This is the final instalment in Tips for Winning Travel Contests series. Read Tips for Winning Travel Contests Part 1 – Which Contests to Enter here.
Disclaimer: This post is for informational purposes only. I assume no responsibility or liability for any action you choose to take or not take because of this post. Aside from winning one charity raffle all contests I’ve entered have been free to enter. If you have to “pay to enter” or buy something do some research. Check that the contest is legitimate and not a scam. A legit contest should always have the option of entering without purchase.
In the first part of this series I talked about the contests I’ve won, which has been a good few. I also mentioned how it’s important to enter travel contests. Even if you don’t think you’ll win it’s always worth it to enter.
Well it’s actually not that straightforward. There are actually several contests I won’t enter. There are a few mistakes you should avoid making when entering travel contests.
The Mistake – Falling for Contest Scams
- Is the company/brand hosting the contest a legitimate company? Is it one you’ve heard of before? Have they been around a while? That’s not to say a new company/brand can’t host a travel contest. A company/brand that comes out of nowhere and has a contest with some too good to be true prize is a red flag. Do some more research.
- Are the prize sponsors legitimate companies? Are the companies ones you’re familiar with or have heard of yourself? Have they been around a while. If a contest prize is from a company/brand you’ve never heard of do more research. It could be a scam.
- Are they asking for money, bank, or credit card details? If they are this is very likely a scam. There are charity raffles where you can donate money in exchange for a raffle ticket. This raffle could have travel prizes. I did this a few years ago with Passports with Purpose (a former yearly travel charity fundraiser). I made a few $20 entries and won a $500 travel voucher. There is a difference between a charity raffle/fundraiser and a scam. The charity will be registered in the country it’s in. Depending on your country’s laws you should be able to get a tax deductible receipt for your donation. If it’s not a registered charity raffle then you are not required to pay anything for a contest entry. Even with a contest where it says you need buy something there should be a way to enter without one. This was the case for the trip I won to New Orleans.
- Are they asking for too much information? Asking for your name, contact email and/phone, and a home address is legitimate. They may need you to confirm that you’re the age of majority. This is particularly true if the contest involves alcohol. You may need to enter a skill testing question to prove you’re a person and not a robot. If a contest should not ask for your ID, passport, bank/personal finance information for an entry. You may need to provide passport information to claim a prize that involves international travel. You shouldn’t need your passport to enter a contest.
- Is something else off? Are you getting a weird, gut feeling not to enter? Did you “win” a contest you don’t recall entering? I always think it’s best to trust your intuition. If something seems weird then don’t enter, or at least do some more research first.
These are a few things to lookout for in regards to possible contest scams. While it’s geared to American readers the About Contest page is a great resource for contest scams. If you think a contest is scam contact your local police department. Help other people by putting the scam to an end.
The Mistake – Entering with an Automatic Form
Most travel contests I enter are online and the entry forms are pretty easy to complete. Most contests need some basic information like your name and contact details. When you enter many contests a day it can be a bit annoying to retype the same information over and over. You may want to use an auto-fill program (like Google Chrome has) to make entering your contests easy.
The Mistake – Entering Popularity Contests
You’ve probably seen these contests, where you have to get people to vote for your photo/video/tweet/writing, etc. These contests are a pain to enter and annoying to see because you’ll often see people overwhelming their friends, family and complete strangers with “Vote for Me!” pleads on social media. I never liked popularity contests in High School, and they’re just as annoying to me now.
The Mistake – Not Knowing Your Talents/Skills
The Mistake – Entering Complicated Contests
The Mistake – Not Knowing BEDMAS
The Mistake – Enter Contests with Unrealistic Travel Expectations
The Prize – Entering Contests You Can’t Win
This Mistake – Not Checking Your Email or Phone
When you enter a contest the rules will tell you when and how they will be contacting the winner. I have a secondary email for contest entries. Even still I remember to check my contest email every day. If you’re contacted as a winner make sure to respond right away. They could disqualify you as a winner if you don’t respond in time. Then the contest will choose another winner. You don’t want to lose a great prize because you didn’t respond back in time.
The Mistake – Not Having a Passport
The Mistake – Only Entering Travel Contests
Have you won any contests? Leave a comment below.