Not so long ago I won a Swiss Air voucher which gave me two free two economy flights from the UK to Switzerland. This is far from the first decent travel prize I’ve won, so I thought I’d use it to share some competition winning tips and a quick review… The flight voucher was won via a skiing blog, in a simple ‘submit your email’ contest I’d entered as part of a quick skiing competition ‘blitz’ at the start of the ski season. We used the voucher to fly to Zürich, where we then had a beautiful train ride on the edge of the alps to Lucerne and then on to Engelberg. We didn’t actually get to ski on this occasion (I was hoping to win a full ski trip, but this was a pretty decent consolation prize!).
How to Win Travel Competitions
There are a few ways to improve your chances of winning competitions, and I say this as someone who consistently wins 1-2 decent prizes a year without entering ridiculous numbers of competitions. I normally just spend a couple of hours every few months finding and entering the right competitions. Here are a few basic tips:
1. Focus on the right type of competitions.
There are two key points here. Firstly seek out stuff you actually want to win, rather than spending hours entering competitions with rubbish prizes! Secondly seek out competitions where the probability of winning is higher. This means not spending ages entering competitions from major brands like Coca Cola and instead targeting blogs, special interest sites and local publications. Often entries for these will be in the hundreds, rather than thousands, so your probability of winning is much higher.
2. Use Google Advanced Search
Google Advanced Search is key to finding the right competitions, so use it well. Firstly, search for something you’d genuinely like to win. For example I started with ‘win ski holiday’. Then:
– Filter out anything older than 4-6 weeks. This will avoid wasting time on competitions which have closed.
– Filter out any results which aren’t from your country. Again this will avoid wasting time on competitions which you can’t enter.
Now, scan through page one, skipping past any major international brands (who will get 10 million entries!). On page two onwards, you’ll now start to see the stuff which is worth a shot. Lots of competitions use Gleam/Rafflecopter, which will even show you how many entries have been submitted to date.
Once you’ve entered everything you like the look of, you can even set up a search alert for any new results which meet your criteria.
3. Follow the right sites on social media
Find the pages which will run competitions for things you’re interested in. Again this might include blogs, smaller travel agents, magazines, venues, events, etc. For example if you want to win a ski trip, follow the resorts, travel agents, ski clubs, etc. When they do run competitions, you’ll see them first and can enter with a quick click. In the past two years I’ve won 3 sets of music festival tickets this way.
4. Use Twitter Search well
As with Google Search, you can quickly identify anything worth entering on Twitter. Find the hashtags and search terms for the prizes you’re interested in (so again I’d search ‘win ski holiday’) and then choose the ‘latest’ tab for current results. You can also localise this search by going to the settings and choosing ‘Location: Near You’ in filters. So if you want to win a meal or hotel stay in your area, and not filter through 1,000 results from across the globe, just click this.
5. Don’t be put off by a little bit of effort
If you look at a competition and your first thought is ‘too much hard work’, then it’s likely the next hundred people will think the same. What this means is that it’ll probably get less entries, and so your chances of winning will be higher. Now obviously you’re not guaranteed to win, so you’ll need to decide if the prize is worth the effort, but at least give it some thought.
6. Enter lots of competitions!
This is a really obvious one – the more you enter, the more likely you are to win. Of course, you can also enter some competitions more than once if you have multiple emails, or family members who can enter! If you do this, along with the points above, then your chances will eventually increase to the point where more than likely you’ll win something decent every now and then. Perhaps some flights to Switzerland!
My Visit to Switzerland:
We used our flight voucher for two seats on a return flight from Birmingham to Zürich in September. The flights were limited to economy, even though the value would have almost covered business class. We drove to Birmingham from Bristol (our other option would have been London). We were pleased with this choice, Birmingham Airport is very easy to access from the motorway, and on this occasion we found parking, security and accessing airport facilities very straightforward. The experience with Swiss Air was good – much like everything else in Switzerland we found them efficient and helpful. Economy class was pretty standard, but I think probably better than my recent experiences with KLM and EasyJet.
We stayed at Hotel Astoria in Lucerne. Prices are high in Switzerland for pretty much everything, but we did manage to get a 10% Booking.com discount! The hotel was pretty central and we were very happy with the room and service. The highlight of the hotel stay was the rooftop bar with beautiful views over the city and the mountains beyond. However when prices increased to about £11 a beer at 9 p.m. we retreated back to our room!!
Booking.com Link: Hotel Astoria
Tip: Note that Switzerland has a different mains plug fitting to most of Europe, so take the right adapter (we didn’t!).
We were in Switzerland for a long weekend and used a day to explore the city of Lucerne and a day to travel to Engelberg and up Mount Titlis. If you visit Switzerland I’d strongly recommend using rail travel to take in the scenery. Rail travel is relatively affordable, very efficient and pretty comfortable. It’s an amazing way to take in those lakes and mountains. In Lucerne itself the Lion Monument and Kapellbrücke (chapel bridge) are both worth a visit.
The weekend highlight was definitely the trip up Mount Titlis though. The cable car, Rotair (rotating cable car), sky bridge and ski lift offer an amazing experience. You can spend ages just moving around on lifts taking it all in! Again, it’s all very efficient and comfortable too. We also did a bit of tobogganing, which is free to access near the top cable car station.
It was great to take in the changing weather conditions as we ascended/descended. On the day we visited Titlis it was t-shirt weather at the bottom, and snowing at the top. I also enjoyed listening to the cow bells as the cable car passed over farms on its way up – a very Swiss experience!
So competitions are definitely worth a shot. Obviously putting effort into to racking up points (see here) has a more guaranteed outcome, which is why I tend to put more energy into this, but do enough of both and you can get yourself some decent travel hack treats!
Disclosure: This page uses a Booking.com Affiliate Link, which means (at no extra cost to you) we may earn commission on bookings.
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