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. Abandoned Mines in the West: Roadtripping America’s Boom and Bust Landscape

    Photographer: ConstantineD

    »Go to Slideshow: Abandoned Mines in the American West

    As early as the 1920s, roadtrippers headed “out west” to explore the ruins of America’s boom-and-bust 19th-century gold rush. Alongside successful mines, towns sprang up in the middle of nowhere in a matter of months and many crashed just as precipitously when the easy gold or silver was exhausted. Today, there are over 500,000 abandoned mines in the US. Most are on private property, blocked up, or too dangerous to venture into, but others have been shored up enough to visit.

    Seeking them out is a good excuse to explore some of the most remote, forgotten parts of America, deep inside state parks or down long dirt roads. These places tell the story of a turning point in American history; just at the time when the federal government was using the myth of “manifest destiny” to justify expansion of the US territory from coast to coast, another myth—that of a real El Dorado—drove the frenetic settlement, economic exploitation, and industrialization of the wild western expanse.

    Countless movies and novels have delved into the diverse cast of characters who populated the mining towns and prospecting camps scattered throughout the American West. Their free-wheeling debauchery and restlessness is in stark contrast with the empty quiet of the skeletal present-day ruins left behind.
    »Go to the slideshow

    —Megan Cytron, Editor of Trazzler

  11. Chicago Juxtapositions Writing Context Redux

    Congratulations to all of the winners of our Juxtapositions Writing Contest and a big thanks to our sponsor, the City of Chicago, and all who took the time to enter and vote.

    Editors’ Choice Grand Prize:
    Falling Into a Book Lover’s Rabbit Hole in Detroit, Michigan

    Editors’ Choice Runners-Up Prizes:
    Going Pagan for Holy Week in Andalusia, Spain
    Discovering a Rocky Oasis in Las Vegas, NV

    The People’s Choice winners are:

  12. January/February Freelance Assignments

    Thank you to all who applied for our January/February round of weekend-getaway freelance writing assignments. There were so many high-quality pitches this time—more than ever before—that it was quite difficult (bordering on agonizing!) to narrow it down to just one person per region. Without further ado, here they are:

    Northern California (Lake Tahoe) Brigid Fuller
    Pacific Northwest (Willamette Valley) Spencer Foxworth
    NYC/Boston (Vermont) Rob Liguori
    South Florida (Miami) Stephanie Dunn
    Southern California (Santa Barbara) Tien Nguyen

    A bit about our selection process: We first do a preliminary reading of all of the submissions. At this time, we select a group for a second reading. Then we pick of favorites from among this batch and “trazzlerize” them (that is, we make them Trazzler trips or send them to get photos). These trips rise to the top of the list of submissions and the editors give them another reading (or two or three…) to narrow things down further. In the end, about 10-20% of the submissions become Trazzler trips and make it to this final round. While we aren’t able to provide a lot of feedback on individual trips (we wish we could, but we’re a small team and are perpetually swamped), we have written extensively about our editorial criteria and philosophy:


    This last link, in particular, goes into a lot of detail about why most trips don’t make it to the final round. If this is the case, keep trying!—many of our freelancers and contest winners have entered multiple times before winning. We love it when a writer “gets” our (admittedly quirky) editorial style and focus—even if it takes a couple of tries.

    Which brings us to this month’s assignments… We’ll be doing another huge round of 20 weekend-getaway writing adventures—we’ll announce it here and on our Facebook and Twitter accounts in the next few days, so please stay tuned…

  13. Smart Travel Writing Contest Winners

    A big thanks to everyone who entered our Smart Travel Writing Contest. This contest had more top contenders than usual, so our choice was not easy. In 2011, our two winners will be headed to Tonga for a Seacology eco-expedition aboard the Nai’a, exploring South Pacific islands and visiting one of the few areas in the world where humans can swim with whales. Here are the winning trips:

    Jessica Allen: Sprinting After Chimpanzees in Kibale National Park, Uganda

    Jennifer Gold: Getting a Taste of Community-Based Tourism Koh Yao Noi in Thailand (pending confirmation)

    Both of these places (and their well-written descriptions), give us hope that the right kind of tourism can be used as a force for good in communities that want to protect the environment and their way of life.

  14. November/December Freelance Assignments

    We have another round of freelance writing assignments up for grabs this month. Some are ending next week, so get your submissions in soon. Read more here:

    Any writers who applied for the last assignment and had a submission that was promoted to “Trazzler Trip” status will automatically be considered for the same region this month (though feel free to add more information to your bio or additional submissions if you think it might be helpful). Winter is perhaps the best season to escape the reality and routine of everyday life—we can’t wait to read about these beautiful spots. Thank you again to all who took the time to submit a trip or participate last month. Please keep writing!