The Travel Factory Blog

Travel Tips, Stories, Deals and Info...

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.

Travelin' Tips

Travelin' Tips

Did you read about the lady who, when she called what she thought was a particular airline to inquire about an air itinerary, was told by the agent that he needed her credit card in order to get a price?  WHOA!!!!  That’s a warning sign!!!...and one of my tips for the day.  Do not give your credit card to anyone unless you are ready to purchase a ticket, tour, or cruise at the amount agreed upon.

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What's The Best Cruise Line???

What's The Best Cruise Line???

The above title is one of the questions we most often get, especially from folks who have never been on a cruise before.  Getting to the best answer is very complicated, because it depends on several factors, not the least of which is the expectation of the client.

Properly booking a cruise is complicated.  Once you decide where you want to go, you have to decide what ship to take and then which cabin to choose.  For the persons who have never cruised, shopping on-line or with brochures where some ships, especially the larger ones, have more than 30 price categories.  Well, why is Category BC better than Category BF?  How large are the rooms and which floor is the best one to be on?

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Traveling Internationally

Traveling Internationally

It is that time of the year when folks are thinking of summer vacations, and many are considering traveling somewhere internationally…..to Europe, Mexico, South America, Canada…you name it.  Well, where do you go to find out about what is allowed to go into those countries, what can you bring back, plus a myriad of other questions. You can always contact your travel agent, but you can also go on-line and find all those answers and more.

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Adventure Of Travel

Adventure Of Travel

It is really amazing in this day and time to hear of someone who hasn’t ever been on an airplane.  The same goes for those who haven’t been on a cruise.  In fact, I’ve seen the statistic that only about 8% of the U. S. public has been on a cruise.

I remember back in 1977, I rode with my mother and father on their first airplane flight.  They were 63 at the time, and really didn’t have a clue about airline travel….but discovered that they liked it.  In contrast, their grandson, my son, left yesterday from Nashville to New York to Los Angeles, to Houston, and then back home to Nashville on next Sunday.  For sure, the quickest way to get from point A to B and beyond.

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Las Vegas Re-Visited

Las Vegas Re-Visited

It’s been almost 5 months since I’ve mentioned one of the most visited cities in the United States……Las Vegas!!  Something different is going on almost every week, and I presume other than the gambling attraction, that is the reason many folks return for a brief visit.  Mostly,Las Vegas is a 3-4 night escape from reality. 

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Passports Are Vital For Your International Travel

Passports Are Vital For Your International Travel

We talked to some folks the other day about going with us to Alaska next July, and mentioned that they would need to get a passport to make the trip.  They questioned why since we would be cruising in the United States.  I reminded them that one of the current rules of the sea is that if you depart from a port in the United States, you have to visit one foreign port before you return to the states. 

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Reasons To Explore The World By River

Reasons To Explore The World By River

In the past 4-5 years, river cruising has become the cruise of choice for many of our more mature vacationers.  One of the reasons for that is that the owner of one of the more popular river cruise lines, Viking River Cruises, has openly declared that the demographics of his ships is the 55+ passenger, and please, no children.

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Cruise Happenings in 2015

Cruise Happenings in 2015

As the new year rolls in, the cruise lines have been busy in bringing on new attractions that will entice not only the first time cruiser, but also engender interest from the experienced cruise passenger.  For example:

On Norwegian Cruise Line’s new ship coming out in 2015, the Norwegian Escape, they plan on offering the delights of Margaritaville on that ship.   One of the complimentary dining venues will feature the 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar which will host live nightly performances, a separate music venue, and an outdoor bar on The Waterfront.  There is no word yet on which other ships will receive the new venues, but you can be sure it is coming to other ships in 2015-16.

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Give A Travel Gift For Christmas

Give A Travel Gift For Christmas

It’s that time of the year when our thoughts turn toward what we should give our loved one(s) for Christmas.  Our favorite Christmas gift, or birthday gift, or anniversary gift, or pick-a-reason gift is the gift of travel.  One of the reasons is that a travel gift never grows old. . .oh, the immediate experience of travel might grow old, but the memory will live on as long as you have a memory.  Not so with many other gifts given at Christmas…the sweater will wear out, the toy will get broken, the game will be forgotten in a year or two, or the shower head will get corroded.  That shower head illustration is a true one; a friend of mine confessed he gave a shower head to his wife for Christmas!! 

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You'll Have To See It To Believe It!!

I’m talking about Glacier Bay, a true UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site.  The 3.3-million acre park was so designated in 1992.

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Take A Trip and RELAX!!!!

Take A Trip and RELAX!!!!

I heard on the radio or read about it in the newspaper, that most Americans nowadays do not take their full vacation days. . .rather they continue to work.  Some have to because they need the extra money, some prefer to in order to have a savings account, some just prefer to work, and consider it a sin to be idle.

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Are We Really Safe On A Cruise Ship???

Are We Really Safe On A Cruise Ship???

One of the objections to cruising we often get has to do with the perception that it is an unsafe mode of transportation.  Compared to what. . . automobile safety, airline safety, motorboating, horseback riding???  Cruising continues to be one of the safest and most regulated modes of transportation today.

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Passports Are Vital For Your International Travel

Passports Are Vital For Your International Travel

Passports Are Vital For Your International Travel

We talked to some folks the other day about going with us to Alaska next July, and mentioned that they would need to get a passport to make the trip.  They questioned why since we would be cruising in the United States.  I reminded them that one of the current rules of the sea is that if you depart from a port in the United States, you have to visit one foreign port before you return to the states. 

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Would You Like To Consider Travel Insurance?

Would You Like To Consider Travel Insurance?

If you are like me, I just hate to have to pay for insurance. . . .of any kind.  But I’m really proud of myself when I have to use it for something unexpected.

Protecting your travel investment with insurance is a wise move; at least it gives one peace of mind before you go on your trip or while you are on it.  We sell it quite often, especially for those trips where there is considerable cost involved if you have to cancel.  Most of the time we use the insurance offered by the tour operator or cruise line. Depending on the circumstances, we often will sell insurance offered by an agency that specializes in travel insurance, Travel Guard or Travel Insured.

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Travel Questions and Answers

Travel Questions and Answers

One can find a lot of questions answered about traveling domestically and internationally at a government web site under the address of www.help.cbp.gov or another good one is www.state.gov/travel.  A person could easily spend several hours reading up on what is required of a traveler nowadays.

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Motivation To Take A Cruise

Motivation To Take A Cruise

People have all kinds of reasons to finally decide to cruise. . .some of it is the vacation variety that interests them, some of it is a recommendation from a friend, some of it is because of the instructions of an experienced travel agent.

Much of what I write today comes from the mind of a travel columnist who has an occasional article regarding cruising in today’s world.  His name is Tom Stieghorst, and I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if I used some of his inspiration.  He writes of a man who found himself on the same cruise itinerary over and over again following the loss of his wife.  She had been in ill health and the two had shared numerous cruises on Carnival’s Elation before she passed away in the spring.  So. . . he took 33 consecutive cruises aboard that ship.  Why?  He said the ship held special memories for him and that cruising was very therapeutic in helping him mourn his wife and come to terms with her death.

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Too Good To Be True Travel

Too Good To Be True Travel

I’ve had the pleasure of being on the board of the local Better Business Bureau for several years, not so now, but in that time of service, I gained a deeper appreciation for the benefit of being a member of that organization.  The main reason is that I recognized how hard that organization works to make sure the citizens of the Big Country are informed about business practices of companies that serve us.  They also help us to recognize some of the people who try to take unfair advantage of our good will.

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U. S. Rivers and Small Boat Cruises

U. S. Rivers and Small Boat Cruises

Last week we talked about the popularity primarily of the European river cruises, but I think it has piqued the interest of a lot of cruisers who might be interested in the availability of cruises in the rivers of the United States, as well as the small ship cruising of the U. S. coasts.  Anyway, we’ve had more inquiries along this line recently. 

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Old Man River. . .It Keeps On Rolling Along

Old Man River. . .It Keeps On Rolling Along

Of course we are referring to river cruising. . . .especially Viking River cruising.

In the past 5 years, that company has brought more visibility to that cruising genre than any other, primarily because of their barrage of brochures to potential and past passengers, and the beautiful television ads which initially appeared during “Downton Abbey”, but also began appearing during pro football games this past year.

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Travel Update on Las Vegas

Travel Update on Las Vegas

As we have noted in previous blogs, constant change in Las Vegas is a given, so we could easily report 3 or 4 times a year on different things going on in that vibrant city and not repeat ourself.  I looked back on a previous report in May and was extolling the rehab of what is now known as The Cromwell, a new, up-scale renovated hotel.  

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