Making the most of Black Friday in Travel
Black Friday is the perfect time to snag deals on holidays, cruises and hotel stays. But it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the hundreds of promotions on offer, book in haste and repent at leisure. As with most things in life, failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
Raphael Giacardi, Chief UK Editor at travel deals platform HolidayPirates has shared his top 10 ten tips to help you navigate Black Friday sales by planning, avoiding common pitfalls and booking the best offers.
Top 10 Tips to get the best Black Friday Travel Deals
1. Think ahead
You need to be clear about what you’re looking to buy. Think about destinations, itineraries, travel and period. Do you want to travel with a specific company or airline? Do you have a favourite hotel chain? Work out what you want to book and get a feel for the prices. These will serve as your baseline on Black Friday. You want to book a real deal, not getting influenced by fancy discount claims.
2. Sign up for relevant newsletters
Some brands release their Black Friday deals to their email subscribers before they do to the general public – or offer additional discounts. By signing for all relevant newsletters, you might snag the best deals or most popular dates before they sell out.
3. Use social media to your advantage
Don’t limit yourself to the newsletters – follow the brands you’re interested in on social media. These channels are great ways to hear about the promotions and sales first. Don’t forget: you don’t have to follow these brands forever. If you don’t like their content, you can unfollow them after Black Friday.
Bonus point: follow companies specialising in travel deals, like HolidayPirates, on social media (and subscribe to their newsletters). They do the research and vet the offers for you.
4. Do your homework
Always price-check before you buy – don’t just take a brand’s word for it. For package holidays, compare prices for the same and similar holidays on a few travel agents’ websites. For flights and hotels, use price-comparison tools like Kayak and Trivago. You can also set up price alerts for flights on Google, Kayak and Skyscanner to help you see the evolution of specific fares.
5. Be flexible
This advice applies every time you’re looking for a deal, not just on Black Friday. Companies will generally offer deeper discounts on products (destinations, dates, hotels) that still have a lot of availability. Be open-minded about when and where you travel, and you’ll give yourself a chance to pounce on the best offers.
6. Make the most of loyalty programmes
Being part of a loyalty programme is like signing up for a newsletter, but with the volume turned to ten. Like with the emails, registering is often free. But you’ll likely need to surrender a bit more personal information. In exchange, the exclusive offers should be better. There are too many loyalty programmes to name them all, but most airlines and hotel chains will have one.
7. Read the T&Cs
The devil is in the details. Super discounts sometimes come with strings attached. Before you book, read the fine print. What is the cancellation policy? Are there additional fees or restrictions you may have missed at first glance?
8. Be safe
The UK has had its fair share of travel companies going out of business. But we’re lucky to have robust schemes that protect travellers financially and ensure repatriation in case your travel agent goes belly up while you’re abroad. Make sure to look for ATOL and ABTA protection.
9. Think beyond travel
Of course, we all want to score a cheap holiday or bargain flights. But you can find discounts on a lot more. Look for a good deal on an annual travel insurance policy. It’s also the perfect time to get specialised snow or watersports gear. Or to simply renew your holiday wardrobe.
10. If it’s not right, walk away
Black Friday is big business. You hear about it in the news. You get teasers from a variety of brands. Your friends and family are asking you what you’re going to buy. There is so much pressure to take the credit card out that it’s easy to forget you don’t have to. Can’t find anything that’s right? Pass. Cyber Monday and the January sales are around the corner anyway.