Everyone watches The Price is Right and imagines what they would do after winning one of those dream vacations. Right? No? Just me? Okay, well it’s at least interesting to hear about a free vacation, right? Yeah? Everyone?
Here are stories from people who won vacations from game shows.
Thank you to all of the Redditors who shared their stories.
Towards the end of her life, pretty much housebound due to COPD, my very intelligent mother started entering competitions online to keep her brain active as her body deteriorated.
And she would win, little bits here and there…a cd, a bottle of perfume, some dvds etc.
Then one day she got an email from the Guardian newspaper telling her she had won one of 5 top prizes in a holiday competition winning a 10,000 2 week trip to Peru. Everything was included, a full itinerary tour, bed and breakfast accommodation in 4* hotels and all flights and transfers
Cue excitement and joy before she eventually came to terms with the fact that she was far too sick to go. She was on piped oxygen in the house so going somewhere where oxygen is thin was a really bad idea.
They were very good and offered her basically any alternative up to the same cost…but no one would insure her to go anywhere and she came to the realisation that she would never travel anywhere again.
She gave the holiday to me and I ended up going with a mate and it was a great holiday.
But the whole time I felt guilty that I was going and not her. We made sure to bring back lots and lots of presents.
She died about 6 months later.
My wife was conceived on a cruise that my in-laws won on The Price is Right, so I figure they had a pretty good time.
Radio contest in Canada my mom won a all expenses paid trip to Disneyland for 4. Got flights, 4 nights in a Disney hotel at the park, 3 days worth of park passes, $500 Disney cash and a voucher for 1 free theme breakfast and 1 free theme dinner. Trip cost maybe $500 out of pocket so 10/10 would do again
I won a trip for two to Maui on Wheel of Fortune. I don’t have a girlfriend and therefore took my brother. Imagine a hotel pool with a sea of honeymooners, diamond rings newly glistening in the tropical sunlight, then out of nowhere come two fat, squelching idiots, pina coladas in chubby hands, splashing and wrestling, having contests to see who could jump farther off the diving board without spilling their drink, judging each other not only on spillage but also distance and style. It was a fantastic trip.
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Not a game show, but…
Was living in Miami at the time, 1999.
My girlfriend, without my knowledge, dropped two postcards in the mail, one with her name and one with mine, to the The Late Show with David Letterman. They had a week planned where each nights’ taping was themed around a certain city, while still being filmed at the Ed Sullivan Theater.
The theater only seats around 400 people. Basically they would pick 200 winners from each city and fly them and a guest in.
So again, knowing nothing about this, I’m checking the mail one day and there’s this huge 8 1/2 x 11 envelope with the Letterman logo with my name on it. I show it to my girlfriend with a quizzical look on my face and she starts flipping out.
“OMGOMGOMG we won!!”
Then she lets me in how she was reading the paper one Saturday doing laundry while I was at work and came across the Ad from Letterman, and sent in a couple of postcards. She didn’t tell me about it because she didn’t want to jinx it.
I open the envelope, which informs me I have indeed won a trip for two to NYNY. All expenses paid, etc.
I go into work the next day, and inform my boss that I need Thursday and Friday off, won a fucking trip, etc.
Boss tells me, “You should go back into the sales area and talk to Robert.”
It was weird, but Robert was a friend, so whatever.
So I’m kinda struttin’ down the hallway, envelope in hand, and I see Robert. Robert sees my grin, and then looks down at my envelope and gets PISSED!
“What the hell are you doing rummaging around my desk? Put that back where you found it!!”
I’m like, “Dude. This is mine. I won a trip to Letterman.”
He looks at me wild-eyed and goes “HOLY COW SO DID I!!”
Keep this in mind: We live in Miami. Miami is huge. Only 200 people win. We worked at a place with maybe 30 people. 2 winners from the same company, and he was about the only friend I had made in my short time living in Miami. Unreal.
The Thursday we are to travel rolls around, and the 400 of us gather at the airport. 4 privately-chartered, medium-sized jets ferry us non-stop from Miami to New York. Easily the best air travel experience I’ve ever had. We get off at the tarmac into these huge plush buses, and they drive us to the Sheraton on 52nd Street, Times Square.
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We check in, and go up to our room, around the 30th floor or so. I open the curtains, and BAM, there’s the big Ramen Noodle bowl in all its glory. I go to open the window, but it only opened an inch, with one of those safety locks in place. So I closed the window, and with much more force, opened it again. Lock falls by the wayside, and now I have a fully opened window looking directly down on Times Square with a wonderful breeze. It was a gorgeous day and sight.
Next we go downstairs to meet with everyone, as they were feeding us and giving us our tickets to the taping. I got to shake hands with Forrest DeCalvert aka Larry Bud Melman.
Inside each envelope with the tickets was a crisp, new $50 bill. Turns out it was cheaper for them to pay us, taxes-wise.
Dinner is over and now we get to walk to the theater a couple blocks away. Cops had cordoned off the roads so 400 people could cross safely.
We get inside the theater, and it is every bit as cold as the stories say (so the audience wouldn’t fall asleep, Ed Sullivan joked). Dave comes out just before the taping, explains a little how it’s gonna go, asks us a couple of questions, gets a couple funny/quirky responses, seems satisfied that he got a little material to work with and says he’ll be back out soon, ready to roll!
The guests were Glen Close, George Hamilton, and music by Elvis Crespo. Really cool. When they go to commercial break, it lasts 2 minutes in real-time, and they’re back on it. The whole thing wrapped in like an hour and 10 minutes.
Interesting note, they used to do two tapings on Thursday, with the later taping being for Friday. They didn’t work on Friday. So our Thursday night taping was actually for the next night.
Taping is over, and the production staff starts handing out these awesome Letterman-logo-stitched backpacks with goodies inside like hats, t-shirts, double-decker bus tour, etc.
We meet up with Robert and his girl, and the four of us go bar-hopping through Times Square with our crisp $50’s. Thanks Dave!
The next day we get on the tour bus, and hop off at Empire State, and go to the top. You really get a feel for how insanely VAST New York City is from up there. Grids of buildings as far as the eye can see in nearly every direction.
The bus is long gone at this point, so we walk from Empire to Central Park, which is equally cool. Trip around there for a while and walk back to our hotel. Buses pick us up, take us to the airport, and we fly home.
A whirlwind 24-hour trip to New York City, courtesy of David Letterman. We barely spent any money.
I had never been before, and I haven’t been since.
I won a trip to Vermont on some Nickelodeon game show. They only offered extremely specific dates that were super inconvenient to anyone. Given that I was in high school and couldn’t just fly off to a cabin on a Wednesday-Friday getaway, the prize expired a year later.
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I did win a trip on a game show… Wheel of Fortune. It was awesome and was upgraded the entire time… Flights, hotels, etc.
Regarding taxes – all you have to do is prove you can get the items cheaper. So even though they said it was a $7500 trip or something, I was able to find flights cheaper and hotel cheaper than they were claiming as the full retail value.
All you have to do is have the proof for the IRS of those cheaper prices for the day. Completely one of those geeks that asked as I was getting my info squared away with them after the show…
I won a trip to the Poconos from a Chicago radio show in 1996. It was at a decently cheesy hotel with the bed shaped like a heart and a Jacuzzi and pool in the room. oh, I took my then girlfriend. I have no complaints, I don’t think I needed to pay any taxes.
Not on a gameshow but I won a trip to Australia from the UK, with a random travel site. In the UK there’s no tax so the only thing we had to pay for was taxis to/from the airport, certain meals, and souvenirs. We stayed in a Travelodge which we usually do when going to cities anyway so it wasn’t a downside.
All in all it was amazing, not many people can say they’ve had a 9-day vacation in Australia for a total of 800. We took tons of excursions that people were paying 400 for, and I would probably never had the opportunity to go to the Australian outback otherwise, so pretty cool.
I won a trip to Las Vegas on a Price Is Right Live show. Had the option to take the trip (worth $1200) or take smaller cash prize (i think $700) right away. I decided to take the trip as I had never been to Vegas. The company that put on the show contacted me about a week later to talk to me about it. I told them I wasn’t sure when I wanted to go and I would contact them when I knew. A couple of weeks after that they sent me a check for the full amount of the trip with a note saying that I can book my trip whenever I want. I ended up getting tires and brakes for my car instead.
I won a trip for two to a convention once. It was pretty sweet. They paid for airfare from east to west coast, put us up in Embassy Suites which was about a mile walk from the convention center, and got us tickets into the con itself. They didn’t bother to put our names on the badges and the taxes sucked (they did warn us that we would owe taxes, but they didn’t really explain the VALUE of what we would be paying taxes on until we got the tax form).
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I had a friend who won a trip to Dubai on the Ellen Show. She also won for the audience I believe and from what she posted on social media, it went rather well.
My friend won a trip to meet a guy from Jackass. As the date approached, the “$3000” trip was only us getting our lodging and our meals taken car of…. in suburban Philadelphia.
Friends uncle, a lawyer, raised a real stink about it, so they flew us to LA instead and paid for everything.
Trip was great, but since I was a teenager at the time, I imagine it could have been better.
Also, he was a jerk. Never said two words to us. Simply talked to the guy who ran the competition the whole time. Worth the story though…
Not a game show. But I did win a three day trip to Florida for two from a radio show and let me tell you… It sucked.
First, the “condo” we won was straight up a hotel room looking time share in Panama City on the dirtiest part of the beach in Panama City, and that’s saying something. And I don’t mean seaweed and sea stuff washed ashore I mean like, beer cans and fast food bags next to dirty diaper bad.
Secondly, they didn’t even pay for travel, which was fine we lived in Georgia so it wasn’t that bad.. but they did pay for “one night five star dinner” and it was some tourist trap Florida authentic seafood place where the seafood was crap and the atmosphere was annoying and if traveled 15 minutes down the road you’d find the SAME restaurant with a different name.
I spent maybe 600 dollars on food and a dolphin tour which was fun. Overall I’d rate it a 7/10 cause three days off work and at least we got free lodging.
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Won a Trip to the Super Bowl in New York from Gillette via twitter. It was about 2 weeks before the Super Bowl, at first I thought it was a hoax but my daughter won and took me along. Every thing was First Class, Hotel (JW Marriott Time Square, place was loaded with players current and ex. Plus all the super Bowl NFL stuff was happening right there), Pregame at the Stadium included The Band Perry, all the food and drinks we wanted open bar and stars in the pre-game tailgate. Bus transfer from Hotel to Stadium, flights and Row 1 seats near the Seahawks bench, we were sitting in front of players wives, girlfriends and friends, they carried the super Bowl trophy right past us and the sideline was full of stars. Everything was first class, I will never shave with anything but Gillette ever again.
A competition via Twitter. Won a trip to New York from the UK for 2 people. It was return flights from Heathrow to JFK; 2 nights stay in a 4* hotel; airport transfers; 500 spending money; a helicopter flight; and tickets to a Broadway show of our choice. Due to flight timings we ended up using some of the spending money to pay for a 3rd night at the hotel.
The trip was everything I’d hoped and more, I’d always wanted to go to New York and it didn’t disappoint. The helicopter flight was a massive highlight, and we went to see the Lion King which was also amazing! We used some of our own savings so that we had plenty of spending money for a once in a lifetime trip, but 10/10 would recommend you enter random competitions on Twitter!