News Posts

St. Patrick’s Day – A World of Parades

By Alison Luengo

branded dublin parade

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St. Patrick’s Day – We’re All Irish

It is officially time to break out that green apparel, sip that Guinness, and line the streets for those monstrous parades. Not Irish? Not a problem for, well…anyone come March 17 every year. St. Patrick’s Day is the one day a year where anyone can be Irish if they like, and all that is required is a jolly attitude and maybe a green shirt declaring yourself Irish for the day. (Did you know it’s only an American tradition to pinch someone if they fail to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day?) While the holiday is celebrated around the world, many celebrations are larger outside of Dublin than in. So, sit back, relax and read on as we explore some of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the world.

Dublin, Ireland

We will start in Dublin, which just seems fitting. The St. Patrick’s Festival in Dublin was officially recognized by the government in 1995, as a way for the Irish to celebrate their heritage. Their celebration runs for four days and includes many cultural activities along with fun and games. They start with “Greening The City” (which is a fancy way to say lighting all their buildings in green). Of course they have a large parade, and walking tours highlighting different aspects of the city. There is an Irish Craft Beer & Whiskey Village, and a lunchtime talk series featuring notable Irishmen or important topics related to Irish culture. While St. Patrick’s Day is a national holiday here, it is not the largest celebration in the world.

branded new york parade

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New York City

Without a doubt, the largest celebration for St. Patrick’s Day is the New York City Parade. First started all the way back in 1762 by some very lonely Irish soldiers, it is now the largest and oldest parade in the world. With nearly 2 million spectators, and another 150,000 participants yearly, it’s easy to see why this is a huge tradition in New York City come March 17.
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Montserrat Island

Another country with a huge celebration for St. Patrick’s Day is Montserrat, West Indies. Celebrating for a full week, this party highlights the African & Irish heritage that most share while also commemorating a failed slave uprising on the same day in 1768. Montserrat has it all for St. Patrick’s Day with a traditional parade, a freedom run, a formal ball, traditional games, and African & Irish music festivals.

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Auckland, New Zealand

Let’s not forget our friends Down Under during this massive celebration.  You can also celebrate  St. Patrick’s Day like a pro in Auckland, New Zealand. “The Greening” is when they light up their Sky Tower bright green for the holiday, and it’s accompanied by a parade and dance/music festivals.
Needless to say, you can celebrate St. Patrick’s Day just about anywhere. From the West Indies to New Zealand to New York City, there are parades abound and traditions galore. What are St. Patrick’s Day traditions in your city or country? We’d love to hear in the comments below.

Find out what’s NEW with Crystal Cruises

Please join us to visit with Tim Rinkoski, Sales Director for Crystal Cruises. Did you know they have ocean cruises, river cruises, yacht cruise, and new ships coming and air cruises, too?

Learn the latest!

March 3, 2016

5:30 – PM – 6:30 PM

Great Getaways Travel

4600 College Blvd, Suite 103


913-338-2244 or email Alison

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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Don’t Wait To Plan Your Holiday Travel

By Damien Martin

Well, the holidays are over, and we are smack dab in 2016. There are pros and cons to this, of course. As fun as it is to put up decorations, it’s just as sad taking them down. We can’t count on sugary treats to help us power through the afternoons. But on the bright side, we aren’t still shame-eating whole plates of cookies and getting jealous of bears because they can shed pounds while sleeping all winter. What, I’m the only one who does that? Never mind then.

While the short winter days have many of us dreaming of the beach — yes, you should start planning spring break now — it’s also a good idea to start planning this year’s holiday travel. Even though we have an extra day this year, Feb. 29 is a Monday, so I don’t think it counts.

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Did you know studies have shown that looking forward to a trip is one of the things people enjoy most about travel? So on these cold winter days, picture your future self, sitting by the fire at a ski chalet, or close to the fire-breathers at a luau. That will put you right back in the holiday spirit.
Keeping with the theme of a new year, here are some friendly reminders.

Apply For or Renew Your Passport ASAP

If your passport is set to expire, don’t wait until the last minute to renew it. As of Jan. 1, people who are out of empty passport pages can no longer request more. Instead, they have to renew their passports as well, which will delay processing. Plus, there are many people who got passports in 2007 — when the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative made them necessary for travel to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean — and therefore have passports expiring in 2017. So if yours is up for renewal soon, make sure to get your application in before wait times increase.

You’d also better make sure the IRS isn’t after you. The State Department can now revoke, deny or limit passports for people who owe $50,000 or more in back taxes.

Changes In The Air

OK, so you’ve taken all the necessary steps to make sure they let you on the plane. Things will also be different onboard.

Are you looking to book your holiday travel? Here are some great tips and reminders for you!

On Delta, passengers who want the little extras on their summer getaways need to say so in advance. For flights within the U.S. and Canada departing on or after May 16, Delta Comfort+ has to be booked as its own class of service. Up until now, fliers could purchase upgraded seats with more legroom, better snacks and free drinks for those flights after booking regular economy tickets.

What’s that, you value my advice so much that you already booked your flights and bought upgraded seats? Not to worry, Delta will honor all Comfort+ purchases made before Nov. 14, 2015. Not to be outdone, United is now offering Economy Plus packages for a smoother flying experience. The Economy Plus Essentials package gets you a better seat and an extra checked bag at 20 percent less cost than booking those two perks separately. The Enhanced package includes the seat and extra bag, plus Premier Access — priority check-in, security lanes, boarding and baggage handling — at 25 percent less.

Travel Tip

Not sure if it’s the right time to buy? Check out the Hopper app, which lists average fares for specific itineraries, tells you which travel dates have higher or lower prices, and estimates when fares will go up or down.

Mobile Passport

At last, you’re back in the U.S. after a wonderful vacation made all the better by planning ahead and having a comfortable seat. If you happen to be flying into Atlanta, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Chicago O’Hare, Seattle or San Francisco, even getting through the customs line can be a breeze.

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Mobile Passport is a free app accepted at those six airports (San Jose and Dallas-Fort Worth will be added soon) that allows users to go to a shorter line, much like global entry users. It’s open to holders of U.S. and Canadian passports. It’s also simple and easy — at least in theory: Before you go, download the app, enter your passport information and snap a selfie. Then when you land at a participating airport, log in and start a new trip. Just tell the app who’s travelling, where you landed and on which airline, then answer four quick customs questions.

The app will send your information to U.S. Customs and Border Protection and send you a receipt granting you access to the Mobile Passport line. I tested Mobile Passport out when my wife and I flew into Atlanta from Europe in December. The app let us fill out a family customs form, but I never did get a receipt. The customs agents still let us go into the special line, though, so it sort of worked.

So now we have so much planning to do there’s no time to hibernate. Which is good, because we have to wait until March for the Hypnos Hoodie — billed as “the world’s best sleep hoodie” — with an inflatable hood that doubles as a pillow. If you want to pre-order, it’s on Kickstarter until Jan. 11. My resolution for 2016? Using all my vacation days. To make sure I do that, I’m mapping my year of travel out as early as I can. The lesson, as always, is plan ahead. Your future self will thank you for it.

If you’re ready to map out your travel and you need help creating the best experience, contact us at 913-338-2244.

Crazy for Lake Como

I’ve been to all 7 continents, many countries, and countless cities, so it takes a lot for me to be impressed when I experience somewhere I’ve not been before. Como, the city, the lake, the towns and hamlets blew me away!

We stayed in Lezzeno at Palazzo Del Vice Re, a beautifully maintained villa on a cobblestone street. Our home away from home was the Vista suite which offered beautiful views across the lake. We loved Nicolette and her friendly staff and already are planning to return, hopefully next year.

From Lezzeno we toured by car and by boat, previewing properties and eating incredible food. We can now comfortably recommend places to stay from the fabled Villa D’este to a few off-the-beaten path boutique hotels.

If I had to pick one thing that made Lake Como a WOW experience, I’d say it was the beautiful landscape – no, wait – the food, definitely the food – or maybe the “It” factor was the option to stroll through a myriad of spectacular gardens – or was it the cappuccino at the lakeside cafe or was it the chance to see George Clooney ( we saw the outside of his villa, does that count?)? Let’s face it, I can’t pick just one outstanding feature – Como is that spectacular.

A planning tip: Como’s season is from mid-March through Early November and the summer months are packed with all sorts of visitors. Plan your experience for spring or fall and you will avoid the crowds.