National Geographic Traveler magazine is every jet setter’s dream. Chock full of travel tips, guides to exotic locales and full-page color spreads of some of the most beautiful sights imaginable, the magazine could make even the most stationary homebody beg for adventure. So it’s no surprise each year when thousands of photographers worldwide provide images for the National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest.
The rules are simple: photographers submit a recent digital picture for one of four categories that include travel portraits, outdoor scenes, sense of place or spontaneous moments. The judges then evaluate submissions, and winners are announced relatively soon after.
More than 18,000 photographs were submitted for this year’s National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest. Of this vast array of images, judges chose only three Grand Prize winners and seven merit awards, and awarded the Viewer’s Choice Award seen below. Aside from press and enhanced visibility, National Geographic Traveler also offers winners some of the coolest free vacations one could imagine. This year’s winners will be tour Alaska, cruise down the coast of Maine and take a five-day photography class in Santa Fe, New Mexico.