How to win a summer holiday

“Hi Di, I’m trying to win myself a nice summer holiday – only problem is, we need to take it in August! Do you know of any running?”

Ah, Duncan has the same problem as lots of compers – we’re restricted to travelling in peak season. If you take the time to read terms and conditions (and you really should – particularly for holidays!) you’ll often find that dreaded phrase ‘cannot be taken during July, August or Bank Holidays’. But what if you have kids at school, or you’re a teacher, and you’re restricted to travelling on certain dates – how’s the best way to bag yourself a suitable prize holiday?

Here are a few of my tips…

Enter to win vouchers rather than a holiday

Vouchers from a travel company or airline are usually flexible, and can be used towards any trip. In the UK, keep an eye on the Facebook pages and Twitter feed of Thomson, Thomas Cook, First Choice, Holiday Cottages, CenterParcs, Skyscanner, Expedia, Avios, etc.

Enter competitions that aren’t restricted to the UK

Worldwide competitions and contests will get more entries, but there are likely to be no ‘blackout dates’ included in the T&Cs, because peak season is different in each country.

Enter to win ‘family holidays’

Holidays advertised as ‘family holidays’ should be valid during school holiday time, so try searching for those on Twitter and Google! If you spot a prize advertised as a ‘family holiday’ but the T&Cs state it must be taken during term time, you can put in a complaint to the ASA – read what happened to CenterParcs after people complained about their midweek term-time breaks.

Check radio websites regularly

Some of the best holiday prizes are given away on radio stations like Heart FM and Magic – and they’re usually valid over school holidays. You don’t always need to be listening – often you can enter online, and they’ll call you if you win. However if there is an on-air phone in, go for it! See my tips for radio competitions.

Build your own trip from the elements

Look out for comps to win the separate parts of a holiday – flights, accommodation and spending money. For flights, check social media pages of airlines that fly from your local airport – British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Ryanair, Monarch and Easyjet often give away flights to a destination of your choice.

Try the blogs, Facebook and twitter pages of Hotels.com, i-escape.com and Tablet Hotels for winning credit to spend on hotel stays – or be more specific and check pages of hotel chains like Holiday Inn, Hilton, Riu, Premier Inn, Mercure, etc. Currency providers like Travelex sometimes run comps for spending money.

Winning part of a trip can be enough if you can afford cheap accommodation or flights to accompany it – you could also use Avios to pay. They sometimes give away points on their social media – and Tesco Clubcard points can be converted to Avios too. I’ve used Avios to pay for hotels in Amsterdam and New York to accompany prize flights!

Use these suggestions to create Google searches and Facebook Interest lists – and see what you can find. Remember to check the T&Cs before you enter, and good luck!

Finally, when you do win that summer holiday, don’t forget to read my tips for compers on holiday before you jet off!

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