Live From Kiev: Ask Me Anything You Want To Know About Traveling In Ukraine As Euromaidan And Turmoil Continue

euromaidan kiev ukraineI hope you don’t mind the impromptu live chat but a few of you expressed interest in learning more about the situation in Ukraine on my Facebook page recently, as I’m in Kiev at the moment. I’ve spent the last week in the city, visiting the heart of the protests in Maidan Nezalezhnosti (“Independence Square”), interviewing protestors, doctors who stitched up the wounded, and many others with very interesting stories to tell.

The chat now closed, thank you everyone for participating!

Next week I’ll be heading to Crimea but am happy that I’ve got a good Internet connection today to take your questions. I have photos plus video as well and if you ask nicely, I’ll be happy to share. Let’s do it, ask away!

The Best City To Visit Travel Tournament 2014: First Round

March 6, 2014 by  
Filed under Contests, Polls

best city to visit 2014 64 bracket

The stage is now set for the The Best City To Visit Travel Tournament 2014. You can see the match ups in the bracket above [click here to view the large version], which were based on your votes in the Preliminary Round a few days ago that consequently eliminated 10 cities. Shanghai plus Lyon are among those out for 2014 and to round out the 64 remaining slots I used my tie-breaking privileges to promote Jerusalem and Kampala who both face tough Romanian competition.

You have until this Sunday, March 9th 12:00pm US EST to vote in each of the match ups below. Results won’t appear until the round closes and we’re left with 32 cities to march on to the Championship. Those of you reading through email and RSS will have to click-through to this page to vote. Password is: roundone

Good luck everyone and remember, the next round begins next Tuesday on March 11th!

The Best City To Visit Travel Tournament 2014: Preliminary Voting

March 4, 2014 by  
Filed under Contests

sibiu romania 2014 prelim

Vote for your favorite 10 cities below before this Wednesday, March 5th at 18:00 (6pm) US EST. Those of you reading through email and RSS will have to click-through to this page to vote. Password to vote is: prelim

Over the course of the past two weeks you’ve enthusiastically selected 74 cities – all with an equal chance of winning – in The Best City To Visit Travel Tournament 2014. That changes today however, when based on your votes 10 of these cities will be eliminated from 2014′s contest. As I recently wrote, if there’s one thing to learn from previous winners of the BCTV Tournament, it’s that you shouldn’t neglect the early rounds. The Preliminary Round is a quick one that ends tomorrow, when the bottom 10 cities will be cut and the remaining sorted by vote for the Round of 64 later this week on Thursday, March 6th.


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Important Contest Dates And Rules

The Best City To Visit Travel Tournament is a single-elimination tournament. Voting in the Preliminary Round seeds the cities (determining match-ups) and Thursday you’ll begin voting that group of 64 down to 32. Each week, through voting, the cities will be halved until there is only 1 remaining.

The person who selected the winning city will receive $300 from myself. And, as I’ve done the past 3 years, I’ll visit the new champion city before the end of 2014.

Voting will happen on these dates, so get your mouses ready!

  • Preliminary Round: Tuesday March 4th; Round of 64: Thursday March 6th; Round of 32: Tuesday March 11: Round of 32;
  • Sweet 16: Thursday, March 13th:; Elite 8: Tuesday, March 18th;
  • Tuesday March 24th: Final Four
  • Tuesday, April 1st: Championship

In the event of a tie after any round, I will act as tie-breaker. Winners must claim their prize by April 18th 12:00 US EST. The winner of this year’s tournament will be announced on Tuesday, April 8th and prize money sent to you by July 1, 2014.

Maps Of The Cities Entered In This Year’s Tournament

Good luck everyone… and everywhere!

What You Can Learn From Previous Winners Of The Best City To Visit Travel Tournament To Increase Your Contest Chances

February 27, 2014 by  
Filed under Contests, Money

sarajevo bosinia and herzegovina flag

The Best City To Visit Travel Tournament has gone from a small blog contest to an international competition that’s now voted on annually by hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic supporters. The BCTV contest has been discussed on Bosnian talk shows and received praise from the popular mayor of previous winner Sibiu, generating a lot of attention that might make it seem like your entry can’t win without extraordinary resources at your disposal.

Previous BCTV winners however haven’t done anything you can’t do to win. In fact, along with a healthy dose of luck, there are a few simple methods you can use to greatly increase your chances of moving far in the tournament, putting yourself (and city) in a position to win.

Quietly Win The Early Rounds

Up to 128 cities are nominated each year and on the first day of voting 64 are eliminated from the contest by a margin often not more than 5 or 6 votes. The preliminaries plus rounds of 64 and 32 are the easiest to win – or lose – because they come so quickly in the contest’s first weeks that many people miss them altogether. (Here are the important dates for 2014′s competition.)

Cities certainly build up momentum as the tournament progresses since eliminations mean there are fewer total places to spread votes around. Simply being mindful of the when the first rounds begin and end can get you to the more competitive rounds, where you can implement the next phase of a winning strategy.

Reach Out To Official Bodies Already Promoting Your City

Asking friends and family to vote for your city is a good idea but can only get you so far in every successive round. (Unless you have a lot more friends than most people.) Short of making thousands of new friends you can contact the government and local tourism boards already promoting the city you’ve nominated; a tactic which put Granada, Spain in the Final Four in 2013.

  • Give Them More Incentives To Help – You should mention that over 2 million eyeballs followed last year’s contest and an average of 300,000 people read foXnoMad’s posts monthly, which will feature their city if it wins, as I always visit the place voted The Best City To Visit.
  • Get Past The First Rounds First – Winning cities in previous years have saved their outreach and focus for the later rounds of the tournament.

A nicely crafted email or Facebook message to the official tourism board plus local bloggers of the city you’ve nominated (or want to help win) can get the ball rolling in your direction by bringing more people to your cause.

Don’t Leave Your City Hanging

Nominating a city and then leaving it to its own charm puts it in a difficult position to win, especially if others are following the advice above. Be targeted in your approach so you don’t numb your friends, family, and other contacts by the later rounds when you’ll need all the support you can get. Of course, don’t neglect to vote for yourself while keeping an eye on how each round is going for your city – taking a page of of The Art of War to win any battle as the situation warrants.

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