One of the best travel deals I’ve ever landed was purchased at a PTA silent auction at my daughter’s elementary school. For something like $20, I picked up a family membership to a Virginia science museum. The membership granted our family free admission to that museum for one year.
But the real deal was the local museum’s affiliation with the Passport Program of the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC).
Over 300 science and children’s museums across the country and around the world participate in the ASTC Passport Program.
If you join one museum, your family can get free admission to any of the participating museums!
Among the offerings are gems such as:
- the Museum of Flight in Seattle;
- the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia;
- the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago;
- the Clark Planetarium in Salt Lake City; and
- the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore.
ASTC Passport Program Saves the Day!
I’ll never forget the time we visited my sister in Seattle.
We had ridden the monorail over to Seattle Center. But the sky was overcast — not a good day to go up the Space Needle.
All of a sudden it started pouring. We ducked in to the Pacific Science Center.
Our whole family got in for free, thanks to the ASTC Passport. It turned out to be a fantastic museum and we ended up spending several hours there.
Silent Auctions are Your Best Friend
In recent years, silent auctions for charitable causes have gone online. The trick is to find a little known auction where there is less competition.
I stumbled across the annual fundraising auction for the Society of American Travel Writers last week. I thought I was golden. There seemed to be very few active bidders, and the travel prizes were great. I placed a lowball bid for a trip to New Orleans. The package included a stay at a Bed & Breakfast Inn, lunch, and a fat tire bicycle tour. Unfortunately, I was outbid on that prize, but the winner still ended up with a great deal.
Passports with Purpose Annual Auction
Another great annual event is a fundraiser sponsored by Passports with Purpose.
This event is a raffle, rather than a silent auction. All proceeds go to support an international charity. This year the beneficiary is Worldreader.
For a donation of $10, you can win a chance at dozens of great travel prizes — everything from tours to hotel stays to travel gear.
You can check out the prize catalog for the 2015 campaign here. Proceeds will go to buy digital readers for libraries in Kenya. It’s a great cause and an easy way for frequent travelers to give back.