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Five Reasons Why: Washington D.C.

August 28, 2019
The word Washington carries a terrible connotation right now. It’s the hometown of corruption, of division, of what’s wrong with this country.

But for savvy travelers, Washington D.C. is also about what’s right with this country. It’s filled with monuments to difference-makers from history, art of all kinds, protected open space, and even community in the form of live theater.

Want to send your donors to the nation’s capital? Make sure they know at least these five reasons why they should bid on a fundraising auction travel package to Washington D.C.

The Monuments: The National Mall is likely the best-known collection of monuments in the country, but by no way is it the only place in the metro area to pause and to reflex on a life or lives given to service of this country. Across the river in Arlington is the famous U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial, depicting the Battle of Iwo Jima, and the African American Civil War Museum and Monument is located almost on top of a Metro stop near Howard University. There are dozens of sculptures, plaques, and other such attractions throughout D.C.

The Museums: There are 17 different Smithsonian museums in the city (including the National Zoo), with 11 centered on the National Mall. The “Castle,” formally named the Smithsonian Institutional Building, is a gorgeous work of architecture along with being the visitor center. The institutions off the Mall are worth seeking out, too, including the Anacostia Community Museum, which covers urban areas, and the National Portrait Gallery. And while it’s not a Smithsonian (which means it does have an entry fee), the International Spy Museum is both fascinating and fun; a gift shop stop here is essential.

The Park: We’ve written about Rock Creek Park before, in our post on urban parks, but it deserves every bit of attention it gets! At twice the size of Central Park in New York, Rock Creek runs from the Maryland border down to the National Zoo. It’s got a little bit of everything: a golf course, a tennis center, a concert space, trails for hiking and biking, and so many picnic areas that a resident could eat outdoors every day for weeks and still not dine at all of them.

The Food: D.C. is a city with great food of every sort. There are big steakhouses, where lobbyists spend big money to buy big influence, sure, but there’s another side to dining here. Because the city attracts people from around the world, the variety of quality dishes is something to behold. Two stand out in particular: D.C. is likely the best place outside of El Salvador to eat pupusas (a flatbread filled with combinations of meats, cheeses and beans), and the Ethiopian restaurants are both authentic and delicious.

The Theater: Ford’s Theatre is a place of solemn history, of course, but it’s also still a working theater space. It’s only one place, though, to take in stage productions in one of the country’s best cities for quality theater. National Theatre tends to produce Broadway touring shows, while Studio Theatre puts up an eclectic mix of new works and Pulitzer-winning classics. One of the city’s best spaces, though, is the experimental Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, which both bring plays from and sends new works to off-Broadway stages regularly.

Your Regional Labor Day Getaway

August 21, 2019
We’re just a few short days from the final three-day weekend of summer, and it can feel like the last chance to catch a breath before the fall begins. But while that may sound like a good reason to stay home and stumble around the house, instead airlines are expecting record crowds.

Labor Day has grown as a travel holiday over the last few years, but like other long weekends, trips tend to be on the shorter side. And that means that travelers are less likely to want to fly across the country (or across an ocean!) to get to a destination.

The good news: If your donors are looking for a weekend getaway, whether it’s this fall or next year, we’ve got a lot of weekend (or weekend-plus) trips from which to choose. And to make that vacation commute a little shorter, we’ve likely got one in your region of the country, meaning that your supporters will spend less time on the road and more time having fun in one of our great destinations. If they’re looking for ideas, here’s our region-by-region breakdown.


The Big Apple can seem like an overwhelming place to navigate, especially for someone staying in the city for just a long weekend. But having only three days can be beneficial, if your donors plan their itineraries right. By focusing on just one aspect of New York – say, pizza, or delis, or Broadway – your supporters can get a good feeling for what the city has to offer. And when they go home, donors will be able to say, with confidence, where the best slice or sandwich is a city that has perfected both.

MIDWEST: Chicago

Like New York, your supporters could spend a week or longer exploring the big city. But in late August and early September, Chicago shines for an additional great reason: baseball is approaching the playoff race, and that makes for a wonderful time to visit Wrigley Field. Getting some sun while watching the national pastime in one of baseball’s historic stadiums is the epitome of relaxation.

SOUTH: Charleston, South Carolina

If your donors haven’t been to the city that Travel and Leisure has named its top U.S. destination for seven straight years (from 2013 on), late summer is a great time. Yes, it’s still hot, but Charleston has that laid-back southern pace, meaning your supporters can stay cool with a stop at a café, a restaurant or even its beaches. And with another favorite destination, Hilton Head Island, a daytrip away, Charleston is a two-for-one vacation.

ROCKY MOUNTAINS: Telluride, Colorado

It’s known for its snow-related activities (along with its film festival), but Telluride is simply stunning during the late summer and early fall, as well. Topping out at around 70 degrees, the town has perfect weather for hiking, and it’s much easier to get a reservation at Telluride’s top-notch restaurants without the competition from all those skiers.

WEST COAST: Napa Valley, California

It’s the beginning of the peak season in America’s best-known wine region, when the harvest starts to come in. The temperature is still a little high (August and September highs average right around 80 degrees), but when your donors find themselves in a tasting room or a barrel with grapes under their feet, they won’t mind the extra couple of degrees.

California Dreaming

August 14, 2019
The Mamas and the Papas once sang it loud: “California dreaming, on such a winter’s day.”

But what does that really mean?

California is the third-largest state in America (the second largest in the lower 48), and that means a diverse range of experiences. Want a ‘60s throwback adventure? A beach vacation? A celebrity sighting or two?

If you’ve got supporters who want to take in the Golden State, you want to get them to be more specific. And once they are, you can use this guide to figure out which California destination to offer at your fundraising auction.

Beach Living in San Diego

The California coast is 840 miles long, but some of our favorite beaches are in the San Diego area. It’s a place where each sandy front has its own personality; Mission Beach, for instance, is a little more family-friendly, while Pacific Beach is a great place for younger folks (with an abundance of walkable nightlife options). And with beaches stretching from the U.S.-Mexico border all the way up to Carlsbad within a short drive, your donors will never run out of options.

The Stars Come Out in Los Angeles

The state’s largest city has a lot going for it, but what separates it from the others is its star power. Los Angeles has plenty of ways to see and, in some cases, interact with the celebrities of film, television and music. It’s why so many of our L.A. travel packages focus on awards shows like the Grammys, Emmys, American Music Awards, and even the ESPYs. And with some of your donors’ favorites performing on local theater and comedy stages, they’ll be sure to come back with photos and memories of a lifetime.

Put on Your Ears for Anaheim

There’s plenty to like about Anaheim, sure, but the main reason think of the Orange County city as a tourist destination is Disneyland. The park’s appeal doesn’t lessen with age; big fans of The Mouse can get married on site, too, and there are even special anniversary celebrations. And with the newly opened Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge adventure open, there’s rarely been a more popular time to travel to the Happiest Place on Earth.

Napa, America’s Wine Capital

Get north of San Francisco, and the local economy is seemingly based around wine. Whether it’s Napa or Sonoma, you’re talking about wine country, and traveling to the region means jumping from winery to winery, trying all sorts of different varietals. Make sure to eat beforehand (the amazing restaurants in the region will help with that), and utilize the private drivers offered in many of our area packages.

Seek the Desert Sun in Palm Springs

No city in California screams “winter escape” quite like Palm Springs. With an average January temperature high of 71 degrees, it’s a magnet for people from colder climates who need a week of defrosting. As such, golfers love the city, and Palm Springs has noticed; there are more than 130 golf courses in the general Palm Springs area.

The City by the Bay

If your supporters prefer a more urban experience on vacation, San Francisco may be their spot. The Bay Area’s focal point is much closer to an east coast urban experience than the more sprawling Los Angeles. It’s the most walkable major city in California, and its public transit – including the world-famous cable cars, captured in film and on television too many times to count – makes it navigable for anyone. Find great Golden Gate Bridge views, dine at a tremendous Michelin-starred restaurant, or just walk through the lively streets and explore without an itinerary. With so many options, there is no way to do San Francisco wrong.

Go Private!

August 08, 2019
The first line, while traveling, is at the airport, waiting to either be dropped off or to park. Then, it’s the security line and the line to board the plane. After the flight, there’s a line to disembark, then a line to rent a car (or to catch a shuttle to public transit), and maybe even a check-in line at the hotel.

By the end of all of it, travelers are done with lines.

That’s just one of the reasons that your donors may want to find a non-profit fundraising auction travel package that goes somewhere without lines, without crowds, and in some cases, without people.

If isolation is what your supporters want, we can help. Some of our favorite travel packages involve privacy in different ways – at attractions, during activities, even at the accommodations. These travel packages “skip the line” in a whole new way.

Whether it’s wineries in Northern California, theaters in New York, or even the Louvre, private tours are great ways to get to know some of the world’s most iconic destinations and attractions, without dealing with the crowds. We’ve got tours of everything from the Museum of Modern Art in New York to Arnold Palmer’s office in Orlando for enthusiasts of every stripe. That means more time with the docent or tour guide to answer questions, more unobstructed photos, and a closer understanding of the environment.

While there usually aren’t “lines” to wade into a river, fewer fishers can often mean more fish. Two of our packages to the Canadian Rockies include private guided fishing experiences. Your donors can spend a half-day out in the water with a local, who will be able to assist both beginners and advanced fisherpeople alike. And if there’s ever a time where privacy or isolation is desired, isn’t it with a fishing rod in hand?

Privacy can extend to the accommodations, as well. In destinations like Belize, Bali, Thailand, and New Zealand, private villas will guarantee that your donors don’t hear any footsteps from above or banging on the wall next door. And since some of these trips also include private chefs preparing meals and/or on-call private drivers, your supporters can spend large swaths of their vacation removed from anything resembling a rat race.