Being a full-time traveller is not as easy as it seems. There aren't many ways to make money, and it is difficult to earn even a few bucks while on the road. Sometimes though, travel contests can open up a world where getting paid to travel is a possibility, and where wanderers can explore the world to earn a living.
One such competition was organised by the Royal Carribean Cruise over two months ago when the luxury cruise company set out to find a social media photographer. The contest was limited to applicants in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and had to submit their most inspiring and stunning images on Instagram with the hashtag #ExtraordinaryExplorer.
The 'Intern-Ship' campaign was the brainchild of Ben Bouldin, Royal Caribbean's managing director for UK and Ireland, after they noticed that the number of people spending time on social media for travel inspiration and even bookings, had increased exponentially in the past few years.
Ciara Flynn, a budding photographer from Dublin won the contest with her beautiful picture of two young monks engaged in a conversation in Kathmandu.
Flynn describes what fascinated her about this scene,
"I spent hours sat in a monastery at Kathmandu just watching these young monks before I shot this picture [her winning entry]. Seeing them subtly switch between being children and monks gave me a glimpse into a different and fascinating culture. As a unique moment in time, I wanted to use Instagram to share it with the world."
While talking to Daily Mail, she also shared her excitement of winning this extraordinary opportunity to travel for free!
"Becoming Royal Caribbean's Extraordinary Explorer is the experience of a lifetime. I've always loved photography and have been doing it for as long as I can remember. Capturing the magic in the ordinary moments in life tells a much richer story than words ever could, so I'm thrilled to be able to get the chance to do this with Royal Caribbean."
The prize includes a £3,000 (Rs 2,48,137) cash prize, three weeks on three different ships for the summer where Royal Caribbean Cruise will be taking care of all of her food, drink, entertainment and flight expenses.
Before you spend more time cursing your fate, here are some tips on how to find photography contests on Instagram.
There is no dearth of opportunities to win a trip like Ciara Flynn. You just need to keep a keen eye out and be ready with your best shots!
• Do a hashtag search and keep a close eye on the updates.
Instagram does not allow the search of multiple hashtags together, so just stick to using single key hashtags to find ongoing competitions. You will get a lot of results, so spend some time filtering out the ones that are relevant to you. Some popular hashtags are #competition, #contest, #giveaway and #loopgiveaway
• Dig deep into Twitter.
Twitter is where the biggest and smallest of publications and organisations are active. This is a great place to find ongoing competitions. Go to www.twitter.com/search and type 'win Instagram competition', 'upload photo win Instagram' or similar combination of words and simply click on LIVE to get the top and most recent tweets.
• Follow regular comperes.
The easiest way to keep track of Instagram competitions is to stalk and follow other regular comperes, people who actively take part in competitions. Travel bloggers, photographers and mid-level influencers are a great place to start your search for Instagram competitions. Check out the hashtags on their recent photographs, you will easily be able to locate at least a couple of ongoing competitions.