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Traveling Without Driving

October 18, 2017
There are some public transit systems so popular, you can buy their memorabilia. There are t-shirts available online with images of the New York City subway map and mugs with London’s famous “Mind the Gap” slogan emblazoned on the side. In fact, renting a car while traveling to either city – and being responsible for parking said car – can be incredibly inconvenient.

Many of our non-profit fundraising auction travel packages come with bonuses like airport transfers. But when your donors are in the city, how do they want to get around? Do they want the hassle of driving, looking for gas stations and constantly worrying about parking, or would they rather let a good subway or bus system take care of the logistics? If your supporters lean toward the later, here are some of our favorite non-New York, non-London options.

London may be the first European city that comes to mind when public transit is the topic, but don’t discount its neighbor across the Channel. Paris is home to the second-busiest subway in Europe, and has more than 300 stations. That sounds like it could be overwhelming for the outsider, but its density is a big benefit; there’s hardly an attraction in the city that isn’t accessible by train. Some of the older stations, which were built in the Art Deco and Beaux Arts style, are also architectural beauties on their own.

Any city where the attractions are bunched together can be navigable via public transit, and there may be no better example of that than Las Vegas. With so many of Sin City’s activities situated on the Las Vegas Strip, it’s easy to use either the hop-on Strip bus “The Deuce” or take the monorail to jump from resort to resort. And with so many of the tours (like those to the Grand Canyon) taking off from Stripside spots, it’s like Mother Nature has her own bus stop.

That same geographic centrality helps make San Francisco an excellent town to visit without a car. The trolleys are world famous, of course, but the Bay Area Rapid Transit system does the harder work for locals, connecting the City by the Bay to Oakland and Berkeley. Combined with local buses, the subway is enough for a visitor to see it all, without having to fight rush-hour traffic.

There may be no city more closely associated with the automobile than Los Angeles, but the transit culture is changing there. Winners of our Los Angeles awards show packages can take the train almost directly to the front door of the Microsoft Theater in downtown L.A. – and during off hours, that same train can take your supporters to the beaches of Santa Monica, to the Hollywood Walk of Stars and even the Hollywood Bowl. It’s amazing to say, but it’s true: A visitor to Los Angeles can see most of the attractions and have a tremendous time without getting into a car.