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January 2, 2013 • Gear Bits

Pack for a Purpose when You Travel in 2013

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This may look like bags of garbage but it is anything but that. No, this collection of bags is filled with dozens upon dozens of pounds of medical and school supplies. We brought these items with us when I led a mission to Cuba in October. Each of us was required to bring 15 pounds of “aid goods” as the means of getting into Cuba. My community being who they are, however, ended up bringing far more than that. All of the items were shared with organizations that help seniors and kids alike. It was a great way to turn a trip into something even more meaningful. We saw Havana, and we did some good in the process.

That’s why my interest was piqued when Elana showed me a piece in American Express’ Departures Magazine. It speaks about turning every trip into a mission.

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Pack for a Purpose encourages people to pack their bags with vital supplies — everything from pencils to stethoscopes — when traveling.

Think packing a few helpful items can’t make much of a difference? Think again. As Pack for a Purpose points out, “It adds up! If 500 individuals each pack 5 lbs (2.27 kg) we can provide 1.25 tons of supplies to community-based projects around the world!”

And here’s the really neat thing about this approach — If you fill a third or a half of your bag with items to share with others when you head out on your trip, you will have an equivalent amount of space available to you for items you purchased while away when you are on your way back.

As the Departures article notes, “…tell the charity where you are headed, and it will tell you what’s needed in places ranging from Botswana to Belize. The supplies are then distributed at your destination by partner hotels and lodges”. Pretty neat huh? You can learn more here on Pack for a Purpose.

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