1. This week’s writing and photo contest winners

    Congratulations to the winners of our contests last week (and a special thanks to everyone who suggested their favorite indie coffee spots):


    Writing Grand Prize: Ryan Murphy
    Entry:Espresso 77 in Queens, NY
    Writing Grand Prize: Joshua Phelps
    Entry:Café Sacher in Vienna, Austria, Austria

    Photography Grand Prize: Jaime
    Entry: Crucial Coffee Cafe in St Augustine, FL
    Photography Grand Prize: A Lawson
    Entry: IKE Box Cafe in Salem, OR

    Photography Honorable Mentions:
    Joshua Phelps (Entry), Ryan Murphy (Entry), Tom Bentley (Entry)

    Writing Honorable Mentions:
    nicole hs kaufmann (Entry), David Graham (Entry), Allie Marini (Entry), Keely Herrick (Entry), Allie Marini (Entry), RAP (Entry), Debbie Rice (Entry), Joshua Phelps (Entry), Johnpatrick Marr (Entry), Gheanna (Entry), Ryan Murphy (Entry), Heather R. (Entry), Liz Burnham (Entry)


    Writing 1st Place: Tory Braden
    Entry: Pang La Elephant Rehabilitation Center in Ngao, Lampang, Thailand

    Photography 1st Place: Karin-Marijke Vis
    Entry: Historic Inner City of Paramaribo in Paramaribo, Par’bo, Suriname

    Photography Honorable Mentions:
    Tory Braden (Entry), Deja (Entry), A Lawson (Entry), Jaime (Entry), Tory Braden (Entry), Liz Burnham (Entry), Flora Moreno de Thompson (Entry), Sergio Paulino (Entry), Karin-Marijke Vis (Entry), Amy Wall Lerman (Entry), Camilla Mann (Entry)

    Writing Honorable Mentions:
    Ryan Murphy (Entry), Flora Moreno de Thompson (Entry), Tory Braden (Entry), Liz Burnham (Entry), Karin-Marijke Vis (Entry), P Y Huff (Entry), Deja (Entry), Mike Harper (Entry)

  2. New Writing and Photography Contest

    New Weekly Worldwide Writing and Photography Contest

    Writing 1st Place: $50 Contract
    Photography 1st Place: $50 Contract
    Deadline: April 4, 2012

    Our editors add new places around the world every week. Want to cover a place that isn’t on our list? Send a suggestion to suggestions@trazzler.com. Find a place near you.

  3. Weekly Worldwide Writing and Photography Contest Winners—3/28/2012


    Congratulations to our Weekly Worldwide Contest winners! 

    Writing 1st Place: Audrey Henderson
    Entry: Inland Steel Building in Chicago, IL

    Photography 1st Place: Ryan Murphy
    Entry: Santa Monica Beach State Park in Santa Monica, CA

    Photography Honorable Mentions:
    Laura Star (Entry), Ray (Entry), Terri Corley (Entry), Ann (Entry), Ryan McAlpine (Entry), mikal (Entry), Davis Nika (Entry), Tom Bentley (Entry), Sluggy Smith (Entry), Giancarlo Liguori (Entry), Joshua Phelps (Entry), Diane Harvey-White (Entry)

    Writing Honorable Mentions:
    Cheryl D’souza (Entry), Amanda Espinosa Freerksen (Entry), Audrey Henderson (Entry), Devoni (Entry), Lauren Thompson (Entry), Rebecca (Entry), Liz Burnham (Entry), michael burgan (Entry), Tom Bentley (Entry), Robin Devaux (Entry), Joshua Phelps (Entry), michael burgan (Entry), Ryan Murphy (Entry)

  4. This Week: New Weekly Worldwide Writing and Photography Contest—$100 Prizes


    This week, bigger prizes!

    • Writing 1st Place:$100 Contract
    • Photography 1st Place:$100 Contract
    • Deadline: March 21, 2012

    Find an assignment near you. As always, if you have a place you would like to cover that isn’t on our list, send it to suggestions@trazzler.com and we’ll get back to you in 24 hours or less. Good luck!

  5. Winners of the Weekly Worldwide Writing and Photography Contest—

    Photo credit: Elizabeth

    Weekly Worldwide Contest Winner—2/29/2012

    Photography Honorable Mentions:Camilla Mann (Entry), elizabeth (Entry), P Y Huff (Entry), Liz Burnham (Entry),Joshua Phelps (Entry), Chelsea Johnson (Entry)Writing Honorable Mentions:Kristen Gustafson Hamlin (Entry), Rachel Webb (Entry), Katie Presley (Entry), Tanja Cilia (Entry), Keely Herrick (Entry), Elizabeth Bennett (Entry), Camilla Mann (Entry),Chuck Lenatti (Entry), Kristina Baines (Entry)

    We are now excitedly judging last week’s Spring Gardens and Weekly Worldwide Contests, which ended today and will announce the winners next Wednesday. Loving all of the happy flower photos—thanks to all who submitted! Check out this week’s new Hiking Contest and Weekly Worldwide.

  6. New Writing Contests This Week: Mendocino Hiking and Weekly Worldwide

    Hiking in Mendocino Contest


    • Writing 1st Place: $50 Writing Contract; 2-Night Hotel Stay in Mendocino
    • Photography 1st Place: $50 Photography Contract; 2-Night Hotel Stay in Mendocino

    Go to Hiking in Mendocino Contest »

    Weekly Worldwide Contest


    • Writing 1st Place: $50 Contract
    • Photography 1st Place: $50 Contract

    Go to Weekly Worldwide Contest »

    As always, if there’s a place you would like to write or photograph for either contest that’s not on our list, just send it to suggestions@trazzler.com and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours.

  7. Writing and Photography Contest Roundup—2/2/2012

    We just posted the winners of our Winter Parks and Weekly Worldwide writing and photography contests. Thanks so much to everyone who entered, we really enjoyed seeing and reading about your cold-weather explorations (even the hardcore snow kiting and ice climbing—brr). If our furry oracle is correct, we’ll be looking forward to at least six more weeks of the underappreciated, ethereal quiet beauty of parks in the winter.

    This week we’re running another Weekly Worldwide Contest with many new places added. You can see what’s close to you and enter here:
    • Writing 1st Place: $50 Contract
    • Photography 1st Place: $50 Contract
    • Deadline: February 8, 2012

    In the meantime, we’re busily judging the California Wine Contest and last week’s Weekly Worldwide and will make an announcement by 2/8/12.  Thanks so much for the great turnout!

  8. This Week’s Writing and Photography Contests

    California Wine Writing and Photography ContestCalifornia Wine Contest


    Weekly Worldwide Writing and Photography Contest

    • Photography Prize: $50 contract
    • Writing Prize: $50 contract 


  9. Writing Contests: East Coast Sandwiches and West Coast State Parks + Deep Thoughts

    Thanks to all who downloaded our iPhone app! We’re now working like crazy on the next big thing. It’s going to be much more participative every step of the way. Here’s what we’re thinking:

    • The check-in market is cornered. The world doesn’t need another Foursquare clone.
    • Unedited reviews: Sometimes useful, often faked or spammy, almost always demoralizing to wade through. See TripAdvisor or Yelp’s four stars and a rant.
    • Guidebooks/newspaper travel sections: Based on an antiquated, elitist model that relies on a handful of people (often just passing through or relaying  hearsay) to cover a huge geographic space. Prone to obsolescence, inaccuracies, shilling, and sameness.

    We want to collect the experiences that drive people to check places out and report back on them. To put it succinctly:

          People + Places + Love

    A place will only appear on Trazzler if: 

    • our editors scouted it out and loved it.
    • a person scouted it out and loved it and our editors agreed.
    • a person scouted it out and loved it—our editors disagreed, but smart people convinced them they were wrong.
    • an expert (like a tourism bureau or local blogger) suggested it and our editors agreed.

    Frankly, most places won’t make the cut. Instead of listing every place in the big wide world and waiting for people to check in, we want you to send you on assignment to check places out. Instead of interacting with a chosen few, our editors work with everyone, devising creative contests that feature places we care about—and reward the people who love a place enough to capture its essence in photos or words.

    Here are two contests that are happening right now (soon there will be more all over the world that you can enter right from your phone or Trazzler.com):

    East Coast Local Institutions: Sandwich Edition: Writing Assignment—$250 Contract + a Free Philly Hoagie Getaway
    West Coast Endangered Places Contest: California State Park Edition—Writing Assignment: $500 Contract

    Deadline for entry: November 30.

  10. On the Road Writing Contest Winners

    Congratulations to all of the winners of our On the Road Writing Contest and a big thanks to our sponsor, Fairmont Hotels, and all who took the time to enter and vote.

    The final editorial prize winners are:
    Editors’ Choice Grand Prize: Susan Offer Szafir
    Editors’ Choice Runners-Up Prizes: Peter Herring and Alexis Bohan Peschiera

    The editorial prize semifinalists are listed here. Great job to all—we loved reading about your roadside finds—please keep writing!

    The People’s Choice winners are:
    Indrani Ghose, Christine Medina, David Joshua Jennings, Carolyn Turner, Sandra Dee Carr, Carly Mary Cady, Daniel Scharch, Nicole Bigelow, Kate Baggott, Dejon Flow Simons.

    We can’t wait to hear all about our winners’ stays at Fairmont’s beautiful hotels and read about their adventures on Trazzler.

    Our Smart Travel Writing Contest is well underway—get your entry in now.

  11. On the Road Writing Contest—Sponsored by Fairmont Hotels

    15 Prizes totaling $6000 and 80 nights at luxury Fairmont Hotels and Resorts around the world (choose among 50+ locations). >Details
    Summer is upon us, which means a flurry of trip planning and happy escapism. We think a trip can be much more than a constellation of must-see places—isn’t travel really about the movement and momentum that it takes to connect the dots? Jack Kerouac put it succinctly: “the road is life.” For our next contest, we want you to write about the road: the in-between places, quirky attractions, scenic drives, irresistible pitstops, natural oases, sleepy forgotten towns, places of pilgrimage, roadside enigmas, monuments, crossroads, and one-of-a-kind ways of getting from point A to point B. Our winners will get a chance to hit the road in style—we’re giving away $6,000 and 80 free nights in any of Fairmont’s 50+ eligible luxury hotels all over the world.

    enter now

  12. City Flavor Writing Contest Winners

    Editors’ Choice Grand Prize Winners
    A riverside love nest, a neighborhood of books, a dusty subtropical sweet spot, a place where jazz hands can roam free, and a gallery where tiny taxidermy is a medium for angst-y artistic expression… each of our winners grasped the idea of what a Trazzler Trip is all about—and transported us to these wildly different corners of the world (in less than 160 words, no less).

    Foodie Temples: Sarah Barker
    Cutting the Dust With Sugar Cane Juice in Homestead, Florida

    Love: Tess Link
    Shacking Up on the Banks of a River in Ojai, California

    LGBT Icons: James Mulcahy
    Rocking Out to Rodgers and Hammerstein in New York, NY

    Neighborhood Spots: Nick Rowlands
    Rummaging Around Nooks and Crannies in Azbakiya Book Market, Cairo

    Only in SF: Traci Hui
    Feeling Nihilistic With Dead Mouse Hamlet in San Francisco, CA

    The writers of our Grand-Prize trips win a free trip to San Francisco: five nights at a Joie de Vivre Hotel, free round-trip airfare within the continental US, and a $700 contract to write 15 trips about their Only-in-San-Francisco experience.

    It’s always agonizing to choose just one winner per theme, so we awarded 15 Editors’ Choice Runners-Up prizes (15 $250 contracts to write ten short Trazzler trips):

    Lisa Michele Burns, Maureen Duncan, Joanna Eng, GladysG, Lily Grace, Megan Kung, Apryl Lundsten, Doug Mack, Gail Nelson-Bonebrake, Mag Ritt, Diana Springfield, Ben Shattuck, Sam Sherman, Tuatara, and Laura Woodman.

    People’s Choice Grand-Prize Winners
    Foodie Temples: Mary Bonomo
    LGBT Icons: Kayla Albert
    Neighborhood Spots: Edna Zhou
    Only in SF: Rebecca Feinberg
    Love in the City: Kim Repp

    Our People’s Choice winners win a free trip for two to San Francisco including round-trip airfare for two (within the continental US), 5 nights at a Joie de Vivre Hotel, and $700 in spending money to make a bit of Only-in-San-Francisco magic.

    We can’t wait to hear all about our winners’ trips. As I write, our Island Contest winners, Adrienne Wilson and Heather McNeill are exploring Hawaii—one beach and shave-ice shack at a time—we’ll be tweeting about their adventures next week.


  13. Empire State of Mind

    [Editor’s note: Steve Bramucci, our #NYCGO Writing Contest Grand Prize winner is guest blogging.]

    Even before the dates are set, I have to admit that I’m ridiculously excited for my two-week writing residency in New York City. It’ll be my first trip back since teaching high school in Queens and living in Brooklyn in 2001-2002.

    My I-pod now features a playlist titled “Empire State of Mind” that I’ve been running on repeat for the past week. In its own way, each song leaves me eager to explore the nooks and crannies of the five boroughs during my trip.

    Here’s the list as it stands— post a few of your favorites in the comments so I can give them a spin:

    1. Empire State of Mind (Jay-Z w/Alicia Keys): If you even remotely like rap music and have at least the slightest affection for New York, you’ll love this track. East Coast rappers supply us with a steady stream of songs about New York but in my mind this one towers over them all. Every time I hear it, I think back on when I taught in Queens and had my students write a persuasive essay on a topic of their choice. On the day the papers were due I found that not one, not two but five different students had decided to write their essay on “Why Jay-Z is the King of New York” Obviously, they convinced me.
    2. New York, New York (Frank Sinatra): This pick might seem a little too easy but you can’t make a New York playlist without Frank. Part of my love for this song comes for the fact that it’s so popular in karaoke bars around the world. By my count, I’ve heard it belted out in Mexico, Kenya, Thailand, Australia and Fiji. It’s not the amateur karaoke singers who take on Old Blue Eyes either, it’s always the regulars.
    3. Chelsea Hotel #2 (Leonard Cohen): This song is delicate and honest and beautiful. Out here in California we love our sensitive songwriters, full of hope and longing— but the edges of their songs sometimes end up softened by sunshine and excellent avocados. With a song like this everything is sharp and direct and cuts to the bone. I’ve never been to the Chelsea Hotel but having a drink in the lobby is definitely on my list.
    4. Rhapsody in Blue (George Gershwin): On the theme of this piece Gershwin said, “I heard it as a sort of musical kaleidoscope of America, of our vast melting pot, of our unduplicated national pep, of our blues, our metropolitan madness.” From my experience in New York during the aftermath of September 11th, I would offer that the those phrases could be used to describe the city itself.
    5. Autumn in New York (Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong): Every time I hear Louis’s voice come rumbling in after the Ella’s first verse (which is pure honey), I start clicking away on the computer to look for flight deals to New York between September and November. The song makes me want to get lost in Central Park watching the leaves turn burnt orange.
    6. Me & Julio Down by the Schoolyard (Paul Simon): Paul Simon once did a music video for this song featuring Biz Markee and Spud Webb (seriously)— but for me the images associated with the music always come from the movie The Royal Tennebaums. New York always feels exciting— but this song (and Wes Anderson’s movie) make it seem exciting in a whimsical, fresh way that I can’t get enough of.
    7. People Who Died (Jim Carroll): My introduction to New York City came from a book by Jim Carroll called The Basketball Diaries. It’s still one of my favorite books and I’m a big fan of the movie too. The movie featured a scene with this song written and performed by the author himself. I could elaborate on what the song is about, but better to just say that it rocks and leave it at that.
    8. Lua (Bright Eyes).
    9. Rockaway Beach (The Ramones).
    10. Coney Island Baby (Lou Reed).
    11. Hello Brooklyn (The Beastie Boys).
    12. New York- Ya Out There? (Rakim).

    I look forward to hearing your favorite New York tracks and adding them to my list.


    [Editor’s note: I’d add five: Take the A Train (Ellington/Strayhorn), I’ll Take New York (Tom Waits), The Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side (Magnetic Fields), My My Metrocard (Le Tigre), and Un Verano en Nueva York (El Gran Combo)]

  14. #NYCGO Writing Contest Winners

    Hello Trazzlers—
    Happy first day of fall! Thank you to all who participated in our #NYCGO Oasis Contest by writing trips or voting for your favorites. Many of you are new to Trazzler—welcome!
    >Read the entries

    Why Trazzler is Different
    So many other travel sites are essentially reworded reference material with logistical information, tourist bureau propaganda, or an unedited, overwhelming morass of useful and useless information. Trazzlers meander through a world of trips—hand-picked, concise, compellingly written slices of life that pull the reader into a real experience: a hotel stay, walk, adventure, spa, restaurant, ice cream stand, pony ride… really anywhere that travel can take you. The more you use the site, the better our recommendations get.

    Now, on to the big announcement…

    #NYCGO Summer Writing Contest: Oasis
    Winner: Stephen Bramucci, Laguna Beach, California
    Winning Trip: Walking in the Footsteps of Pirates in Ambodifototra, Madagascar

    Grand Prize: $10,000 contract to be a two-week writer-in-residence in New York City and write 30 Trazzler trips covering the five boroughs of NYC. Hotel accommodations (14 nights) provided by AKA luxury hotel residences. Round-trip airfare provided by JetBlue.

    An island is a reverse-oasis for those who live at sea. Stephen invites us to imagine the world of the 17th- and 18th-century pirates who terrorized the trade routes and occasionally took a break by setting foot on dry land. All of the judges agreed that this trip was well-crafted and loaded with intriguing details. In just 140 words, Stephen was able to conjure up the weight of the past at the resting place of these rogues—a peaceful cemetery overlooking the sea.

    9 Runners Up: Courtney Scott, Alex Dweezy Dwyer, Sandra Foster Lovas, Paul Justin Cox III, Kate Sommers, Marie Elena Martinez, Stephanie Fine Sasse, Paul Koning, and Traci Hui
    Prizes: $250 freelance contracts to write 10 Trazzler trips

    One of our objectives at Trazzler is to create a writing medium that captures the subjective and diverse nature of travel. We think the top ten trips illustrate how smart, adventurous travelers can experience the world in different ways. About the social-media savvy and creativity of all ten finalists (and those who came so close)—you far surpassed our expectations—thank you for making the contest such a success.

    4 Editors’ Choice Award Winners: Craig Bridger, Ethan Gelber, Thalia Kwok, and Karen Dion
    Prizes: $500 freelance contracts to write 15 Trazzler trips

    It was no easy task to narrow it down to just four trips—a teahouse, a moderately seedy Class A baseball game, the world’s oldest sand dunes, and a nonexistent and poorly signed micronation. Each an oasis in its own way, these trips stuck with us, even after reading hundreds and hundreds of entries. For these awards, we didn’t take the wishlisting votes into account at all—we realize that not everyone is a social-media expert and we always want to find a way to reward writers who embrace the idea of Trazzler.

    About Our Sponsors
    nycgo.com—New York City’s official marketing, tourism and partnership organization—has very generously sponsored the grand prize: a $10,000 contract to write 30 Trazzler trips with free airfare and hotel for two weeks. Our grand prize winner will stay in the heart of New York City’s own urban oasis, and enjoy the attentiveness worthy a celebrity VIP at the AKA luxury hotel residences. Think insanely great location (one block off 5th Avenue and Central Park) and swanky in-suite spa services. JetBlue will be providing flight to NYC. JetBlue offers flights to more than 50 destinations, with free TV and the most legroom in coach.

    Upcoming Contests and Giveaways
    We have big plans for more writing contests this fall. For details, follow us on Twitter @trazzler or keep an eye out for our next newsletter (we send one per month). We will also be doing more travel giveaways on Twitter. (We just gave away a two-night stay at the Jupiter Hotel in Portland, Oregon.)

    Happy Trazzling…

    Megan Cytron
    Executive Editor

    P.S. If you have any questions or feedback, you can find us @trazzler on Twitter or on Get Satisfaction.