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Being A Smart Shopper Essay Contest

Oh, man.

Don’t tell my boss, but I’m pretty sure I’m only working a half day today.

I’ve got something way more important to write about than free pizza.

That’s because an amazing contest is going on right now, and one lucky winner will get to stay on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef for a night — totally free.

And I do mean on the reef: If you win the trip, your accommodation will actually float.

Win a Free Trip to the Great Barrier Reef

Airbnb is offering this once-in-a-lifetime trip to a lucky family of four, just in time for the release of Pixar’s much-anticipated “Finding Dory,” which takes place on the Great Barrier Reef.

If you win, you’ll be sleeping right above Dory herself in a beautiful floating apartment for one unforgettable night (July 13).

You’ll also get to scuba dive the famous reef with a marine biologist and your host, Pascal, as well as nosh on a private beach lunch, featuring local ingredients cooked by celebrity chef Neil Perry.

Even better? All your transportation is free: You’ll fly into and out of Cairns, Australia, where you’ll stay in another Airbnb accommodation on the evenings of July 12 and 14.

The prize is valued at about $30,000 — to say nothing of the value of the experience.

The Great Barrier Reef is home to a baffling number of species of fish, whales, sharks, coral and molluscs, and considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world!

Just make sure you follow the house rules, which stipulate you must “speak like a whale,” “protect the anemones” and “try to find the giant clam.”

Oh, and “no clownfish jokes.” Obviously.

How to Enter This Incredible Contest

Already reaching for your suitcase and swim goggles?

Here’s the fun part: It’s an essay contest. And it’s incredibly simple to enter.

Just log into AirBnB, navigate to the listing, click “Enter to Win” and answer the following question: “Tell us a little about yourself and why you and 3 guests belong on the Great Barrier Reef.”

Seems like it’d be hard not to write about, am I right? Talk about daydreaming.

But keep your wits about you — the winner will be chosen based on this essay. The listing specifies the following criteria for a winning piece:

  • Originality and creativity of the submitted story. Does it surprise and delight us?
  • Spirit of the submission. How does your submission answer the question about why you and 3 guests belong on the Great Barrier Reef?

Plus, you only have 500 characters to make your case — or 300 if you’re writing in Chinese, Japanese or Korean. And despite our high school complaints about word counts, brevity is way harder than it seems.

So, yeah, that’s probably what I’m working on today. Sorry, team!

A panel of judges will choose the winner on July 4, who will be notified via phone and email within 24 hours. If you’re chosen, be sure to pick up the phone: Winners forfeit the prize if they don’t respond within 24 hours of notification.

You also need to be 21 years old to enter.

Keep in mind the prize doesn’t include visa fees, meals (other than the one included in the prize) or any other expenses. Check out the listing for the full rules — and, of course, to submit your essay. Or just to drool over the pictures of the apartment.

The contest runs June 9-30, so you have plenty of time to craft a perfect pitch. So if you want to compete with me, get cracking. But be warned — I am a professional. 🙂

Your Turn: Will you enter to win this insane Airbnb trip?

Jamie Cattanach is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. Her writing has also been featured at DMQ Review, Hinchas de Poesia and elsewhere. Feel free to reach out to her on Twitter: @jamiecattanach

Did you see the story of the Elkmont, Alabama couple who are holding an essay contest to decide who should receive their 20-acre goat farm? Turns out they’re not the only ones ready to hand off a farm.

Another couple in Essex County, Virginia have decided to run an essay contest to give away their 35-acre horse farm. Here’s what you need to know to win.

Spelling and Grammar Count

To win Randy Silvers and Carolyn Berry’s horse farm, you need to complete a 1,000-word essay describing your desire to live on a country farm and raise animals, according to news site Fredericksburg.com. Yes, as your English teacher told you in junior high, spelling counts!

Berry and Silvers will read all the submissions and pick the top 25. As a teacher and tutor, she’ll keep an eye out for grammar, composition, effectiveness of the introduction and conclusion.

He’ll be reading for content, looking for someone whose passion is living on the land and raising animals.

After the essays get the red-pen treatment, the top 25 will be turned over to a three-member panel of judges, who will select the winner.

From Farmers to Millionaires

The goat farm essay contest includes a $150 entry fee, which the owners hope will bring in enough money to pay off their mortgage. The Silvers/Berry horse farm essay contest has a $200 entry fee, and the couple hopes they will earn a million dollars from horse-loving entrants.

The couple hopes to receive 5,000 entries at $200 apiece. That’s $1 million — enough to pay off the mortgage, buy a retirement place and set aside some money for [Berry’s] grandchildren’s college education.

Wow — talk about a great money-making idea! If you are the lucky horse farm winner, keep this idea in mind and consider holding your own essay contest when it’s time to retire.

For more information about the essay contest, read the full story at Fredericksburg.com.

Your Turn: Are you planning to enter this essay contest and win a horse farm?

Nicole Dieker is a freelance copywriter and essayist. She writes regularly for The Billfold on the intersection of freelance writing and personal finance, and her work has also appeared in The Toast, Yearbook Office and Boing Boing.

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