Those looking to book a vacation will be hard pressed to find a cheaper time to do so than the coming week as Black Friday and her younger sister Cyber Monday send prices into a nosedive.
Over the years, deals once reserved for the big box retailers have crept their way into the travel industry, with steep savings on everything from hotels to cruises to airfare to total vacation packages. And if you’re skeptical about booking on these much buzzed-about days, don’t be. Taylor Cole of Hotels.com said Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales really are as good as they sound.
“People are expecting to shop for deals beyond the retail stores, and the hotel industry has responded,” she said. “And the sales are often taken off of already discounted rates.”
Cole believes even more hotels have joined in this year.
“In the past we’d have a smattering of hotels and a few chains; now, the destinations are coming on board. For example, a significant number of hotels in places like Puerto Rico or Puerto Vallarta have worked together to support offering deals during this time frame.”
The advantage for the hotel, Cole said, is that they can potentially have higher occupancy in a time that can be a little slower, like the weeks before and the weeks immediately following Christmas and New Years.
George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com, said he’s only seen Cathay Pacific announce a Black Friday sale so far, but he expects more will follow suit.
“I am sure JetBlue and probably Virgin America will, too, judging from past years,” he said. “And yes, they are very good deals, although in limited supply.”
Cruise.com President Anthony Hamawy, meanwhile, said “now is a great time to receive a fantastic deal on the industry’s best cruise vacations.” Not only are the larger cruise companies offering deals this year, but also some of the high-end boutique luxury lines like Paul Gauguin and Quark Expeditions.
The travel deals popping up on the Web in the lead-up to Black Friday are far too many to collect on a single list, but here’s a look at some of the best.
Fancy a trip to the last frontier? If you purchase one of Quark Expeditions Antarctic voyages departing through January 2013, the second one is free. If the limited dates available don’t work for your schedule, the company will also offer 50 percent off the second passenger on all remaining 2012-2013 voyages. The sale starts Black Friday and ends Nov. 27. Call 1-888-892-0334 or email Quark.
Princess Cruises will slash rates by up to $1,000 and offer up to $100 in on-board credit to boot during its current sale, which ends Cyber Monday. The deal is good on more than 200 sailings to Hawaii, Alaska and the Caribbean for departures January through July 2013.
If you want to peruse more ships, Cruise.com has a Black Friday through Cyber Monday deal valid for 14 of the world’s largest and most popular cruise lines. The sale includes reduced rates, up to $1,000 onboard credits, complimentary upgrades and spa treatments, and special 2-for-1 rates. To book these deals, call 866-401-0895 or visit www.cruise.com.
Paul Gauguin Cruises, which sails through the South Pacific, will offer savings on 2013 voyages of up to $4,350 per person off previously advertised rates. The deal is valid for a 7-night Tahiti and the Society Islands trip, an 11-night Cook Islands and Society Islands sailing, or a 14-night Marquesas, Tuamotus and Society Islands voyage. Contact a professional travel agent, call 1-800-848-6172 or visit www.pgcruises.com to book the deal, which begins Black Friday and ends Dec. 8, 2012.
If you’ve always wanted to visit Asia, Cathay Pacific’s first-ever Black Friday sale may help. With savings of up to 15 percent on flights taken in February, “just in time for Chinese New Years festivities,” be sure to check their Black Friday page for all the details. The sale begins at midnight Friday and flights will likely book fast.
If you want to find a deal for both a flight and a hotel, Travelocity has got you covered with its annual Black Friday-Cyber Monday sale. Shoppers can save 50 percent or more on vacation packages to popular destinations like Florida, New York and Hawaii for travel through March 2013. For more information, visit Travelocity’s sale pages at www.travelocity.com/blackfriday and www.travelocity.com/cybermonday on Nov. 23 and Nov. 25 respectively.
Luxury outfitter Abercrombie & Kent’s holiday sale is perfect for anyone looking to tick an item off the bucket list. Beginning Cyber Monday and running for five days, travelers can choose from eight journeys (including the Galapagos and Tanzania) and save up to $2,000 per person. A 10-day private journey to the Taj Mahal and other attractions in northern India, for example, will be on sale for just $1,895. Times and departures, however, are limited.
Hotels And Resorts
The Hotels.com Thanksgiving sale runs through next Tuesday and offers 30 percent off budget-friendly deals for several locations in the United States through next spring. Steep discounts include hotels in Dallas from $38, San Antonio from $71 and New Orleans from $99.
Orbitz will offer 15 percent off at participating hotels on Cyber Monday for those who enter the code “CYBERORBITZ.” The deal is valid for stays through Jan. 5, 2013 (including, apparently, New Year’s weekend).
For a Luxurious getaway, shoppers on Cyber Monday will be able to access members-only sale rates of up to 25 percent off from Portico by Exclusive Resorts. The deal is valid for over 170 private residences in 60 of the world’s most sought-after destinations, including Rose Hall, Jamaica; Steamboat Springs, Colorado; and Las Vegas, Nevada.
Loews Hotels will offer up to 40 percent off best available rates at all of its properties except the Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Loews Royal Pacific Resort and Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando. The deal is valid for travel from Nov. 26 to April 30, 2013 and can be booked online or by calling 1-855-74-LOEWS.
If you act quickly, you might be able to score one of the 999 rooms throughout the Omni Hotels & Resorts brand available for just $99. The deal applies to rooms booked between Nov. 23 and Nov. 26 for stays through January 2013. Book at OmniHotels.com or call 1-800-The-Omni.
If you’re after budget-friendly accommodations, Howard Johnson Hotels is celebrating a different holiday: Orange Wednesday. On Nov. 28, it will sell rooms at 50 participating hotels in the U.S. and Canada at 50 percent off if you book a stay of up to three consecutive nights.
For 24 hours Monday, six Big Easy hotels will offer big savings of more than 40 percent off. The New Orleans Hotel Collection’s Cyber Monday sale includes rooms for as low as $89 a night, though rates and availability are unique to each location. Visit the Collection’s Cyber Monday page for details.
Bolongo Bay Beach Resort on the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Thomas is offering 50 percent off of its room-only rates through Dec. 22, 2012. There is a minimum stay of three nights, but stays of five nights or more receive and additional $50 in resort credit as well as a sunset cocktail cruise. If you book online, use the promo code 50/50. The deal is valid from Black Friday through Cyber Monday.
For anyone seeking a trip south of the border, the award-winning Hacienda San Angel in Puerto Vallarta will offer those who book on Black Friday or Cyber Monday rates at 40 percent off. Some blackout dates apply and the offer is not valid for low season, which runs from May to September. You can book by calling 877-815-6594 or emailing email@example.com.
The Westin Playa Bonita in Panama is offering a buy two nights get two nights free deal that includes an upgrade to the next room type. Current rates start at $250 per night, and the deal is valid for travel between Dec. 1 and Dec. 20 as well as July 1 through Aug. 15 next year. Book online using the code “CYBERMON.”
If it’s a beach getaway in Costa Rica you’re after, the Alma del Pacifico Beach Hotel & Spa has a deal for 40 percent off a two-night stay and 25 percent thereafter. The deal is valid from Dec. 1 to Dec. 15 and May 1 to May 30 next year, and can be booked online using the code “CYBER.”
Hundreds more hotels and resorts are offering Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Be sure to check their websites and social media pages for all the details.