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.

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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Traveling with Luggage

We are already past the first month of summer vacation, so my suggestions about packing today might be too late for some. However, I do know of several folks who still have vacations coming in July and August, and on into the fall, so I thought I would pass on some packing tips we’ve discovered over the years.  

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Tooting Your Own Horn!

Politicians do it all the time.  Often we hear of some individual in some sport who says that they are the best.  Advertisers are always saying that their product will beat another competitors.  Travel vendors like the hotels, airlines, cruise lines, and tour operators are not unlike them.. . . . everyone likes to think they are vital and important.  

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Great family beach-plus vacation in our front doo - Galveston

Great family beach-plus vacation in our front doo - Galveston

We’re often asked where to go for a good beach vacation for a family of (whatever), and our response is, “do you want to fly or drive?  Most of those requests come from folks who are on a limited budget, so they say “drive”. 

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Great Reasons For River Cruising...

Great Reasons For River Cruising...

A while back I was reading an article suggesting some reasons for having a river cruise on your bucket list. . . if not at the top, real close to the top of that list.

Now that I have been on one, I can certainly endorse some of the reasons they mentioned and have some of my own reasons.  One of the main differences between an ocean-going cruise and a river cruise is the pace.  The river cruises move at a slower, more relaxed pace, and you have the ability to disembark and return at your leisure throughout the trip.  Dress is casual with open seating in the dining areas resulting in a friendlier, open opportunity to meet other travelers.  Instead of the entertainment venues of the ocean-going ships, the river cruises do have locations on the ships that provide local entertainment as well as lecturers imparting information about the locales to be visited as well as music that reflect the local culture and traditions. 

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Speaking of good cruise deals!!!

Speaking of good cruise deals!!!

Several weeks ago my Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines sales representative suggested that I try another group promotion with them, other than the Rudy Cruise we have scheduled in September out of Galveston.  I told him I would be interested if we could get a good one with a good rate that would draw some attention.  We looked around and found what I think is a good one at a really good price.  You tell me!!! 

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How is travel to Mexico Going???

How is travel to Mexico Going???

Naturally we get questions about the all-inclusive vacation packages to our neighbor to the South. . .. Mexico.  Most of those questions regard security and safety of travel to that destination.

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You've Just Won A Free Trip!!!

You've Just Won A Free Trip!!!

Those are words coveted by just about everyone I know.  I’m always being asked if I have any free trips to give away.  I smile, knowingly, and let them know that there is nothing in travel free. . .somebody, somewhere, had to purchase those travel products.  A lot of folks get telephone calls telling them that they have won a “free” trip, but to be able to claim it, it will cost them $99.98.  Then they will tell them they need their credit card to hold the “free” ticket.  Then if you fall for this ruse, you’ll find that there will be certain restrictions and conditions which will make the trip more expensive, or even impossible to take your “free” trip.  The best thing to do when you receive one of these calls is just to hang up. . .they are invading YOUR “free” space!!!

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Travel with the "The Travel Factory Gang"

Travel with the "The Travel Factory Gang"

We started about 20 years ago planning and escorting groups to some great vacation locations every year, and we continue to do that this year.  Already this year we’ve been to London and Ireland, we’ve planned our 20th group to Alaska in July, and we’ll enjoy the Rudy Cruise group in the Western Caribbean in September.

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Nothing Like Planning Ahead For Travelers!!!

Nothing Like Planning Ahead For Travelers!!!

In the last year or two, we have been seeing a change in the booking windows.  Back in 2010 and 2011, space to just about any vacation destination was available a month to 6 weeks out.  But now, for most destinations and cruises, we are seeing at least 5-7 months out, and for some cruises, even 12 months is not out of the question.

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What’s Happening In Vegas???

I hate to beat a good horse to death, but if you haven’t been to Las Vegas in a couple of years. . .she’s changing again!!!  They re-invent or re-invest themselves about every 2-3 years with new hotels, rehabbed hotels, new restaurants, new feature attractions, bigger and better casinos, and almost 24-hour shopping.  

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How About A New Destination??

How About A New Destination??

I was reading about a destination I had never heard of, described in the April 7 issue of the magazine for travel agents, “Travel Agent”.  They were talking about an island near St. Thomas named Water Island.  I had never heard of it, but the description sounded really interesting, so I thought I would share some facts about it.

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