Travel can be expensive, but what if you can get your whole trip for free?
The travel industry is competitive, many marketing teams put on travel competitions to help boost the overall visibility of their brand.
It’s a win win, the company gets affordable exposure by giving away their product and consumers are made aware of what’s on offer, this is why travel competitions are increasingly popular.
Within this blog post I will explain How I’ve won online Travel competitions and the secrets to my success to gain the best results.
Over the past decade, I have won many online Competitions, including:
• 6 months all paid trip round the world (Canada, USA, Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, India, Penthouse apartment for a week in London)
• Won a free Digital Camera from Metro Newspaper
• Free return flights to Australia with two weeks worth of accommodation, top restaurants, VIP night club with limo & drinks, surfing lessons, skydive and one night in a 6 star hotel
• 10 day trip to Dubai for two: Return flights and accommodation
If you happen to think this is down to luck then you would be mistaken, it takes some work, support from loyal friends and family as well as a lot of time and dedication to ensure that a win is possible.
Look at the Pro and Con’s: Easy wins compared to Difficult wins.
First thing first, look at who is hosting the competition, why they are hosting the competition and how to enter the competition.
Examples of travel competitions
The BBC is hosting a travel competition for two weeks in India all inclusive and all you have to do is: type your name, email address and answer a very simple question, such as “what’s the capital of India?”
I would rate this competition, impossible to win.
A local European student magazine is asking you to create a video in exchange for return flights to Estonia. I would rank this, an easy win.
The odds of winning such a highly sort after prize with a mass audience, such as the BBC will be extremely competitive, it’s too easy to enter.
With the student magazine they have a niche audience, much lower than the BBC, but the content you would need to create would take some effort and time, this puts people off entering. Only people who really want to win would enter making it a far more easier competition to win.
Low effort entry needed + highly visible competition = hard win
High effort entry needed + low visibility = more manageable win
When you need to put in some sort of effort this automatically cuts out a lot of competition as it takes time, many won’t feel confident that they could win.
If it takes 5 seconds to enter a travel competition then why not? The only drawback is the competition will be too high, giving you less chance to win.
Do you have enough passion to win the competition?
I recently stumbled across a travel competition for a two week free language course, anywhere around Europe with flights and accommodation included, a very nice prize for the winner.
In order to enter you need to create a video explaining why you want to win. The competition was advertised on a Language programs Facebook group page targeted at youth within the EU, which didn’t have much of an audience.
Sadly, I didn’t have enough passion to create a video as I’m not interested in the prize.
I did have a friend who wanted to learn Spanish so I passed the competition on to her as she did have enough passion to create a winning video. It had low visibility so it would have been an easy win for someone who wanted it.
Taking part alone is one step closer to winning, if you simply just enter your already ahead of those that didn’t, there is no harm in trying.
For this reason I create a Yahoo email account that I use to enter competitions to keep marketing emails out of my main email account, which is already cluttered. Just be sure to check it occasionally.
Does the Competition hold enough value compared to the time it will take to enter?
As explained above, creating a video automatically sorts the cream from the crop, if you have enough energy to create a winning video/photo then you could be in for a win.
It all depends on how the competition levels out.
The Metro newspaper was hosting a “capture your city competition”, I was aware of the Metro newspaper in London, but as the newspaper was not popular in Wales, I entered into the Welsh region of the competition. I entered a fun picture of a smile that was drawn across the snow by foot marks in my University car park.
I won the Welsh region prize, which was a free digital camera and then along with 8 other regional finalists entered into the mega prize draw to win a two week trip to Cuba. Sadly, I lost, but I got pretty close and it only took me 20 minutes of work, I knew that if I entered into the London region I would have no chance of winning.
I looked at the possibility and spotted a gap where it could be possible to win.
The time you will spend working on winning, should justify the cost of the prize.
I decided to spend a total of 6 months campaigning to win a free Gap Year, 6 months worth of free travel. Was it worth it? Completely!
I worked out the time I spent creating content for this competition was worth the prize total. I was working in a local bar at the time to fund my future travels so adding this extra work on top was totally worth it.
If I lost, I would have been heartbroken, but I had my savings to fall back on so I had nothing to lose, so I went for it.
The competition got me excited about travel and I knew what I was getting myself into, I had nothing to loose.
The moment when I won….Priceless
For a traveller, this type of trip was like winning the lottery, I would spend my lottery winnings on travel so it was worth all the effort.
(Won a free trip around the world for 6 months by entering a travel competition on Bebo)
Do you have social reach?
There are two types of travel competitions, one with a judge panel and one with amount of votes cast.
Voting based Travel Competitions
Recently its never been easier to buy Votes for competitions. For as little as $5 you can buy between 1,000 to 10,000 votes for a travel competition entry online.
If you have a large social media presence and those in your circle are happy to support you in your efforts, then boosting votes for your campaign can be possible, but the last competition that I took part in I was winning for a moment until others come along with buying votes and I got knocked out over night.
No longer are voting competitions about how good the content is, it’s more about how many people you can campaign to vote for your entry.
The one exception from this rule is if you’re able to create content that naturally goes viral, but this is a tough call, it’s never easy.
If you have a large Social media following and they want to back you then you could have a good chance.
When asking for support from friends and Family on Facebook and Twitter be careful not to abuse their trust. Assess the competition and if you feel like you can win it, then it’s ok to get your friends and family involved. When you win they come on the journey with you in some way too. If you loose then ask them again for more help, then they will look at you as the spam king, no one wants to be a spam king, be careful!
Post the competition to your wall and feed, add a nice message and ask them to share if they like the idea of you winning. You can also send personal emails or Facebook messages just make sure it’s one on one and not copy and paste. Facebook can and will delete your account if you abuse this too much so be careful.
Also, this runs the risk that your friends might take part in the competition as well, one of my friends entered into the Australia competition I took part in and funny enough we both went (well done Máire!), so it does have its drawbacks too.
Buying votes for your Travel Competition entry is not the right way to go about it, it’s cheating and you should avoid this at all costs. If you spot this happening, do report it to the admin, its unfair and against the competition rules.
Judge panel based competitions
If the win is based on a panel of judges, This means that no voting will take place, but a panel will have the final decision. For these types of competitions if you can think outside of the box and create something unique, engaging and creative you also have a great chance of winning. Photo and video competitions are great for this. Just make sure you do something unique and different, so you can stand out amongst the competition.
I once won a free tour in Iceland because I started the video by climbing out of a fridge freezer and saying “I’m preparing for Iceland” Be creative!
I won a free trip to Dubai due to a video entry that I worked on with a friend, It was top quality. I had just got back from a trip in Japan and my friend Siri had done such an amazing job at creating a fun and unique video of exploring the Fish markets of Tsukiji, We simply blew the competition out of the water compared to the other entries. We both managed to win a nice little get away for ourselves.
(High quality video entry for a travel Competition with Foxnomad to win free return flights and a hotel to Dubai for 10 days)
Read terms and Conditions
Before entering a travel competition where some amount of effort is needed, please read the terms and conditions first, this is very important and could work in your favour too. Make sure you meet all the requirements, your entry meets all the brief and that you play by the rules.
For this very reason I was able to win a free trip to Australia, I spotted a competition that required a video with the most likes. When I look at the video now I sort of face palm, its so bad but I won! I prepared it very quickly and in terrible quality, but it met all the requirements of the Travel Competition.
It Simply stated the most thumbs up on a YouTube video explaining why you want to go to Australia, so that’s all I did, exactly just that, check out the video (so bad!):
(It’s so bad, amazed this video won a free trip to Australia. Just shows that you should enter these competitions!)
I even used the terms and conditions to eliminate two candidates because they required the entries to be from UK mainland as this was where the flights departed. Two of the highest voted videos had an American accent and after investigation from the admin they got rejected from the competition. Make sure you follow all the rules or you could get caught out too.
One more bonus tip
Sometimes its best to enter competitions last minute.
This works by spotting a competition with no entries and waiting till the last minute to enter. If you enter with time still remaining, then others can see your lonely entry and might think they can do better. If time is still remaining then its possible to create something in the nick of time.
Check how long competitions have until they expire, this could play well in your favour.
This recently happened in a competition where there were only two Competition entries for a Go Pro, mine and a friend who spotted that they could do better. She entered on the last day and wiped out the chance of me winning (Well done Aga!), I thought I’d won as I was the only entry and it was a good entry! But her creative approach was way better, not bad, 30 minutes of work for a €250 video camera.
It’s just a case of working out what travel competitions are within your reach, that’s the winning formula. Next time you enter a travel competition remember the rules above and if I can do it then surely anyone can.
Thank you for reading my blog post about winning Travel Competitions, I hope you found it useful and best of luck with your future entries! Happy travels!
Have you been lucky with winning a Travel Competition? Can you add any more tips? Feel free to post below in the comment section and share, thank you!