We can’t travel abroad right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t plan for the year ahead. Spring will be here before you know it, along with the rollout of a new Covid vaccine (fingers crossed), an easing of restrictions and some normality - at last.
Most of us will also have extra holiday days to take, rolling them over from 2020, the year everyone stayed home. With this in mind, it’s worth paying attention to the swarms of travel deals whizzing around the internet this Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday.
Whether you’re aching to wake up in a new time zone (Caribbean, anyone?) or fancy exploring a new corner of the UK, there are plenty of offers that will have you reaching for your credit card and dusting off your passport.
Skyscanner’s Consumer Travel Expert, Jon Thorne has advice to secure the best deals.
Expert tip: How to get the best Black Friday travel deals
One-stop shop: Skyscanner’s deals hub includes a search for Black Friday deals. It will show the most competitive pricing from all partner airlines, as well as travel advice and tips on booking travel safely.
Flexibility is the ticket: Being flexible and your could unlock cheaper fares. If you’re ready for an adventure, throw caution to the wind and search Everywhere. It could mean discovering a hidden gem or a new destination, while saving you cash.
Mix & Match to save cash: Opening yourself up to flight combos can also cut costs. See if booking single fares with different airlines lowers the price.
Be in the know: As well as Skyscanner’s deals hub, sign up to the newsletter to hear about upcoming sales. Ditto newsletters from your favourite airlines.
Fly at unusual times: Consider travelling a day before or after your original dates; flying on less popular days of the week is always cheaper.
Drop it low: Subscribe to price alerts to monitor costs. If you’re ready to take a gamble and wait it out, the price might drop right at the last minute.
Booking with peace of mind: Use search to only show airlines with flexible tickets. Skyscanner highlights flexible tickets so they’re easy to spot. They should offer protection if the situation in your origin or destination country change
After the year we’ve had, you’d be forgiven for being in an emotional tug of war; on one hand wanting a holida, but on the other, wary about putting down money on a flight or holiday when things are still very much up in the air.
If travelling in 2020 has taught us anything it’s that insurance is non-negotiable. Money.com says: “make sure you don't forget to get travel insurance when you book your getaway. Plans don't always go smoothly, and given the recent collapse of Thomas Cook that left thousands of travellers stranded around the world, it makes sense to be prepared.”
Many Black Friday travel deals offer free date and name changes, so if things don’t go to plan, you should be protected but it’s never been more important to read the small print and put extra safety measures in place.
From top airlines to boutique boltholes in a sun-drenched paradise, there are plenty of amazing offers whizzing around. Our advice? Catch ‘em while you can.
Best Black Friday flight deals
British Airways - 20% off flights, city breaks from £99pp
Get a flying start on your 2021 travel plans over at British Airways, where there are quite a few deals to be had Black Friday. For a speedy soujourn to the Continent, you can expect 33 per cent off mini breaks to destinations as diverse as Barcelona, Bilbao and Budapest (flights + hotel). Then there’s £200 off All Inclusive holiday bookings, for those who have spent the best part of this year dreaming of a totally carefree, fully paid-up getaway.
BA Executive Club members can also bag 20 per cent off flights anywhere with discount code: BFOffer. If you’re not in the Club yet, it’s free to join and you can start collecting Avios immediately to splash out on future flights.
Virgin Atlantic - fares from £239
Rolling out its most generous Black Friday sale ever, Virgin Atlantic is offering Upper Class return from £999, Premium from £599 and Economy Light from £239 across both Virgin Atlantic and Delta to destinations from Miami to Mumbai.
Depending on the destination and time of year, Upper Class tickets can typically cost £1200+, so if you’ve always wanted to turn left upon boarding, this is your chance.
Other headline offers: Virgin Atlantic Flying Club members can get half off reward seats across the airline’s network, and Virgin’s new route to sunny St Vincent and the Grenadines is also on sale, with flights from £349 return for travel from June 2021.
The airline’s flexible booking policy allows customers to change the dates of their travel up to two times as well as change names once, with the associated fees waived - though fare difference may apply.
Icelandair - Reykjavík from £65 return and North America from £269pp return
Icelandair is running a ‘Black Friday Flash Sale’ which sees the price of seats slashed to 28 European destinations as well as across the Atlantic to the likes of New York, Boston or Toronto. With the majority of travel beween June and September next year, it’s the perfect time to snag a cheap flight for 2021 summer holidays. Departures from Heathrow and Manchester.
easyJet - get away from £24.99
Buckle up for easyJet’s Black Friday offering where 350,000 seats are on sale across the network - starting at a miniscule £24.99. The sale ends 8am, Dec 2 with travel spanning Dec 10 right the way through until the end of September 2021 making it a perfect choice for summer getaways.
Cathay Pacific - LHR to HKG from £379
Pack your bags and head on an adventure for less thanks to Cathay Pacific. Offers include fares to Tokyo, Bali, Bangkok, Sydney, Auckland, and Hong Kong starting from a mere £379. Take in the dazzle of Hong Kong, marvel at future-forward Tokyo or kick-back Down Under; it’s all just a hop, skip and click away.
What’s more, Cathay Pacific will offset double the emissions on all flights booked through the airline’s website until November 30 without any additional cost to you, making Black Friday a whole lot greener.
Opodo - tiny prices for big holiday plans
How does Athens from £19 sound? What about New York from £244 or Bangkok from £393? These are just some of the deals available at Opodo.co.uk, where discounts of up to 20 per cent are ready and waiting to be bagged. The great thing is you can book car hire and accommodation on the site too, allowing you to build a personalised package that suits you. There’s flexibility to rebook for free if restrictions apply, and as an extra step, all Opodo’s insurances include Covid-19 cover.
Best Black Friday rooms and hotel deals
30% off rooms at Booking.com
From GB gems starting at £17 to rooms to some of Europe’s Grande Dame hotels, Booking.com has gone big this Black Friday.
There are thousands of hotel room deals to snap up, and starting at 30 per cent off they’re perfect for everything from a cheap and cheerful weekend away to an epic trip to remember. Deals are available to book until December 1 for travel through December 31, 2021.
50% off rooms at Melia Hotels International
With outposts in destinations as far afield as Iguazu Falls and Mexico, Melia Hotels’ Black Friday offers will have you dusting off your passport. The chain is offering up to a whopping 50 per cent off stays at some of its hotels, with free cancellation available for total peace of mind.
Gran Melia Iguasu: 45 per cent off and free cancellation, as well as resort credit of $50 to spend on stays before June 31, 2021 (when booking through melia.com). Was: £254pn, now: £152.40.
35% off luxury suites at Jade Mountain, St. Lucia
Overlooking St Lucia’s iconic Piton mountains, Jade Mountain is a luxury hideaway that resembles the set of a Bond film. The small but exclusive resort has just 23 open walled suites (or sanctuaries), all with private infinity pools and a troupe of personal butlers.
Naturally such unabashed luxury comes at a price, but this Black Friday, it’s 35 per cent less when booking the Star and Moon Infinity Pool sanctuaries, which includes a beach dinner under the stars.
Sister resort Anse Chastanet is set lower down the hill and what it lacks in sweeping mountain views it makes up for in sparkling sea vistas. This Black Friday, it’s offering up to 40 per cent off, plus $100 spa credit when booking into the resort’s Superior and Hillside Deluxe rooms.
Book either deal from Nov 26 - 30, 2020 to travel Jan 3 – Dec 19, 2021 (blackout dates apply).
Athens from £19 at Opodo
The Greek capital from £19, NYC from £244, and Bangkok from £393 - real life or fantasy? These are just some of the deals on at Opodo.co.uk, where discounts of up to 20 per cent are waiting to be plucked from the sales carousel. Book car hire and rooms on the site too and create a package that allows you to travel as you like. There’s flexibility to rebook for free if restrictions apply, and as an extra step, all Opodo’s insurances include Covid-19 cover.
30% off rooms at Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences
A holiday in your hometown - why not? Fully appreciate the sights that tourists flock around the world to see with a stay at the Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences. Set a stone’s throw from St. James’ Park, it’s in a perfect location for falling in love with London all over again. The Black Friday offer is 30 per cent off the best available room rate, with rooms starting from £300, valid for stays before the end of August next year.
There’s a similar deal at sister hotel St James Court a Taj Hotel where you can get 30 per cent off rooms, which start from £200.
Both offers end Dec 1.
Best Black Friday cruise deals
If you prefer a slower mode of travel with extras thrown in, a cruise holiday can be a great way to go. Book Emerald Waterways’ 2022 European River Cruise and save up to a grand per couple. The offer includes a free Premium Drinks Package, €150 per cabin to spend on-board, and if you pay in full a year before your departure date, you can get an additional 10 per cent off.
Further afield, there are 15-day trips through Cambodia and Vietnam, taking in sights like Siem Reap, the magnificent Angkor Wat and ending in bustling Ho Chi Minh City. Book now to save up to £1,700 per couple, and you’ll get a free Premium Drinks Package thrown in, plus an additional 10 per cent discount when you pay your full bill 12 months before departure.
It may seem spenny, but when you consider that all prices include return flights, transfers, the stated cruises, all tipping and gratuities, all on board meals, included excursions and experiences with knowledgeable local guides, it’s a steal.
The early bird may catch the worm, but the super early bird nabs once-in-a-lifetime cruise deals. Scenic is rewarding planners with £800 off per person for its 2022 European river cruises (which take in the glory of Vienna, Bratislava and Budapest) - and it includes private door-to-door chauffeur-driven transfers. Pay for the trip 12 months ahead of departure and you’ll get an extra 10 per cent off the cost of your trip.
Black Friday London attractions, day trips and spa breaks
Half price pass for The View from The Shard
The View from The Shard is slashing the price of its Annual Pass from £79 down to £39.50 for 12 months. Watch the city unfurl in every direction from its highest perch, spot London’s incredible landmarks and marvel as it changes through the seasons. Offer runs until 30 November.