I'm sure our listeners and readers wouldn't mind a little personal privilege today. It just so happens that this is the day,(and I'll have to be careful), several years ago, a little girl was born in Anadarko, Oklahoma. She grew up in a family with one spoiled brother and two sisters, she being the middle sister. I'm sure psychologically that means something, but I don't have a clue what!! Her name was Paula Rowlett.
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 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.
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.
A couple of weeks ago I announced our intention for The Travel Factory Gang to take a river cruise on the Elbe River, an itinerary that starts in Prague and ends in Berlin. That ship's capacity is only 98 persons.
The past two Thursdays I've been visiting with you about the airlines and their problems. So as not to play favorites, I thought I'd visit with you this week about a cruise line...the largest in the world!!
Staying on the theme started on last week's blog, we'll visit today about the serious situation some of the airlines are experiencing......all because of the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX. One writer said because of that situation, especially considering the upcoming busiest time of the year, that the airlines are looking at “scarce planes and booming demand”.
I have the hardest time defending the airlines........of course my main reason is that for the past twenty-plus years, they have not paid the travel agents who sell their product one red cent!!! We still provide that service, and for the longest time, we continued to provide that service without charge. Currently when we do sell an airline ticket, depending on whether it is a domestic or international ticket, we charge a very minimum service charge. But...most of the airlines do the same thing, charge a service charge to sell their own product.
I use that headline to make the point that when planning a vacation, wanting it to be the best for the least amount of money, the best tip I can give is to start making those plans early for the best rates.
The very best government-issued ID is a passport. You should have one, in case someone asked you to go with them at the last minute to Mexico, or London, or Finland (the happiest place on earth), or just about any other country.
The World Happiness Report just made their announcement recently and for the second year in a row, Finland stayed at the top as the happiest country in the world. Data came from the Gallup World Poll survey.
The explanation was that this country has a strong social safety net, including a progressive, successful approach to ending homelessness. It also has a high-quality education system and the only country in the developed world where fathers spend more time with school-aged children than mothers.
My goodness, what a crowd yesterday at Business Expo at the Convention Center downtown. In fact, they had all the booths sold out, over 220 of them, so there were a lot of folks trying to get your attention. It's a great event where there are a lot of connecting and re-connecting with folks and getting to know some new ones too. And, of course, getting to talk travel.....that is the object!!!
We have visited before about the value of having travel insurance especially when one has a significant investment in the trip. Most travel companies, if not all, refer to this as “travel protection”, with cruise companies especially using this title for coverage. Most folks take the travel protection to provide protection if they have to cancel the reservations. There are other coverages too including accident, sickness, lost baggage, and delays.