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The Whens, Wheres and Whys of Fall Travel

September 19, 2018
There are plenty of general reasons for your donors to use a Mitch-Stuart non-profit fundraising auction travel package in the fall. The weather can be beautiful. Crowds are often smaller than during the dog days of summer. With kids going back to school, some destinations can feel a little quieter and more relaxing.

But some of your supporters may be looking for specific reasons to fly away this fall. To that end, we’ve put together a small list of events occurring in the next three months that can tempt your donors to make that last, winning bid. Think of these as talking points to pair with one of our travel packages in order to get the maximum fundraising potential out of your gala event.

Leaf Peeping: Donors can use one of our Boston travel packages as a home base for adventures throughout New England, and there may be no more quintessentially fall event in the United States than the changing colors on the trees of the Northeast. Book trips to the region in late September or early October for peak color.

Foodie Festivals: There are plenty of fall food celebrations, spread out across the United States. One of our favorites: the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival, which runs this year between October 6 and 28, is a collection of events spotlighting not only the food of the islands, but twists on other cuisines. This is no street fair; events include white-cloth dinners and adventures in wine and food pairing on three different islands.

Mingle with the Stars: Los Angeles isn’t known for its fall splendor (or really any seasonal delights), but it does throw a great party. And with both the People’s Choice Awards (on November 11) and the American Music Awards (October 9) both taking place in the city’s downtown, donors will get to see the stars – even if it still feels a bit like summer.

Halloween: Let your donors rediscover their inner children by sending them on a Halloween spooktacular. Several of our favorite destinations love the holiday, but New Orleans’ Krewe of Boo parade once again proves that few do processions like the Crescent City (as anyone who’s been to Mardi Gras there can testify). Add on a ghost tour of the French Quarter, and the Big Easy makes for a great Halloween destination.

Thanksgiving: There are as many travel options for the November holiday as there are reasons. Donors in areas with colder winters might appreciate the chance to head to San Diego, Miami, or another warmer climate for one final sun-soaked trip before December, January and February show up. For families, renting a villa in Napa Valley can be a way of getting everyone together in one place. And sports fans might love the chance to check out one of the traditional football games in Dallas or Detroit.


The Babymoon

September 12, 2018
It’s simple in concept: A couple, expecting a child (usually their first), gets away for a few days to celebrate and rest up for a lifetime of parenthood coming. But the babymoon is still a newish idea; the word is credited to author Shelia Kitzinger, from its usage in her 1996 book “The Year After Childbirth.”
 
In the span of the last decade, though, the babymoon has gone from a trendy fad to something more established – maybe not a mandatory rite of passage, but certainly a goal for many expecting couples. It’s a compelling idea, especially for those worried about what a baby will do to schedules and sleep patterns.
 
Mitch-Stuart’s non-profit fundraising auction travel packages can be used for any reason – and often are! – but if you’re looking to offer the perfect babymoon travel package at your event, consider these criteria.
 
First, look for locations where relaxation is the selling point. For instance, any travel package that involves massages or spa time, like our trip to Scottsdale, Arizona (which comes with a $400 spa gift card), could be popular with parents-to-be. It’s the same for trips that involve private beaches or islands, where the most-common activity can be done with a chaise lounge and a good book. Give the expecting couple the chance to bid on peace, quiet, and some restorative time before the whirlwind of parenthood begins.
 
Also, try to find a location not known for its pregnancy-adverse activities. New Orleans and Las Vegas are two of our favorite destinations, but there isn’t a lot for an expecting mother on Bourbon Street or the Las Vegas Strip. And with many types of fish off-limits, this may not be the time to check out the sea- based diet of some of our island trips. There’ll be plenty of time for the family to visit these destinations even with a little one in tow.
 
Finally, focus on luxury. All-inclusive getaways are great for this; letting someone else make so many of the decisions will be a nice memory in a couple of years when one must make all the decisions for this other being, as well. Being pampered isn’t in the cards for most new parents, so getting some extra care while sitting poolside somewhere will likely be welcome. Trips that focus on luxury can make beautiful memories for anyone, but maybe more so for a couple who will be knee-deep in diapers soon enough.
 

Travel with a Song

September 05, 2018
There is a lot to associate with September – seasons changing, meals getting hardier, days getting shorter. Here’s another one: It may be the month of the year most closely associated with a song. Can the calendar hit September 1st – or, more specifically, September 21st – without thinking of Earth, Wind and Fire’s “September”?

It’s easy to laugh about, but songs are some of the most direct stimuli for emotions, memories, and even senses. They can remind someone of home, of a loved one, or of a memory. And they can also inspire action – including travel.

So, to kick off the month, we wanted to run through our catalog and find the theme songs to some of our favorite destinations. If you want to sell some nonprofit fundraising auction travel packages, maybe start with a playlist including these ditties.
 
“Danke Schoen” – There are thousands of songs about New York that could go here – your boomer donors might prefer “New York, New York” by Frank Sinatra, while younger supporters could go for “Empire State of Mind” by Jay-Z – but recalling Central Park in fall will never go out of style.

“California Dreaming” – The Golden State is appealing at all times of year, but this the Mama and the Papas song highlights not just what’s great about the state, but when it’s great as a destination: “California dreaming, on such a winter’s day…”

“Rocky Mountain High” – John Denver’s ode to the night skies above Colorado has been the state’s unofficial theme song for decades both on its more populous eastern slope cities like Denver or Boulder, or its mountain towns like one of our favorites, Telluride.

“San Francisco” – There may be no better time than now to break out this ‘60s favorite, with 2018 being the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love. Assuredly there have been countless visitors to The City inspired by Scott MacKenzie’s advice to “wear flowers in your hair.”

“Sweet Home Chicago” – Be it Robert Johnson’s original (with it’s confusing lines, “Back to the land of California/Sweet Home Chicago”) or the Blues Brothers’ rendition, the Windy City anthem is as tied to Chicago as deep-dish pizza and the Chicago Cubs.

“Kokomo” – No, the titular island of the Beach Boys’ song doesn’t actually exist (though a resort did name its private island “Kokomo” after the song came out, for publicity’s sake). But the chorus lists off a few of our Caribbean favorites – Jamaica, Bahamas – along with Key West and Bermuda. Close enough for most beachgoers!

“Viva Las Vegas” – Sure, it’s an outdated view of Sin City; today’s vice of choice, thanks to a major influx of world-class restaurants, is likely gluttony. But Elvis’ tribute to Lady Luck (and ladies in general) is still heard up and down the Strip.