This is the final week for Passports with Purpose so if you were thinking you would get around to donating at some point, now is a pretty good time! All the prizes should be up on the website by now so there’s no reason to wait.
Looking for the link to donate and pick your prizes? www.passportswithpurpose.org/donate
There are a lot of prizes on offer and you might find it fun perusing what’s on offer and reading the different blog posts elaborating on the prizes. Then again, you might be busy and just want me to tell you how to get to the good stuff. If so, read on…
You need to donate by midnight (Seattle time) on December 16 if you want to be in the running to win a prize. It’s an easy $10 donation via PayPal and it’s tax-deductible in the US.
Don’t forget that all funds raised go directly to Room to Read to pay for two libraries in Zambia. I’ve been reading up on the charity and it’s quite an impressive organisation. Libraries are public spaces for everyone in the community but Room to Read’s focus is on children’s literacy and girls’ education, which the evidence suggests benefits society as a whole. Each library costs $40,000 and our goal is to fund two of them. At the time of writing, we had raised $32,500, so we need to get quite a few donations this week if we are to reach our goal.
What I love about Passports with Purpose and why I keep coming back every year is that it is a real grassroots effort. It was founded by four friends in Seattle, all of whom I have met personally. It works because of the collective effort of travel bloggers who go out there and procure prizes and write about them and spread the word to their friends. This is not some big charity with an advertising budget mounting the Christmas appeal. There are virtually no overheads for Passports with Purpose – aside from PayPal fees and the like – because it is wholly a volunteer effort. And the absolute backbone of the fundraiser is individual $10 donations from people like you. So even if you only want to donate $10, it truly does make a difference. And even if all you can do is tell other people about it, that makes a difference too – last year, Facebook was our number one biggest driver of traffic.
I’m really hoping to get more Australian bloggers involved in Passports with Purpose next year – if you are interested then let me know.
Best prizes for Australians
- Freestyle Escape cookery class: The Queensland Sunshine Coast is one of Australia’s most popular holiday spots and with good reason. If you think you might head up there some time next year, or if you live in the area, this is a great prize for you or a foodie in your life. Freestyle Escape is on the scenic Maleny-Montville Road overlooking the Glasshouse Mountains, an hour or so from Noosa. You could win a cookery workshop with a celebrity chef for two people in the beautiful Freestyle Escape outdoor kitchen. I’m hosting this prize, with thanks to Freestyle Escape for the sponsorship.
- Kindle Fire: Amazon’s latest, greatest gadget is the Kindle Fire. It’s no longer just an e-reader but marks a foray into the tablet market with full-colour display that can be used to stream or download movies and TV shows. It’s not available at retail in Australia yet but there are two on offer as prizes that will ship worldwide, one from Europe Up Close and one from Mother of All Trips.
- Kindle Touch: The Kindle Fire looks great but I think it would be smart to put your money on the Kindle Touch hosted by Budget Travelers Sandbox instead. I have a hunch – given that it is a device that retails for $US109 rather than $US199 – that there will be less competition for the Kindle Touch. Also, if you are mainly wanting to read books rather than watch movies etc then it might be better. As an e-reader the simplicity of the Kindle display is part of the appeal. It really is like reading text on paper, not like staring at a screen.
- Nook tablet: There is also a Nook tablet, the Barnes & Noble e-reader, on offer as a worldwide prize from foXnoMad. I don’t know much about the Nook but it’s a popular device and it’s nice to have an alternative to Amazon.
- Literary agent review: Are you a budding author? Kelsey Timmerman, author of Where Am I Wearing?, is hosting a prize tailor-made for you – a critique of 50 pages of manuscript or proposal by literary agent Jon Sternfeld. Note, this also comes with an HTC 7 smartphone but that’s only available in the US.
- Books: A Traveler’s Library is hosting two great book prizes. You could win $300 worth of books from Interlink Books, a publisher that specialises in cross-cultural books. (Check out the website – the titles look fascinating). Or you could win $100 worth of audio books from MacMillan Audio – perfect if you are planning to go on a long trip and don’t want to be laden down with books, or just for driving in the car.
- HomeAway voucher: I almost don’t want to tell you about this prize because it’s the one that I want to win! HomeAway is a vacation apartment rental company and they have donated a $1000 voucher to be used on a single stay at a property of your choice anywhere in the world. I’m hoping that I can put it towards holiday apartments in London or Stockholm next year. This is hosted by Pam at Nerd’s Eye View.
- Hyatt Gold Passport points: If hotels are more your scene, then you could try to win the 110,000 points in the Hyatt Gold Passport loyalty scheme. This is a LOT of points – it’s enough for five nights at a luxury hotel or 22 nights at the more entry-level hotels.
- Intrepid Travel voucher: Intrepid is a tour company with an indie ethos. They run small group tours to places that are just slightly off the beaten track and they are big on responsible travel. I know people who have taken Intrepid tours and really enjoyed themselves. My travel options are somewhat limited right now with my 10-month-old twins but if circumstances were different, I would love to win this prize. This is hosted by Spunky Girl Monologues.
- Willing Foot voucher: This looks like a really interesting travel company so I’m grateful to the Gastro Gnome for bringing it to my attention. From what I can see, you could use this $500 voucher to join a group tour or towards services for planning your self-guided holiday.
- Amazon giftcard: I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t be able to put a $100 Amazon giftcard to good use. Enough said.
- Boingo account: A one-year Boingo account for wifi internet access around the world. A great prize for the modern traveller from Gary at Everything Everywhere.
- Bungy jumping in New Zealand: New Zealand is just next door – it’s very accessible, especially for those of us in the eastern states. If you plan to bungy jump in New Zealand, then Amanda at A Dangerous Business recommends you do it at Nevis Canyon. It would cost just $10 if you win the prize from AJ Hackett Bungy – apparently the inventors of bungy jumping!
- Cycling tour in Thailand: You can get to Thailand pretty cheaply from Australia, even from the East Coast. So this prize is totally doable for travellers on a budget. And if you love to be active, this sounds like stacks of fun. It’s an eight-night cycling tour along the coast from Bangkok to Koh Samui with Beyond Boundaries Travel, hosted by Lola at Geotraveler’s Niche.
- Bamboo traveller’s pack: A Grand Trunk traveller’s pack with bamboo-fabric sleep sack, pillowcase, towel and cover-up and bed sheet. It all folds up really small and the fibre feel is luxurious. This is perfect if you are a backpacker and stay in places like youth hostels, caravan parks, or go couchsurfing. Hosted by Wandering Educators.
- Down shirt: A toasty warm shirt for the serious cold-weather trekkers among you, hosted by Kristen at Wanderlust and Lipstick. It’s a MICROTHERM™ DOWN SHIRT by Eddie Bauer|First Ascent and is apparently the lightest down layer in the company’s history.
- Pickpocket-proof trousers: Pickpockets and petty theft can be one of the biggest hassles for travellers visiting cities or taking local transport. Art of Backpacking is offering pickpocket-proof trousers and shorts, plus a t-shirt. You might not want to wear these on a shopping expedition in Paris but they would be just the ticket for a long bus ride in Peru.
- Travel jewellery: Cool necklace and anklet set made from durable kangaroo leather and a pearl from French Polynesia.
- Camera backpack: If you are serious about photography, you probably travel with a lot of gear. You might want to take a look at this camera and laptop backpack – it’s deep enough to accommodate a 70-200mm lens mounted on the camera. It’s a StreetWalker HardDrive camera backpack by Think Tank Photo and the details are here.
- VentureSafe daypack: Tim Leffel is hosting the VentureSafe 200 daypack, a sturdy little daypack with lots of theft-proof features.
If you are planning to travel to Europe, North America or Latin America next year, make sure to check out the full list of prizes. There are some fantastic hotel packages and tours on offer.