TO MAKE your first step towards a career in journalism - and win a round-the-world air ticket in the process - enter Britain's most prestigious student travel writing competition. The winner of this year's competition not only has his or her work published in the Independent but has the opportunity to contribute to one of the best-selling Rough Guide series.

The first-prize winner of the Independent/Trailfinders Student Travel Writing Competition also receives a round-the-world air ticket and pounds 500 spending money.

The air ticket for the winner of the competition - which the Independent is running in conjunction with Rough Guides - will be donated by Trailfinders (42-50 Earls Court Road, Kensington, London W8 6EJ: 071-938 3366), one of Britain's leading specialists in independent travel.

Runners-up in the competition will receive rail tickets from Eurotrain (071-730 3402) - one of the leading companies in student and youth travel - to the European destination of their choice, as well as a selection of Rough Guides.

Prize details

The winning student will receive a Trailfinders round-the-world ticket to the value of pounds 1,000 - and a selection of 10 Rough Guides. The Independent will provide pounds 500 spending money. The winner will also receive a writing commission to contribute to a Rough Guide. The winning entry will be published on the travel pages of the Independent.

Three runners-up will each receive 10 Rough Guides of their choice and a Eurotrain rail ticket to the European destination of their choice. Eurotrain features rail services to a wide range of destinations from Paris to Moscow. Details available from student travel shops and Campus Travel.

What you have to do

We would like entrants to write on the theme of 'Transport of Delight'. In no more than 500 words describe a memorable experience travelling by bus, car, train, tram, plane, bicycle, foot or even mule.

Write no more than 500 words; all entries must be type-written, double-spaced on one side of the paper only. We regret that entries cannot be returned (please take a photocopy before you send it to us). Entries must not have been previously published. The Independent retains the copyright of published entries. The competition is not open to relatives or employees of Newspaper Publishing, Rough Guides, Trailfinders or Eurotrain. No correspondence can be entered into about the competition.

Entrants must have been in full- time education until the end of the 1992 academic year. On their entries, they must include details of their academic establishment and the course they were taking.

On the first page of their entry, all entrants should write their name, address and age; a day-time telephone number as well as a home telephone number should be included.

Closing date for all entries is 29 November 1992. The winners will be announced in the Independent in February 1993.

Where to write to

Entries must be sent to: the Independent/Trailfinders Travel Writing Competition, Weekend, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.