Life Posts

Gratitude in this moment









A few years ago I came upon an inspirational video about gratitude and I wanted to know more about the creator, Louie Schwartzberg ( I read about him (thank you, Google!) and watched other videos he created. After a while, I was sidetracked by everyday life and lost my focus on Schwartzberg’s creative genius.

Last month, while attending Virtuoso Travel Week, I experienced a moment of serendipity during the Opening Session. A surprise guest, Sarah Jessica Parker, welcomed us. Our keynote speaker, Erik Qualman (, the #1 speaker on digital leadership and an international best-selling author, motivated us (Erik rocks my world!). Our fearless leader a/k/a Matthew Upchurch, Virtuoso Chairman of the Board and CEO, sparked our thoughts. And then….

Louie Schwartzberg walked onstage. As he began to speak, I thought he sounded familiar (old age is not for sissies, by the way). Then the proverbial lightbulb went off and I realized I was in the presence of the man whose work fascinated me back in 2012. So whether it’s serendipity or synchronicity, I was reunited with a fountain of inspiration.

Today I decided to share the gift of Louie Schwartzberg’s inspiration with you. Below is a short TED Talk he gave in 2011. If you like it, consider gifting it to someone else. Couldn’t we all use a daily reminder of the beauty and goodness of our world?



Great, Greater, Greatest!

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After 25 years of owning a brick-and-mortar travel company, Great Getaways Travel has decided to work remotely and become a “virtual” travel company, joining the 21st century finally! We are still a thriving company and are here to help you with your travels. Our phone number remains 913-338-2244 and we look forward to talking to you.

One of our favorite sayings is “Don’t let the good get in the way of the better and don’t let better get in the way of best.” We practice that philosophy in everything we do personally and professionally.

Because our objective is to create the most memorable vacations possible for you, we’ve decided to affiliate with Largay Travel, in Waterbury, Connecticut. It’s great, greater, and greatest news!

GREAT: We now have even more support and resources.

GREATER: Largay will handle all the pesky back office details freeing us to devote 100% of our time to planning your travel.

GREATEST: By affiliating with Largay Travel we are able to give you increased benefits when you travel, as we now have preferred status with several hotels, cruise lines, and tour companies.

PRICELESS: We are still very active and proud to be part of Virtuoso — you’ve experienced the benefits of that association.

So, where do you want to go in 2017? Give us a call, 913-338-2244, and start packing!


Luxury Luggage for the Luxury Traveler

By Alison Luengo


“Which one is yours? Oh, the black one.” Sound familiar when trying to describe your luggage? Let me tell you, it happens to the best of us. But shouldn’t your luggage reflect who you are, where you’re going, and who you want to be? At Great Getaways Travel, we think so. You’re a luxury traveler! You prefer the best and deserve the best, so we’re going to break down three luxury luggage lines, so your accessories match the traveler you really are.
Louis Vuitton
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Maybe the longest running luxury luggage line shouldn’t surprise you, as Louis Vuitton takes the top spot. Dating back to 1871, this designer was originally famous for their trunks, but now has everything from your weekender bag, your traditional hard-sided case, to your ever important (and much needed) doggie carrier. Whether you’re after their signature Monogram canvases or the new, ultra-feminine colors in the Epi Pegases 45 collection (indigo, fuchsia, or red, anyone?) have no doubt that Louis Vuitton has a collection that matches your own extravagant side.


Although you might not associate Porsche with suitcases, you’d better believe they make luggage to compliment your posh sports car. The high-end AluFrame suitcase fits exceptionally in all models of Porsche cars, and with two dividers inside, this simple, sleek design lets you organize your belongings how you wish. Don’t need something so elaborate? That’s fine too as Porsche just announced a Weekender bag to honor 50 years of the 911 car. Even your little tyke can sport some serious luxury with the Porsche kids’ rucksack or roller bag. Whether you drive a Porsche daily, or just prefer their luggage, you know the quality will reign supreme with this brand.


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Ralph Lauren is our final luxury luggage line you should consider when eyeing that new purchase. Known more for their elaborate duffel bags and carry-ons, don’t let that fool you into thinking this isn’t every bit the luxury that the others are. Specifically the Cooper Bag for men is a top seller in their luxury luggage line and is a carry-on that includes calfskin, a detachable shoulder strap, internal pockets, buckles closures, and a card of authenticity. You can absolutely not go wrong with any luggage from this American classic.


But what to do with your used luggage? The Village Presbyterian Church in Prairie Village, KS is holding a luggage drive in the month of January to benefit the Village’s Dominican Republic Medical Partnership. The suitcases will be packed with medical supplies and equipment to take to the Dominican Republic. The church is collecting large (25” or larger) luggage suitcases, that you can drop off at reception or at the International Mission office, room 214b. For more information, contact Andrea Huffman, Director of International Mission at *protected email*. The drive goes until January 31, 2016.

So now that you have some ideas about the perfect luxury bag for you and yours, you can feel secure again when trying to tell your driver which suitcases are yours. With these picks, you won’t get lost in the crowd, but you’ll be the stand out traveler we know you are.

What is your favorite luxury luggage that you travel with? We’d love to hear from you!  And if you do social media, follow us on Facebook!

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The Weather Outside Is Frightful, But The Fire Is So Delightful

Triple Creek Ranch Photo


Winter Weather Wonderlands

Grab that gorgeous, fluffy throw, cuddle up on that overstuffed couch, and swig that deliciously rich hot chocolate. Maybe you’ve spent the day seeing and being seen on the slopes, or you have been delightfully lazy with your new favorite author, but either way it is that time of year where snuggling up next to the fireplace is not only a luxury but a necessity. So, to take the guess work out of the best places to snuggle up by the fire this winter, we’ve rounded up the most fabulous hotels and resorts whose fireplaces are so nice you’ll think twice before trekking outside.

Winter Weather Option #1: Triple Creek Ranch

Voted the #1 Hotel in the World by Travel + Leisure readers in 2014, our first pick for hotels perfect for staying by the fire is Triple Creek Ranch located in Montana. In your private log cabin (with your own hot tub) you can pick a plethora of outdoor or indoor activities to fill your day including all your snow sports, skiing, or simply staying in your plush bathrobe for a lazy day. Maybe the most alluring feature of this hideaway, which is situated it the Bitterroot Mountains, is that it boasts an adult-only crowd. Who cares about the weather when you’re enjoying Triple Creek Ranch?

Winter Weather Option #2: Twin Farms

Being one of only 23 lodgings in the USA and Canada that can toot their own horn about having a Twin Farms PhotoForbes 5 star rating since 1996 is our next cozy winter retreat, Twin Farms, which is located on 300 acres in Vermont just north of Woodstock. Enjoy six private ski trails, cross-country skiing, ice-skating, and tobogganing in winter, or relax and unwind in their Woods Spa. Our guarantee is that your waist line will not be ignored (unfortunately or fortunately) while staying at this resort, as Twin Farms’ seasonal meals incorporate the property’s own herbs and is customized for each guest to be complimented by vintages from the 26,000-bottle wine cellar.
Fairmont Chateau Whistler Photo

Winter weather option #3: Fairmont Chateau Whistler

Situated on the base of the Blackcomb Mountain, as one of the world’s premier ski resorts, the Fairmont Chateau Whistler is a ski-in/ski-out resort that is one hot place to be seen during those cold winter nights. The largest all-inclusive resort constructed in Canada since the turn of the century, has 494 guest rooms with 56 suites. With plenty of fireplaces to keep you warm and cozy, you’ll debate traveling the few feet outside to Whistler Village, but we promise it is worth it.

Winter weather option #4: Montage Deer Valley

The votes are in and ranked as one of the Great Getaways Travel Advisors’ favorite winter retreats is Montage PhotoMontage Deer Valley in Park City, Utah. This brand new hotel, opening in December of 2010, is described as one of North America’s finest mountain resort destinations. Another ski-in/ski-out resort with a self-described 35,000 square foot “alpine oasis” in the form of the Spa Montage, this 220 room winter paradise definitely packs a punch with Utah’s famous powder snow at your fingertips. However, if you’re not interested in that famous snow, hunker down in Daly’s Pub & Rec which features an open kitchen, bowling, billiards, and nostalgic arcade games.
Really, no matter what you wish for your next winter escape these four resorts have it all. From winter sports to cuddling up by the fire, we guarantee that your days will be filled with relaxation and pampering if you choose one of these fabulous resorts as your destination of choice.

What To Pack For Your Vacation

Travel is an all-time favorite thing to do! Seeing the world, smelling the different aromas and meeting so many amazing people definitely helps.  With that said, there’s always something that we forget when we travel, so we put together a quick list of things to take on your luxury getaways.

Here is a quick guide of what to pack for your vacation and what you should never forget!

Create A Packing List

Depending on where you’re headed you can find a packing list from your travel advisor, from Google, or use one of several packing apps available. I recommend you make a list of what items you need and how many of each.  If you need special clothing, buy them well in advance of your journey. With cosmetics and toiletries, I also follow the less is best rule except for hard to find items or prescription medications.

Unless you are traveling to some place remote, why lug 3 varieties of itch medicine, perfume, or SPF? Take your medications in their prescription bottles in case you need a refill. Take an extra pair of glasses, multiple memory cards for your camera, extra batteries (do you really want your camera to die or flashlight to go dark when stores are closed?). Once you create the packing list, then you’ll be able to use it when you travel next time too. Plus it saves you the hassle of trying to remember “if you packed the toothpaste.”

Pack Comfortable Clothes and Shoes

This is of course pretty obvious. Every packing tips article states this. We’re not talking ugly! There are so many options for comfort and good looks that you don’t need that pair of heels that say “wow” but make your feet to say, “ow”. I’ve found I routinely walk more on vacation than I expected.

Of course, we all know that gallery viewing, sightseeing, museum stops and shopping are reasons to walk sightseeing; so are long walks at sunset or walking to your favorite beach. You want your feet to last the whole week, right? You’re already going to be drained when you get home from traveling, don’t have achy feet too.

Multi-task your clothes

I use a rule of one top must be able to go with 3 different bottoms and vice versa. Everything is mix and match. The black pants for sightseeing work equally well for dinner – change your accessories, add a scarf or jacket and you’re all set. 3 applies to how many times per week I plan to wear an item and that leads to my next point: pick a main color and change the look with a scarf or necklace or sweater.

Pack half

I like to put the things I think I might want to pack in one area of my closet. A few days before I leave I cull through my first picks, eliminating those “Oh, wouldn’t this be fun to wear” and “I can always have this dry-cleaned” items. I go through my choices again the next day and thin out more. When I finally have what I think I’m going to take, I make one final cut and take about half of what is left.

Yes, half! If I find out I really could use one more blouse, skirt, dress, necklace, I can always buy it while on vacation. How fun to have a wearable souvenir! This next piece of advice often meets with resistance: take 2 pairs of shoes, maybe three if you count flip flops as the 3rd pair. One day, one evening, and flip flops.

Don’t make yourself crazy about how to pack your clothes

There are numerous ways to pack and we all have our favorites. I know people who swear by the layering method. Others insist on rolling everything and swear they get more in their suitcase AND without wrinkles. I find that layering works beautifully if I am going to one destination, unpacking, and only repacking when I head home.

Rolling, folding (using dry-cleaning bags when I fold cotton and linen items to avoid wrinkles, and/or using packing cubes is my go-to method. Find what works for you and get on with your life. It’s your vacation – not your stress-cation.

Packing Aids – I vote yes!

If you are using bags advertised to allow you to pack more by eliminating air, you may be packing too much. I’ve used packing cubes and packing envelopes, which I like because they’re breathable and I pack all of one type of item in each cube. I’ve used zip-style plastic bags, too; however, when I received a gift of some packing cubes, I was hooked.

As I mentioned earlier, wrapping those “darn, it’s going to wrinkle” items around a dry-cleaning bag helps, too. Hopefully, you won’t have many of them.

Pack A Camera (in your carry-on)

While most of have those fun fancy phones, sometimes malfunctions happen. Carrying a small camera when you know you’re going to see some of the fun more popular sites could be helpful.   You want to make sure you are capturing good images so you can savor the memories. Of course, be sure to keep all valuables, electronics, and your passport in your carry-on, too.

Use a Bright or Patterned Suitcase

70% of luggage is black, so that means your luggage will blend in.  If you have different colored luggage such as a bright red, it is harder to get lost and easier to find if it does get lost. If you do have to check baggage, when you get to the baggage claim, you will know exactly which suitcase is yours!


Carry a lightweight small duffel bag. Yes, you read that correctly. In today’s world of “Does this carry-on fit in our super-duper airline-provided size checker”, you’re less likely to get stopped carrying a small bag, like a gym bag. If you must use wheels, weight is key. Shop for the lightest weight wheel-aboard because many airlines have a weight limit of 15 pounds and as low as 11 pounds for anything you bring aboard. Why waste the weight using a heavy carry-on?

These are a few tips to help make your travel & packing a little easier.  What are some essentials you pack when you are going on a vacation?