Monthly Archives: April 2017

Lessons Learned from Winning International Travel

me before you sweepstakes poster

On July 7, 2016 I received an e-mail notifying me that I had won a trip for two to London.  I had one year to take the trip, and the time is finally here.  I will be in London from May 1 – May 7.  My trip includes airfare, hotel, breakfast, some tours, an English tea, and more.  It’s the middle of the night as I write this post because I am too excited to sleep.  I have been buying travel supplies and packing.  But I wanted to share with you some of the things I have learned through this process.

  1. Have your passport before you enter to win an international trip. Once I won and accepted, I had to fill out forms including my current passport information within the week.  Obviously, if you didn’t already have a passport this would not be enough time to obtain one.  That may mean you would have to forfeit the prize.  Luckily, I had prepared myself by applying for a passport at the beginning of that year “just in case” I won a trip!

 

  1. Read your passport. There is a lot of information about how to fill it out properly, about international travel and who to contact if your passport is stolen.  One piece of great advice is to make copies of the data page and keep them in different places just in case.

 

  1. When to expect your details and trip itinerary. Even though it has been almost a year since I won the trip, I did not receive my finalized travel and booking information until one month before the trip.  This may vary depending on the sponsor, but just know it may not be something you will receive immediately.

 

  1. Check your reservations for accuracy. When I received my plane reservation, I noticed that they had spelled my last name wrong.  Of course, I would not get too far if my identification card and plane reservation names didn’t match.  I simply contacted the travel planner and they quickly made the correction.

 

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for needed alterations of the schedule. The worst they can say is no.  In  my case, I wanted to stay a couple days longer in London to make sure I had enough time to see everything.  I asked if they would still cover the airfare, and the response was yes if it was equal to or lesser than the original airfare plan.  It ended up being to our benefit.  Since the tickets were cheaper by extending the trip, the sponsor ended up including more fun things for the days they covered.  I will simply have to pay for another hotel for those remaining two days.

 

I am looking forward to sharing the outcome of the trip with my readers when I return.  Perhaps I will learn a few more lessons, but hopefully it will just be great fun and memories to report.

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Turning Down a Prize

thank you lemur

I’ve been meaning to write a sweepstakes post about this since the beginning of January.  What happens if you need to turn down a prize and why might you do so?  Well, January 9 was the first time I had to deal with these questions in all my years of sweeping.  At that time, I got an e-mail that I won an Oscar Red Carpet Experience in the PEOPLE’s Red Carpet Oscars Fan Experience 2017 Sweepstakes. At first I was excited at the prospect of getting to view the Oscars and see all the stars!  But then I realized certain expenses such as airfare were not covered.  I knew it would be difficult to come up with the extra money at that time, but also did not want to miss out on a once in a lifetime experience.  I am a member Sweeties Secret Sweeps which has a forum where fellow sweepers can ask each other questions and advice.  I posted my dilemma there, and got responses ranging from people that had won this prize in previous years and recommended going, to those that said the expense did not seem worth what you got unless you were a superfan.

In the end, I simply sat down and added up all the potential expenses and compared that to the value of the trip, and I decided that it was not something I should do at that time.  What should you do if you are in a similar situation?  While it’s an individual choice, an article on The Balance may help you make that decision.  The article talks about avoiding turning down prizes, reasons for turning down prizes, and how to turn down the prize.  You can check out this article here.

While I hope you will never have to face this dilemma, some of the ideas and advice in this post and that article should help you make an informed and satisfactory decision.