Do you why Black Friday is called that? Well, let’s be honest… the murky origins of this day aren’t really important right now – what you want to know is how to get the most bang for your buck and score the best travel deals.
Just about everything you can imagine will be on sale during this hyped-up shopping event – including my soul (hey, 50% discount for 48 hours only).
During the days leading up to Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving in the US) and a few days after, you can grab deep discounts on hotels, attractions, dining, transport, and shopping.
Here are my best 4 tips to ensure you walk away from Black Friday feeling like a champion.
Book In Advance
When you think of Black Friday sales, perhaps the first thing that pops in your mind is a big-screen TV or gaming console. But the travel industry is not spared from this annual worldwide event.
Even though many travel sales only last a day or two during Black Friday, the eligible travel window is usually fairly generous – from a few months up to a whole year. So, planning next year’s vacations ahead of time pays off.
Now is the time to start scheduling those days off – ask your boss if you need to. And in return, you’ll be ready to hit the “buy” button as soon as the sales kick off.
Book Hotels Directly
Online travel agents (OTAs) only have a small amount of wiggle room when it comes to discount offers. Going direct to the hotels will give you the opportunity to score substantial savings that you won’t find anywhere else.
For example, Barceló Hotel Group is offering 40% discount plus an extra 20% with the coupon code “BF2021” (some restrictions apply). Take a look through all their Black Friday hotel offers for a little inspiration. Direct online bookings or those made through their call centre are also eligible for their best price guarantee.
Tip: Check if the hotel has a loyalty program. Often, these are free to join and result in even more discounts. For example, “my Barceló” offers tantalising special rates exclusively for members.
Book One Way Flights
Airlines and online travel agents will clamour for customers by offering discounts during Black Friday.
One of the most effective ways to save money on travel is choosing the best flight during shoulder or low seasons. By booking in advance for the upcoming year, you can unearth cheaper seats because the price goes up exponentially in the 30 days leading up to the flight.
Tip: It may work out cheaper to book 2 one-way flights with different airlines, so you can capitalise on time-sensitive specials.
It pays if you do your destination research beforehand, so you will know exactly where you want to go. Make a list of 5 potential destinations – some close to home, and others further away – that will fit within your budget. Then when you find the right flight on Black Friday, pull the trigger with confidence. Bam!
Dig through my thorough guide for cheap one-way flights for all the juicy details.
Use Credit Card Rewards
If you’ve been spending money on your credit card all year (and hopefully paying it off before the interest kicks in), then you probably accrued and a hefty nest egg of reward points. Now’s the time to cash in.
Take your Black Friday travel discounts to the next level by wielding your fantastic plastic to:
- cash in your reward points, and combine those with Black Friday promotions so your travel is either free or almost free
- get flight upgrades (hello business class!)
- score hotel room upgrades, or
- make large travel purchases for even more card rewards and bonuses
Choosing the right credit card for travel rewards can be a little daunting – offers flow in thick and fast, with complicated jargon and gotchas. If you’re from the US, find out my secret weapon in cutting through the fluff and discovering the best travel reward credit cards for you.
The Bottom Line
With all the money you save from Black Friday travel sales, you can afford to spend a little more time on vacation, or perhaps spoil loved ones (or yourself) with extra Christmas gifts.
Benefiting from Black Friday travel deals requires a little research and advanced planning - starting long before the turkey is in the oven. The sooner you put these strategies in place, the better equipped you’ll be for the next Black Friday bonanza, saving big bucks year after year.
If you like this article, also check out my must-read 71 travel money tips to make your dollar stretch further on your next international trip.
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