Your holiday travel feature could win you a once-in-a-lifetime trip and a travel writing assignment for the Guardian in our latest competition, open to all amateur travel writers
Once again we’re turning the Travel section over to our readers and inviting all amateur travel writers to have a crack at writing a feature about a recent holiday, and get the chance of winning a fantastic travel writing assignment for the Guardian.
We have eight fantastic holidays to award to the winners of our eight categories, to be written up as a travel feature for autumn 2014.
To enter you must submit a piece of no more than 500 words about a recent holiday for the category you feel it suits best. Send the piece by email to firstname.lastname@example.org after first reading all the terms and conditions carefully here.
The entries will by judged by the Travel team and an independent external judge for each category. The judges will be looking for the most well-written, entertaining and accurate stories, which have a unique angle and a real sense of place. The judges’ decisions will be made on or before 1 December 2013, and articles by the winners and some runners-up will be published in a special issue of Travel this December.
Entries must have been received by 23.59 on Sunday, 13 October 2013. Entries must be sent in the body of an email NOT as an attachment, and with the name of the category in the subject heading. You must put your name, address, email address and phone number at the top of the email. Please do not send photographs.
You cannot enter the same piece under more than one category, but are welcome to submit different features under different categories, so long as they are sent as separate emails. Failure to comply with these terms will result in disqualification. Here are this year’s categories and prizes:
Category: A big adventure
Prize: A trek to Everest basecamp
Recount your tale of derring-do about a big adventure, challenge or expedition, and you could find yourself on assignment covering a 15-day trek to Everest basecamp! The top entrant in this category will win one place on a 19-day group trip to Nepal, called “Everest Base Camp in Style”, with Mountain Kingdoms.
This involves a 15-day group trek to Everest basecamp and Kala Pattar, and includes return economy flights from Heathrow, transfers, all road transport, 18 nights’ accommodation (three nights in the five-star Dwarika’s heritage hotel in Kathmandu, 10 nights in Luxury Lodges of Everest accommodation, one night in a standard lodge and four nights in tea houses), and all meals on the trek (bed and breakfast only in Kathmandu). For full itinerary details, see mountainkingdoms.com/holiday/everest-base-camp-in-style.
The trip departs on 3 April 2014 and returns on 23 April 2014. These are fixed dates and cannot be changed. If the winner cannot make these dates an alternative 14-day “Luxury Lodges of Everest” trip to the Khumbu region will be offered by Mountain Kingdoms instead. This does not include a trek to Everest base camp, but has these optional departure dates: 15 and 22 March, and 5 and 12 April 2014. For full details, see mountainkingdoms.com/holiday/luxury-lodges-of-everest
Judge: Kari Herbert
Category: An encounter
Prize: An adventure tour of Namibia and Angola
Write about a memorable encounter you had with somebody – or something – while travelling. The best entry will win a trip for two people on a brand new Northern Namibia and Angola trip with Exodus (0845 287 7623, exodus.co.uk). You will cross dramatic landscapes to Himba villages and the Tunda Vala escarpment, visit Etosha national park and go on game drives. The tour includes 10 nights’ camping, one night in an en suite chalet, meals and return economy flights to Windhoek from Heathrow, with a choice of departure dates.
Judge: Howard Marks
Category: A journey
The prize: A cycle tour of Cuba
Write an account of an incredible journey you made and you could be chosen to go on assignment in Cuba, on an eight-day Cycle Cuba tour with G Adventures (0844 272 0000, gadventures.co.uk). This active adventure involves cycling the hills of the Guaniguanico and El Rosario mountains, to gorgeous beaches, tobacco plantations and vibrant Havana. It includes return flights from the UK to Havana up to the value of £1,000 and some meals. It must be taken on one of several departures between 1 February and 1 June 2014.
Judge: Sara Maitland
Category: Historic site
Prize: A trip to Peru to see Machu Picchu and more
A 16-day trip of a lifetime to Peru, taking in Machu Picchu (by train), the Sacred Valley, Cuzco, Lima, Lake Titicaca, Colca Canyon, Huacachina Oasis, the Ballestas Islands and more with Tucan Travel (020-8896 1600, tucantravel.com) is the reward for the winner of this category, for the best story about visiting an amazing attraction of any sort, be it a museum, a historic site or some other memorable destination. The prize includes 12 nights’ mixed accommodation, excursions and flights from London provided by Air Europa (0871 423 0717, aireuropa.com).
Judge: Emma Kennedy
Prize: Cambodia and Laos
Write a story on a cultural theme and you and a friend could be on your way to south-east Asia with Rickshaw Travel (01273 322399, rickshawtravel.co.uk), to spend two weeks exploring Laos and Cambodia. The trip includes a visit to Siem Reap, a stay with a Khmer family in the Cambodian countryside, two nights in a boutique hotel in Phnom Penh, three nights in Luang Prabang, a trekking experience to Kuang Si waterfalls, which includes foraging for lunch, and more. Return flights from the UK and transfers are included, and there’s a choice of departures between January and March 2014.
Judge: Pico Iyer
Prize: A summer trip to the Arctic
Write a piece about a wildlife encounter you experienced while travelling recently and you could win an Arctic adventure for two people on a group trip to Nordenskiöld in Svalbard with Basecamp Explorer (+47 79024600, basecampspitsbergen.com). The five-night break includes kayaking to the glacier front, glacier hiking, trekking to the mountains and a visit to Longyearbyen, and must be taken between mid-June and the end of August 2014. Flights will be provided by Magnetic North Travel (0845 5195 242, magneticnorthtravel.com).
Judge: Jennifer Cox
Category: UK holiday
Prize: Take 11 mates to a Welsh glamping site
The winning story about a recent UK holiday will receive a lovely three-night stay for 12 people at the new Mad Dog & Vintage Vans glamping site in the Wye Valley, which features a collection of four vintage caravans, private compost loos, a communal shower shack and campfire, all courtesy of Canopy and Stars. There’s a choice of three weekends in 2014: 11-14 April, 16-19 May and 13-16 June. The prize will also include a cider keg on the first night and a meal for 12 on the second night, so it’s basically a mini festival!
Judge: Dixe Wills
Prize: An activity holiday in the Alps
Write about a recent family holiday (you are rarely short of anecdotal material on one of those) and the best entry will win an independent holiday for up to two adults and two children to the Hautes Alpes in France, with Much Better Adventures (0117-230 2414, muchbetteradventures.com). The trip, run by Undiscovered Alps (0845 009 8501, undiscoveredalps.com) includes six nights’ self-catering accommodation in the sunny village of Chaillol, a night in a remote mountain refuge, Refuge du Tourond, and a choice of activities including kayaking, high ropes, tubing, rafting, horse riding, windsurfing, mountain biking, caving, hydro-speeding, canyoning, via ferrata and climbing. Return flights from Gatwick to Marseille and car hire from Marseille airport are included, and there’s a choice of departure dates: June-12 July, or 22 August-30 September.
Judge: Tim Moore
Link to article: feeds.theguardian.com/c/34708/f/663875/s/31347afb/sc/10/l/0L0Stheguardian0N0Ctravel0C20A130Csep0C130Cguardian0Etravel0Ewriting0Ecompetition0E20A13/story01.htm