For those of you dreaming about the next opportunity for a vacation but worried that your travel budget is depleted (assuming you kept to a budget in the first place), contests are an excellent place to turn. Every day new travel sweepstakes appear on the Web, TV, magazines, and newspapers and it usually takes just a few minutes to enter your personal details for a (once in a lifetime?) chance to win. Lately I’ve been noticing that many contests require you to identify a tourist destination from a photo, submit your own creative photo, or answer questions about a destination to qualify. Unfortunately I have never won a trip in my many years of trying, but that doesn’t stop me from entering contests from time to time, especially when the prize destination appeals directly to my travel preferences.
Luckily I discovered a useful online directory of travel sweepstakes at About.com, the site which is amazing source of knowledge on almost every subject including how to enter and win a free trip. You can browse through the latest list of categorized travel contests and also subscribe to email alerts.
About.com: Travel Sweepstakes – Win Free Trips and Dream Vacations
As for travel magazines, even if you are not a regular subscriber of popular magazines such as Condé Nast Traveler and Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel, the online editions tend to promote travel giveaways as well. Simply visit their websites as well as the website for travel guidebook publishers such as Lonely Planet and Fodor’s Travel Guides to sign up for email newsletters to be notified regularly. Also keep an eye open when perusing the travel section of your local newspaper (find out which day of the week includes a Travel section) and have a pen handy when a contest is mentioned during the morning TV news program or during your drive-time radio show.
Any time the urge strikes you to enter a contest to win a free trip, do your own search on Google or your favorite search engine, even using your iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, or other smart phone device. In Google you can also create an email alert and receive search results via email daily or weekly using any combination of search terms. Here are some useful search terms that I find cover all possibilities:
1. travel sweepstakes
2. vacation contest
3. win free trip
4. vacation giveaway
5. enter win trip
One final tip… create a separate email address (try Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail) just for entering travel contests and monitor it for new messages weekly. Most travel sweepstakes encourage you (or subtly force you) to accept marketing emails from the contest sponsor and it is helpful to separate these from your primary email inbox.
Good luck and Happy Traveling…
Going on Vacation Soon?
Download a Free Handy Checklist
Subscribe to the VacationCounts newsletter and get a free 6-page PDF checklist to make sure you are always prepared and ready to go on vacation.