Black Friday sales aren't just about queuing up outside department stores at 3am to bag cut-price consumer goods. They also offer a great opportunity to book flights and hotels if you want to save cash when planning your next winter sun holiday or life-enriching travel experience.
January and just after Christmas have traditionally been the best days for bagging cheap travel deals in the UK, but since Amazon introduced its Black Friday sale here six years ago, Brits have been snapping up discounts on electricals, clothes and travel in US-style, post-Thanksgiving sales.
Discounts start on Black Friday, which this year falls on 25 November, and last until Cyber Monday on 28 November. Top travel deals will be released across the four days.
In the US, Cyber Monday is the big day for travel discounts, so this is a particularly good time for looking for cut-price hotels in the US or cheap flights with US airlines.
While most travel companies and airlines keep their discounts quiet until Black Friday itself or just before, it's likely there will be plenty of deals for countries such as Greece and Turkey, as well as Caribbean breaks to tempt post-Brexit Britons into booking winter sun holidays in countries where the currency is pegged to the dollar.
Airlines tend to be particularly big discounters in Black Friday sales, so look out for big savings with the likes of British Airways, Qatar Airways and Air New Zealand, which all offered savings on various routes on Black Friday last year.
In 2015, Norwegian Air offered 30 per cent off all flights, so they're an airline to watch too. Booking websites such as Lastminute.com and Expedia have also been known to get involved in the Black Friday action.
Here are a few tips for finding the best deals on Black Friday:
- Have an idea of what you want and how much you want to pay first. For an idea, last year Air New Zealand was offering return flights from London to Los Angeles for £199 and London's five-star Courthouse Hotel was offering rooms for £10 a night.
- Be flexible with your dates. As is usually the case, the best discounts might be for travel during the week, in term-time and at less convenient times of day. The first two weeks of December and the whole of January are good, off-peak times to travel, as are autumn and spring (school holidays aside).
- Keep an eye out for updates on each airline, tour operator or hotel's website a few days before – sometimes they start sales early or at least announce the details beforehand. If you have your eye on a particular airline or travel site, sign up for email notifications and check their Facebook and Twitter accounts for details of their sales.
- Set airfare alerts in advance on your booking site of choice (such as Google Flights, Skyscanner or Kayak) for your preferred routes.
- Do thorough research: as can be the case with big travel discounts, there may be a good reason why a hotel or tour package is heavily discounted. For example, check it's not because the hotel is in a difficult, out-of-the-way location or because there are noisy renovation works going on.
- Be prepared to move fast to get the best prices – some deals last for 24 hours, while others sell out within hours or minutes. The four-star Naples Grande Beach Resort in Florida, for example, had a $100-per-room flash sale between 6am and 7am Eastern Standard Time on Cyber Monday last year, with a limit of 100 rooms.