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Tips and Inspiration Partnership The stories behind our favorite travel photographs

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The stories behind our favorite travel photographs

Travel prize alert! Here at Skyscanner we value great photography. This is why we've partnered with Pexels, the home of stunning stock photos, to share a fantastic photography competition for you.

The lovely folks at Pexels have decided to bring a bit of Christmas cheer early this year with the Pexelspalooza Giveaway, which launched on December 1. Skyscanner are joining the Giveaway – along with Polaroid Originals & Fujifilm. Our competition will be announced on Tuesday, December 24, with details of our special mystery travel prize! You won’t want to miss it, so set a calendar alert now.

As you probably realize, the team here at Skyscanner love to travel (who doesn’t?!) and we like to think we’ve become pretty good at spotting a good photo opportunity. Here’s some examples of the best ones we’ve taken, and a little bit of information from the photographer about what makes it so special to them.

Laurie, Associate Product Manager

My sister came to visit me when I was living and working in Valencia. We went to the City of Arts and Sciences and got lucky enough to see the sunset falling over city in the evening. It was a particularly important time in my life. It made me better appreciate my love of traveling, especially to discover new places. Previously, I think I’d taken for granted the opportunity to live in different countries and how incredible it could be. It was this love of travel that prompted me to apply for a job at Skyscanner.

Judson, Senior Design Manager

My wife and I spotted this furry creature coming out of the jungle at the Tulum archaeological site in Mexico. It pried opened a drawer and started to steal the tortillas! They were obviously planted by staff (no-one actually keeps tortillas in a drawer!) but it was still fascinating to watch because neither of us knew what the animal was. Turns out it was a Tejón, or Coati, an animal in the raccoon family. Only by exploring somewhere new could you find a creature you can’t name!

Oli, Senior User Research Manager

This is my wife in this photo. I took it after an incredible 8 hour drive through Death Valley and Mojave national parks in California. It was the end of our 3 week road trip along the West Coast of America. We saw the most astonishing landscapes we’ve ever seen. We pulled the car over to take a rest and the stars just seemed to go on forever. So, if you ever have the chance to relax on the bonnet of a yellow Camaro in the middle of a warm night in the Mojave desert, go for it!

Eileen, Senior Designer

We just stumbled across this empty beach in the Oudekraal Nature Reserve, part of the Table Mountain National Park in Cape Town. We later found out it was where locals enjoyed visiting for the summers, until Apartheid banned non-white visitors.

On the day we found it, we were in awe of the tranquility and beauty. We felt very privileged to have it to ourselves, but also to be able to visit without restriction. We are all part of the same planet, the same human experience, and no one should be excluded from such a magical place on the basis of their skin color.

Andrei, Software Engineer

I was visiting a friend in Bordeaux in 2018 when I took this photo. There was a party in the old town which lasted long into the night, it was a very warm welcome for me! When some of the locals sang ““Andy, dis moi oui” (Andy, tell me yes) to me, I knew it was time to sleep. The following day we enjoyed fresh croissants while we laughed and spoke broken French together. I took this photo on the windy riverbank where adults took dancing lessons and children splashed around in the water.

George, Software Engineer

I found every part of Pilanesberg (in South Africa) breathtakingly beautiful. It’s not as vast as Kruger, so you can usually get much closer to its inhabitants – such as this impala! She was chewing the grass while her little bird friend hitched a ride. It’s such a privilege to see animals in their natural environment because you can truly appreciate the way they live in such close quarters alongside each other.

Jenna, Corporate Travel Manager

The pool and skyline views at this hotel I stayed at in Panama were beautiful. I knew I needed to take a photo to capture it – with me in it! The challenge was, I was traveling solo. I decided to get up early so I’d be the first there. The pool was empty, so I got working. I fixed my tripod and camera to a pole on a higher balcony of the hotel and set the timer. I ran down the stairs and jumped back into the pool to get in the frame. It took a few goes so I was worn out by the end of the mission! But it was worth it! And the memory of getting the shot always puts a smile on my face.

Shaun, Senior Software Engineer

After I was made redundant I had a few weeks before I was due to start my new job at Skyscanner. My partner and I decided to take advantage and head off on a trip. We visited New Zealand and hired a car to drive from Paihia to Wellington. We spotted a sign en route for ‘Rainbow Falls’. It was impossible not to check it out! There’d been a lot of rain so it was a bit of a slippy walk down to the pool, but it was well worth it for views alone. We did and saw a lot on that trip. But sometimes the best memories are the ones you make by accident.

Daniel, Senior Software Engineer

This photograph was taken on the Salkantay Pass in Peru. Even the 12mm wide-angle lens wasn’t enough to fully capture how vast the space was. It was just before we began the steepest bit of the trek that would take us to 4,630m above sea level, where the oxygen really thins. Somebody behind me shouted “mules”, to let us know to let the porters pass. At that moment when I looked back I saw the green and golden valley in all its glory. The white clouds were literally rolling down the mountainside, and the path that had brought us to this point looked very, very far away. The overwhelming feeling for me was peacefulness.

Andres, Marketing Executive

When I visited a friend in the Netherlands I had the chance to explore Groningen. Despite the weather, I thoroughly enjoyed being surrounded by all the canals and remarkable architecture. We rode our bikes and found Reitdiephaven, where the houses have abandoned the traditional gray color in favor of more vibrant shades! I took this photograph later in the day when the light finally broke through the storm. The water was still and cast a mirror-like effect of the houses. I was at the right place at the right time. Everywhere has a gem, to me Reitdiephaven is Groningen’s gem.

Will, Senior Designer

I had wanted to shoot Barcelona from the sky for a long time. Its long, straight streets laid out in a grid pattern with neat, square blocks make my designer soul very happy!

Shortly after joining Skyscanner I attended a global design summit in Barcelona kickstarting our rebrand. I woke up in time to shoot the morning half of the image, then returned to the exact spot when it was dark to shoot the other half. It took a lot of organizing but I did manage to get the right angle and image both times. And this is the result.

Kate, Marketing Manager

I went on a solo trip to Indonesia before joining Skyscanner. I love outdoor activities so hiking Mount Batur was a must for me. It’s an active volcano and one of the most stunning places in Bali. Our hike started early, at 4am, and took two hours to finish. It was dark on the way up so we were using flashlights to see the way. As soon as the sun came up we knew the early start and darkness was worth it! The sky morphed from black to blue, then to orange, and lit up the surrounding volcanoes and mountains. The Mount Batur sunrise was definitely one of the most beautiful I’ve seen.

Ellen, Copywriter

My chosen photo was taken on a trip to my partner’s family’s summer house in Sanderjord, Norway. It didn’t take me long to settle in once I’d gotten over the lack-of-phone-signal twitches and the remoteness! On one early morning I got up before everyone else and headed out with my camera to the water near the house. I threw a pebble into the water and quickly took a photograph. Once I’d finished I sat and breathed it all in while I waited for everyone else to wake up. It was total and complete silence. True tranquility.

Feeling inspired?

If you think you’ve got an equally impressive selection of travel photos that make you happy, dig them out! Enter the competition and share your best images. You never know, you could win the mystery travel prize…

We can’t wait to see what you’ve got.