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

Alaska 2020

As many of you know, I've had the privilege of escorting groups to Alaska for the past 25 years....we started out calling our group “The Travel Factory Gang”, and have kept that moniker for all our other groups since.

I did a quick count this week of the number of guests we've had as a part of the Alaska Gangs, and it numbered over a thousand people. Probably 100+ more made reservations but for some reason or another could not make it with our group, but traveled later on their own.

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Some of the best education you and your family can experience is through travel, getting away from your comfort zones and discovering new cultures and lifestyles. One travel contributor to the Dallas Morning News said, and rightly so, “the freedom to travel is something to savor”. That is an attitude or reality that we often forget or just take for granted, but when I see on the news and pictures of folks over in Syria or other parts of Africa in their day to day struggle just to survive, that's when the concept of “freedom to travel” becomes a reality for us in the United States. 

Carnival Cruise Lines recently made the announcement that they were moving the Carnival Radiance to Galveston in May, and that will make the presence for that cruise line largest in the state. In fact, that will give them 4 ships in the Galveston market, and that is as many ships as they have in their Miami home market.

One travel writer commented that those mandatory resort fees that have cropped up all over the nation, especially in Las Vegas, New York and other resort communities are a “rip off”.

The month of October has typically been designated by the Cruise Lines International Association as “Plan A Cruise Month”. My opinion is that anytime is a good time to plan a cruise, but I can certainly understand why October is such a good time to start those plans.

We had a program on this topic several months ago, last March to be specific, but in light of some recent events in the past week, I thought it would be a good idea to visit that topic again.

A recent study of the U. S. Travel Insurance Association reported that in 2018, Americans spent almost $4 billion on all types of travel protection, and that was an increase of over 40% from 2016. Those policies were purchased through travel insurance providers, through travel agents, as well as on-line suppliers.

It's getting close to holiday time and we always get the question, “When is the best time to travel”, and I usually answer, “Whenever you want to go!!!”. Then their real question comes out, “no, when is the best price or what day is the best day to get the best price”. In this day and time, those are hard questions to answer in precise and definite terms.

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.

Don't ask me when, it's been too long to remember when or why, but I decided, for lack of another name, (you might say I am creatively challenged), to refer to the groups that my wife and I host as “The Travel Factory Gang”. Some tour operators and cruise lines have a little hesitation and suspicion when I announce the name of our group, so most of the time I have to explain the nature of the group.