National Geographic photo contest open through the end of November

Attention photographers: there’s a National Geographic photo contest open until November 30th. The esteemed magazine is famous for spectacular photography and simultaneously famous for spectacular photo contests. The most recent photo contest is themed People, Places, and Nature. Judged by National Geographic photographers, the grand prize winner will received $10,000 as well as a trip to the National Geographic headquarters in Washington D.C. The photos will be judged on both creativity and photographic quality. National Geographic requests that the entries reflect real life, captured as it was at the moment in time that the photo was taken. If you have a great shot, enter it! (The subtext being… why not?).

Find more information on the contest here on the National Geographic website.

National Geographic jumps into the adventure travel arena

The very name National Geographic evokes images of adventure and thoughts of exciting journeys to far away places. The iconic Society has probably done more to inspire travel than any other single entity ever. Several generations have grown up gazing at breathtaking images in the organization’s popular magazine and reading about daring explorers on those beautiful, glossy pages. Now, in what seems like a long over due move, Nat Geo is throwing its hat into the adventure travel ring, announcing 11 unique trips that will offer a compelling mix of cultural and physical activity with some of the most stunning scenery on the planet as the backdrop.

The aptly named National Geographic Adventures have itineraries that are sure to appeal to any adventure traveler. For instance, they offer a 15-day trek through the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan that takes you to the 23,997-foot Chomo Lhari – the most sacred mountain in the country. If you prefer your trips keep you closer to sea level however, then perhaps the 9-day Alaska excursion would be more to your liking. That trip features sea kayaking and whale watching in Glacier Bay National Park. Meanwhile, backpackers will likely be enthralled with the 14-day hike through Chile’s stunningly beautiful Patagonia region. Other itineraries take travelers to Everest Base Camp in Nepal, on safari in Tanzania, and across Mongolia on horseback.

Each of the itineraries has been specifically crafted with the help of a National Geographic expert, who has applied their knowledge of the various regions to create a series of trips that are unlike any other. Those trips come with an activity level rating, with easy, moderate, strenuous, and “ultimate challenge” options available. Accommodations range from luxury tents to quaint mountain lodges and inns, and the group size is capped at just 16 to ensure the best travel experience possible.

To find out more about these new adventure travel options, click here, and for the full line up of trips from Nat Geo, check out the National Geographic Expeditions website as well.

National Geographic Student Expeditions expands offerings for 2011

The National Geographic Student Expeditions program has announced a number of great new excursions for 2011, giving young travelers even more choices for what to do with their summer break. New destinations added this year include Barcelona, Spain, New Zealand, and Yellowstone National Park, amongst others. There is even an option to travel to Costa Rica to work on a new community service project this year as well.

Nat Geo’s Student Expeditions program is designed to give high school students an educational and immersive travel experience that they probably wouldn’t be able to have anywhere else. The program sends them off to some amazing places around the world, while packing a healthy dose of adventure and education into the itinearary. They’ll also have the opportunity to interact with some of National Geographic’s experts and team leaders to further enhance the journey.

The trips range in length from about 10 to 21 days in length and are offered in more than 60 destinations across the globe. While on location, they’ll stay in two unique and interesting base camps and explore the surrounding landcapes with their guides and NG experts, while taking part in any number of hands-on activities.

One of the most unique elements to these expeditons is that the students are given “On Assingment” projects that allows them to learn more about a particular subject with which they might have an interest. Those areas of study include photography, culture, arachaeology, conservation, filmmaking and more. These project turn an already amazing travel adventure into a learning opportunity unlike any other.

To find out more about the program go to where you’ll find a complete list of destinations available, bios on some of the National Geographic experts that conduct these trips, and blog entries and video from previous expeditions. There is also ore information on the On Assignment projects and a form for requesting the 2011 catalog. There is also an online application for those who already know where they would like to go, which can be found by clicking here.

If you would like to find out more information on the program, Nat Geo is conducting a free webinar tomorrow evening, January 18th, from 8-9PM EST. You can register to attend that virtual event by filling out the form located here.

National Geographic has partnered with Putney Student Travel, a company that as more than 60 years experience in the field, to help design the Student Expeditions program. Between these two great organizations, you can bet that students will have an unforgettable travel experience.

National Geographic expands line of adventure travel maps

The National Geographic Society has always been a great source for maps. Their Atlas of the World, which will see its ninth edition released this week, is almost legendary in its size and scope, and the organization’s flagship magazine has incorporated detailed and interesting maps for decades. Now, the Society has announced plans to expand its line of adventure travel maps, offering travelers far more options than are currently available.

Nat Geo Maps has been handling the map duties for the organization for more than 95 years, although their AdventureMaps line is a relatively new edition to the inventory. Those high quality products are designed to appeal to the more adventurous traveler who is looking to explore a destination independently and is more likely to be seeking out the closest national park rather than a restaurant or museum. The maps are waterproof, tear resistant,highly durable, and environmentally friendly, which makes them the perfect companion for a traveler looking to drive the backroads or hike the backcountry of their chosen destination.

Until now, the selection of those destinations has been limited to popular spots in Central America, the Caribbean, and the trekking regions of Nepal. But last week, the Society announce a major expansion to the AdventureMaps line that will see nearly 60 new destinations added to the list by 2012, with more than 30 arriving by summer of next year. New locations will include Argentina, Bali/Lombok/Komodo, Brazil, Chile, El Salvador/Nicaragua/Honduras, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Thailand, with more countries located in Africa, the Middle East, South America, Asia, and Europe to follow.

The maps are designed from the ground up to put the information that adventure travelers need right at their fingertips. For instance, they offer insights into the terrain which they’ll be traveling through as well as points of interest relevant to their needs such as surf locations, trail heads, and dive sites, amongst others.

Expect the new maps to begin showing up in stores soon with a suggest retail price of $11.95.

On a personal note, I own several of these maps already, and I’m always impressed with how durable they are and how much information is packed into such a relatively small foot print. They really are great products and I can’t wait to check out all the new destinations that they’ll be delivering soon. If you’re planning a trip abroad, I can’t think of a better map to bring along with you.

Get a one year National Geographic subscription for just ten bucks

As a traveler, no publication ever got me more interested in seeing the world than National Geographic. Already in its 122nd year, the yellow border of this magazine is recognized in as many countries as it has written about.

Despite all the advances in technology, and the decline in print, there is something fantastic about carrying reading materials the old fashioned way – and if you head over to, you’ll be able to order a one year subscription to National Geographic for just ten bucks.

The promotion takes $5 off the normal price of $15 – and you may not see the final discounted price until the final stage of the payment process.

Best of all – your subscription will help the society, and all the fantastic work they do helping people discover more of our planet.

Subscription page / promotion details