Travel Articles




Announcing the Sixth Annual I Must Be Off! Travel Writing Competition!

Submissions closed! Please keep an eye on I Must Be Off! in August when the long list will be announced!

It's that time of year again!Time to type up those travel articles, travel stories and travel reflections. We want to read about that place that changed you, about the experiences you can't wait to share with other travelers. Whether your work is humorous, informative, quirky or profound--if it's 1000 words or fewer, send it in.

Submissions are free until May 31; afterwards until the July 31 deadline there will be a nominal charge (see below). All proceeds from entry fees will go towards the prize money.


Previous Winners, Placers and Finalists:

"Forbidden Fruit" by Fiona Dixon (UK)

"Old Foreigner" by Fiona Rintoul (UK)

"A Hit in the Himalayas" by Scott Morley (US)

"Straight in the Eye" by Mandy Huggins (UK)

"We are Fire: the Dance of the Devils" by Michael Sealey (Spain)

"Tea with Keiko" by Maria Howard (UK)

"Wild Encounter"by Graham Mercer (UK, Tanzania)

"The Seven Headless Dwarfs"by Matthew Wolfe (US)

"A Kiss of Oranges and Myrtle on Crete"by Mihaela Lica Butler

"A Leaf on the Wind"by Joel Hindson (UK)

"Burning My Boots in Cabo Fisterra"by Gabriella Brand (US)

"Discovering Hến Rice in Central Việt Nam"by Chris Galvin(Canada, Vietnam)

"Oh, Calcutta"by Paola Fornari (Tanzania, now Ghana)

"The Scarlet Mile"by Gillian Brown (UK, now France)

"Bodrum, Turkey's San Tropez"by Jack Scott (Australia, now Turkey)

"The Children of Chitwan, Nepal"by Hannah Thompson-Yates (UK, now Hong Kong)

"God's Own Country"by Saahil Acharya (India)


The 2018 Judge -- Mandy Huggins

Mandy was brought up in Scarborough, where her parents taught her the importance of kindness, stories, travel and good wine. She moved to London in the 1990s and now lives in West Yorkshire.

Her short stories, travel writing and feature articles have been published in a number of literary journals, textbooks, guidebooks and small press anthologies, as well as in the magazines and newspapers such as The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Reader's Digest, Mslexia, Traveller, Wanderlust and Writers' Forum.

She has won a number of writing competitions and been placed and shortlisted in numerous others, including Bare Fiction, InkTears, Bradt Travel Guides, Cinnamon Press, Retreat West, New Writer, Fish, English Pen, Flash500, Words with Jam, and Writers' Forum. In 2014 she won the British Guild of Travel Writers New Travel Writer Award.

She appeared on BBC radio in 2012 after submitting a piece for the Your Desert Island Discs programme, and her written feature was one of three chosen for the BBC website.

In 2017 a selection of her short fiction appeared in the InkTears showcase anthology, Death of a Superhero, alongside the work of three other writers.

Her single-author flash fiction collection, Brightly Coloured Horses, was published by Chapeltown Books in February 2018 and has already received fifteen 5-star reviews. Her first full-length short story collection, Separated From the Sea, will be published by Retreat West in June.

Submission Guidelines:

Maximum 1000 words, in EnglishEdited for spelling, grammar and punctuationPreviously unpublished work only! Blog posts are considered published.The free-entry period is now closed.To enter the competition from June 1 to July 31, follow these two easy steps:Step One: Using PayPal pay €4 fee to christopher@imustbeoff.com through "send money to friends and family" (This is not a business.)Step Two: Email your travel piece and your 50-word bio in the body of the email or attached to the email. Please put TRAVEL WRITING CONTEST in the subject field. Send to: christopher@imustbeoff.comYou will receive a confirmation fromI Must Be Off!that your submission has been received and that you have been entered into the competition. This is not an automatic notification, so please be patient if it takes a few hours.Open to anyone worldwide, but you must have (access to) a PayPal account.From June 1 to July 31, you may enter as many times as you like. Each entry must be accompanied by an entry fee, €4 each.Deadline for submissions: July 31, 2018 (submissions closed!)Entries will be read blind by this year's judge and award-winning travel writer, Mandy Higgins. It is not necessary to delete identifying information from your entry. If your name appears anywhere, it will be removed before being forwarded to the judge.Word doc, docx and rtf files only.Simultaneous submissions accepted but please contact I Must Be Off! (christopher@imustbeoff.com) immediately upon acceptance elsewhere. Entry fees cannot be refunded.Finalists announced at the end of August. Winners announced and published in autumn 2018.


The Prizes:

The Top entries will be published atI Must Be Off! with authors' permission. Authors retain copyright.

First place prize: €300

Second place prize: €50

Readers' Choice Award: €50 based on unique hits and comments tallied on October 30.


Christopher Allen is the author of Other Household Toxins (Matter Press) andConversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire). Allen's fiction has appeared, or is forthcoming, in [PANK], FRiGG, Eclectica Magazine's 20th-Anniversary Speculative anthology, Indiana Review, Night Train, Juked,SmokeLong Quarterly: the Best of the First Ten Years anthology, and Lunch Ticket, among many others. Read his book reviews in [PANK] blog, Necessary Fiction, Word Riot, and The Lit Pub. His creative non-fiction has been featured inBootsnall Travel, Chicken Soup for the Soul and lots of other good places. A finalist at Glimmer Train in 2011, Allen is a multiple nominee for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, The Best Small Fictions, storySouth's Million Writers Award and others. In 2017 Allen was both a finalist (as translator) and semifinalist for The Best Small Fictions. He is presently the managing editor of SmokeLong Quarterly and a consulting editor for The Best Small Fictions 2018.

Tell us your story

We'd love to hear you stories from wherever you happen to be.

Share a story