. travel inspires; sweeps inspire, too .

SWEEPS AND SPAM: In my five-plus years entering travel and other sweepstakes online, I have never, and I mean never, noticed an uptick in spam that I can connect to an entry. That doesn't mean it doesn't happen. But it does not, as many folks assume, happen often. That said, there are a number of sweepstakes that require entrants to subscribe to an email in order to be eligible. I enter those all the time. All I have to do is unsubscribe. Staying subscribed is not a condition of eligibility!

SWEEPS VERSUS CONTESTS: This may be obvious, but when I started trying to win a trip, I'd never considered the distinction between a sweepstakes and a contest. When I did, I realized that almost without exception, I was going to avoid contests, for the simple reason that sponsors require entrants to turn over their submission to the company. I realize the lines of intellectual property are blurring as I type -- okay, that might be the Cointreau -- but I refuse to submit to a possibility of a prize while the sponsor definitely acquires my submission from the moment I hit "enter" to perpetuity.


1.) First and foremost, congratulations!
2.) Before you accept, review the Official Rules. Make sure you understand each and every term. Also, consult with an accountant about the tax implications.
3.) If you entered via Travel Sweeps, please drop Barbara Benham a line. Her email address is travelblog @ aol.com. She'd love to celebrate your win. With your permission, of course!