From Black Friday to Cyber Monday to Giving Tuesday (the Tuesday following Thanksgiving), the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas will soon be one giant, hashtagged, holiday red-tag sale. For now, we can focus on the long weekend after Turkey Day for the best travel deals of the year. It’s worth noting that Black Friday was once the single best day of the year for deals — travel and otherwise. Now, however, Cyber Monday has mostly usurped Black Friday for bargain-hunting travelers seeking the best travel deals of 2019.
The best travel sales disappear quickly, however, and one-tenth of all deals are for last-minute travel. So, if you find a deal, double-check the fine print, lock it down immediately, and start packing your bags. Here’s how to navigate the bargain bonanza and save some serious coin on the best Black Friday travel deals of 2019.
Each year, Black Friday deals are often split between flights and hotels, with each segment making up one-third of the total number of all Black Friday sales. For 2019, as in previous years, expect many domestic and international air carriers to offer deeply discounted flights.
Skyscanner has the most comprehensive list of this year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday flight deals. The most significant savings — often in the thousands of dollars — are available to travelers booking vacation packages including flight and hotel directly through their preferred airline. The best time to book on Black Friday is often in the evening around 7 p.m. local time, while midday between noon and 2 p.m. is expected to be the most expensive.
The best deals sell out quickly, so it’s essential to act fast. Don’t get blindsided in the process, however. Keep an eye on the fine print to avoid getting hit with “hidden” baggage fees (especially with Basic Economy tickets and on ultra-low-cost carriers like Spirit and Frontier) or trapped in an impossibly narrow window of available travel days. Most airlines blackout major holidays, along with regionally popular travel times like the weeks before and after spring break.
For 2019, expect to find just as many deals on hotels as on flights. Most hotel brands offer flat-fee dollar or percentage discounts across the board. Black Friday deals are most common in upscale and luxury (think 3.5-star and above) hotel brands like Westin, W Hotels, and Four Seasons. Just like last year, expect average deals around 25-30% off with some of the best bargains as high as 50%. As always, the key to securing the biggest discounts is to be flexible.
As with booking flights, don’t rush into things before reading the fine print. Hotels are sneaky about hidden upcharges for things that common sense dictates should be included. Extras like paid Wi-Fi, mandatory valet parking, and vague “resort fees” can add 50% or more to deceptively “cheap” nightly rates.
It’s also best to book with a good travel credit card that guarantees not only rewards but buyer protection in the event your vacation goes sideways. Lastly, consider travel insurance. For a few dollars per day, most policies provide a full refund if you fall ill, your flights are severely delayed, or you get into a car accident on the way to the airport and need to cancel.
While airlines and hotels are abuzz with post-Thanksgiving sales each year, rental car providers can’t seem to care less. The industry hardly acknowledges Black Friday or Cyber Monday. The deals they do offer tend to be of the “flash” variety available for an ultra-limited time with numerous restrictions. The bottom line is: Don’t expect much in the way of discounts from them.
Like deal shopping in every other travel segment, your best bet is to sign up for each provider’s newsletter and follow their social media accounts for last-minute deals. Calling the local rental office directly (not a toll-free number where you’re likely to disappear into phone-tree hell) can often connect you with a live human who is more likely to be willing to work for your business. No matter the time of year, check out our tips for saving big on your next car rental.
If you’d rather not sift through the dizzying stream of holiday sales this Black Friday, we get it. Here, we’ve hand-picked our favorite can’t-miss deals for 2019. These are savings opportunities we rarely ever see.
Global Adventure: G Adventures
G Adventures’ expeditions are perfect for adventurous travelers who prefer to travel alone and rarely if ever participate in group tours. Its small-group journeys are intimate, exciting, and cover just about every bucket-list-worthy destination in the world. This year, its one-week Cyber Sale is the biggest of 2019, guaranteeing up to 35% off thousands of trips departing through April 2020.
- Includes sales on 600 itineraries, from Hawaii to the Galapagos to the British Virgin Islands — across six continents
- Booking window: November 26, 2019, through December 2, 2019
- Sample itinerary: Classic Costa Rica, a five-day trip traveling from San Jose to La Fortuna, will be priced from $422 per person (was $649 per person), departing on December 18, 2019
Romantic Tropical Getaway: Casa Kimberly
Puerto Vallarta’s storied Casa Kimberly is among the most famous boutique hotels in Mexico. The one-time home of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton has been fully renovated yet maintains much of its historic charm and elegance. Though it houses only nine suites, the on-site pool, boutique spa, and open-air Mexican restaurant make this the perfect spot for a romantic, mid-winter getaway. This Black Friday, it’s offering travelers the rare opportunity to save 50% on all bookings.
- Booking window: November 29, 2019, through December 2, 2019
- Stay dates: December 1, 2019, through May 31, 2020
- Enter code CYBERCK at checkout
Pacific Coast Cruisin’: Jucy Rentals
It’s no surprise why driving the Pacific Coast Highway is high on most travelers’ bucket lists. Jucy RV Rentals provides purpose-built camper vans with everything needed for a week or more of California cruisin’. Every custom minivan is tricked out with 1-2 double beds, a solar-powered fridge, dual gas stoves, and a kitchen sink. Because they’re smaller than a traditional RV, they’re also better on gas and more maneuverable into out-of-the-way and even off-grid, places. This Black Friday, the company is offering 50% off all bookings — plus 100 free miles per night and complimentary kitchen and bedding kits — through March 2020.
- Booking window: November 29, 2019, through December 3, 2019
- Travel dates: December 1, 2019, through March 31, 2020
- Enter code JUCYBLACK at checkout
Double or Nothing in Vegas: The Cosmopolitan
Few cities offer travelers as many year-round deals as Las Vegas. Ahead of Black Friday and into the weekend, The Cosmopolitan is promoting BOGO stays: Book one night, score one night free. It’s an impressive deal, especially given the resort’s recent top-down remodel. The renovation included high-tech conveniences throughout and 18 new restaurants and bars with a focus on high-concept dining.
- Booking window: November 25, 2019, through December 4, 2019 (at 8 a.m. PT)
- Travel dates: December 10, 2019, through February 29, 2020
- Discount applied automatically at checkout
Latin American Wine Country Escape: Entre Cielos Wine Hotel & Spa
Situated in the heart of one of Latin America’s largest wine regions, Entre Cielos Wine Hotel & Spa is the perfect base for a vino-centric vacation. The intimate, boutique property hosts just 24 luxury rooms on 20 acres of beautiful countryside in Mendoza. Guests can enjoy the on-site hammam and spa, eight acres of Malbec vines, and fine dining at the authentic Argentinian Katharina Bistro. This Black Friday weekend, the hotel is offering a generous 40% discount off all stays into fall 2020.
- Booking window: November 29, 2019, through December 1, 2019
- Travel dates: May 1, 2020, through October 9, 2020
- Discount applied automatically at checkout
- How to find the best street food (and other travel tips), according to YouTube megastar, The Food Ranger
- CheapCaribbean has a ridiculously simple new way to find the best beach vacation travel deals