Pack for a purpose

Packing Gratitude in Your Luggage

There are many considerations when you pack for a holiday: the weather, the possible activities at your destination, weight allowances for luggage and the space you have available. At Pack for a Purpose (PfaP), we recommend that you also consider gratitude when you pack.

I was brought up with the expectation that as a guest you always bring a hostess gift, whether you are invited for a meal, a weekend or a longer stay, to express appreciation for the hospitality you receive. Making this part of a holiday experience seems like a natural extension of my mother's teachings.

Soccer balls delivered to BotswanaOn the Pack for a Purpose website, you will find over 300 options in 47 countries where you can easily express your gratitude for the hospitality you receive at your destination.

Just like the helpful packing lists available on, each lodging and tour company's page on Pack for a Purpose has a specific list of requested needs for the community based project supported by that lodging or tour company. When you bring supplies from this list, you can be assured that your gift of gratitude will be useful and meaningful to the recipients.

Start your packing for your holiday by visiting and following the Five Easy Steps on our home page:

  1. Select your destination.
  2. Find a lodging and a project it supports.
  3. Choose the supplies you wish to bring from the specific items requested.
  4. Drop off the supplies at the lodging.
  5. They will be delivered for you, it's that easy!

All participants on our website are delighted to receive supplies, even if you are not staying with them.

“PackiSchool supplies for Cala Luna, Costa Ricang for a purpose” adds meaning and joy to every holiday. Brides, families and even businesses have all participated with great delight. Their stories can be found on our Blog.

As I mentioned earlier, giving back to the community has always been an important component of the ethos of my family. On our second trip to Africa, realizing that we had available much more luggage than we could possibly use, my husband and I started “packing for a purpose.” With the help of Wilderness Safaris, we were able to identify the needs of a school near the last lodging of our trip. Bringing rulers, writing supplies, flash cards, protractors, soccer balls and other requested items to Botswana and then delivering them to the school was our first “pack for a purpose” trip.

That first experience confirmed how meaningful it can be to express gratitude by bringing needed and requested supplies, for both the traveler and the recipients. On all of our subsequent trips, we continued to bring supplies to community projects our safari company supported.

Bristol Cottages, TanzaniaAfter a conversation with our travel agent, I came to realize that not everybody was brought up by my mother. At that point, I made a commitment to create an easy and trustworthy website for other travelers interested in expressing gratitude in a meaningful way on their holidays.

While that was a lovely idea, I had absolutely no computer skills at the time. Luckily, I make amazing cookies, and both my husband and I are good cooks. I was able to put together a small team of extremely talented and dedicated individuals who were willing to volunteer their time for food. They believed in my idea and were able to make it a reality. The Pack for a Purpose nonprofit website went live in December of 2009.

Stethoscopes delivered to KenyaOver the last three years, both my computer skills and the website have grown substantially. It has been my great joy to hear from many delighted PfaP travelers who have made big impacts in the communities they visited. Since its inception, PfaP travelers have delivered over 9000 kilos of supplies to community-based projects around the globe. Whether a traveler was able to bring four kilos or 50 kilos, each donation of supplies was greatly appreciated.

“A stethoscope weighs less than 1 kilo and can touch 10,000 hearts.”

Whatever gratitude you are able to pack on your next holiday will enrich your travel experience and the community you choose to visit.


Guest post written by Rebecca Rothney, founder of Pack for a Purpose.