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New online retail data reveals that some of the best deals to be had in the upcoming Black Friday shopping bonanza are holidays – just in time for our peak summer holiday period.

According to Cashrewards, Australia’s biggest online retail community, last year travel accounted for around 10% of total Black Friday spend, the highest ever one-day travel spend on Cashrewards. That number is expected to rise with even more discounts and deals on offer this year.

The findings came as a surprise because Black Friday is more usually associated with other bargains, such as on fashion and tech. However, figures show that travel is now a firm favourite on the Black Friday discount menu.

Cashrewards accounts for 2%, or around $600 million, of Australians’ total online spend each year. Currently, 315,000 Australians choose to shop directly at more than 1200 major local and international retailers after first clicking through the Cashrewards site. In so doing, they receive a percentage of cash in their bank accounts for every purchase made, PLUS whatever discount or deal is on offer on the retailer’s site.

Love travel? Want to do it smart – and cheap? Follow these smart travel shopping tips:
  • It’s all in the timing: Travel off season and off school holidays wherever you can. Avoid Fridays or Sunday afternoons/Monday mornings; and peak hour traffic times to reduce stress and time getting to the airport. Find out about free or low price city or hotel shuttles to get you to and from the airport to your hotel or resort; find out about special tourist travel deals on airport travel for trains and buses and SAVE on transfer costs. Call your hotel or resort directly and ask for free transport – many will offer it if asked.
  • Best seat in the house: Flying can be long and torturous. Don’t leave your experience to chance – find the most comfortable seats and choose them when you book. Expert websites that list the carrier, make and model of your plane give you the lowdown – so use it. Some carriers may ask you to pay more for a better seat. On long-haul flights this can be money well spent.
  • On for young and old: If you’re travelling with children, babies, the elderly or others with special needs, check to see if the airline concerned will accommodate and support those needs before you book, then make the needs known as soon as you can.
  • Triple dipping is the best! Make sure you use a booking site that will enable you to earn your usual flight reward points. If you use Cashrewards, for example, you can TRIPLE dip – you get the current discounted deal PLUS flyer or loyalty points PLUS a percentage of your fare in cash in your account.
  • A trip for all seasons: Check the best months to visit certain destinations with reliable weather/climate guides. Look for average rain and snowfall, wind/wind chill, maximum and minimum temperatures in the period you want to visit. You can enjoy big savings in off-season or inclement weather periods if you’re willing to wrap up warm or take a brolly. Be aware that in some places, weather conditions will lead to closure of various sights and attractions, so do your research before you take the discount.
  • Check the holiday calendar: Do your travel dates coincide with public holidays, religious or other celebrations at your travel destination? It’s best to check. These can close an entire country or city down for day/s on end. If you’re only staying a few days in one place you may miss out on all the key sights.
  • For art’s sake: Many major museums and galleries in cities throughout the world are closed one day of the week, often Mondays. Check ahead if you’re going to a city with an iconic museum and have limited time to be sure you don’t miss out. Similarly, many major museum & other sites have “free” days: each month or sometimes weekly. Plan ahead to take advantage of these.
  • Stay in touch: Never miss a travel bargain or an opportunity to get cash in your account. Download the free “notification” extension on the Cashrewards site. This automatically lets you know which sites are Cashrewards partners when you search or visit, so you can click through and earn dollars back on your holiday spend.
  • Card sharp: A special “card” is available from many major tourist cities, giving access to transport, restaurants, sights and events at discount rates. Check ahead on local tourism websites to see what’s on offer.
  • Tour smart: Free walking tours with qualified guides, along with free sightseeing bus transport, also with qualified commentary are a feature of many major cities, sights and tourist regions. Check ahead and book in advance. As well as offering good value and information, you can use these free experiences to get a feel for your destination and shape a deeper itinerary.
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