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.

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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Extra Special Cruise Deal For 2015!!!

Extra Special Cruise Deal For 2015!!!

Occasionally we will run across some really good cruise promotions that are simply fantastic.. . .can’t see how the cruise lines can offer all the things they provide at such a discounted rate. . .but it happens, especially if booked early.

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Merger Mania!!!

Merger Mania!!!

Have you noticed that the “bigs” keep getting bigger?  The banks are merging, the tech companies are merging, law offices are merging, and would you believe. . .it’s a disease that is rampant in the travel and hospitality business.

I’m not certain for sure when it started, but the airlines have been merging for several years now so that we really have only four major airlines in the United States that transport about 80% of the flying public:  American, United, Delta, and Southwest.  And you would think that they would all work together to enhance service to the traveling public……think again!!  Southwest is getting into the “big” act lately by letting it be known that in the not to distant future they will be charging for luggage too; it’s become such an economic boom to the other three, the opportunity to “get in line” will just be too tempting. 

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Book Now For The Holidays

Book Now For The Holidays

One of the most often asked questions when folks are talking with us about taking a trip over the holidays is, “when is the best time to make a reservation?”.  My normal response is “right now”!!!  If you are thinking right now about holiday travel over Christmas or New Year, you are ahead of about 80% of the folks who will be asking that question in a couple of months. 

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Anybody Like Cheap Hotels???

Anybody Like Cheap Hotels???

Everyone likes hotels that don’t cost and arm and a leg just to spend the night.  Everyone likes really nice hotels that are offered at a cheap price. . . .but they are getting harder and harder to find.

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Emphatically. ..YES!!!. The Holy Land!!!

We made the announcement several months ago that we were planning another group trip to the Holy Land, March 3-12, 2015.  Since then, understandably so, there has been some security concerns in that region that has caused inquiries by some folks interested in going whether we were still planning on taking the trip.  At this point in time, we are still planning on enjoying exploring the ground where Jesus walked.

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Airlines Are Making Money...Thanks To Consumers!!

Airlines Are Making Money...Thanks To Consumers!!

If you’ve been reading the business news lately, you know that the airlines are back to making serious profits in the past two years.  Several factors have led to that financial bonanza.

One reason is that airfares have increased, after adjusting for inflation, according to an analysis by Associated Press of data from the Airlines Reporting Corp.  They have experienced a 10.7% increase over the past 5 years.

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Alaska. . . Still The Last Frontier!!!!

One of the questions we always get is “aren’t you getting tired of going to Alaska?”.  After getting back last week from our 20th trip to our 49th state, I can honestly say that we do not get tired of going to that beautiful, clean-aired state. . . .primarily because we always see something we haven’t ever seen before, even though in some cases it has been there for quite some time.  And, you might be surprised to know that almost every year, we have had some folks who make a second trip with us, in fact, this year we had some friends who had been to Alaska three times!!!

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Travel Generalizations Versus Reality

Being associated with athletics from my teens through my 30’s, I became aware that most of the activities we do in training and offensive and defensive strategies are the result of copying some other programs that have had success. . .and maybe calling it a different name to make it your own.  Travel business is really no different.  

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Packing Essentials for your vacation!

Last week we had a little primer on packing and luggage for your vacation.  This week, taking some information from an article in TravelSense, and from my own personal experience, I thought a good follow-up to last weeks information would be to suggest some essential items to take with you on vacation. 

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