The #AmtrakTakeMeThere Social Media Program Will Send You Across The U.S. For Free

Starting in high school, I've had one huge goal when it comes to traveling: I want to go on a cross-country trip. I want to pack a bag that'll last me a few weeks, plan a route that brings me through the major national parks and bustling cities, and have an adventure that only comes once in a lifetime. Up until now, I assumed that when that day comes, I'll load up that bag in a camper-van or my own car and hit the road with Rascal Flatts' "Life is a Highway" playing in the background. I never even considered taking a train, which is why I'm here to tell you this: The #AmtrakTakeMeThere social media program will send you across the U.S. on a complimentary trip. Don't sleep on this opportunity, OK?

Picture this: It's early in the morning, and you're snuggled up with a pillow and blanket. The sunshine is starting to come through the blinds covering your window, and you can smell breakfast food coming from a few cars down. You check the map on your phone and see that you went a ton of miles overnight. The most amazing part is, you don't even feel that exhausted from all the traveling.

This cross-country experience is like no other, because you can get your sleep and then tour the greatest sights that the U.S. has to offer, without skipping a beat. You can grab all of those inspiring pictures for the 'Gram, and then cuddle up at night with a journal and write down everything you've done and seen.

Now, snap back to reality. You aren't going on this trip, but you could. With the #AmtrakTakeMeThere social media residency program, you can travel across the U.S. for free and have moments that you'll remember forever. Not to mention, you can share those moments on social media using your amazing talents, and inspire somebody else to go further into the world and see what's out there.

What is the #AmtrakTakeMeThere Social Media Residency Program?

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First things first: Let's answer your most pressing question: What is the #AmtrakTakeMeThere social media residency program? According to Amtrak's press release, it's a contest for true travelers who have a love for writing, photography, videography, and social media. The company wants to give lucky winners a trip of a lifetime and have them share their experience as they go.

The trip will follow one of the long-distance routes that Amtrak has planned out. Each winner will be able to see and experience incredible landscapes and landmarks first-hand — from the snowy peaks of mountains in the Pacific Northwest, to the city skylines on the East Coast. You know, those views that, up until now, you've only dreamed about.

Once again, the trip is complimentary, and every winner will also receive up to $1,000 for other travel costs. The only catch is that Amtrak wants these "social media community leaders" to document their individual experience of riding on a train, visiting amazing views and sights, and having an adventure for their followers who may be looking to plan their next trip. Does that sound like something you can do? Um, yes!

How can you apply to the program?

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Applying to this program is super easy. Simply head on over to the Amtrak website and fill out this form that asks about your travel experiences and social media engagement, along with some basic personal information. Hit the "submit" button, keep engaging with your social audience, and then wait for the results to come in.

Applications will be open from now until midnight E.S.T. on Jan. 31. After they close, a panel of judges will choose winners based off of their writing, photography, and videography skills, as well as their personality online. The judges want to see that you're creating a community within your followers, and one who loves to travel or could really benefit from traveling by train. This could be through the content you've already posted that shows you're a good fit to represent the Amtrak brand, or the creative ideas that you've pursued that shows you understand your followers on a deeper level.

When it comes to traveling, you never want to limit yourself and your experiences. Find new ways to go further and get out into the world, and inspire others to do so, too. Applying to this contest will be a great way to start!