Mar 10

Grantourismo Travel Blogging Competition: March

We’re excited to announce the first of our yearlong series of Grantourismo travel competitions, beginning in March 2010, with monthly prizes.

We’re inviting you to create an inspiring blog post, consisting of a 500-word piece of evocative travel writing and one compelling photograph that motivates people to:

  • explore more authentic and enriching ways to travel
  • get beneath sthe skin of a place when they travel
  • learn to live like locals
  • travel more slowly and more sustainably, and/or
  • give something back to the places they visit.

Each month a different Grantourismo blog category will be announced and your blog post must fit into that category. The category for March is The ’Hood. Posts in this category explore everyday neighbourhoods and the people who live in them, the idea being to inspire people to get out of the tourist zone and off the beaten track, to get an insight into everyday life, and to interact with locals; see our post on The Rhythm of Daily Life and Rue Bab Doukkala. Your story and photograph must be your own, must be original, and should derive from a firsthand travel experience.

FIRST PRIZE A stay at a HomeAway Holiday-Rentals property of your choice anywhere in the world valued at UK£500 (US$750) and a Viator tour voucher worth £100/US$150

SECOND PRIZE A Context tour voucher worth US$100

THIRD PRIZE an annual subscription to AFAR magazine

PHOTOGRAPHY PRIZE* Olympus FE 4040 cameras worth UK£160/US$240

* The Photography prize is an additional prize for First Prize winners of competitions where photography is central to the category post, such as the Portrait of the Place, Local Knowledge, and The Dish categories; we’ll let you know which ones they are when we announce those competitions. We have six cameras to give away.

The winning entries will be featured on our Grantourismo blog, HomeAway UK’s Facebook page, and we’ll tweet your success on Twitter.

To be eligible to enter

Entry submission is by posting your blog and linking it to us, and communication is by Twitter, which means:
1. You must have your own blog or website, be a contributor to a group blogging site, or post regularly to a travel site such as www.matadortravel.com, www.bootsnall.com, www.travellerspoint.com, www.travelpod.com, etc.
2. You need to subscribe to Grantourismo via email/RSS, join our community on Google Friend Connect, and fan HomeAway Holiday Rental’s Grantourismo Facebook page to enter.
3. You need to follow @Gran_tourismo and @HomeAwayUK on Twitter, then alert us on Twitter that you’re following us for the #GrantourismoComp and we will follow you back.

How to enter

1. Upload your original entry to your blog or travel journal site anytime between now and 28 March. (Between now and then we’ll visit your site to read your posts and we will tweet about the posts we think meet our criteria.)
2. Identify at the beginning/end of the post that “This post has been entered into the Grantourismo-HomeAway travel writing competition”; link to this specific post http://grantourismotravels.com/2010/03/10/grantourismo-travel-blogging-competition-march/ (so your post appears in the Trackbacks at the end of this post); link to http://www.homeaway.co.uk/; and tag the post with ‘Grantourismo’ and ‘HomeAway Holiday Rentals’.
3. Leave the link to your post, along with your name, (perhaps a sentence about yourself?), in the Comments below – this will serve as your submission. If there is no obvious way for us to contact you on your blog, then please leave your email address, contact us by email, or DM us on Twitter with it. This is necessary so we can let you know if you’ve won!
4. Tweet us on Twitter @gran_tourismo & @HomeAwayUK to tell us your post is up – use #GrantourismoComp in your tweet.
5. Encourage your blog readers and followers on Twitter to give you feedback: does the post resonate with them? Does it inspire them? Have they had similar experiences? How do these kind of everyday experiences compare with visiting a major tourist sight? We keen to hear their thoughts.

Winning Entries

1. We will notify winners by Twitter or email by 31 March.
2. Winners will be required to email us their photograph and blog post. If you will be out of contact then, email your photo and text to grantourismo@live.com (just in case!) and include ‘Grantourismo Competition:March’ in the subject header.
3. The winning entry will be posted on or soon after 1 April.
For more details, read the fine print below. If you have any questions, pop them in the Comments below.

Terms and Conditions
1. Grantourismo monthly competitions are open to anyone aged 18 years or over except anyone professionally associated with this competition or the sponsors.
2. All information detailing how to enter the competitions forms part of these terms and conditions. It is a condition of entry that all rules are accepted as final and that the competitor agrees to abide by these rules. Submission of an entry will be taken to mean acceptance of these terms and conditions.
3. Submissions must be original, should not have been published before, and should not infringe any copyrights.
4. Winners will be chosen by a judging panel consisting of HomeAway Holiday-Rentals staff; Scott McNeeley, Editor of the Viator blog; and Lara Dunston and Terence Carter. Judges decisions are final. The criteria used will include creativity, originality and quality of writing and photography, ability to engage an audience, and ability to inspire.
5. HomeAway Holiday-Rentals is offering a prize of £500/US$750 towards a stay in one of their properties listed on the HomeAway Holiday-Rentals website. The stay must be a minimum of 2 nights, although can be longer. The winner must use http://www.homeaway.co.uk/ to book the property. HomeAway Holiday-Rentals will release the funds to the property owner and transfer the remainder to the winner to be used toward the trip.
6. Winners will be required to write about their prizes on their blogs, link back to Grantourismo, HomeAway Holiday-Rentals, and the prize sponsor(s), and tweet about the post, using #GrantourismoComp.
7. Property stays and tours must be used within 12 months of notification.
8. While copyright of all submissions to the Competition remains with the entrants, winning entrant grants worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual licence to Grantourismo, HomeAway Holiday-Rentals and the sponsors to feature the winning entries on their websites, blogs, or in any publications or promotional materials connected to this Competition.


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  1. Jen Laceda

    I am so ‘IN’ !!! Great contest!

  2. Lara Dunston

    Thank Jen! Can’t wait to read your post! Just leave a link here when it’s up and we’ll go take a look & tweet it.

  3. Akila

    I really want to enter because I have an upcoming blog post that will fit in perfectly with this theme from our recent travels in Cambodia. BUT, here is the question: do I have to join your community on FriendConnect AND on Facebook in addition to subscribing via RSS? I try to keep Facebook solely for friends and not for website related issues and I don’t use FriendConnect because I don’t like the program. Do we need to use all three programs in order to be entered?

  4. Julie

    Here’s my entry!


    I’m the writer and Francisco is the photographer, though we occasionally switch roles.

    Our email is writingjulie@gmail.com

  5. Hannah

    I’m very much looking forward to this! But I don’t use Google Friend Connect or check RSS. Can I do ONE of these or must I do ALL of them to be eligible? Looking to simplify… always simplify :) Cheers.

  6. Carlo Alcos

    My entry: http://carlo-alcos.com/2010/03/12/it-beats-watching-tv/

    I’m a freelance writer/photographer, currently traveling with my wife on an extended trip (indeterminate end date).

    (btw, the link to your Google Friend Connect isn’t working)


  7. inka piegsa-quischot

    I’m getting ready to enter the competition. Did the twitter thing and the google thing, became a fan on facebook, but like others here have said, Friend Connect does not work. Do I still qualify?

  8. Lara Dunston

    Hi Tom
    We only announced the competition yesterday, so, yes, you are the first! Congrats! Nice post BTW. But did you link to us? As your post is not showing as a Trackback…? The reason we’ve asked you all to link is so we have a nice list of links to posts above to make it easy for our judges and others entering to be able to go and read your posts.

    Hi Akila & Hannah
    We’ve asked people to do each of those things for a reason…
    * joining FriendsConnect – I’ve joined lots of other bloggers communities and I like being able to see other people’s smiling faces and to see whose reading; it helps me to get to know those people and is part of creating a community I guess.
    * Subscribing – you have a choice between RSS or email, so you don’t need to do both; we’ve asked people to subscribe so they can get announcements to find out who the winners are, what next month’s category will be, what new prizes we have coming up, new judges, etc, simply because we don’t have time to communicate with everyone individually.
    * Facebook – ditto, it’s just another form of communication we’d like to use; we prefer it to putting people on mailing lists and sending them emails that they’d rather not get. I’m pretty sure you can still FAN a group without the group seeing your personal posts, but I’ll investigate and get back to you.

    Hello Julie
    Thanks! Lovely post!

    Hola Carlos & Inka
    That browsers are you using? We can see that other people are joining without any trouble, so we’re guessing there must be problems with using it on certain browsers. Let us know which browser you’re using, or perhaps try a couple of other browsers, and get back to us.

    Thanks everyone! Keep them coming!

  9. inka piegsa-quischot

    I am using mozilla/firefox. Anyway, I tried my best to enter. Here is the link: http://thesinglewomantraveler.blgospot/com/2010/03/hood-downtown-miami.html.
    I hope all works. I write regularly for in the know traveler, europe a la carte and http://matadortravel.com/travel-community/lilypond. Yes, I also go by the pen name of lilypond. I only have trouble with google friends.

  10. inka piegsa-quischot

    Sorry, there is a typo in the link to the entry. http://thesinglewomantraveler.blogspot.com/2010/03/hood-downtown-miami.html

  11. Carlo

    Hi Lara,

    I’ve tried Firefox and Safari and get this message:

    We’re sorry…
    We were unable to handle your request. Please try again or return a bit later

    To be honest, I’ve never used FriendConnect. I thought maybe that’s why, so I signed up, but even after I’m logged in I get the same message. Does this really affect eligibility in the contest?

  12. Terence Carter

    Carlo, I just joined GoogleConnect. Took 30 seconds using my Twitter account – you can see my profile there. I used Safari. And I tried Firefox as well, both no problems.

  13. Lara Dunston

    Hi Carlo

    Like Terence, I also gave it a try, and I found that when I tried to log in while the site was on this post, I could not, and got the same error message. I had to go to the main http://grantourismotravels.com/ URL page and then I was able to log in instantly – it was very easy.

    Best of luck with it!

  14. Ant

    I’m Ant, author of the travel blog TrailofAnts.com and I’m super-stoked, and perfectly-proud to bring you my entry into this month’s travel writing competition: ‘This Small and Lonely Planet’. Good luck everyone!

  15. lara dunston

    Hi Ant – love your post! It captures so well those chance encounters on the road! Although I would have loved to heard what you thought about Walpole – having passed through there ourselves ;)

    Ant, can you link to this specific post not to the site more generally? I need to make that clearer I think. The idea is that we end up with a nice list of trackbacks below to make the judging process easy for our judging panel. Thanks!

  16. Colin Gray

    Hey guys, cheers for the competition!

    My entry: http://www.colinstravelguides.com/eastern-asia/japan/73-does-an-octopus-have-balls-dining-in-osaka-japan

    I run the little blog above on a pretty relaxed basis, updating it whenever I’ve been away for a trip. I’m working full-time just now so stuck to a permananent base but I’ve managed to get away a fair bit in the last year – plenty of holidays to use up! Feel free to check out the other stories on there – I’m still updating the look of the site and need to get plenty more photos online but the stories are all there!


  17. Lola

    Hi guys

    Here’s my piece called “High Street” – http://lolaakinmade.com/2010/03/17/high-street/

    It implores travelers, I think, to notice even the most mundane of details no matter where they find themselves, be it in a vibrant neighborhood or on a boring walk to the train station.

  18. Lara Dunston

    Thanks Colin, Lola and Miss Expatria!

    Much appreciated! Good luck!

  19. Ashley Hooker

    What a great contest! And what a fantastic journey you guys are on! I write a blog from Guadalajara, Mexico with my cousin who writes from Hamburg, Germany. I live in the best neighborhood in Guadalajara. I hope you enjoy the post! Ashley


    (Please let me know if I have missed any of the submission requirements. Thanks!)

  20. Joy Engdahl

    Just posted my entry! http://bindingthebroken.blogspot.com/2010/03/some-things-are-just-universal.html

    I shared an experience from my trip to Cambodia last year. I’m currently in the process of raising funds to move back there to work with an organization fighting against the sex trade & human trafficking. I use my blog as a place to raise awareness, share experience, and hopefully, raise funds.

  21. Ant

    Quite a number of these seem over the 500-words, how strict is that rule guys?

    1. Terence Carter

      Strict. If we’re commissioned by an editor for the first time to write a 500 word piece and we deliver at 1000 or even 750, they will not be happy and they’ll probably never use us again. So if people entering the competition want to be writers, they have to get used to working to word count.

  22. jessiev

    Here’s mine – it made me hungry, writing it today…


    This is one of my very favorite restaurants in the whole world. A local family truly has brought a sense of community to life – and has the most extraordinary Mexican food I’ve had!

  23. Ashley Hooker

    Hi Lara and Tere,

    Regarding the word count… I went 10% over. Is that an acceptable margin?

    Also, I linked “Grantourism” at the end of my post to this page . Is that the trackback you are looking for? If not, pls tell me exactly what to do.


  24. Sarah Menkedick

    Hi guys,

    Here’s my piece called “One Brief Illustration of Authenticity” :


    It examines the way travelers want to see local people and interpret “authenticity” and how sometimes travelers’ desires to see things in particular ways prevent local people from having their own stories, motivations and intentions.

    I’m a freelance writer based in Oaxaca, Mexico. I’m a contributing editor at the Matador Network and a contributing writer at Change.org.



  25. Saxon Henry

    Here’s my post for the competition: http://bit.ly/9XRctC

    I’m a design/architecture/design-related travel writer who loves to explore and write about my experiences. Thanks for this opportunity to share my adventures!

  26. lara dunston

    Hi Jessie, Sarah & Saxon

    Thank you so much for your entries! They’re all fab! Good luck!


  27. Hannah

    Didn’t know if I’d make the deadline, but just squeaking in:


    I’m in Mumbai for five weeks, helping to educate Indian street children with Hamara Footpath (www.hamarafootpath.org).

  28. Hannah

    Also, I’m having the same problem as others when joining Friendconnect (never used it before; have a google ID, so I tried signing up, but still a bit – ok, a lot – confused). Can someone please direct? Thanks!

  29. lara dunston

    Hi Hannah – it sounds like you’re trying to log in while you’re on this post – double-check the URL & make sure it’s just the general Grantourismo page URL not the competition URL, then try again – should work! Please also link directly to this post from yours so your entry appears in the list of trackbacks above. Thanks!

  30. Sara C.

    Whew, in just under the wire…

    Here’s my post, called “Along A Red Dirt Road” –


    I’m a professional travel writing noob based in New York, headed to Peru in May.

    All these entries are so inspiring!

  31. Alison Bell

    Hi, I’ve just uploaded my post to my website. Currently in the middle of editing and uploading all my travel diaries so they’re all in one place. It’s quite a task I can tell you! My thirst for voluntourism has taken me all over the world and I’ve recently returned from a spectacular four month trip to India. Hope you like the post, it’s called An Education.


  32. Sabina Lohr

    I’m a travel writer and blogger who traveled the Mid East last fall. This is one night of my journey.


  33. Heather Carreiro

    Here’s the link for my entry:


    There’s a link back to this page in my post, although it’s not showing up as a trackback even though I’ve clicked through from it.

  34. Simone Gorrindo

    Awesome contest! Hope I’m not the very last!

    Here is my entry, “The Other Side of the Island”: http://simonegorrindo.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/the-other-side-of-the-world/

    I’m Simone Gorrindo, a freelance journalist, travel writer and poet, currently based outside of Washington, DC. But I bounce around a lot.

    Thanks for the change to submit!

  35. Simone Gorrindo

    Oops, I’m sorry — I listed the story here under its old title.

    Correction: “The Other Side of the World”

    But you can, you know, vote on whichever you like best. :)

    Sorry again about the mistake!

  36. lara dunston

    Hi Sarah, Alison, Sabina, Heather, Simone & Keith

    Thank you all so much for your entries! Wonderful to see such high quality submissions! Good luck, everyone!

  37. Akila

    Hi guys, Thanks for hosting this competition and picking such a great topic. My post, The Currency of Kindness, is about those off-the-beaten path everyday experiences with local people that happen while on the beaten path: http://www.theroadforks.com/worldtrip/cambodia/the_currency_of_kindness
    (Mine also doesn’t appear to be showing up on the trackbacks even though I linked to it).

    Look forward to reading everyone’s posts!

  38. Prêt à Voyager

    My post is up!



    p.s. I also got error messages and was not able to join FriendConnect.

  39. Kasandra Antoine

    I hope it is not too late. Here is my entry http://www.journeyofablackearedkite.com/photography/fifty-steps/. My name is Kasandra Antoine

  40. jiffer

    Hi Lara and Tere,

    I am madly working to get my post up before the deadline, almost there. I just wanted to know, can we enter more than one post? I am working on one, but would kinda like to enter a post I put up on our blog two days ago – can I enter both?


    jiffer – co author of smashandsniff – my cousin ash already entered!

  41. Sophie

    Hi there,
    I’m joining in at the eleventh hour. My post is here: http://www.sophiesworld.net/the-accidental-local/

  42. jiffer

    Hi all,

    my post is now up too at http://smashandsniff.blogspot.com/2010/03/tripping-over-history-in-schanze.html. diversity and remembrance in Hamburg, Germany. I hope you enjoy.



    ps i too had trouble with friend connect.

  43. lara dunston

    Hi Akila, Anne, Jiffer & Sophie

    Thanks for your entries! Much appreciated!

    To join Google Connect you have to go to the http://grantourismotravels.com/ URL and it should work. If you try to join while you’re on this particular post, you’ll get an error message.

    Good luck with your entries!

  44. Lisa Bergren

    Here’s my post, “View on a Venetian Neighborhood”: http://theworldiscalling.com/2010/03/view-on-a-venetian-neighborhood/#more-3365

    I’m looking forward to reading everyone else’s posts too. We’re family travel bloggers, loving exploring the world together at http://www.theworldiscalling.com

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