Passports with Purpose: Give Back to Africa, Win Travel

Ladies and gents, it is officially my favorite time of year (okay, so perhaps except for that whole thing about it getting dark before happy hour). No, it's not my favorite time of year because Black Friday is around the corner or because eggnog lattes are back. But rather it's that time of year for winter ales, the return of ski (or in my case, snowboard) season, and the annual re-watching of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and Elf. (Would now be a bad time to mention that I’ve never watched Love Actually? However, more important and relevant for our discussion, it’s time for the annual Passports with Purpose fundraiser. But before you tune out with the whole fundraiser mention, I’ll begin by telling you that if you stick with me here, I’ll give you the chance to win a five-star hotel stay. Not only that, but by donating (and thus entering to win), you’ll be helping kids in Africa read. In your face Black Friday!

Now to the 4-1-1. Passports with Purpose started back in 2008 with a simple purpose of doing good in destinations around the world that people travel to. They've done this by uniting the online travel community and leveraging social media around the holidays each year to raise money for a different charity. Travel blogs curate prizes and travel experiences from around the world that people can then enter to win by simply making a donation to the charity. Year’s past has seen libraries constructed in Zambia, a village built in India, and several wells created in Haiti.

This year’s Passports with Purpose is personally special to me because it’s benefitting a special destination for me, Africa. I believe there are some basic, universal human needs that should always be met, including access to food and water, shelter, and education. Yet these needs are often unable to be met in Africa like they are in other destinations.

It wasn’t long ago, after all, that Africa’s rate of literacy, for example, was about 50% (it’s now above 60%). So this year's PWP fundraiser will bring digital readers to several libraries in Kenya with Worldreader, helping bring literacy to thousands of children. According to Worldreader, 50% of Africa schools have few or no books. As a result, Worldreader is on a mission to bring digital books to every child and family.

First and foremost, how do you donate? You can donate by visiting Passports with Purpose’s website and securely donating there. But now, this is where the travel prizes come in. For every $10 you donate (100% of donations, exclusive of PayPal fees, will go to Worldreader), you can enter to win a catalogue of amazing travel gear, hotel stays, trips, and more. Folks, Christmas is coming early this year!

For my prize, I teamed up with one of the best hotel brands, Four Seasons, to give away a weekend stay at one of the best Los Angeles hotels, the five-star Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. Someone (and their plus one) is going to have a pretty sweet Los Angeles weekend getaway with a two-night stay at the Four Seasons Los Angeles, plus dinner for two at its restaurant, Culina. In addition to the Four Seasons being one of the top L.A. hotels, Culina is one of the to hotel restaurants in Los Angeles, considered one of the best outdoor dining restaurants and named by Wine Enthusiast as one of the best wine restaurants in the U.S. Having spent more time at the Four Seasons Los Angeles Hotel than perhaps any other hotel in L.A. (and having written about it here on Whiskey Tango Globetrot), it only felt appropriate that it would be my prize for this year’s Passports with Purpose.

So here’s the deal. To give back this holiday season and help bring literacy to Kenya via Worldreader, simply go to the donate page on Passports with Purpose. Then, after donating at least $10, select my prize of the two-night hotel at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. If L.A. isn’t your cup of tea or you don’t like staying at five-star hotels (<<said no one ever in history), there are a heckuva lot of other great prizes you can also enter to win. You can see the full catalogue here.

I think Miriam Beard probably best put into words the sentiment of doing good as we go when she said, “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living." Give back, travel, and see people positively affected by the power of good. I can’t think of a better way to approach the holidays.