It’s been a brutal winter with no end in sight.

In Vancouver, the forecast for the next 2 weeks calls for soggy, bone-chilling rain and/or snow…EVERY SINGLE DAY. And it’s starting to gnaw at our sanity.

Nobody can remember what a big blue sky looks like. We can’t see the mountains through the fog, mist, and low-lying clouds. When I’m running past noodle shops to escape the harsh sideways-falling-rain, I feel like Harrison Ford in Blade Runner chasing cyborg replicants through a neon-noir dystopia.

Already, this winter’s pegged as the coldest in decades. All my neighbours are pale, shivering, and depressed. Suicides must be at a record high. And there’d be even more suicides, except when Vancouverites leap off bridges and skyscrapers, there’s so much moss on everything that it just cushions their falls.

We can fight winter or flee. I’m choosing the latter, which is why I’m addicted to entering travel contests.

I’ve found a good website called Simple and clear to follow, lists “the best contests in Canada” that offer “free online entry” i.e. collect your info for their corporate client databases.

But some shivering fool has to win, and it may as well be me.

The contests have lots of warm prizes to heat you up, like 3 days in Hawaii, a vacation in Bora Bora, Tahiti (Quebec residents only), a trip to Orlando for a Star Wars Weekend, or 2 days in L.A. to see the premiere of The Hunger Games.

There are a few dud prizes, though. For example:

CONTEST #4) Win a Fort McMurray Getaway!

Oil Sands

Oil sands near Fort McMurray. Photo: CP Images.

How excited will you be to win a trip to this Wild West oil sands boomtown? The prize package, presented by the Alberta Motor Association, boasts four nights in a “superior-class” room at the Sawridge Inn and two passes to the Oil Sands Discovery Centre. Good times!

WARNING: you must be 18 or older and entry is only open to Albertan residents, which I guess is a sigh of relief for every other Canadian.

Click here to enter

Contest deadline: April 30, 2012


CONTEST #3) Win the Ultimate Volkswagen Experience for two in Germany!

Volkswagen elevator

See-through parkade elevator, Wolfsburg, Germany. Photo: Volkswagen.

See-through parkade elevator, Wolfsburg, Germany. Photo: Volkswagen.

Yes, if you love Volkswagens, you could win a life-altering 3-night trip for 2 to Wolfsburg, Germany. Your prize includes a “comprehensive” tour of “the famous Autostadt in Wolfsburg, Germany where you can discover the world’s biggest corporate themepark.”

Perhaps Autostadt’s most exciting attraction is their multi-story CarTower (AutoTürme). You may be surprised to hear that CarTower is a tower containing cars. Essentially, it’s a garage for 400 Volkswagen vehicles that tourists can explore in a glass elevator with a panoramic glass view. According to CarTower’s web page, you will marvel as “new Volkswagen vehicles [move] in and out of their parking bays at a speed of two metres per second.”


Click here to enter

Contest deadline: April 30, 2012

However, the next two contests are significantly more fun:

CONTEST #2) Win a Road Trip Across the USA

CRX road trip

Win a USA roadtrip. Photo: CRX

Sponsored by a company called CRX (Car Rental Express), the top prize is an all-expense paid road trip from L.A. to NYC. You get a 2-week premium car rental, free accommodations, food, gas. If you win, there’s just one catch: on each day of your road trip, you have to post daily Twitter/Facebook updates about your journey. You should probably do those when the car is stopped.
Click here to enter

Contest deadline: April 30, 2012

And finally, my favourite travel prize draw:

CONTEST #1) Win a $10,000 trip to your homeland

Ancestry sweepstakes

Image courtesy

This one’s called the Ultimate Family History Journey Sweepstakes. It’s held by, a website billed as “the world’s largest online family history resource” a.k.a. the world’s best way to track down distant relatives who’ve been avoiding you for your whole life.

Ah, I’m kidding. What distant relative wouldn’t want to meet a sweetheart like you? And this really is an interesting contest. There’ll be three grand prize winners who will each win:

  • A trip to the winner’s homeland to explore their family roots
  • Round-trip airfare for two, hotel and $2,000 in cash
  • A 6-month World Explorer membership
  • An DNA test to discover genetic ethnicity and make new family connections

When I win (and I will), I’ll need a flight with layovers, as I come from the predictable Scirish (Scottish/Irish) stock, but I’m also 1/16th Inuit from the distant tropical land of Newfoundland & Labrador.

Click here to enter [and you can enter once a day till it closes]

Contest deadline: May 18, 2012

Good luck (or as my people say, “Ajunngigiarlutit”)!

— Ken Hegan

Bing: how to improve your chances of winning sweepstakes

Read all of Ken’s Tripified travel posts here and follow Ken to victory on Twitter