It’s awards season in Hollywood, and in the travel industry, it’s apparently contest season. At least, that’s what the flurry of e-mails in my inbox seems to indicate, with several excellent opportunities that are targeting adventurous travelers. There are fantastic prizes up for grabs – a Kenyan safari, anyone? – and no purchase necessary for any of them. Here are my top picks.
Travel Photo Contest Awards a $9,000 Kenyan Safari: Those stunning snaps you took on your most recent trip could win you all kinds of good stuff, thanks to a newly announced travel photography contest by award-winning travel site and outfitter iExplore. The top prize is a two-person Kenyan safari (photo at left courtesy of Flickr/Henry Scott), valued at $9,000. The six-night trip includes game drives and stays at luxurious lodges and tent camps. Prizes are also offered for runners-up and all finalists, as well as 50 “Judge’s Favorites.”
The process to apply is fairly straightforward: Just register, upload your photo (you can register one per e-mail address), and spread the word to get votes. Winners are selected by popular vote and via judging by a panel of travel writers and photographers. The contest runs through April 22; register here.
Under-26 Travelers Can Win 16-Country Trip: Youth travel expert STA Travel is offering the trip of a lifetime, er, a World Travel Internship, to two under-26 travelers (www.worldtravelerinternship.com). These grand prize winners will Tweet, blog, and photograph and video their way through 16 countries, including Italy, Australia, Nepal, and Croatia.
To enter, applicants must submit a one-minute video about why they should be chosen. Eight finalists will be awarded a trip to Europe – a new perk added by STA this year – where they will shoot their final application video. If you’re interested (and are “able to handle [the] rigors of extended travel including strenuous activity and carrying heavy luggage” and “able to work well in stressful situations and in new environments with new people,” which are two requirements on the website), get filming: The entry deadline is Feb. 25.
Student Essay Contest Offers 3-night Stay in National Park: This cool contest, offered by the website National Parks Traveler, is open to students ages 8-18. Applicants in three age groups are asked to submit parks-related essays on a specific topic; the deadline is March 1. Winners in each age group will receive a four-person, 3-night stay in one of 13 National Parks, including biggies like Grand Canyon and Zion (photo at left courtesy of Flickr/Dave Pidgeon), plus some enviable gear and a National Parks Annual Pass.
And, if you missed it, be sure to check out the post I recently wrote about a 22-day trip to Turkey for aspiring travel writers. It’s one not to be missed.
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