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August 26, 2010

Vacation Impatience: Flight-Voucher Giveaway Winner Announced!

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"How do I make the time pass quickly when I'm waiting for my vacation?"

There’s the vacation, but then there’s always the... waiting. But in a response to how to deal with this dilemma in our travelers’ forum, Florida-based Courtenay O. was a fount of practical travel-planning wisdom, from making lists to getting the right gear to backing up your travel documents. Here's her full answer:

"Create a notebook to write about places you’ll visit on your vacation. Visit websites - print materials. Keep in your notebook for note taking once you’re there. Need tickets to an event? Need to remember hotel or car rental information? Print & put in your notebook. Watch DVDs of the places you’ll visit. Visit your local library or AAA to borrow films. Print maps & write notes concerning the distance from your hotel to destinations - by foot, car, or public transportation. Start looking for apparel that lends itself to your destination. Shop for what you need; clean & repair what you are taking. Take snapshots of everything you’ll bring to re-evaluate your choices prior to packing, & for documentation if your luggage is lost. Copy all personal documents: one to store at home & one to give to a family member or close friend. Create address labels for everyone you’ll send postcards. Buy stamps now."

Talk about organized! To thank Courtenay for her thoughtful response, we’re awarding her one of four free flight vouchers for the best user-submitted answers to our site. For your chance to win our next airfare giveaway, share your best travel advice with your fellow travelers today! For more information about this giveaway, check out our contest-detail page here.

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Related Topics: News · Travel Tips

June 07, 2010

Play's #WorldTravelCup to Score Goals and Win Prizes!

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¡Olè, olè, olè, olè!... the sweet sounds of World Cup fever are sweeping the planet. In just a few days, 32 teams from across the world will go toe-to-toe for soccer's ultimate prize. Here at, we thought it would be fun to channel our World Cup fervor into a month-long challenge with our friends through the Twitterverse. Welcome to the inaugural #WorldTravelCup!

The challenge is simple: You pick a team to root for. Answer Twivia questions correctly to score a "goal." Amass goals for your team and WIN!

More Details
Who: You!
What: The #WorldTravelCup
When: June 11 – July 11
Where: daily, on Twitter (follow hashtag #WorldTravelCup)
How: Answer #WorldTravelCup questions on Twitter, earn goals for your team, battle it out until one team is crowned winner of the #WorldTravelCup. Better yet, all members of the winning team will be eligible to win one of two grand prizes, a pair of round-trip flight vouchers to anywhere in the continental U.S.! Download the complete contest terms and conditions here.

Continue reading "Play's #WorldTravelCup to Score Goals and Win Prizes!" »

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Related Topics: 2010 World Cup · News · Free Stuff

April 26, 2010

Share Your Travel Advice and Win a Free Flight Voucher!

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Calling all travelers! Your fellow readers need your travel advice. Visit our newly launched Travelers' Corner to browse hundreds of reader-submitted travel questions for trips that they're planning to destinations throughout the world. From the best romantic hideaways in the Caribbean to family-friendly road trips through the Rockies to advice on traveling by train in Italy, our readers need guidance—and who better to offer that guidance than our experienced, world-roving posse of readers. And to thank you for your wise words, we'll be awarding four flight vouchers to the four best user-submitted answers over the next 12 months! (Some conditions apply; CLICK HERE to download the official contest rules.)

So whether you're able to dish the local dirt on the best places to see, stay, and eat in your hometown, or you're a globetrotting adventurer and can dispense some of your hard-earned travel insights for places near and far, our readers (and would love to hear from you. Click the links below to find out about our first two lucky winnners!

Winner #1: Courtenay O., Florida
Winner #2: Cristina W., Washington, D.C.
Winner #3: Sue M, Illinois
Winner #4: Deadline for entries April 22, 2011; winner to be announced on or around April 26.

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January 25, 2010

Haiti Update: Tents Urgently Needed

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Globe-photodisc As the aid in Haiti moves from a rescue to a relief and reconstruction effort following the 7.0-magnitude earthquake on January 12, reports indicate that there is an urgent need for temporary shelters for the displaced survivors streaming out of Port-au-Prince. According to the International Organization for Migration, it currently has 10,000 family-sized tents on the ground but "estimated needs stand at 100,000 to assist 500,000 persons". Other aid organizations assisting the relief response with shipments of tents and other temporary housing supplies include UNICEF, Plan USA, and the Salvation Army. Please consider donating to these and other aid organizations.

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December 16, 2009

Ski Resort Smackdown: And the Winner Is...

By Lacy Morris

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Skiing winter_North Lake Tahoe Resort Association-Tom Zikas
UNTOUCHED POWDER: North Lake Tahoe, California (Tom Zikas)

Results have been calculated and by most accounts, we didn't anger too many of our loyal readers with our slightly biased, yet completely well-intentioned list of top North American ski resorts. We received the most votes from people who wanted to praise us for including Alta Resort among our chosen few. Tahoe came in a close second, and brought us our winner, Barbara Hill from California who wrote in to defend and state a case for her favorite, Tahoe's Sugar Bowl:

"In spite of heavily advertised competition in the Lake Tahoe area, Sugar Bowl remains my favorite. Location, location, location—Sugar Bowl has it over all the others. Don't get slowed down at Donner Summit; get off Highway 80 earlier and head for The Bowl. If you get there early enough you're rewarded with a parking spot in the garage. The gondola ride across the gorge is only the first thrill. With 12 lifts, 91 runs, and home of the snow gods, skiers and boarders at every level are happy. It's not "Sugar" just because it's white; this is the finest powder around. Scenery is spectacular while cruising Mt. Judah, and doesn't matter while whizzing down Silverbelt. This year, Olympic training is an extra kick. You, too, can try the course when they aren't training or watch and be wowed when they are."

Other notable mentions came in for Whistler, with four votes, and Vail, with three. Congratulations on your new gear, Barbara. 

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Related Topics: News · California Travel · Free Stuff · Skiing & Snowboarding

December 11, 2009

#myaway Twitter Contest: And the Winners Are...

By awayblog

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Twitter-holiday-button Thanks to everyone who entered our 48-hour #myaway flight voucher giveaway on Twitter. We were flooded with hundreds of great entries that had us daydreaming from the Hawaiian Islands to the Caribbean, Antarctica to the Finnish Arctic Circle. And who says the Internet is killing creativity? You guys are 140-character poetic maestros. Feel free to browse all the great entries on Twitter here, but without further ado, here are our five winning finalists. Each of these @awayblog tweeps will receive a free air ticket for round-trip travel in the U.S. Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to everyone for playing!

#myaway is Montego Bay, Yatch 'a sway, Addicted to reggae, Wearing Gaultier, Appleton Rum-tini you say? Yea mon, make my day! @sbgardner

Scene: a Dickens classic, tossing back pints, meat pies, chips & fried cod w/my best ex-pat across the pond...London #myaway @kendranjones

Dying to go back to Vietnam and eat my way from Hanoi to Saigon. I have a fever, and the only cure is more goat brain hot pot. #myaway @dckatastrophe

Redhead, skin o'fair's her strife/She's the love of my life/So it would be grand/For #myaway to be Ireland/Where everyone looks like my wife @K_Gut

scientific research purposes only. controlled study based in Puerto Rico to determine which is healthier: Light Rum or Dark Rum. #myaway @johnrbt

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December 01, 2009

Tweet Your Dream Holiday Escape and Win a Free Round-Trip Air Ticket!

By awayblog

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Twitter-holiday-button Are you going away for the holidays? Have a dream destination that tops your holiday life list? Is there one perfect place that you always revisit year after year? Tell us about it on Twitter and you could win one of five free round-trip flight vouchers! Here's the deal:

- From noon on Wednesday, December 2 to 11:59 a.m. on Friday, December 4, follow on Twitter and tweet your dream holiday escape plus the hashtag #myaway in 140 characters or less. The five most creative and original tweets will win. (Download official contest terms here.)

Need some inspiration? Here's a handful of tweets from staffers to get the creative juices going:

Off to Edinburgh where warm beer, mince pies, and festive crowds await. Better yet, Hogmanay is one of Europe's best NYE parties. #myaway

A beach in Western Australia, Indian Ocean lapping my toes. Thoughts turn to family in the Northern Hemisphere, but only briefly! #myaway

Wish I could be on a Boracay beach. No holiday stress, no family to entertain - just sipping Mai Tais & working on my tan. #myaway

Love being at home w/my family in Lawrence, KS. KU bball, Midwest hospitality, KS BBQ. Dorothy’s right: there's no place like home. #myaway

#myaway is to Vienna, Austria's famous Christmas market where I could really get in the holiday spirit w/hot wine punch & schnitzel!

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Related Topics: Air Travel · News · Free Stuff · Holidays, Events, & Festivals

October 09, 2009

National Parks Photo Contest: And the Winner Is...

By awayblog

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Mesquite Flats, Death Valley National Park (Erik Dresser)

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner! Erik Dresser's photograph of the Mesquite Flat sand dunes in Death Valley National Park (pictured above) has been selected as the winner in our National Parks Photo Contest. Taken on a late September afternoon, here's how Erik got the shot:

"My girlfriend and I were in Las Vegas for a mini vacation (and to get engaged) last month and on our last day, we decided to take a day trip to Death Valley, which is about a two-hour drive away.  I had seen photos of the dunes and knew that they would be at their most photogenic in the late afternoon, so I planned our trip so that we would reach them at around 6 p.m. It was very hot and windy that day so I went to a spot where the blowing wind would be back-lit by the sun.  Despite shooting into the sun, the dunes still have a golden glow due the sunlight reflecting off the sand.  This shot is at 200mm. I got some good close-up shots at 400mm, but I chose this one because it includes the ridgeline in the background to provide some scale to the scene."
Technical specifications:
Camera - Canon 1D Mark III
Lens - EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS
Exposure - 200mm, 1/1000 sec, f/6.3, ISO 200

We were thrilled to receive over 200 entries for the contest, showcasing an amazing array of landscapes in 66 different parks and public lands across North America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the national parks claiming the highest representation of entries were Yellowstone National Park (31 entries), Glacier National Park (17 entries), Grand Canyon National Park (17 entries), Grand Teton National Park (15 entries), and Yosemite National Park (12 entries). Browse all of the entries here. Continue reading below the jump to view our five runners-up.

Thank you again, everyone, for taking part, plus a big thanks to Karine Aigner for joining us this week to judge our finalists. Karine is a senior photo editor with National Geographic Kids magazine. Here are her thoughts on the winning entry:

"For me, the winning image stood out because it was a different way capturing the Death Valley dunes, which are so often seen front-lit. After several rounds of judging we kept coming back to this image. It captures the the natural world's powerful, yet subtle beauty as well as spirit, and has wonderful layers of various textures from front to back—making the simple composition work. The back-lit sand creates a mood of anticipation. In all, the image beautifully captures a small moment, those that we often miss in our haste to take in and see as much as possible."

Continue reading "National Parks Photo Contest: And the Winner Is..." »

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Related Topics: News · National Parks · Outdoor Adventures · Travel Photography

September 28, 2009

America's Best Idea

By Karen Chen

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The hoodoos of Bryce Canyon National Park (Photodisc)

Master documentary filmmaker Ken Burns' most recent project, The National Parks: America's Best Idea, premiered on PBS last night. Like each of Burns' hugely popular documentaries—including Baseball, Jazz, and most recently, The War, about World War II—National Parks promises to be yet another epic, in-depth look at an important part of our country's history, focusing on the people who helped to pioneer and shape the creation of these important public spaces, something that was a uniquely American idea. We encourage you to watch at least some of the six-part series (although if his other films are any indication, you'll probably find yourself glued to the TV night after night). But of course, the best way to appreciate the national parks isn't just to watch pictures of them scrolling across your TV screen. Get out and visit them! Gaze up at soaring mountain peaks, hike through enormous canyons, raft roaring rivers, climb over sand dunes, and experience for yourself the natural beauty of our country.

If you've visited any of the national parks already, and have some great photos to share, don't forget that this is the last week to submit a photo to our National Parks Photo Contest!  You could win more than $200 in hiking gear from KEEN, and have your photos featured on!  We've already gotten tons of great submissions—see them all at our Facebook page.

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Related Topics: News · National Parks · Outdoor Adventures · Travel Gear · Travel Photography

September 14, 2009

Share Your Best National Park Photo to Win KEEN Hiking Gear!

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Master documentary filmmaker Ken Burns' most recent project, The National Parks: America's Best Idea, premieres on PBS on September 27.  We know many of you seasoned travelers out there have visited national parks and have some great photos to share, so in celebration of this new documentary, is having a contest to spotlight our country's parks.  We're looking for your best photo, taken in or of a national or state park, forest, or seashore, that shows off the park's natural wonders, as well as your photography skills.  But choose your very best photo, because you're only allowed one entry per person!  All you have to do is:

1. Go to the Facebook Fan Page.

2. Become a fan of

3. Type a descriptive caption of no more than 100 words—being sure to include where and in what park the photo was taken—in the text field at the top of the page (where it prompts you to "Write something...").

4. And before you hit the "Share" button, use the Photo icon below the text field to attach your most impressive national park photo.

Your photo and caption will then appear on our Facebook Wall to be shared with fellow travelers.

The grand prize winner will receive more than $230 worth of trail-ready gear from outdoor pros KEEN, to include hiking boots, a backpack, and merino wool hiking socks.  The winner, along with several runner-ups, will also have their photos featured on our site.  So start looking through your photo albums now, and send us the one that has the greatest "Wow!" factor.  We're excited to see what you've got!

Contest ends midnight on October 2.  Click here for the Official Contest Rules.

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Related Topics: News · Free Stuff · National Parks · Outdoor Adventures · Travel Gear · Travel Photography

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