prize patrol

Prize Patrol: contests for free travel


It’s hard to read travel stories about exotic places like, say, Chicago, if you can’t quite swing the cash for airfare and a swanky hotel.


That’s why, even though I never win, I’m in favor of entering contests that award – someone – free travel.

Because I learned early on that you can’t win if you don’t play.

The upscale Radisson Blu Aqua, Chicago open its doors on November 1 and to celebrate the first Radisson Blu in the U.S., Club Carlson is having an Ultimate Getaway Giveaway.

Each week during the eight week sweepstakes, which runs December 16, Club Carlson members will have an opportunity to win a two-night stay at the new Radisson Blu Aqua, Chicago, airfare for two and $2,500 in spending cash. One grand prize winner will receive a five-night getaway at any Carlson hotel worldwide, airfare for two and $10,000 in spending cash.

You’ll need to be Club Carlson member to enter, but membership in that club is free.

In Victoria, B.C., home to one of my favorite museums – the Royal B.C. Museum –  the Hotel Grand Pacific has rolled out a “pay what you want” promotion.

From October 27 through November 11, the hotel is asking prospective guests to visit the contest site, answer some questions about what they’re looking for in a hotel and make an offer for a night’s stay.

Ten rooms for each night between October 28 and December 23 will be available at a “Pay What You Want” rate, on a first come, first served basis.

Good luck! And if you win, please send a souvenir.



Prize patrol: an act of travel kindness may be worth $10,000

On’s new blog, the Overhead Bin, I posted a short note about a new contest designed to reward a “travel hero” who saved someone’s trip by doing a good deed or a random act of kindness.

Travel Guard, a travel insurance company that last year hosted the World’s Unluckiest Travel Contest, is back with World’s Unluckiest Traveler 2: The Rescue and asking people to send in their stories. The winning good-deed-doer gets a $10,000 vacation. The storyteller gets a pair of round-trip plane tickets to any destination in the U.S.

Find out more on the Overhead Bin.

Prize patrol: Enter JetBlue’s Anniversary Sweepstakes

To celebrate its 9th anniversary, JetBlue Airways has kicked off a five day sweepstakes that starts today.  Prizes include free flights, luggage, a year’s worth of soda and snacks, Dunkin’ Donuts gift packs, XM satellite radio and other fun stuff.  Grand prize: a vacation for 9 in the Bahamas.

You’ll need to be a member of the airline’s TrueBlue program, but that’s free to join.  And whether your win or not, there’s a promo code on the contest Web site for discounts on flights.

Here’s a link to the entry page for JetBlue’s 9th Anniversary Sweepstakes.

Good luck!