Travel: Win a gap year trip to Australia

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The Independent Culture
Over the past week, the response to our student competition for a gap year trip to Australia has been a wistful "can we have more time please?" The closing date for entries was due to be this Friday, but recognising that many students are feeling pressurised we have agreed to extend the deadline until Monday 1 December.

And it's well worth making time to enter: Royal Mail's international division has joined forces with The Independent and Campus Travel to offer a winning prize of two London-Sydney return tickets (courtesy of Campus Travel), with the option of stopping in Thailand on the way there and back, and pounds 2,000 spending money (from Royal Mail International).

Whether or not you win, you won't come away empty handed: all entrants will be sent a Royal Mail Gap Year Guide - a handy booklet produced in association with Lonely Planet, providing advice on how to prepare for a year away - and a pack of six aerogrammes to keep in touch with friends and family overseas, worth pounds 1.99.

To enter, simply tell us in no more than 500 words where you would go if you were taking your gap year in Australia or the Far East, and the reasons you would go there. Be it Phuket or Port Lincoln, Murwillumbah or Mae Saraing, the essay should be both informative and entertaining - as if you're writing a letter back to friends at home.

Entrants must be either under 26 years old or registered students under 32 years old, and must send in their entries by Monday 1 December to: Royal Mail/Independent Gap Year Competition, 22 Endell Street, London WC2H 9AD. The winner will be announced in the Independent on 20 December. He or she must book all travel before the end of March 1998 and complete the trip before the end of March 1999.

Usual Newspaper Publishing rules apply, and the decision of the judges at Royal Mail International, The Independent and Campus Travel will be final. Happy writing and happy travels.