To get in touch with us to chat about stories, projects, trips, partnerships, sponsorships, advertising, interviews, Grantourismo, our grand tours, our blog content (i.e. to buy and use words and photos), or just simply chat about travel, please contact us by one of these means:
Lara Dunston & Terence Carter
+971 50 720 8690 (Dubai mobile)
+61 8 7798 6864 (Australian mobile)
Media Coverage, Guest Posts and Q&As
Click here to see our media coverage and read some of the nice things that have been written about Grantourismo, the interviews we’ve done, guest posts we’ve written about our project, and magazine stories that have resulted from Grantourismo trips.
We are available to do interviews about Grantourismoand our grand tours; the history and concept of the Grand Tour as a form of travel; slow and sustainable travel; local travel and the idea of living like locals; experiential travel, educational travel and learning holidays; the notion of ‘giving back’ when travelling, charitable deeds and voluntourism; the destinations we have travelled to and our experiences in those destinations; holiday rentals, vacation rentals, self-catering, and the idea of settling in to places for a while; and a whole range of other related travel topics.
Stories & Columns
As widely published travel writers, we can write feature stories and columns, review properties, and interview subjects on topics related to the interests of this site (as described above), for magazines, newspapers and websites. We are happy to provide clippings of recently published print stories and links to published work, and to discuss angles and ideas with editors.
Guest Blog Posts & Q&As
We are continually travelling, however, we would love to participate in Q&As on your blog or write guest posts if and when our travel schedule permits. Email Lara to discuss your ideas.
We have complete editorial control over the content we produce that appears on Grantourismo, even when we work with travel partners. We are opinionated and we write honestly and critically and you can be confident that we apply the same critical skills of evaluation to any destination, experience or property we are writing about, partner or no partner, paid for or hosted, incognito or identified. We will always maintain the same ‘tell it like it is’ attitude and opinionated writing style that we’ve had throughout our careers as travel writers. We appreciate that doesn’t appeal to everyone. If you’re a travel company looking for advertorial, then you’ve come to the wrong place.
Grantourismo is described on the Projects page of this site, however, if you have any questions or need more information, don’t hesitate to ask. From time to time media releases about projects may be placed on this page. Past Grantourismo partners, such as HomeAway, will also have media releases on their site. HomeAway’s, for instance, can be found at their Press Centre. You can learn more about us on this site, download some of our published articles at Lara’s Media Bistro page, see Terence’s work on his photography site, or read our reflections about our work as travel writers on our personal blogs, Cool Travel Guide (Lara’s) and Wide Angles, Wine and Wanderlust (Terry’s). You can find us on Twitter at twitter.com/gran_tourismo, twitter.com/laradunston and twitter.com/terencecarter. Lara also has a LinkedIn page.
Terence is a professional photographer and can make images available to the media for the purposes of promoting Grantourismo. For other purposes, some of the images on this site may be available for sale; contact Terence to discuss purchase of images: firstname.lastname@example.org. All our images are copyright and we do have a copyright lawyer on speed-dial. We don’t have very many pretty pictures of ourselves, however, we’re working on it; ask and we’ll see what we can do.
Trips, Tours, Festivals, Events, Activities, Courses & Other Stuff
We are always looking for interesting trips and tours to take, festivals and events to attend, and things to do and learn, from classes in language basics to learning how to cook local recipes, from music lessons to jewellery making, to more unusual things, like elephant mahout-training or Russian folk dancing. If you have any ideas, suggestions or recommendations in relation to trips, tours, courses, activities, festivals, and events that you’d like us to attend, review, or write about on Grantourismo or in your own publication or site, please get in touch.
Partnerships, Sponsorship & Advertising
We are open to considering relevant partnerships and sponsorship proposals. They must have some connection to our interests as described in the first paragraph above under Interviews. We also occasionally accept advertising from relevant advertisers; see the current advertisements in the right column to see the sort of advertisements we’re happy to host. If you’d like to partner up, be a sponsor, or buy an ad, do get in touch to discuss your ideas or request site stats. We will not accept advertising from companies with no connection or relevance to our interests here and we do not accept guest posts.
From time to time, we hold competitions for our readers on Grantourismo. If you see yourself as a potential competition partner, and would like to suggest a contest idea and donate prizes, do get in touch. Click here to see what we’ve done in the past. Examples of competitions include:
* Monthly travel writing and photography competitions, held from March 2010 to February 2011 in partnership with HomeAwayUK, RailEurope, Viator, Context, Our Explorer, AFAR, Trourist, and Putumayo, with prizes totalling £18,000. The aim of the competition was to inspire, encourage and promote quality travel writing and photography, and to recruit writers, bloggers and photographers to help spread messages about local travel, slow and sustainable travel, and experiential travel. To participate, entrants had to subscribe to the site, follow on Twitter and Facebook, post their stories and photos on their blogs, and link to Grantourismo and the main competition partner, to be in the running for holiday rental stays, rail tickets, tours, use of private guides, magazine subscriptions, travel journals, and CDs. Lara and Terence promoted the competition and sponsors on social media for the duration of the contest, and the competition was covered by other travel sites and blogs.
* Weekly Luxe Grand Tour competition, held during July 2011 in partnership with Luxe Guides. Entrants had to create 5-stop itineraries of their dream trips, featuring Luxe Guides destinations, and submit them to the weekly competition posts on this site. Luxe Guides donated weekly prizes of lavish Grand Tour boxed sets of guides.
As you can see, we rarely issue media releases (we are writers, so we know how annoying it can be to receive them) but when we do, they will go here:
MEDIA RELEASE #2 issued by HomeAwayUK
The end of a Grand Tour and a first of its kind partnership in travel
Thursday, 07 April 2010
This month sees the end of a first of its kind partnership between a travel company and travel writers, which succeeded in creating hot debate among the travel writing community and redefining a new way for travel companies and writers to work together. ‘Grantourismo’, a year-long partnership between writer-photographer team Lara Dunston and Terence Carter and holiday rentals website HomeAway.co.uk, closed with the final allocation of prizes to the winners of the twelfth travel writing contest held on the blog over the last year.
Grantourismo was a yearlong travel experiment aimed at exploring more enriching and meaningful ways of travelling and showing how staying in holiday rentals instead of hotels can facilitate this. Lara and Terence had around two weeks in each ‘home’ they stayed in, enabling them to slow down and travel more sustainably, gain a deeper insight in to the local culture and life (food and cooking being a key theme!), learn and do things and, where possible, give something back to the places they visited.
The Grantourismo blog launched on 1st January 2010 and the couple set off from London in February, following a launch party with canapés and cocktails at their home for that week, a chic penthouse apartment in trendy Battersea. Over the course of the next 12 months the couple visited 34 destinations and travelled 88,417km (54,940 miles) by plane, train, bus, boat and car. They also clocked up 499 blog posts totalling 424,150 words, Terence took some 57,000 photographs and the blog received 70,737 comments.
Lara and Terence stayed in 36 different holiday homes from HomeAway.co.uk, which lists over 200,000 properties worldwide, including a Moroccan Riad, a hut in Kenya, a Grand Canal palazzo in Venice, a conical trullo in Puglia, a Mexican casita, stunning architecturally designed homes and 21 different city apartments.
The couple’s inspiring blog posts, ranging from evocative narratives about their cultural experiences, to practical guides and mouth-watering recipes for local dishes were read by people from 184 countries around the world. Their 3,800+ followers interacted daily with them on Twitter and the blog’s current Alexa ranking is 108,007 globally and 68,989 in the UK, impressive for a site started just over a year ago.
Lara comments, “After a year living in homes around the world, most of them in everyday neighbourhoods, I think we’re going to find it hard to return to hotels. We’ve not only loved having the space, flexibility and privacy a holiday rental offers, but most of all we’ve loved the opportunities it gave us to engage with locals and learn how they live their lives. For us, that’s a far more satisfying way to travel. The trip was transformational.”
Tim Boughton, GM for HomeAway.co.uk said, “The great content Lara and Terence produced for Grantourismo truly showcases the different type of holiday you can enjoy in a real home and provides a fantastic source of inspiration for travellers looking for a more authentic way to travel.”
“Grantourismo essentially gave us two global ambassadors for our service and the travel experience rentals offer, who promoted it every day, online, in social media, and, most importantly, in person to the countless travellers they met along the way. We were delighted with the performance of the blog, but these benefits were immeasurable.”
ENDS - High resolution photos of the holiday homes and destinations featured on Grantourismo are available on request.
MEDIA RELEASE #1 issued by HomeAwayUK
In 2010, discover a new way to travel; discover Grantourismo
London, 4th January 2010
HomeAway Holiday-Rentals partners with writers Lara Dunston & Terence Carter to show travellers a more authentic, enriching way to travel
In 2010, globetrotting travel writers Terence Carter and Lara Dunston, in partnership with HomeAway Holiday-Rentals, will swap hotel rooms for holiday homes and embark on a contemporary grand tour of sorts they’re calling Grantourismo. The aim is to slow down, learn and do things, live like locals, and give something back to the places they visit, as they search for a more authentic and enriching way to travel.
Not only will Lara and Terence be chronicling their experiences via a dedicated blog and Twitter page that travellers can interact with (see www.grantourismotravels.com andhttp://twitter.com/gran_tourismo), they will also be available to produce independent articles as they go. Get in touch and read on to find out more.
A huge number of Brits already favour holiday homes over hotels, enjoying the space, privacy, flexibility and authenticity they provide. According to industry analyst Mintel, around one in five people currently holiday in this way and self-catering holidays are rising every year. In 2009, self-catering holidays were forecast to represent over 60% of all overseas holidays and Mintel expects the self catering market to continue to outstrip general holiday growth and exceed 34.3 million breaks by 2011.*
Thanks to the millions of people who own holiday homes worldwide, the choice of rentals is huge, with over 425,000 properties available on the HomeAway sites alone. With this choice, HomeAway rivals the largest hotel chains in the world. The InterContinental Hotel Group, for instance, recently ranked as the worlds largest, with 619,851 rooms. Whatever type of holiday you’re looking for, and whatever type of accommodation, there’s a holiday home to suit.
With Grantourismo, Lara, Terence and HomeAway Holiday-Rentals aim to show how holiday homes provide the perfect solution to today’s travellers’ desires, and the perfect alternative to hotel rooms and resorts. Travellers today are no longer just after a ‘holiday’ of sun, sea and sand, but rather a ‘journey’ where they learn about the local culture, arts, language and people of the places they travel too. A holiday rental is the natural choice for such a trip.
For Lara and Terence, the idea of a ‘grand tour’, a slow, extended journey where they would immerse themselves in the destination had always been appealing. Having already been on the road for over three years, they have called hundreds of hotel rooms ‘home’. But while they have much appreciation for hotels, at every possibility they were quick to trade their swipe cards for door keys and check in to a real ‘home’, albeit a rented one, for a change.
Lara comments, “The contrast between hotels and holiday rentals couldn’t be greater – the chance to really slow down, relax, and take it easy at a holiday rental being the obvious one. There are no breakfast buffet times to wake for, no cocktails to scramble to, and no need to worry about when the kitchen closes. Plus by travelling more slowly, people are also travelling more sustainably – from taking the time to discover local markets and small neighbourhood businesses, to buying and eating local produce instead of expensive imported products. Not only is this kind of travel more sustainable, travellers are also able to learn how to live like locals; which is one of our key aims on this trip.”
Courtney Wylie, General Manager for HomeAway Holiday-Rentals comments, “Here at HomeAway Holiday-Rentals we have stayed in an impressive number of properties between us, discovering for ourselves the benefits of staying in a private home instead of a hotel. Therefore, in 2010 it is our mission, along with Lara and Terry, to help more people discover this unique and liberating way of travelling. Although many people have been holidaying in rentals for years, many are still to try it and yet it caters so well for the millions of travellers today who are looking for a more experiential, more involving holiday, not to mention better value for money.”
Throughout their trip, travellers will be able to interact with Lara and Terence and share their experiences via the Grantourismo blog and Twitter page, as well as on www.HomeAway.co.uk and the company’s Twitter, Flickr and Facebook pages.
To learn more about how you can get involved, if you are interested in interviewing, commissioning or featuring articles from Lara and Terry, please get in touch.
– ENDS –
* Source of statistics: Mintel Self Catering Holiday Report 2007 and 2009