines had a $240 million loss in the 2nd quarter and Delta reported a loss of $168 million in the 2nd quarter, but the CEO of American had told a crowd of corporate travel agents at that time that he expected  their airline would return to being an industry leader by the end of the year.  Well, we’re getting close to the end of the year and I haven’t heard them crowing about that yet!! 

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Cruising with Kids

Cruising-With-Kids-The-Travel-Factory Cruiseing With Kids

Reading an article in the Dallas Morning News a couple of months ago reminded me that I should blog some information about cruising with kids.  That’s an important topic to several families who are cruising over the Christmas holidays, as well as for those who are planning Spring Break and Summer family vacations.

 

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Tip for Families of five. . . . .OR MORE!!

Tips-For-Famileis-Of-Five-The-Travel-Factory

One of the real dilemmas families and travel agents have in planning a vacation is what to do with families of more than 4, especially if they all want to be together.  Hotels and cruise lines will not allow more than four to a room, so the last one born has to sleep out in the hall!!!  No not really, there are other more practical solutions but they oftentimes cost more money.

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Is Israel Safe?

Is Israel Safe - The Travel Factory Is Israel Safe?

We escorted a group last Feb. to the Holy Land, and I’ve looked back over our comments since we returned and noted that I did not really say a whole lot about it, other than that we had a wonderful, memorable experience.  One elderly deacon, while meditating at the Garden Tomb, expressed it this way “my life will never be the same”.

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Cruises and Airlines, Airlines and Cruises

Cruises-and-Airlines-The-Travel-Factory Cruises and Airlines

The symbiotic nature of cruise lines and airlines is and has been slowly becoming not so cozy as in the early beginnings of both travel industries.  The airlines have had a toehold on people getting from point A to point B and beyond for many years, but since the late 70’s have enjoyed the benefit of additional passengers trying to get to cruise ports. Early on in their existence, the cruise lines depended heavily on the airlines getting their guests to the departure ports. What resulted was an arms length but workable, cooperative relationship that made both of them money while providing the guests a seamless vacation. 

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Why Las Vegas?

Welcome-To-Las-Vegas-The-Travel-Factory Welcome To Las Vegas!

One of the greatest vacation cities in the world is Las Vegas, Nevada.  They literally have something for all ages to enjoy.   In recent past, that city and area has been the most popular vacation location that we have sold.  Seemingly they reinvent themselves every two to three years.

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Travel Agents Are Vital!!!

It is always nice to get affirmation, no matter what you are doing.  Coaches and ballplayers appreciate the pats on the back, the preacher feels better when a parishioner enjoys his sermon, the teacher gets pumped up when a parent exclaims how much they appreciate the way their child is being taught this year.

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It's Not a Small World... After All!!!

Probably the most family-fun orientated vacation that we enjoy planning is the trip to Disney World. Excitement builds in anticipation of the trip, the kids absolutely love it, the parents endure it, but looking back when they return home they discover, years later, memories of that magical trip to visit Mickey and friends.

Disney has published some “Fun Facts” about Walt Disney World that I thought interesting.  We don’t have near the time or space to talk about all of them, but just a few will whet your appetite for planning a vacation while the kids are young.  Best time for them is from 6-12 years of age. . .they’ll never forget the experience.

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Making a dream reality on "Carnival Magic"

About a month ago we came back from a cruise out of Galveston on the Carnival Magic. We had an energetic group of 130 great folks on the “Rudy Cruise”. I had done a radio show about 6 weeks ago imagining what it would be like on a cruise. Well. . . we don’t have to dream anymore. Here’s a reality presentation based on our experience on the Magic.

Put your imagination to work with me and imagine that you are awakened by the morning sun drifting through your balcony window, encouraging you to stretch and greet the morning. You do that and then the door bell rings and there is your stateroom steward with a tray of sliced and diced fruit, sweet rolls, fresh squeezed orange juice and coffee coming through your door and placing it on the table on the balcony. You relax while watching the gentle waves making a wake as your ship plows through the dark blue Caribbean waters on their way to the beautiful island of Jamaica.

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Watch Out for Travel Scams

Watch Out For Travel Scams Watch Out For Travel Scams

One of the seasonal occurrences that always happens around Fair time is the incessant travel scams that become rampant about this time of year. The Abilene Better Business Bureau had a little heads up notice about that a week or so ago, and I thought I’d alert our readers to some of the travel scams that are out there. It is important to take notice because travel scams cost consumers more than $10 billion annually... that’s a lot of chicken feed!!!

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Welcome to our new website!

welcome-to-the-travel-factory-website

We hope you'll enjoy our new website and will get a lot of use from it. Some of the features we like the most are the Online Booking Tool, the great photos in our Photo Gallery, and of course, our new Travel Blog!

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