By Susie Reese
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is one of the most traveled days of the year with more than 100 million vehicles hitting the road and more than 25 million people stepping onto planes. Most travelers are heading one place—home, whether it be 30 or 3,000 miles away. Of course, that causes major problems for grabbing those blue light specials on Black Friday. How can your wallet run wild when your luggage must remain fit? We feels your pain—from dragging our Friday grabs through airport security. So here are our best tips on how to defeat the Black Friday heat while away from your own beat.
Grab Guidance #1: Do your usual research.
You, one of the elite Black Friday Conquerors, have a process. You make a list of items and places. You map out the best route in every mall, in every store. You travel in numbers, like a hunting pack, ready to pounce on that perfect present for your loved one at an exceptional price. So you’ll have to know the terrain of your new domain before that Friday. If you can, fly in a few days early and hit your nearby malls. Make notes on where you’ll be headed on the big day and where the most important items are located. And of course, don’t forget to pick up a large, gooey pastry from the food court. It’s tradition.
Grab Guidance #2: Bring an empty bag.
Slip a big duffle bag into your original luggage. This will be your stash bag. After you hit the malls on Black Friday, you can use this bag to bring home all your goods. Since it’s a duffle, it should fit easily into the overhead compartment, so you won’t fear losing that perfect gift after checking your suitcase. If you’re crafty, a personal item may also be used to transport your Black Friday take. After all, doesn’t a new iPad fit perfectly into that front compartment of your computer case?
Grab Guidance #3: Check a bag.
Yep, we went there. If you’re looking to bring home Black Friday loot, there’s no way you’re going to be able to carry the presents on with your original clothes and toiletries. So you’ll have to set your own gear under the plane. If your loved ones like clothes, check out Southwest Airlines, which allows a second checked bag to fly free. That’s a whole other suitcase to fill. Also, certain hotels offer a room credit to cover baggage fees, so don’t forget to see if yours does. I doubt Chalet du Mom offers a credit, but that homemade apple pie you loved as a kid is so worth the baggage fees.
Grab Guidance #4: Be realistic.
Yeah, that flatscreen TV is not going to fit in your bag, and lugging it to the airport to check it means those little, nasty “fragile” stickers, which are only interpreted facetiously. So your best bet is: Can’t pack? Put back. Of course, there is also the option of shipping your gift back home, but sometimes shipping a heavy flatscreen TV costs more than your scored savings.
Grab Guidance #5: Skip it.
You’re traveling to spend time with loved ones, so spend time with loved ones. Enjoy Thanksgiving and make Black Friday a family fun day. Learn that new recipe from Mom or Dad. Challenge your siblings to a game of touch football. Show Little Cousin Skippy how to ride a bike. After all, Cyber Monday has great—sometimes better—deals than Black Friday, and you can shop from the comfort of a work terminal, which of course none of us do (right, Boss?).