Win a 10-day writing road trip across the USA!

Applications have closed and the winners have now been announced.

Do you dream of hitting the open road and writing about your adventures?

We have teamed up with Lonely Planet to bring you our 2015 Travel Writing Scholarship – and this year, we want to send you to the U.S. on your ultimate American summer road trip!

Yes, we said road trip - again! We are looking for three talented aspiring travel writers to write their way across the U.S., Whether you want to explore the Pacific Coast, the deep south, Route 66, the Rocky Mountains, or New England this is your chance to discover the places and personalities that make America the confounding and captivating melting pot that it is.

So, it's time to stop dreaming, and get writing, because we want to send not one, but three budding travel writers to be mentored by a veteran Lonely Planet author and explore the U.S. on their own terms.

All these prizes could be yours:

The 3 scholarship recipients will receive:

Learn from a pro

A 3-day custom travel writing course in San Francisco with mentor and Lonely Planet author John Vlahides.

All-expense-paid trip

A 10-day road trip across the U.S. (including a $3000 USD stipend to spend on food, transport, activities and accommodation)

Free flights

Round-trip airfare from your country of residence to San Francisco, CA.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance for the duration of the trip from World Nomads.

What you'll be doing

The three scholarship recipients will be flown from their countries of residence to San Francisco where they will spend three days in a Travel Writing workshop. Under the mentorship of veteran Lonely Planet author John Vlahides, you will learn how to find a great story, create solid pitches, improve your writing skills and gain a better understanding of the travel writing industry.

After the workshop, each writer will be off solo on their own customised 10-day road trip itineraries across the U.S. to explore the nooks and crannies of this vast, diverse and colourful country.

You will be required to produce and submit 20 point-of-interest or "travel discoveries" reviews (plus photos) from your road trip (within 2 months of your return) that will be published on World Nomads as a U.S. Road Trip Guide. You will also post photos of your top road trip moments and Travel Discoveries to Instagram on a daily basis so that we can follow your adventures.

Who can apply?

  • Any non-professional can apply - this is open photography students or keen amateurs/pro-amateurs looking build a career in travel photography.
  • The scholarship is open to all nationalities (subject to obtaining a visa to enter Nepal); however, you must have an exceptionally high degree of proficiency in written English.
  • Minimum age 18 by the application deadline (November 25, 2015)
  • You must have a current, valid passport and you must be available as per the dates set out. Please note these dates are not changeable in any way.
  • You must be fit and healthy as moderate levels of physical work are involved as well as a number of late nights!
  • You should be an exceptional photographer with a lust for adventure, have a strong desire to be mentored and grow your photographic knowledge and skills, an ambition to forge a career in travel photography.

How do I apply?

To apply, we want you to write a mini-guide to one of your favorite places or experiences that you've encountered on your travels. We're trying to unearth Travel Discoveries, or hidden gems that you know other nomads would enjoy.

Limit your Travel Discovery to a specific location - a temple, a museum, a beach, a park, a train carriage. But tell us what happened to you, why it was special, how it made you feel. You can also include tips on how others could replicate your experience (where do they go, when, etc.) and make some suggestions on improving the experience, the things you'd do differently if you were planning to do it again. Give us the insider's knowledge on the experience – tell us why we should shun the obvious, and choose the alternative you discovered!

  1. Write 2500 characters (including spaces) about your Travel Discovery showcasing your writing skills and your personality in a fun piece celebrating the hidden gems we all seek.

    Need a little inspiration? Here is an example from one of our own WN staff members.

  2. Plan your itinerary

    Tell us two places in the U.S. you would like to visit and write about on your road trip and why.

  3. Complete an entry form which includes contact details and a maximum 1500 character essay on why you should be chosen and what the opportunity will mean for you

    Your answer will provide considerable weight in the judging process.


    Strictly one entry per person. The entry must be submitted in English.

NOTE: Once you apply, you may not go back and edit your entry. Please make sure you are completely satisfied with your essay before you submit an application.

Important dates

27 May Program applications close
23 Jun Application judging
24 Jun Winners announced
10 Aug Arrive in San Francisco
11 Aug 3-day travel writing workshop
14 Aug 10-day solo U.S. road trips

What are the Judges looking for?

It's up to you to convince our judging panel through your writing that you have the spirit of adventure and passion for travel writing to be chosen for this scholarship.

We will be looking for:

  • great descriptive ability (without getting flowery)
  • strong eye for detail
  • ability to uncover a great Travel Discovery and tell a compelling and original story about a specific place
  • excellent spelling and grammar and a knack for avoiding clichés

The 3 recipients of the Scholarship, along with the shortlist of best entries will be published on the website on June 24th, 2015.


We've listed the top question here. Still have more questions? Check our FAQ page.

  • Am I considered a professional travel writer?

    Essentially this is a 'learning opportunity' for someone who is looking for an introduction into the travel writing industry and more importantly, is keen to be mentored. For the purposes of this opportunity, we would consider you to be professional writer if you have been published regularly in commercial blogs, newspapers, travel magazines or travel journals. We would also consider you to be a professional writer if you derive more than 25% of your income from writing of any kind.

    If you have only had a few stories published, or keep a regular travel blog then we would not consider this professional.

    Please consider the spirit of the program which is intended to help those with a burning desire to be a professional travel writer and need some help getting started.

  • Do I have to write to the themes mentioned in the application form?
    Yes, as a travel writer it is important to demonstrate your ability to stick to a given brief.
  • What will I be doing during the workshop?
    The 3 scholarship recipients will be flown from their countries of residence to San Francisco where they will spend 3 days at the Lonely Planet USA headquarters to attend a customised travel writing workshop. Under the mentorship of veteran Lonely Planet author John Vlahides, the winners will learn how to find a great story, create solid pitches, improve their writing skills and gain a better understanding of the travel writing industry.