By Talia Avakian
Updated: January 16, 2019

Amtrak is looking for creatives to join its social media residency program, giving the lucky winners the chance to embark on round-trip travel across Amtrak’s long-distance routes for free through its #AmtrakTakeMeThere program. 

Applications are being accepted now through midnight EST on Jan. 31, after which a panel of judges will pick out the travelers with the best writing, photography, video, and social media engagement skills. 

The winners, who are expected to be selected by early spring, will enjoy a complimentary trip on one of Amtrak’s long-distance routes, plus spending money of up to $1,000 for travel costs, in exchange for sharing their train travel experiences on social media.

While Amtrak representatives are looking for folks who use social media to connect with followers, they say “glitzy influencers with millions of followers” are not necessarily what they’re in search of. According to the application page, they're looking for "real people" to tell their stories.

“Some of the best travel stories occur on our long-distance trains, and we are looking for travelers to share their real experiences,” Amtrak CEO Tim Griffin said in a statement. The program is meant to provide a view of the train travel experience through relatable riders as opposed to professional travel bloggers and influencers.

That being said, applicants will still be asked to provide their social media accounts and answer questions like why train travel would best serve their needs and why Amtrak would be the best fit for them.

Related: How to Master the Art of Amtrak Travel

The application is open to anyone who is looking to share their travel journey on social media, from retirees to parents to young creative types, though only individuals may apply. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and legal U.S. residents to enter.

The contest gives riders a chance to explore American sights few travelers often get to see, in addition to experiencing Amtrak’s overnight sleeping accommodations that range from roomettes to bedrooms and bedroom suites.

In addition, Amtrak’s double-decker trains that typically run west of Chicago come complete with an Observation Car offering floor-to-ceiling windows with mesmerizing views of landscapes ranging from lush forests and seascapes to open plains and vibrant cities.

While the specific journeys winners will embark on have yet to be announced, potential options range from trips filled with views of the Cascade Mountains and the Pacific Ocean on the Coast Starlight to journeys dotted with scenery of the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada mountains on board the California Zephyr.

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