Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think there are any British bloggers hosting prizes in this year’s Passports with Purpose. This is a shame – in the past it’s been more of an international effort. That doesn’t mean that the Brits are sitting it out entirely. We have Mike of Fevered Mutterings supporting the fundraiser by offering to send curry spice to anyone who donates at least $20. Over on the continent, things are a little more active, where we have the likes of Lola in Sweden hosting a great prize for a cycle tour of Thailand.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking this is purely an American fundraiser. We have PLENTY of prizes for European audiences. You might find it fun perusing the list of prizes on offer but if you are time poor, you might just want some help getting to the good stuff. That’s where I come in.
Looking for the link to donate and pick your prizes? www.passportswithpurpose.org/donate
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.
You can also help by telling your friends about it, both online and offline. Last year Facebook was Passports with Purpose’s biggest referrer of traffic, so please don’t hesitate spread the word – it makes a difference!
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.
Best prizes for Europeans
- 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. 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.
- 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.
- Walking seminar with Context Travel: Lara and Terry at Gran Tourismo are hosting this prize - or, more accurately, these 10 prizes. Context Travel runs excellent walking tours led by experts in their field – whether that be art history or food or whatever the topic is. I have taken two Context tours before, an insiders tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and a chocolate tour, also in Manhattan, and I highly recommend them. The company has donated $1500 worth of walking tours – which means 10 people will win a prize for a $150 walking tour. There are a bunch of tours in Europe, including London. The odds on this prize ought to be great because 10 people will win and it was also uploaded to the website late because Lara and Terry were travelling.
- Florence market tour: You might come to Florence for the art and history but you’re in Italy so the local food culture is great too. You could win a private tour of Florence’s San Lorenzo market with the “Tuscan Diva”, via WhyGo Italy. Oh and check out the next few prizes for a place to stay!
- 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.
- Apartment rental in Europe: Apartment rental through Oh Barcelona for about three nights in Barcelona, Paris, Rome, Florence or Berlin, hosted by OttsWorld.
- Apartment in Umbria: Italy is not a cheap place to visit but if you can get your accommodation covered that’s most of the battle. WhyGo Italy is hosting a great prize of a week’s stay in an apartment in Assisi, Umbria.
- Hyatt Gold Passport points: If hotels are more your scene, then you could try to win the110,000 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.
- Budapest holiday: Five nights in Budapest at the Town Hall Apartments, Budapest. Also includes airport transfers and hop on – hop off bus tour. Great prize from Inspiring Travellers.
- Ireland B&B: Two nights for two people at any Irish bed & breakfast on the B&B Ireland website. Voucher is valid any time of year, with some black-out dates.
- Eurail pass: Despite the era of cheap flights, I believe Europe’s fast, comfortable train network is absolutely the best way to see the continent. The only catch is that trains are not always quite as cheap as flying – unless of course it only cost you $10 for a raffle ticket in the first place! You could win a 15-day Eurail pass in exchange for your Passports with Purpose donation – GREAT prize from BootsnAll.
- 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.