Black Friday discounts aren’t just for retailers any more. If you’re looking to travel this winter, the days after Thanksgiving are a prime time to grab great deals, whether your preferred mode of travel is air, land or water.
Before you plan your trip, follow these tips to make sure you secure the best prices:
Follow all the major airlines on Facebook and Twitter to stay abreast of their latest offers. Oftentimes social media is the first place you can hear about the best deals on plane tickets. Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines, US Airways and Virgin America are all on Twitter, where they advertise their newest bargains.
Additionally, you can sign up for email notifications from major airlines you’re looking to fly with. If you don’t want to fill your inbox with spam, you can always unsubscribe once you’ve secured your ticket.
When it comes to booking, make sure to compare flights across airlines and dates. No longer the days when you had to contact a travel agent to plan a trip, the Internet is full of useful tools to let you compare and contrast flights and dates. Check out cheapair.com, cheapoair.com, farecompare.com, fly.com, hopper.com, kayak.com, skiplagged.com and skyscanner.com.
If you’re searching on your phone, Adioso, GetGoing, Google Flights, Momondo and SkyScanner all offer handy apps for finding the cheapest flights.
Don’t assume that a price you saw one day is going to be there the next – or even two hours later. Many prices change rapidly, so stay on top of deals by checking these websites frequently. Airlines have been known to offer higher prices to repeat visitors of their sites, so make sure to clear your cookies between each search. There have even been reports of websites tracking IP addresses, so if you can, use a different computer or Internet connection to book your flight.
If you can, be flexible about the dates of your trip to secure the best deal. In general, Tuesdays, Wednesday and Saturdays are the cheapest days to fly domestically, while Fridays and Sundays are the most expensive. Early-morning, red-eye and overnight flights will be cheaper than those at more comfortable hours.
Cruise for Cruise Deals
Flying isn’t the only way to get around. Consider signing up for a cruise, where you can take advantage of a broad selection of destinations and enjoy the comfort of a luxury ship.
No longer for just the wealthy, cruises are discounted drastically every year as companies offer Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials. Check out Azamara, Carnival, Celebrity, Holland America, Norwegian, Princess and Royal Caribbean for their promotions this year.
If you’re looking for last-minute deals, consider Cruise.com, Paul Gauguin Cruises and Quark Expeditions. To stay on top of their offers, you can follow them on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates on their prices.
Seasonal Savings on Tours
If you’re looking to explore the world with an experienced guide, consider REI Adventures. The outdoors retailer is known to offer discounts on its trips at the end of November. Last year on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, the outdoors retailer offered $750 off a 2014 coast-to-coast hiking trip in Ireland.
World travelers looking to go far this year should keep an eye on Friendly Planet Travel. Last year, the website offered a major sale on its international travel tours. Starting on Cyber Monday, the 24-hour sale included discounts up to $500 and destinations including 36 countries around the world.
Cyber Monday Train Deals
Rail Europe introduced its first Cyber Monday deals last year. Eurail passes were marked down $100 for the first 125 customers, and shoppers of Rail Europe gift card received an extra $50 free.
Furthermore, for travelers to Italy, the purchase of Trenitalia tickets priced at $250 or more came with a free Omnia Vatican and Rome card. If you’re looking to explore Europe by train, keep an eye out for more deals this Cyber Monday. The Rail Europe website also lets you sign up for email notifications if you want to be top of all its deals.
App or Site for Hotels
When it comes to accommodation, check out the mobile app Hotels Tonight to find last-minute deals on hotels.
Another great option is American Express Travel, which joined the Cyber Monday madness last year, offering a 72-hour sale on hotels throughout the United States and Canada. Look out for American Express Travel this year, especially if you have a credit card that earns you extra rewards for booking through the site.
Written by Melinda Szell
Travel image via Shutterstock