Dec 14

Grantourismo Travel Blogging Competition: December

Festive Zell am See, Austria at Christmas.

For our tenth contest in our yearlong series of monthly Grantourismo HomeAway Holiday-Rentals travel blogging competitions we want you to create a blog post on the theme of festive holiday celebrations – at home or away.

Your post should consist of one (1) photograph* and 250 words* about the joys of celebrating a holiday – any holiday: Christmas, New Year’s Eve, Ramadan, Diwali, Thanksgiving, Easter, you name it – at home or away. It can be about anything at all, from the warming glow you feel drinking glühwein as you shop the Christmas markets in Munich to the awe experienced watching the fireworks in Sydney on New Years Eve, from spending Diwali with a local family you meet on your travels in India, to recreating Thanksgiving for your new friends in a foreign country.

It’s important that your story and photograph(s) are your own, they must be original, and they should not have been published in print or on websites other than your own. *Make sure you do not submit more than one (1) photo and no more than 250 words.

This month, we’ve added a fun prize into the mix for second and third prize winners, courtesy of Putumayo World Music: the World Christmas Party CD.

FIRST PRIZE A stay at a HomeAway Holiday-Rentals property of your choice anywhere in the world valued at UK£500/US$750, a Viator tour voucher worth £100/US$150, a Trourist Moleskine travel notebook, and Putumayo’s World Christmas Party CD.

SECOND PRIZEContext tour voucher worth US$100, a private half-day tour with a local guide in a destination of your choice anywhere in the world from Our Explorer, a Trourist Moleskine travel notebook, and Putumayo’s World Christmas Party CD.

THIRD PRIZE an annual subscription to AFAR magazine and a Trourist Moleskine travel notebook.

The winning entry of our December competition will feature on GrantourismoHomeAway UK’s Facebook page, and we will tweet your success on Twitter.

To be eligible to enter
Entry submission is by posting and linking and communication is through the Comments below and Twitter, which means:
1. You must have your own blog/site, contribute to a group site, or post your blog to sites like www.matadortravel.comwww.bootsnall.comwww.travellerspoint.com,www.travelpod.com
2. You need to subscribe to Grantourismo via email/RSS, join our community on Google Friend Connect and join HomeAway Holiday Rental’s Facebook page to enter.
3. 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 before end of 2 January. We’ll visit your site to read your post, tweet about your entry, and other entrants might visit your blog for inspiration.
2. Identify at the end of your post that “This post has been entered into the Grantourismo HomeAway Holiday-Rentals travel blogging competition” and link to this post’s URL (so your entry appears in the Trackbacks below) and www.homeaway.co.uk. Tag the post with ‘Grantourismo’ and ‘HomeAway Holiday-Rentals’ so the judges can easily search for it if Trackbacks don’t work.
3. Leave your name and link to your post in the Comments – this serves as your submission.
4. Use Twitter to tweet us @Gran_tourismo and @HomeAwayUK to tell us your post is up, using#GrantourismoComp in your tweet. This also makes it easy to find your entry.

Winning Entries
1.We will notify winners by Twitter or email during the first days of January.
2.The first prize winner may be required to email us a high-res photo and text for publishing.
3.The winning entry will be posted here early January.

For more details, read the fine print below. Any questions, pop them in the Comments.

The Fine Print – 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 competition 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, should not appear on other blogs or websites, 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; Context Travel staff; and Lara Dunston and Terence Carter. Judges decisions are final. The criteria used will include creativity, originality, 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 it 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 blog about their prizes, link back to GrantourismoHomeAway Holiday-Rentals, and the sponsor of the prize they’ve won, and tweet about the post, using #GrantourismoComp. We’ll visit your post and tweet about it.
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 entrants give permission 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. pam || @nerdseyeview

    ARGH! Now I have to do this AGAIN! ARGH!


    1. Lara Dunston

      Can’t wait to see your entry! :)

  2. notabilia

    This is my entry: http://notabilia.wordpress.com/2010/11/04/happy-diwali/

    1. Lara Dunston

      Thanks for your entry! So nice to see something on Diwali. Best of luck!

  3. Natalie

    I am up for this. Sounds like a great comp. Will have to sift through my photo albums otherwise you just know it is going to be an entry about Christmas. LOl

    1. Lara Dunston

      Looking forward to getting your entry! :)

  4. Keith

    My entry at http://travelrat.wordpress.com/2010/12/19/eggs-for-easter

    (As you’ll probably see … it’s a VERY old photo! :D)

    1. Lara Dunston

      What an egg! It’s colossal! Love the story too – reminded me of painting eggs with my Russian grandmother as a child. Best of luck, Keith!

  5. neha

    Adding a bit more of Diwali to the holiday season – http://nehasweb.com/2010/12/21/resolutions-and-celebrations/

    1. neha

      p.s – these are snapshots of two diwali’s – one in Croatia and the second celebrated in India.

  6. Happy Hotelier

    I tweeted this post of mine with original HH photos by way of submission:



    1. Lara Dunston

      Too much :) Left a comment on your blog – hope you got it – word count is the problem, must be no more than 250 words. Can you cut it or enter something else?

  7. Carolyn Emmett

    Hi. I’ve posted a submission for the December competition, and tried to do all the things you’ve asked: Tweet, blog, e-mail, Tag, Link … but I don’t know if any of it has worked!

    1. Carolyn Emmett

      Can you let me know?

    2. Lara Dunston

      The links aren’t working on your site for some reason…

  8. Carolyn Emmett

    My link to ‘How Scrooge would see it’ is http://thequickbrownfox.org/?p=357. Hope this works for you, ‘cos it doesn’t seem to be working backwards.

    1. Lara Dunston

      Got this link, so that’s fine. Thanks for your entry! What a lot of Christmases you’ve had in different places! Best of luck.

  9. srag

    Hoping you got my entry! Trying one more time because I don’t see it posted in the comments. It is posted at Matador Travel:

    1. Lara Dunston

      Got it, thanks! Great post! Best of luck :)

  10. Johanna Bradley

    Hi Lara and Terence! Love your photo- where is it by the way?
    Think I have complied with all the bits. My submission is “No room at the Inn”
    Can’t post a link here as I keep getting a copyright error message. Is it ok if I just put a bit.ly link to the blog on Twitter? Cheers!
    All the best for 2011- hope it lives up to 2010

    1. Lara Dunston

      Hi Johanna – thanks re the pic. Terence took it recently in Zell Am See.

      Not sure why your links aren’t working from your post… that’s odd. I’m including your link here otherwise it won’t get found when it comes to the judges doing their bit:
      Johanna’s entry:

      Best of luck!

  11. Kristen

    One of my favorite holiday memories — unlike anything I’ve ever seen before!


    1. Lara Dunston

      Got your entry, thanks! How incredible! Never heard of that one before.

      best of luck!

  12. Suzanne Hutchinson

    What a great competition. Thanks for getting me writing again:


    I have followed all your instructions, I hope they have all gone to plan!


    1. Lara Dunston

      That’s our job! :) Great post on Thanksgiving in Australia! Thanks for entering – looks like you’ve followed everything! Best of luck!

  13. Natasha Chow

    Hope you enjoy my Dec entry – A Christmas Mission http://bit.ly/gHciRD

    1. Lara Dunston

      Love it! Great stuff! Terence and I once decided we’d do the same – volunteer on Christmas Day (it was as we were driving to Perth for Christmas Eve too, when we heard on the radio about a family who did that every year) – but haven’t had the op yet. Good on you!

      Thanks for entering! Best of luck!

  14. Natalie

    Hi Lara,

    Finally decided on my entry. Hope I have followed all the rules. Good luck to all the entrants.


    1. Lara Dunston

      Is that your NY resolution too? Great entry! Thanks for entering and good luck!

  15. Rebekah Zemansky

    Hi – here’s my contest entry, it’s @ http://bit.ly/fMCEHt – I’m enjoying reading all the submissions!

    1. Lara Dunston

      A beautiful post! Reminded me of Christmas Days ‘Down Under’. Thank you! Best of luck!

      Glad you’re enjoying the other submissions – I love reading them too.

  16. Kola Tubosun

    Here is my entry: http://www.ktravula.com/2010/12/snowfight-holiday/ I hope you enjoy it.

    1. Lara Dunston

      Love it! Reminded me of the first time we went to Europe and saw snow – *and* had a snow-fight also!

      Thanks for your entry! Good luck!

  17. Grace

    Win or lose, I just wanted to share my very first Christmas in Japan, circa 1996. :-)


    1. Lara Dunston

      Great post, Grace! I also liked your one about Emirates Palace’s extravagant jewel-bedecked Christmas tree. Thanks for entering! Best of luck!

  18. sophie mcgrath

    Hi Lara and Terence,

    Here’s my entry, it’s about celebrating eid/ethiopian new year in addis ababa. hope you like it!


    awesome entries everyone!

    1. Lara Dunston

      What a wonderful insight into Ethiopian life! Thanks for your entry! Best of luck!

  19. Dawn Peterson


    1. Dawn Peterson

      No comments, so I’m uncertain if the difficult submitting process was finished per instructions. Regardless? Hope you have wonderful journeys.

    2. lara dunston

      Hi Dawn – got it, thanks! Just flat out – we’ll take a look a bit later today. Best of luck!

  20. Akila

    It has been too long since I have submitted an entry to y’all’s competition but I had to make the time for this one because we love holiday traditions and festivities. My post, titled “Our Santa” is at 247 words and available here: http://theroadforks.com/offtheroad/our_santa

    I’m looking forward to reading all the entries.

    1. Lara Dunston

      Thanks so much, Akila! Best of luck!

  21. The Turkish Life

    “Christmas in Istanbul” – Jennifer Hattam/The Turkish Life


    1. Lara Dunston

      Thanks for your entry, Jennifer. What a shame we hadn’t discovered your blog while we were in Istanbul recently so we could have met.

      Best of luck!

  22. Priyank

    Hi Lara, I don’t have a twitter account, is it still possible to participate? And did you just extend the deadline by few days?

    1. lara dunston

      Hi Priyank – and everyone

      Yes, deadline extended to 2nd January – it seems everyone wants to submit NYE posts.

      We like to use Twitter to head traffic to your entry :)

      Looking forward to getting your entry!

  23. Susana

    Hey! I am leaving here my post… Hope it works!!!!


    1. Lara Dunston

      A lovely entry about Easter in Prague – gracias! Best of luck!

    2. Susana

      ¡Gracias a ti! Thank you so much!!!!

  24. BetsyM

    Hi! I submitted my entry here and it was awaiting approval, but I still don’t see it yet. Just checking to make sure it went through!

  25. betsym

    I guess it didn’t go through. Here it is! http://reverouge.blogspot.com/2010/12/family-christmas-away-from-home.html

    1. Terence Carter

      Now we have it! Will read later today, we have a train to catch. Cheers.

    2. Lara Dunston

      Sounds like a wonderful experience! Thanks for entering! Best of luck!

  26. eat-laugh-love-anon

    Here’s my entry! I hope you like it – How Santa Lost His Head In Ho Chi Minh City. (I hope all the track back thingies worst. This is my first entry.)


    1. Lara Dunston

      Thanks for sharing your Christmas in Vietnam tale! And thanks for your entry. Good luck!

  27. Priyank

    Hi Lara!
    I made a posting to my blog. Here is the link: http://priyank.com/weblog/2011/01/01/gudhi-padwa-new-year/

    I will post it to Twitter also! (You were my sole motivation to join it and now I like it!) :-)

    1. Lara Dunston

      What a cute story! Did your mother ever let you make it again?

      Glad you like Twitter too. Thanks for entering our competition. Good luck!

    2. Priyank

      Thanks Lara! Yes I got your message, so quick!!

      Yes indeed I made it again several times. :-)

  28. Cathy Sweeney

    My entry for the competition is here: http://travelingwithsweeney.com/2011/01/01/lighting-up-the-holidays/

    Thanks for your consideration!

    1. Lara Dunston

      What a lucky woman you’ve been to see all those tree lighting ceremonies!

      Thanks for entering! Best of luck!

  29. jiffer

    Lara and Terry – Happy New Year! Hope you’ve been enjoying Berlin so far. Squeezing in just under the wire with an entry to this month’s comp. Looking forward to seeing you soon!



    1. Lara Dunston

      So nice to receive a last minute entry from you! And what a beautiful post! Thanks for entering and best of luck!

      Do let us know when you’re in Berlin. Would love to meet you!

  30. Nikki Hodgson

    Hi guys! Hope you had a nice holiday, and your New Year is off to a great start. Here’s my entry. One of these times I’ll mix things up and write about something other than the West Bank. Maybe. ;)


    1. Lara Dunston

      What a touching post, Nikki. Thank you so much for entering! Best of luck!

    2. Lara Dunston

      This competition has now closed. Winners will be announced in a couple of days and details for the January competition will go up then too.

      Thanks for entering everyone! Best of luck!

  31. Shelly Borrell

    Wow — All this is so cool. Your site, the idea, the traveling, the properties, local living and writing, the topics, etc. How exciting for you! I am so jealous, but happy for you. Happy taveling, photographing and blogging :) I missed the competitions and real time happenings, but had to comment now, as it would be a dream job for me.

    Ciao, Shelly
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