Every year when black Friday rolls around in November people go crazy for a good deal. We're talking door crashers, long lineups, hair pulling ... It's a zoo out there!
When it comes to travel, things are a little less competitive. No standing in line for hours, but phone queues will be busy and spots on tours will be limited. There are lots of ways you can be prepared to make the best of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday Sales this year. Here are a few things to help you prepare:
Short Booking Windows
Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales usually have very short booking windows. The specials may only be available on a particular day or for a short period of time. Usually, this is no longer than a week.
You'll have only a couple of days or maybe a week to decide and make a booking. Do some pre-research. Start now. Think about where you want to go, what type of trip you'd like to have and what types of experiences interest you. Don't just impulsively book a deal because it is fantastic savings, make sure you are spending your money on a trip that you are excited about and that brings value to both you and the destination you are visiting.
Check your passport. This can't be stressed enough. If you haven't looked at your passport in the past two and a half years, you are not alone! Go find it in that 'safe hiding place' that you may have forgotten about. Make sure that it hasn't been eaten by your dog, or scribbled on by your toddler, and that it doesn't expire for at least 6 months after the date of the end of your trip. That's not six months from today. If you are planning to travel in May 2023, your passport likely needs to be valid until November 2023. If it is not, you'll need to renew it.
Booking travel without a valid passport is risky. Long wait times to get renewals. Hiccups if your name is different on your passport then your booking. You can be denied entry to a country, denied boarding on a plane, be charged fees to change the information. or to rebook with the new passport information.
Deposits WILL BE required for anything you book and in most cases are non-refundable. Deposits range from $100 to 20% of the trip cost, so make sure your credit card has space!
Dates of Travel
While there may be some sales for 2022 travel, you should expect most will be focused on the first six months of 2023. Often high season dates are excluded such as Christmas, Easter and Spring Break. The best time to book for high season is nine months to a year in advance, not last minute. High-season availability sells out quickly because of the high demand and therefore companies have no need to discount for these travel periods. If you are looking to travel in 2023, you might just snag a great deal in the next few weeks!
Now more than ever, having good Cancellation, Interruption and Medical insurance is super important. There's even Cancel for Any Reason insurance now.
Do you know what insurance coverage you have? If not, dig out your policy booklets or give your insurance company a call.
Ask them questions about how much cancellation coverage you have, how much interruption coverage you have, and do you have medical coverage for if you get Covid while in destination. You may also want to check how many days you are covered for and if there are any restrictions based on your age. This last point is especially important if you are over 60 or are counting on your credit card for coverage.
Insurance companies are busy and understaffed. If you need to call in to get information on your coverage you'll likely be on hold for quite some time. Do it this week. Grab a tea or coffee and some patience. Don't wait until you are ready to book a trip or you'll be even more frustrated when you can't get the answers quickly.
Did you know, even if you haven't booked your trip through us, you can still purchase your insurance through us? Get in touch for a quote.
Paperwork and Terms & Conditions
You may find when booking travel now there is more paperwork (often digital) than before and while terms & conditions are boring, it is super important that you read through them to understand what happens if you cancel or if the company cancels your tour. I often find that when people book short notice or super quickly to lock in a good deal, they skip reading the terms & conditions. Please slow down, make sure the bases are covered and you understand what you are booking. When the terms & conditions say something is non-refundable, it actually means non-refundable. You cannot get your money back. This is also why insurance is super important!
Talk to your Travel Advisor in Advance
Travel advisors are already extremely busy and you may have a hard time finding someone taking new business if you aren't already working with someone.
If you were working with an advisor prior to the pandemic and haven't travelled since, reach out to them to find out if they are still in business. Something like 30% - 40% of travel advisors did not return to the industry after the pandemic. Many others have changed companies. Many companies have closed up shop and no longer exist!
I strongly suggest working with someone you like and trust, but also someone who specializes in the type of travel you wish to do.
At Love the Way You Travel, our passion is creating Authentic Adventures for Responsible Travellers. Under that, we book small group tours, river cruises, African Safaris, Adventure Cruises and custom-built itineraries. Our main destinations of focus are Central & South America, Europe, Africa and Asia. If any of these are what you are looking for, you can set up a consultation to learn more about working with us.
We don't book everything though. We like to stick to what we know in order to give you the best service and experience possible.
A few things we don't book are all-inclusive resort vacations, Disney and large cruises. Don't despair though! If you are looking for a great advisor to help you with any of these types of travel, we've got just the person for you! Drop us a message to tell us what you are looking for and we can introduce you to one of our colleagues who is knowledgeable in the areas of travel that we are not.
While working with a travel advisor is more about receiving personalized service, expertise, and assistance when something goes wrong, we all know everyone loves a deal. Did you know travel advisors often have access to exclusive promotions, value adds, and upgrades that are not available to the public?
You might be interested in attending these upcoming virtual webinars for inspiration for your upcoming travels, chances to win prizes, and insider information on the upcoming Black Friday promotions! Please list Shari Tucker as your travel advisor when asked on the registration. After the events, should you wish to make a booking please contact us with the dates, destination, type of trip and/or specific company or promotion you are interested in. For Air Canada Vacations and Princess Cruises inquiries, we'll be happy to connect you with one of our colleagues who will take great care of you.
November 14th: 7:30 pm EST- Air Canada Vacations- Click to Register
November 15th: 7:00 pm EST – AmaWaterways - Click to Register
November 16th: 7:30 pm EST - Princess Cruises - Click to Register
November 17th: 7:30 pm EST - Collette - Click to Register
We hope this information has been helpful and we look forward to helping you plan your next great adventure! If you are out in the real world shopping on Black Friday, may the odds be forever in your favour.