Meet Trafalgar's lucky $100,000 travel prize winner

Imagine waking up and having the world at your feet? The ability to travel to those places you’ve always dreamed about, just like that. Well, this feeling hit Charles Loots when we told him he’d won Trafalgar’s $100,000 Travel Prize. Based in South Africa, Charles attended one of our free virtual travel events to experience another destination from home. During which, all participants enter a sweepstake to win $10,000 worth of Trafalgar Travel Credit (available every year for 10 years).

“Attending your virtual travel event was an excellent opportunity to indulge in dreams of faraway places,” says Charles. “There is so much to look forward to as the pandemic recedes, and we have the opportunity to embrace life yet again.”

We sat down with Charles to hear his story and discover the adventures he has lined up now that he’s a competition winner.

Do you remember the moment you were announced as the prize winner? How did you celebrate?

When I received the call from Kelly Jackson at Trafalgar, I was in utter disbelief. This really was too good to be true. My partner and I celebrated with a bottle of special reserve wine!

When and how did you first discover your passion for travel?

My memories of childhood include tales of exotic locations and about life in faraway places. And presents from Dad when returning from a business trip. Not to mention the accounts of friends and family from their travels that most certainly whet my appetite to travel and see and experience the world and all it has to offer.

What countries and/or cities are on your bucket list?

I really want to see most of what the world has to offer – pretty greedy right? So little time, unfortunately …

Although I already covered most of the obligatory highlights of Europe during previous vacations, I aim to return for slower-paced and more in-depth experiences in some countries. We most recently visited historical Spain with [Trafalgar’s] sister company Insight Vacations – it was truly unique and pretty awesome. I also want to see more of Australasia and South America.

Is there a destination you’ve been craving to visit that you’re now able to travel to?

Japan or Turkey. I have long been fascinated by all things Japanese because of the unique culture. Depictions of both Japan in Anime productions and Hollywood movies have certainly fuelled my interest. I’m looking forward to experiencing the street food, kaiseki, traditional wooden buildings, ryokan, onsen, temples, shrines, ceremony, arts, and crafting.

Istanbul has also held great fascination for me, given its prominent place in history and the melding of cultures. I’m eagerly anticipating the sampling of its food, bazaars, and museums. It would be a highlight on a visit to Turkey, with its copious amounts of historical architecture, Roman and religious sites.

What do you think are the benefits of travelling on a guided tour?

I particularly value what guided tours offer me in non-English speaking countries. The efficiency of time spent in these locations with a guided tour cannot be understated. We really get to fit a lot into our vacation time without worrying about the logistics and language barrier. The tour director and local guides also ensure that we do not miss a thing! Quite unlike the typical business trip, where I can pass through an entire foreign city with a smiling but mute taxi driver and no clue about what I am seeing around me.

Sign up to join a free virtual travel event and you’ll have the chance to win $10,000 worth of travel. Explore a place you’ve been dreaming of from home and discover insider travel tips for Italy, Greece and/or Britain that you can’t find anywhere else.

If you’re new to Trafalgar and craving an adventure… We’re offering $150 free travel credit to get you started. See our website for more details, and always remember to check coronavirus restrictions before you travel.

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