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Dream itineraries would take travellers in search of Dracula

Gap Adventures announces top 20 create your own adventure finalists

After carefully considering thousands of entries, the judges of Gap Adventures‘ hugely successful Create Your Own Adventure Contest have arrived at an exciting top 20 list of life-changing itineraries.

The finalists cover a wide range of destinations, many of which were based on their creators’ deep emotional attachment to those places and their people. Some of those top 20 include Spy Mission: European Edition (, a 12-day espionage-themed trip that would cross Italy, Germany and Switzerland, as well as the 12-day In Search of Dracula Through Central Europe tour that would trace the mythical footsteps of the world’s most famous vampire.

Globetrotting foodies following the contest have likely been tempted by the finalist European Culinary Stereotypes Tour (, an 11-day trek that would dabble in the delicious origins of traditional local delicacies, while those looking for high-altitude adventures have probably had their interest piqued by Getting High: Civilizations At Extreme Elevations (, a 16-day journey exploring the most intriguing mountain-top sites in Peru and Bolivia.

The contest garnered nearly 7,000 itinerary submissions from 111 countries with the Create Your Own Adventure website drawing traffic from an astounding 172 countries.

According to adventurer and author Benedict Allen – one of the 10 celebrity judges charged with narrowing down the list-determining 20 finalists from a pool of strong submissions was no easy feat. "It was a very difficult and challenging process to balance (the itineraries) against each other," he explained.

Allen based his itinerary selections on a set of strict criteria including their originality, thematic coherence, sensitivity to people and their cultures and their appeal to a wide audience. "What some gained in originality, others gained in sensitivity or perception," he added. "I’m very well travelled, and a professional reviewer of travel books, so it’s hard to please me, I’m afraid."

Allen’s celebrity judge counterpart Celine Cousteau echoed his enthusiasm. "The calibre of ideas proposed for Create Your Own Adventure was impressive," the environmentalist and filmmaker said. "It was tough not to vote in more than the Top 20 we were asked to choose. I sincerely hope the winner can take full advantage of this incredible opportunity to do something grand with their adventure."

The Grand Prize winner will be chosen by both user voting (50%) and a panel of selected judges (50%). When user voting is completed on April 25, the top 20 finalists will be reviewed by our prestigious judging panel for the final stage of the voting process. The winner will be announced by May 25.

The Create Your Own Adventure contest invited everyone from once-a-year vacationers to seasoned globetrotters to submit an itinerary for the tour of their dreams, virtually anywhere in the world, virtually any way they wanted. Participants used the customized itinerary engine at to build their dream trip. The deadline for submissions was March 31, 2010. The creator of the winning tour will have the opportunity to experience their adventure along with two lucky friends.

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