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.
A GREAT Time!
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 an 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.
This One Is Special
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 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.
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.
This Is A Good One To Know
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.
This Is Just Great Value
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.
Money Well Spent
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.
What Kind Of Convention???
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).
Would Love To Go There
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.
Just Gotta Raise A Stink Is All!
My friend won a trip to meet a guy from a popular show. 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…
Uh Oh… Sorry Florida
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.
Super Duper Bowl!
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.
Twitter Will Help You Travel
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!
A Memorable Time
I won a radio contest in Canada. I won a 7 night/8 day vacation to a sandals resort in the Bahamas. Everything was included, all we had to pay for was a dinner on the dock during the sunset for $100 that we wanted to do for our wedding anniversary. The trip was amazing and we came home with a permanent souvenir…my son.
That’s Barely A Win
Not a game show, but I won a spring break trip to Florida in a bar raffle when I was in University. When I went to collect it, I learned it was a bus ticket to Florida (from Detroit, so 2 days of driving), a presumably bad hotel, but the worst was that it was a trip for one. If I wanted to go, I’d have to convince someone to purchase another ticket. Like, “Oh please sit on a greyhound with me and 50 other crazy spring breakers for 2 days on our way to the cockroach motel.”
Spoiled In The Bahamas
I won a trip to the Bahamas on a cruise ship of a radio station. Funny was my husband had quit that radio station only 3 months before or I wouldn’t have been allowed to win. Found out it was my mom who actually entered my name in a 7UP drawing. I had just given birth to my daughter a few months before so my Mom and I went together while my husband stayed home with our daughter and older son.
It was wonderful and great and we were able to do a lot of sightseeing. Everything was paid, including all tips. I am not sure I remember how much the taxes where but is wasnt bad at all considering the total cost of the trip.
The only issue I had was the entire cruise was filled with people who won the trip by either winning contest like I did or being the top sellers of the product in their area or who where big wigs in the industry. I was shocked at how many people where complaining over the slightest things on the trip thinking why are you complaining? You are not paying anything to take the trip. …talk about being spoiled.
Grandma Got A Good Send Off
My grandma bought lotto tickets all her life and the running gag was that she kept winning free tickets.
One day she scratched the 3 TV contest logos, which meant her name was in the box for the end of the season shows where they’d pick through these people to have enough contestants for the season.
Anyway she got sick that year, she was 92, so when they finally picked her name she asked my mother to go for her. We went with my mom, we had a night at the hotel plus dinner and breakfast. Mind you we already live in the city but it was a cool night.
Then we went to the tv station and sat in the crowd, while my mother went live. She ended up winning overall 30,000$, in cash there were less but she had won 2 travel vouchers so she exchanged for money.
My grandmother died that year but at least she got the best services as my parents and uncle were able to pay for it all with the winning money. It’s almost as if someone up there decided my grandma had lived in poverty all of her life so at least she left us while being comfortable. It all went smoothly.
This Feels Like A Scam
I won a 3 day, 4 night, all expenses paid vacation to Vegas by calling in and answering one of those radio station giveaways. I’m not sure how the trip was because the first thing they did was ask me to put down a $2000 dollar deposit. Go figure.
It Had Its Ups And Downs
I was on Wheel of Fortune back in 2007. The show recorded in 2006, and aired in 2007, anyway…
During the show I won a trip to Hawaii and a trip to London.
I had to forfeit the trip to London due to not getting a passport in time (traveling for work and the time it would have taken for me to get the time off, the passport, and get it organized was becoming a nightmare.)
So by forfeiting that trip I got $500 back in taxes, which was nice.
I did take the trip to Hawaii. I was put up in the Hilton Waikoloa Village which was amazing.
They gave me $1000 in spending money which I used for a rental car, food, drinks, and some souvenirs. My brother was the guest I got to bring with me so it helped cover his expenses too.
I rented snorkeling gear to swim with sea turtles.
Later I remember walking in Kona and it being 85 degrees and walking up to an outdoor bar. The bartender asked where I was from and I told him, “Wisconsin”
“BEER COUNTRY! You need to try this!” And I had my first longboard from tap. It won my approval because it was hot as soup outside and the beer was so cold…I had three!
Most of the time I stayed near my hotel room on the beach and just enjoyed having nowhere to be and all the time to get there.
Except when I pooped my pants. Like full blown king kamehameha pooped my pants…
I went to get some coffee and then sat and enjoyed it. In my way walking back to the room the urge to poop hit. I went from fast walking, to a full on sprint, to doing the penguin waddle. Eventually made it back to the room to find…
My brother was already on the toilet and refused to wrap it up. So after arguing through the door and looking at the trash can like it needed to pay for its sins and bolting for the public restroom at the beach.
I got halfway there when disaster struck and Hawaii got hit by another poonami.
I did the cowboy walk of shame into the stall and figured I would rinse everything off in the toilet and then just book it back to my room except a bunch of Hilton staff and lovely girls were walking by and even though they seemed oblivious I knew that they telepathically knew what I had done.
I ended up ditching my underpants in the trash bin and when I heard nothing I booked it back to the room, key in hand, and threw all my crappy pants in a plastic bag to take to the laundromat after I showered and changed.
The next day we went to the other side of the big island and checked out the volcano. That was pretty sweet!
On our last day we found that our plane was cancelled and they put us up in a hotel with a changed flight for the morning. So we got a free night in Hawaii.
All in all it was a lot of fun, and the islands are calling my name again. My wife and I are planning our 15th wedding anniversary and Hawaii is where we really want to go!
You DOn’t Want It Gone THAT Bad
I won a radio contest in Chicago for having an ugly tattoo. The prize was free removal. I didn’t go through with it because the taxes were going to be around $1,200, and I would have had to drive over an hour to the clinic, and was estimated to need 7 sessions. I’d rather spend that much money on a cover up and get something that I’d like.
I won a 7 night 8 day stay in Washington. Taxes about $275 for both my husband and me together. Add to that the $400 roundtrip airfare for us, and I’m still pretty pleased with a week long vacation in a luxury condo for that price. I checked, and just a moderately priced hotel would cost as much for the same location and length of stay before airfare.
Not Really A Kids Vacation
I won an all expense paid vacation to the Poconos when I was in the 5th grade (was on a game show called Pick Your Brain back in the 90s). This place was not the place where a kid going from 5th grade onto 6th grade could readily have fun (the ad for the resort said “The Honeymoon Capital of the US”). Our room also had a mirror on the ceiling (so that was the educational part of my trip was learning why that was there). All the food was cruise ship style (you had a set breakfast, lunch and dinner time each with a set menu that you could order off of), the food was also pretty whatever (I distinctly remember really hating their roast beef meal). Days were spent either by the pool (which was always crowded in a not fun way) or participating in their daily activities (once again like a cruise ship they had designated activities time like: bingo in the cafe between 2pm and 4pm). All in all it wasn’t bad just a very sort of “factory type” vacation experience. However, I think my folks enjoyed the trip more than I did so I always considered it like a gift I won for them. 4/7 would go again… Actually, because I’m older I probably would go to something like that just to get outta town for a bit.
Really REALLY Life Changing
One of my high school teachers spent half of his life in a city in the South of France after his mom won a vacation from a game show. None of his family could speak French before going or even had family there. So that prize went from a game show to changing the direction of my teacher’s whole life and career which was cool.
Well, That Sounds… Fun Too…
My brother won a showcase on the Price is Right. He sold all of the prizes and used the money to go to Uganda for a year to build houses. Other than being shot at, it was a good time he said.