The above stated topic is one of my favorite places to travel....and for it to be so small, it gets in inordinate amount of world attention. Some say it was established in 1948, but in reality, it was established a long, long time before that. It has land borders on the north with Lebanon, Syria on the northeast, Jordan on the east, and Egypt to the southwest. Also the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza Strip borders the east and west. There is so much written about that little country; it even takes up over 80 pages on Wikipedia!! They ranked 11th in the UN's World Happiness Report....whatever that is!! I looked into it and would still be reading it of all the information found.
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.
For the past nine years, Princess Cruises has had a research company surveying folks about the benefits of cruising. Most of the other years they have limited their research to North American travelers, but this year they expanded the survey to include a global audience from United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, and where our president has just been, Vietnam.
I remember when I first started in the travel business, and even before that when I was flying all over the U.S.with basketball teams, the dress for the day was coat and tie. We looked really good with a team of 6'10” and 6'8” guys and a few 6'3”- 6' guys.
Back in the late 90's, we started, really by chance, group cruises and tours. Every time we started to book a group the tour operator or cruise line always asked “what do you want to call the group?” So, not being the overly imaginative guy in the room, I usually just said “ just call it The Travel Factory Gang”. That sounded easy to remember and if you imagined, kinda exciting!!!
Many of the cruise lines as well as travel agents throughout the United States are “crowing” about cruise sales so far this year. Some say it is the best ever this early into “Wave Season”. Wave season has been traditionally between early January to the end of March. That's when the cruise lines really hammer out inviting promotions, like Royal Caribbean's 60% off the second person in the room, and some have even promoted third and fourth children in the room as free or deeply discounted.
Well....I was reading in one of our trade magazines that according to them, (supposedly they're in the know), that this year for the travel business is shaping up to be banner year!!! They are basing that on the clients increased wealth because of the tax help as well as the booming economy, and hopefully that will inspire them to book more vacations.
There are several things travelers can do when anticipating taking a business trip or a vacation that seem fairly easy but often overlooked in the planning. Most of the time we just get too busy to remember!!
Several folks are planning to travel outside the United States this coming summer or fall, and so they need to be aware of the electrical arrangements in those countries. Here in the United States, no problem, everyone uses 110V. But overseas in Europe, South America, or just about any other place except U. S. they have a different voltage. So, what do you do?
We get requests all the time regarding our interest and capability to handle groups---athletic teams, high school groups, musical groups, church groups, family travel, you name it. Generally speaking, we always answer with a big YES!!! In fact, that's where I cut my teeth in travel.
Several professions are becoming extinct, and some have been predicting for many years that the travel agent is quickly becoming a relic. One group asked this question: with technology, online, mobile and user experience all firmly entrenched in travel, where does the store-front travel agent fit in to the buying cycle?
Back in 2002, this program started out with the title of Thursday Morning Travel Tips with Russell Berry from The Travel Factory. Well, we will often offer some tips, but mostly it's an opinion or state of the travel business, or a trip that we are promoting. But today, I have some real tips!! I'm more or less copying them from a “Smarter Travel” website titled “Things You Should Never Buy At The Airport”. For example:
Two of the most treasured World War II sites to visit are Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and the Normandy beaches in France. In my opinion, the best way to see those sites are on cruise vacations. Why are those sites so important in our history?
Folks have been coming in this week interested in seeing if there is any real good deals available for the Christmas or New Years weeks. You gotta be kidding!!!! If there were any space available at all, it wouldn't be a “good deal”!!
Back in 1981, five years after I had been in the travel business, I finally was able to get on a cruise....with my wife. I had always wanted to, and had the opportunity to sell many in those previous years, but of course, I really didn't know what I was selling. Finally, I convinced my wife to go with me on a cruise I had earned, and we sailed out of New York on a Holland America ship to Bermuda. One of the clinches in getting her to go,(because she was afraid of getting motion sickness), we got one of the first prescriptions for what is now known as the “Transderm Patch”. That was the “ticket”....we've been on about 85 cruises since, and she has never had motion sickness. So..that's my solution to one objection we hear of going on a cruise vacation.
Can you believe that Las Vegas, in 2017, registered a visitors count at 42.2 million people, and that was considered a “down year”. They based the fallen numbers on the shooting that occurred in Oct. that killed 58 persons and injured 851.
We've been fortunate over the past 24 years to enjoy introducing groups to one of the most exciting destinations in the United States......our 49th state....ALASKA!!! If you've listened to our radio show every Thursday on KWKC Talk Radio at 8:07AM with David Bacon, you'll know a little about our excitement when we talk Alaska. We also put the show on our website: www.thetravelfactoryabilene.com under our weekly blog. In fact, you can go to our July 19 show and see a report of this years Alaska trip.
I'll occasionally tell folks, when they are talking about taking a cruise, if you didn't have to get there and get back, cruising would be wonderful. It's getting to the ports and returning that makes a lot of folks reluctant to take that great, relaxing vacation.
Back when I got in the travel business in the middle 70's, the hot spots to go to in Mexico were Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, and Mazatlan.....even Mexico City received a lot of interest. I bet it's been 20 years since I sold a trip to Mexico City!! Back then, and even today, you have to be in possession of a United States passport to visit anywhere in Mexico, but that's ok...with a passport you can visit a lot of other countries too!!
As you can imagine, we have some real interesting encounters with potential clients. One recently came in and when asked if we could be of service, he said he would like to go somewhere. Well, for sure, he came to the right place for an answer!!!
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.