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 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.
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.
If you live here in Texas and have had your drivers' license renewed in the past few years, you have had to also have a social security card, birth certificate, or some other “paperwork” proving your residence in the United States before you could get your license renewed. Once renewed, your drivers' license will have a white star in a gold circle in the upper right hand corner of the license that proves you have a “Real ID”.
Some states have applied for and been granted extensions, however, there are going to be no more extensions because the law goes into effect Oct. 1, 2020.
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!!!
Recently there has been a noticeable hue and cry in the travel trades regarding traveling alone. No doubt the media reports of the negative activities in the Dominican Republic and resorts in other Caribbean islands has stirred the conversation.
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.
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.