Stretch your travel budget with these free vacation deals. No purchase required — just sign up on the website of the country, city, product or travel company offering the getaway prize, keep your fingers crossed.
London Callling — The Wimbledon tennis championships already are underway, but you might be attend for free in 2012, if you win the London Calling sweepstakes sponsored by VisitBritain— the national tourism agency for England, Scotland and Wales— and the Tennis Channel. In the meantime, you can watch this year’s Wimbledon matches on the Tennis Channel, with 40 hours of primetime coverage hosted by tennis legend Martina Navratilova and sportscaster Bill Macatee. When you get to Wimbledon, be sure to visit the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum, for a chance to play center court — virtually, that is — by experiencing the slam dunk 200-inch screen. Save money in Britain by visiting Britain on the Cheap, a daily deals website published by Betsa Marsh, the incoming president of the Society of American Travel Writers (I’m a member, too).
Albuquerque — If you are a foodie, this free contest is for you. The city’s tourist board is giving away a free three day vacation focusing on the city’s culinary heritage, including behind-the-scenes at some of Albuquerque’s top restaurants and a tasting tour of the local brewery, Chama River Brewing Company. Albuquerque also is famous for its annual international hot air Balloon Fiesta each October, and its downtown art galleries. Every time I visit, I expand my collection of hand-crafted silver and turquoise jewelry by Native American artisans. Another must see is the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History, with exhibits all about the atomic bomb and nuclear energy, and a huge display outside of airplanes, including a B52 bomber, and rockets. Remember, the atom bomb was developed by scientists, including Albert Einstein, at Los Alamos National Laboratory, just outside Albuquerque. I was fascinated by the museum’s display of World War II -era advertising posters and products with an atomic theme, such as Radium Starch and Gamma Glaze Mustard, and the “Fat Man” and “Little Boy” nuclear bombs.
Curacao — Sign up on Facebook for the chance to win a four-night family vacation for four at this Caribbean island with a rich Dutch heritage and flavor. The winning family stays at the all-inclusive family-oriented Breezes Curaçao Resort, Spa and Casino, which sits on a picture-postcard 1,500-foot white sand beach overlooking the sparkling Caribbean Sea. The package includes all meals and multiple dining options; land and water sports, entertainment; airport transfers; as well as complimentary airfare for four from the continental U.S. or Canada, provided by the Curaçao Tourist Board. The winning family also get the chance to swim with the dolphins at Dolphin Academy.
Jamaica — The Breezes resort chain is sponsoring its own sweepstakes, to win one of three seven-night grand prize trips to Super-Inclusive Breezes Resort & Spa in Jamaica, including airfare for two. The sweepstakes is sponsored jointly with Avon, to promote the launch of its new ANEW Solar Advance line of sun protection products. Log on to Avon Breezes Sweepstakes to register for a chance to win.
Mt. Everest — There’s also the chance to win a trip to the Everest Base Camp for two. Just sign up on the Intrepid Travel Facebook page.
Good luck! I hope you win, and let me know if you do.
posted by Evelyn Kanter