Thursday 1 December 2011

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Passports with Purpose

There are times (alot of them actually) when I just don't pay enough attention. I saw everybody beginning to talk about putting packages together for this thing called "Passports with Purpose" about a month ago, but sometimes I'm absorbed in my own little world, and looking in to things that might require more work for me can land pretty low on my priority list (Kind of why I'm ignoring the buzzing of the washing machine right now.). Doing this of course, usually comes back to make you feel like the laziest, least compassionate bum on the planet.

Passports with Purpose was founded in 2008 as a way for the travel blogging community to give back to some of the places that we visit. The concept is simple. Individual travel bloggers gather prize packages that are put up on the Passport with Purpose site. For every $10 donation that people give to the fundraiser, they get one entry into a draw for the prize package of their choice. On December 15th, they close out the tickets, and then two days before Christmas a whole bunch of lucky people are going to win some great prizes, and a lot of money is going to go to a really great cause.

What cause? Well the first year of the fundraiser they built a school in Cambodia, which I'm sure has improved the lives of many children who are far less cynical than mine ("I'll donate if they blow my school up."). The second year of the fundraiser they built a village in India. A whole village! I built a village with Lego once when I was younger, and I was pretty impressed with myself. I can only imagine how cool it would be to build a real village, then stand back and look down disapprovingly at my Lego model. This year the goal is to raise enough money to build two libraries in Zambia, complete with books and everything (My daughter has offered her never used Math 6 textbook if it will help.).

Since I took the lazy path and didn't get involved early enough to round up my own prize package (although I have now moved the laundry to the dryer), it seems that all I can do now is donate, and win some of the fantastic prizes that are available. I've scanned the list of packages, and I've decided that, while I'd really be happy to win any of the great prizes, this is where I'm going to put my tickets from my donations:

110,000 Hyatt Gold Passport Points - Loyalty Traveler
Being a Hyatt guy, this is a no-brainer. It's also a whole lot of points. This is enough points to spend five nights in a five star hotel in Paris, Sydney, or Kauai. Or it would be enough points to spend almost an entire summer at a hotel by the Tuscon airport. Decisions, decisions....

2 Night Stay at Four Seasons Seattle - Chris Around the World
Believe it or not (and I understand your hesitation to take things I say at face value), I've never stayed in a Four Seasons hotel before. I've been close, staying in the Park Hyatt Aviara just after they bought it from Four Seasons, but I'm thinking that still doesn't count. Still, the real reason I want to win this prize is just to see if I've improved my "hanging out in fancy places" skills. I can't do worse than I did at the Plaza right?

3 Night Stay at Windham Bonnet Creek - Culture Mom
I wouldn't even have had a clue what this place was until a month or so ago when my friend Deej at World of Deej reviewed the place. He made it sound like a great place to spend a few days, and my youngest recently announced that she'd like to go back to Florida soon, but not when it rains. When exactly is that Floridians?

Pick-Pocket Proof Pants, Shorts, and T-shirt - Art of Backpacking
It's time to put this product to a real test. Never mind the professional gangs of pick-pockets roaming foreign cities....They're amateurs. The real test of these "pick-pocket proof" pants will be to see if they can keep my wife and kids from getting to my wallet. If they can do that, then it's time to change over my wardrobe.

Family Getaway at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess - Ciao Bambino
We visited here earlier this year, and it was a fantastic place to stay, but the real reason I want to win this package is simple - Smoothies. Absolutely the best smoothies I've ever had anywhere, and for my Thailand smoothie purist friends (Ahem *Christy*), yes, there's ice cream in them.

2 Nights at Hilton Garden Inn Anaheim with Disneyland Tickets - TravelMamas
There seems to be a conspiracy here. Just yesterday I wrote about how a TravelMamas post made me want to go back to Disneyland, and now here she is offering a prize package for just that trip. Added bonus: We usually stay at the Hyatt in Anaheim, but we cut through the Hilton Garden Inn parking a lot while we stay there. I'd love to see what the hotel itself is like (The parking lot is very clean!).

Monkey Trunks Extreme Aerial Adventure Family Pass - Travel with Teens and Tweens
This looks like so much fun that I'm entering the draw even though I have no plans to be out East anytime soon. If I win it, I'll make plans. There's just something about seeing my family suspended high up in the air that amuses me and inspires me to take pictures. Of course all cameras will be banned when I get a turn on the zipline.

2 Nights at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa - No Vacation Required
I'm going to combine this with the five nights I'll get from the 110,000 Hyatt points in the first draw (Yes, I'm planning on winning them both.) for a complete week at this beautiful looking resort. I've never been to Kauai though. They still have pineapple right?

4 Nights in a Suite at the Honua Kai Resort in Maui - Delicious Baby
Hmmm...It's occurring to me that I might be giving away my master plan to move to Hawaii and live in hotels that I win from the Passports with Purpose drawings. I probably shouldn't have tipped my hand like that, but I guess it's too late now. Try and stop me Batman!!! (???)

$100 Best Western Gift Card - Mommy Points
You know what I like best about this prize? I don't have to go anywhere to use it. Living in the (comparatively) small town that I do, there's no Hilton, Hyatt, Starwood, or anything like that. We do have a Best Western though, and a really nice one at that. Perfect for putting up out of town guests when they come to visit, or for putting me up if I leave my wife stranded on that rope course too long.

There's tons of other prizes that I'd love to bid on, but let's face it - winning these ten draws is going to keep me plenty busy for the next year. Besides, I have to leave some things for you guys. Go to Passports with Purpose now, look over the prize list, make a donation to help them build libraries in Zambia, and win yourself something great. If you win something in Hawaii, I'll see you there (can we crash on your couch?).