Who wouldn’t love to have an all-expenses paid family vacation? After all, between flights, car rental, accommodations, food and souvenirs, vacation expenses sure can add up. But thanks to the Internet and social-media networks like Facebook and Twitter, it now seems as if there are a million and one ways to win a free vacation these days.
I remember entering travel contests as a kid by filling out sweepstakes forms and mailing them in an (old-fashioned) envelope. (I must have made my mom sign entries for those contests requiring entrants be 18 or older.) Today, you can enter travel contests with the click of a keyboard mouse. Of course, some require work, like making videos, writing essays or uploading photos, but others you can win just by becoming a Facebook fan or sending an email.
And “real people” really do win these travel contests! TwinCitiesGal entered a book-promotion contest to win a hefty credit to Arizona‘s Canyon Ranch (yes, she used the credit and pampered herself during a lovely fall weekend), and her stepson won the family a trip to the Nestle ice cream factory in Bakersfield, California years ago. Family-travel blogger Jody Halstead of Family Rambling, who lists vacation giveaways on her blog every Friday, actually won one of the vacation contests she promoted!
The lovely ladies at We Just Got Back often sponsor vacation giveaways. Right now they are promoting a three-night stay at a Tampa Bay resort; all you have to do to win the vacation is register at the site to enter daily through March 16. Sign up for the We Just Got Back newsletter and you’ll get notified of all future sweepstakes.
Here are just a handful of other free travel contests that are happening right now (press releases about these giveaways landed in my email in-box just in the last week — yes, I get a lot of releases):
Three-night stay in La Jolla from San Diego North: The Vacation Gals all love the San Diego area, and the region to the north — from La Jolla to Oceanside and inland toward the desert — has a lot to offer, too. I have wonderful memories of recent family trips to Carlsbad, where we visited LEGOLAND and played on the beach (in unseasonably cool March!). To win, write a short essay detailing your “San Diego North Story” by June 30.
Family reunion at YMCA of the Rockies: I stayed at Snow Mountain Ranch near Winter Park with my immediate family a couple of years ago, and I think it would make an awesome vacation for an extended-family reunion. Multi-bedroom, large cabins make it so easy to gather, and there’s tons of fun stuff to do: swim, fish, hike, bike in the summer or cross-country ski, tube or snowshoe in the winter. Choose from the Winter Park or Estes Park location for your reunion of up to 30 friends or family members. Enter by March 31.
$10,000 dream vacation from HomeAway.com: Did you see that really funny commercial with Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo during the SuperBowl? Make your own “I survived a hotel from hell” video, or upload photos or an essay and you could win a vacation-rental trip worth $10,000. Enter by March 2.
Airfare, accommodations, dinner and Carrot Top tickets at the Las Vegas Luxor: This contest actually does involve your going to the post office! Create some crazy prop that comedian Carrot Top can use in his (R-rated) show, send it in, and if yours is the funniest, you’ll be heading to Las Vegas for free. Enter by May 1.
First-class Eurail pass valued at $749: Aimed at the young, backpacking community, this contest from Off Track Planet requires the winner to Tweet during his or her European adventure as the host of the OTP “Europe by Eurail” promotion. Enter by March 22.
Know of other vacation contests happening now? Feel free to link to them in the comments below.