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.
Recent News

Norwegian Cruise Line's Bliss

NCL aptly named their newest ship in the fleet, Bliss. The dictionary defines this word as “great happiness”, and if you go on her and don't find bliss, I don't think it will be the ships fault.

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One of my favorite websites to visit regarding regulations in flying on airlines today is the Transportation Security Administration website: www.tsa.gov. There is a world of information on there especially regarding what you can and cannot bring, along with some valuable tips.

Over the past 42 years since I've been in the travel business, travel sellers have had a variety of titles. Probably the most favored over the years is 'travel agent'. But there have been other handles like travel counselor, travel consultant, travel adviser, travel advisor, or as one in our office mentioned, travel slave based on the amount of money I pay her. Interestingly enough, the American Society of Travel Agents, after going by that name for 75 years, made the decision last week to rename themselves. That organization that represents those of us who work in the travel business have decided to name themselves, American Society of Travel Advisors....that's AdvisOrs. Obviously, they didn't have to change the initials.....still ASTA.

Occasionally we have clients who come in and want to talk about taking a flight to a certain destination. In fact, we had some folks recently who were totally unfamiliar with the flight process.....at 75 years of age, they had never flown in a commercial airplane. In this day and time, that is really unusual.....but not so terribly. I remember when I got into the travel business over 40 years ago, my parents who at that time were in their late 60's had never flown, so I got to accompany them on their first airplane flight.....a neat memory.

Seldom do travel agents extol the virtues of a driving vacation; they can't make a living talking about places where they can't realize a commission for their efforts. But, here in the middle of August, I thought it was about time I praised the efforts of the Texas Historical Commission, Texas Department of Transportation, and Convention and Visitors Bureaus of virtually every city in Texas to make our state a viable vacation destination.

Three years ago, the owner of Viking River Cruises made the decision to return to ocean cruising, but with a different model currently employed by the major cruise lines. He took a hint from the popular features of the river cruising business and morphed them into a new concept of ocean cruising.

Quite often I get asked which cruise line or ship do I prefer, in fact that question was asked yesterday in an interview with a potential cruiser. They usually don't like my answer because I've never been on one I didn't like!!!

For some folks, that question was answered in a survey conducted by Cruise Critic which is an on-line cruise review site. This was a survey covering a lot of “Bests” from their loyal and opinionated website participants.

A couple of weeks back, one of my favorite travel columnist, Richard Turen, had a tongue-in-cheek piece with a little reality included in the Travel Weekly that I thought bears additional coverage. My guess is that he had received several phone calls from folks wanting him to help plan their vacation, but with the caveat that they wanted a “good deal”, and “good, but cheap” vacation.

Each year when we return from our outstanding trip with The Travel Factory Gang to Alaska, my blog always starts out the same.....you should have been with us!!!

We visited “The Last Frontier” again and it was an exciting trip again, beside all the beautiful scenery and wildlife, our group this year became part of the “1% Club”. That is a club made up of folks who were fortunate enough to see Mt. McKinley (officially now, Denali), and she was wide open all day long; no clouds, no fog, no smoke, just 20,320 feet of her!!!!

For over thirty years, we have planned group vacation travel.  Most of our plans have been on cruises to different parts of the world, primarily because those types of vacations are easier to plan in addition to having a positive experience.  In the past several years, we have limited our offerings to about 4 trips a year; the reason being when I'm escorting a group, I'm not selling!!