Fancy being a travel writer? Tell us about a recent trip for our 2012 travel writing competition and you could see your name in print and win an exciting commission
Readers’ travel writing competition: prizes include a trip to Brazil, an Iceland winter break and a rail trip across Canada
Today we launch our 2012 travel writing competition. so why not have a go at writing about one of your holidays from the last year or so? The winning piece (and runners-up) will be published in a special issue of Travel at the end of this year, and the best one in each category will win a fantastic commission.
Over the next two months, our editorial team will read every entry, choosing the best in each category with the help of independent judges. Send in your entry – no longer than 400 words – under one of the categories below by 4 November 2012. The judges will look for a well-written, entertaining, accurate piece with a unique angle and a real sense of place. Here are the categories and prizes …
An encounter: win a nine-day tour of Brazil
Write a short account of an unusual encounter you had while travelling, whether it was with a local, another traveller, or a different species. You may want to include quotes and creative descriptions, to show why the experience was interesting or affecting.
The prize: a place on a G Adventures’ (0844 272 2040, gadventures.co.uk ) Best of Brazil nine-day group tour, taking in Ilha Grande and the Iguazú Falls, sipping caipirinhas on famous Brazilian beaches, and feeling the beat of Rio de Janeiro. The prize, including accommodation and some activities, is for one person only. Return flights to Rio de Janeiro, up to the value of £1,000, are also included.
The judge: Colm Tóibín, Booker-prize-shortlisted novelist and travel writer. His latest novel, The Testament of Mary. will be published by Viking on 25 October
A place I stayed: win a luxury week in Turkey
Pen an informative and entertaining review of an unusual or outstanding hotel, BB, glamping site or any other place you have stayed, full of specific detail and description.
The prize: a week’s holiday in Turkey from Exclusive Escapes (020-8605 3500, exclusiveescapes.co.uk ). The winner and a companion will enjoy seven nights’ half-board at Yediburunlar Lighthouse in Fethiye, including return flights from Stansted or Manchester to Dalaman, transfers, a gulet cruise and guided trekking. The trip can be taken on a choice of dates in May, June and September. The winner could choose to book a Turkish vegetarian cuisine course, departing on 6 July 2013, and for that week the trip would be on a full-board basis including tuition.
A journey: win a rail trip across Canada
Capture a particular journey in words: it can be of any distance, and on any form of transport, or perhaps a journey in a more metaphorical sense.
The prize: a rail trip across Canada for two, courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission (uk.canada.travel ). The trip will include two return flights from London to Toronto/Vancouver, first-class Via Rail (viarail.ca ) tickets between Toronto and Vancouver (pictured), a night in a hotel in Toronto and another in Vancouver, plus £500 towards transfers, meals and tips.
The judge: Mike Carter, author of Uneasy Rider. about his motorcycle tour of Europe, and One Man and his Bike. about cycling around Britain.
A short break: win a winter break in Iceland
Tells us about a short city break you took – a cultural, food or music weekend perhaps – ideally highlighting a trend or something new.
The prize: two places on Discover The World’s (01737 214252, discover-the-world.co.uk ) killer whales and northern lights trip to Iceland. In the early part of the year, killer whales can be seen remarkably close to the shore off the fishing village of Grundarfjörður on the Snaefellsnes peninsula in western Iceland. This is also the ideal time for viewing the northern lights, especially over the next few winters. The prize, worth around £1,100pp, includes return flights with Icelandair from London, Manchester or Glasgow, transfers, four nights’ full-board at Hotel Framness in Grundarfjörður, two whale watching excursions with an expert, a full-day guided tour of the peninsula, a half-day tour of Stykkishólmur, entrance to the Volcano museum and Blue Lagoon and the services of a driver/guide. The winner can choose from 10 departures between 17 January and 28 March 2013.
The judge: Kevin Rushby, who writes Guardian Travel’s regular The Explorer features, braving assignments from a snake safari in India to a near-fatal horseriding adventure to Georgia .
A thrilling activity: win an activity trip to Finland
Whether you had an adrenaline rush doing some daring activity, tried out a new sport or had a go at something gentler, now’s your chance to put some energy into writing about the experience.
The prize: a winter activity trip for two to Finland with The Mighty Fine Company (0845 072 0090, mightyfinecompany.com ). The four-night trip will include three nights’ BB in a log cabin and one night in a spectacular new retreat, the Eagle’s View, a luxury glass-walled suite built around a tree in the Syöte national park, with a view across snowy scenery where several eagle species may be spotted. Return flights from a choice of UK airports to Oulu, Kuusamo or Rovaniemi via Helsinki are included.
The judge: Emma Kennedy, Guardian Travel columnist, and winner of Celebrity MasterChef 2012
Family holiday: win a UK glamping trip for six
Whether you discovered somewhere that was surprisingly good for kids, or went away with grown-up relatives, write an entertaining story about your family holiday this year.
The prize: a week in a vintage-chic canvas cottage for six at The Dandelion Hideaway (01455 292888, thedandelionhideaway.co.uk ) in Leicestershire, with en suite roll-top bath and comfy beds. It’s on a working farm, so visitors can help look after the hens, groom Shetland ponies and watch goats being milked. Start the day collecting eggs for breakfast and end it toasting marshmallows over the campfire.There will be a hearty supper waiting in the woodburning stove on the day of arrival, and a family ticket to the Conkers attraction in the National Forest is also included.
The judge: Dixe Wills, travel writer and author of Tiny Campsites (Punk, £10.95). His latest book, Tiny Islands, will be published by AA Publishing next year
My crap holiday: win a (definitely not crap) cycling trip to Denmark
Did it all go wrong for you this year? Write a humorous account of your crap holiday and you could win one that certainly won’t be.
The prize: an independent self-guided cycling holiday for two in the Danish Rivera, just north of Copenhagen, sponsored by Inntravel (01653 617010, inntravel.co.uk ) and VisitDenmark (visitdenmark.com ). Over six nights, the winners can enjoy castles, beaches, great food and accommodation, and a superb welcome. In this cycle-friendly country, bikes take precedence, and can whizz through towns and countryside on designated routes. Should the weather be poor, bikes can be loaded on the excellent trains and trams. The prize includes flights from London or Manchester to Copenhagen with easyJet (easyjet.com ), six nights’ BB accommodation, bike hire with accessories, luggage transfers and maps and notes.
The judge: Joanne O’Connor, travel writer and Observer columnist
• Email entries firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline is 23.59 on 4 November 2012. You can enter a different story in each category, but not the same story under more than one category. Put your name, address, phone number, email and the category you are entering at the top of your email. Please do not send pictures or attachments.
FULL TERMS AND CONDITIONS
1. The Readers’ Travel Writing competition (the “Competition”) is open to UK residents aged 18 and over (“You”) subject to paragraph 2, below.
2. Employees or agencies of Guardian News Media Limited (“GNM”, “We”) its group companies or their family members, freelance contributors to GNM, or anyone else connected with the Competition may not enter the Competition.
3. By entering the Competition you are accepting these terms and conditions.
4. To enter the Competition, you must write a feature of no more than 400 words about a holiday you took over the last year or so or so in one of the following seven categories: An encounter; A place I stayed; A journey; A short break; A thrilling activity; A family holiday; My crap holiday. Please do not send any pictures.
5. Your feature must not have been published before in any other publication (or on any website).
6. You should email your entry to us at: email@example.com. Your entry must be contained in the body of the email, not in an attachment. You must state which of the categories you are entering in the subject header of the email, and must include your name, address, email address and daytime contact telephone number in the email.
7. If you have any questions about how to enter or in connection with the Competition, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Readers’ Holiday Travel Writing competition” in the subject line.
8. You are responsible for the cost (if any) of sending your Competition entry to us.
9. A maximum of one entry is permitted per person in each category. You may only enter a particular story in one category, but you may write another story about a different trip for a different category.
10. The closing date and time of the Competition is 23.59 on Sunday, 4 November 2012. Entries received after that date and time will not be considered. We reserve the right in our absolute discretion to extend the closing date for a reasonable period of time where an insufficient number of the entries received have satisfied the entry and judging criteria.
11. You own the to your Competition entry as its author.
12. By submitting an entry to the Competition, You give GNM:
a. Permission for your entry to be published in any GNM publication and on guardian.co.uk and grant GNM a non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide licence to republish your Competition entry in electronic format and hard copy for purposes connected with the Competition (including, but not limited to, for the purposes and in the manner set out in paragraph 19 below), and to adapt the entry to enable such publication (including to shorten or edit it for such purposes), and you hereby irrevocably waive, for GNM’s benefit, all moral rights in the entry to which you are entitled; and
b. The right to use your name and town or city of residence for the sole purpose of identifying You as the author of your entry and/or as a winner or runner-up of the Competition.
13. Your entry must be your own work, must not be copied, must not contain any third-party materials and/or content that You do not have permission to use, must not promote Your own or third party goods or services or include any trade marks and must not otherwise be obscene, defamatory, distasteful, offensive or in breach of any applicable laws or regulations. If We have reason to believe your entry is not your own work or otherwise breaches this paragraph 13, then We may not consider it.
Picking the winners
14. The Competition will be judged by GNM’s expert in-house team of travel writers (Andy Pietrasik, head of travel; Gemma Bowes, travel editor, Guardian Travel; Richard Eilers, chief sub-editor, Guardian Travel; Liz Boulter, sub-editor, Guardian Travel; Isabel Choat, editor, Guardian travel website; Gavin McOwan, sub-editor, Guardian travel website; Georgia Brown, sub-editor, Guardian travel website), together with an independent judge in each category. The judges will choose seven winning entries for the Competition, and a number of runners-up. There will be one winner in each category of the Competition, but the judges may select as many runners-up in each category as they choose. Details of the independent judges are listed with the prizes for each category on guardian.co.uk/travel.
15. When choosing the winners, the judges will be looking for the most well written, entertaining and accurate stories that have a unique angle and a real sense of place.
16. The judges’ decision of who the winners are will be made on or before 29 December 2012. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
17. The winning prize for each category of the Competition is:
A. An encounter category
The prize includes one (1) place for one (1) person on any G Adventures (0844 272 2040, gadventures.co.uk ) departure of SZBB “Best of Brazil” group tour which departs on or before 31 July 2013. It is the responsibility of the winner to contact G Adventures by 31 January 2013 in order to claim the prize. A flight budget for the prize winner is included in the prize, for a UK outbound return flight to Rio de Janeiro up to the value of £1,000 sterling which includes all taxes, charges and APD.
G Adventures reserves the right to substitute tours for operational resources and blackout dates may apply.
This prize cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion from G Adventures, and does not apply to airfare or optional extras such as “My Own Room”, “My Own Tent”, Theme Packs, applicable in-country fees or meals and flights unless where indicated as an integral part of the tour.
Full details of all exclusions and optional extras may be obtained from G Adventures on request.
The prize is not liable for a G Adventures “Lifetime Deposit” and is only valid as a prize for the Competition.
B. The short break category
The prize is a four-night whale-watching break for two people on Discover The World’s (01737 214252, discover-the-world.co.uk ) killer whales and northern lights holiday in Iceland.
This escorted break includes return flights with Icelandair from London, Manchester or Glasgow, transfers, four nights’ full-board at Hotel Framness in Grundarfjordur, two whale-watching boat excursions with a cetacean expert, a full day guided tour of the Snaefellsness peninsula and half day guided tour of Stykkisholmur, entrance to the Volcano Museum and Blue Lagoon and the services of a driver/guide throughout.
The winner can choose from 10 departures between the 17 January and the 28 March 2013.
C. A place I stayed category
The prize is a week’s holiday in Turkey from Exclusive Escapes (020-8605 3500, exclusiveescapes.co.uk ). The winner and a companion will enjoy seven nights’ half-board at Yediburunlar Lighthouse in Fethiye on the Lycian coast, including return flights from Stansted or Manchester to Dalaman, transfers, a gulet cruise and guided trekking. The trip can be taken on a choice of dates in May, June and September 2013. The winner could choose to book a Turkish vegetarian cuisine course (described here: exclusiveescapes.co.uk/pages/food-wine-turkish-vegetarian-cuisine ), departing on 6 July 2013, and for that week the trip would be on a full-board basis including tuition, a gulet cruise and guided treks.
D. A journey category
The prize is a rail trip across Canada for two, courtesy of the Canadian Tourism Commission (uk.canada.travel ). The trip will include two return economy flights from London to Toronto/Vancouver, first-class Via Rail (viarail.ca ) tickets between Toronto and Vancouver, a night in a three-star hotel in Toronto and another in a three-star hotel in Vancouver, plus £500 spending money towards transfers, meals and tips. Hotel rooms are based on double occupancy. Train and flight dates are subject to availability. The winner and companion must be British Passport holders.
E. A thrilling activity category
The prize is a winter activity trip for two to Finland with The Mighty Fine Company (0845 072 0090, mightyfinecompany.com ). The four-night trip will include three nights’ BB in a log cabin and one night in a spectacular new retreat, the Eagle’s View, in the Syöte national park. Return flights from a choice of UK airports to Oulu, Kuusamo or Rovaniemi via Helsinki are included. Free use of snowshoes will be provided during the stay, and one excursion of snowmobiling and husky-sledging. The trip must be taken on one of three departures, 20 January 2013, 17 March 2013, or 7 April 2013.
F. A Family holiday category
The prize is seven nights in a vintage-chic canvas cottage for six at The Dandelion Hideaway (01455 292888, thedandelionhideaway.co.uk ) in Leicestershire. There will be a dinner provided on the day of arrival, and a family ticket to the Conkers attraction in the National Forest is also included. The prize includes all wood for the fires. The winner will need to travel between 22 March – 1 October 2013. Dates are subject to availability and exclude Easter and August.
G. My crap holiday category
The prize is an independent self-guided cycling holiday for two in the Danish Rivera, just north of Copenhagen, sponsored by Inntravel (01653 617010, inntravel.co.uk ) and VisitDenmark (visitdenmark.com ). The trip is for six nights and the prize includes flights from London or Manchester to Copenhagen with easyJet (easyjet.com ), six nights’ BB accommodation, bike hire with accessories, luggage transfers and maps and notes. The trip must be taken between 1 June and 30 September 2013, excluding Bank Holiday periods.
18. The winners will be notified by GNM by telephone or by email on or before Saturday 29 December 2012 and will be given details of how to claim their prize. Except as provided in this paragraph 18, if a winner does not respond to GNM within 28 days of being notified by GNM, then the winner’s prize will be forfeited and GNM shall be entitled to select another winner (and that winner will have to respond to the phone call or email from GNM within 28 days or else they will also forfeit their prize).
The winner of the Short Break category and the winner of the Thrilling Activity category must respond to GNM on or before 10 January 2013 in order to claim their prize. If these winners do not respond to GNM on or before this date, then they will forfeit their prize and GNM shall be entitled to select another winner (and that winner will have to respond to the phone call or email from GNM within 7 days or else they will also forfeit their prize).
If a winner rejects their prize, then the winner’s prize will be forfeited and GNM shall be entitled to select another winner from the runners-up.
19. The winners and selected runners-up will have their entries printed in the Travel section of the Guardian and on guardian.co.uk/travel between 4 November and 29 December 2012 (at GNM’s sole discretion). The runner-up entries that are selected for print and online use will be edited. Some or all of the submitted entries may also be added, in edited form, to the Been there readers’ tips site on guardian.co.uk.
20. Each winner will be required to write a newspaper feature on a topic relating to their holiday prize (“Winner Feature”). GNM shall inform winners of the criteria that the Winner Features will be required to satisfy (e.g. minimum/maximum number of words, date submission of Winner Feature is due). Winners must submit their Winner Features in accordance with the instructions given to them by GNM. GNM may, at its sole discretion, edit and re-publish the Winner Features. Each winner: a. grants GNM a non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual licence to copy, edit, display, publish and make available their Winner Feature in connection with the Competition in any format (whether in any GNM publication or on guardian.co.uk or otherwise); b. agrees that GNM may publish their name in connection with GNM’s use of the Winner Feature; c. confirms that the Winner Feature will meet the criteria set out in paragraph 13 above; and d. irrevocably waives, for GNM’s benefit, all moral rights in the entry to which the winner is entitled.
21. The prizes cannot be exchanged or transferred by You and cannot be redeemed by You for cash or any other prize. You must pay all other costs associated with the prize and not specifically included in the prize including, without limitation, meals (other than those specified), personal expenses, insurance, visas and transfers. The winners are responsible for obtaining and possessing a valid passport, insurance and any visas that may be required.
22. We retain the right to substitute the prizes with other prizes of similar value in the event that the original prizes offered are not available.
23. Entries on behalf of another person will not be accepted and joint submissions are not allowed.
24. We take no responsibility for entries that are lost, delayed, misdirected or incomplete or cannot be delivered or entered for any technical or other reason. Proof of delivery of the entry is not proof of receipt.
25. Details of the winners can be obtained by sending a stamped addressed envelope to the following address: Readers’ Travel Writing Competition, Guardian Travel desk, Guardian News Media Limited, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU.
26. No purchase is necessary.
27. The winners may be required for promotional activity.
29. GNM may pass entrants’ details to third parties and/or otherwise engage third party providers in connection with this Competition where the third party is acting on GNM’s behalf for the purposes of administering this Competition and/or any subsequent publicity, and/or for the purposes of sending you GNM’s marketing materials (where you have agreed to this); and/or as otherwise required by law.
30. The Promoter of the Competition is Guardian News Media Limited whose address is Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Any complaints regarding the Competition should be sent to this address.
31. Nothing in these Terms and Conditions shall exclude the liability of GNM for death, personal injury, fraud or fraudulent misrepresentation as a result of its negligence.
32. GNM accepts no responsibility for any damage, loss, liabilities, injury or disappointment incurred or suffered by You as a result of entering the Competition or accepting any prize.
GNM further disclaims liability for any injury or damage to You or any other person’s computer relating to or resulting from participation in or downloading any materials in connection with the Competition.
33. GNM reserves the right at any time and from time to time to modify or discontinue, temporarily or permanently, this Competition with or without prior notice due to reasons outside its control (including, without limitation, in the case of anticipated, suspected or actual fraud). The decision of GNM in all matters under its control is final and binding.
34. GNM shall not be liable for any failure to comply with its obligations where the failure is caused by something outside its reasonable control. Such circumstances shall include, but not be limited to, weather conditions, fire, flood, hurricane, strike, industrial dispute, war, hostilities, political unrest, riots, civil commotion, inevitable accidents, supervening legislation or any other circumstances amounting to force majeure.
35. The Competition will be governed by English law.