Here's the plan. On a postcard write your name, home address and telephone number, together with your date of birth, gap-year destination and travelling dates, and send it to Boots Gap Year Cover Competition, PO Box 193, Nottingham, NG3 2HA.
The first 1,500 applicants will then receive a small gnome to accompany them on their travels. Other applicants may enter this competition using an appropriate mascot of their choice, but they must also send in all their details first.
Then all we ask is that, during your travels, you photograph your gnome/ mascot in the most unusual and imaginative locations. When you have your film developed, send us a selection of your favourite pictures. (Details of how and where will be included with the information that you will be sent after sending your postcard - which must be received by 30 September 1998.)
Every two months selected pictures will be published in the travel pages of The Independent - in the October and December issues and then in the February, April, June and August 1999 issues. The final closing date for pictures will be 17 September 1999. The winning pictures will be published on 2 October 1999, just before the start of the academic year, and all winners will be invited to attend a party to be held before 18 December 1999.
BOOTS IS committed to safe travel, and its Gap Year Travel Cover, for extended trips of up to 365 days, can be bought either in store or by phone.
You'll be given a "Helpline" card with an emergency telephone line that will put you in direct contact with multilingual doctors, co-ordinators and legal advisers should the need arise. The policy also covers you for lost or stolen possessions.
For more information on Boots Gap Year Travel Cover or to arrange instant cover call 0845-840 2020. Lines are open 24 hours a day.
THIS YEAR, Lonely Planet celebrates 25 years of unlocking the world for independent travellers. Lonely Planet now has 400 worldwide titles to its name including diving guides, walking guides and atlases.
To celebrate, the company is offering a guide book and phrase book of your choice to the first 50 applicants. For a copy of Planet Talk, Lonely Planet's free quarterly newsletter, call 0171-428 4800 or check out the award-winning interactive website at:
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
By entering the competition all entrants will be deemed to have accepted and agreed to be bound by the competition rules.
The competition is open to all UK gap-year travellers - those who are either A-level students, university students or taking a career break.
Photographs must be taken while travelling outside the UK, during trips greater than three months,
Only photographs taken by people in their gap year but otherwise studying for A levels, at university or taking a career break, are eligible for the competition.
All photographic entries become the property of Boots. Photographs submitted cannot be returned. Boots reserves the right to use photographs submitted for any purpose.
Information concerning your application may be shared among Boots and Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance and their respective subsidiaries, agents, and sub-contractors. Members of Boots and other organisations may occasionally advise you of other products and services which may be of interest. If you would prefer not to receive such information, please say so on your postcard.
This competition is open to all qualifying residents of the UK, excluding employees and families of Boots and its subsidiaries, `The Independent' and its associated companies, and Lonely Planet and its subsidiaries.
The judges' decision is final and no correspondence can be entered into. Prizes are as stated. The overall winners will be notified by post or telephone, as appropriate.