Top Black Friday travel gear deals

With just over a week until Black Friday, now is the perfect time to start planning your shopping adventure. We sat down with the founder of one of the largest Black Friday deal sites to talk about the deals this year, and how stores deal with the inevitable leak of their top secret ads.

Brad Olson runs Blackfriday @, and he’s been dealing with the shopping event since the first ads started leaking out back in August. Since then, it has been a never ending task to keep readers updated with the latest bargains, and add them to his handy deal database.

After the jump, you’ll find our interview with him, and the top twenty travel themed bargains from the currently leaked or published Black Friday deal listings.

Gadling: Have you noticed any stores taking a more liberal approach to their ads being “leaked”? I know some (like Home Depot) are very strict, but do others actually encourage the ads to go out in public as soon as possible?

Gottadeal: Overall stores have been more liberal with their Black Friday ads in the last couple of years. The peak of the legal threat nastiness was more in 2006-2008, but since then I think stores have realized that having their ad leaked early isn’t the end of the world and can actually benefit them.

Gadling: Any big trends this year for shoppers? It seems like there is no real “hot” gadget this season in electronics or toys?

Gottadeal: As for trends this year, it’s probably electronics again. People want deals on HDTVs and Blu-ray players. iPods are always popular, especially with a deal like Walmart’s with a free $50 gift card.

Gadling: Will you be out shopping on Black Friday, and what will you be looking for?

Gottadeal: I will likely be home again. I’m usually up all night Thursday night updating the site with what BF ad items people can buy online at the sale prices, and I usually do that non-stop until around 7 in the morning, and then while everyone is out shopping I get some much-needed sleep, lol.

And here are twenty of the best Black Friday travel gear deals. Some of these deals link directly to the store product page – and you will not see the low Black Friday price until Black Friday!

  1. Best Buy – $159.99 JVC Everio GZ-MS230 Dual Flash Camcorder
  2. Best Buy – $149.99 Compaq 10″ Netbook 1GB / 160GB
  3. Office Depot – $279.99 15.6″ Lenovo Celeron laptop 2GB/250GB
  4. Best Buy- $129.99 Garmin Nuvi 1300LMT 4.3″ GPS with lifetime free traffic and maps
  5. Gander Mountain – $99.99 Garmin Nuvi 1300 4.3″ GPS
  6. Kmart – $79.99 7″ Dual screen car portable DVD player
  7. Kohl’s – $37.99 Prodigy Hudson 5-piece luggage set (early bird)
  8. Office Max – $74.99 TomTom Portable One 130 3.5″ GPS
  9. Pep Boys $49.98 Magellan Roadmate 1440 GPS
  10. Radio Shack – $4.99 Targus travel 4 port USB hub
  11. Sears – $9.99 music travel pack FM transmitter, mount, charger (early bird)
  12. Sears – $99.99 Samsung C20 Camcorder (early bird)
  13. Sears – $109.99 Sony Bloggie HD camcorder
  14. Sears – $9.99 Capri 21″ Carryon upright luggage (early bird)
  15. Target – $19 30″ Embarq rolling duffel bag
  16. Target – $49 RCA 7″ portable DVD player (4 colors)
  17. Walmart – $99 Flip UltraHD Camcorder (early bird)
  18. Walmart – $29 Philips 4GB MP3 player (early bird)
  19. Walmart – $49 Philips 7″ portable DVD player (early bird)
  20. Walmart – $198 eMachines 15.6″ Celeron Notebook 2GB/250GB (early bird)

These are obviously just a very small selection of some of the bargains you’ll find on Black Friday. For an overview of all the deals that have been published so far, head on over to Black Friday @

Seven ways to escape the Black Friday shopping experience

Ahhh, Black Friday. Those that love it are die-hard shoppers, those that hate it would rather stick their arm in a blender than experience being crushed while trying to grab a discounted laptop out of the hands of killer bargain hunters.

Me? I’m firmly in the group that loves the idea of staying up all night to grab discounts that really make it barely worth the hassles. Still, there is something oddly comforting about waiting in line for two hours to save three Dollars off a board game. Black Friday is when the Holiday season officially kicks off – and is when 140 million Americans grab their credit cards and spend whatever they can on whatever they don’t really need.

Here are seven ways you can escape (parts of) the Black Friday experience.Escape the cold

If you live in a cold state and want to shop in the warmth on Black Friday, then you’ll either need to dress warmly or fly somewhere warmer. Standing in line in the freezing cold starts off quite nicely when everyone is in a good mood, but once things dip into the 20’s, people get cranky really fast. Hot cocoa only goes so far when the wind is brutally cold.

Alternatively, find the largest indoor mall in the area, park your car outside while you watch the crowds shiver in the arctic temperatures. Then, when the mall opens its doors, wait for everyone to walk inside and slowly join the end of the line. Chances are most of the deals will still be around, and you’ll stay toasty warm and comfortable.

Escape sales tax

Planning to do a lot of shopping for big ticket items? Consider making the trek to one of the five remaining states in the country with no sales tax. Those states are:

  • Alaska
  • Delaware
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon

Of course, this plan doesn’t really work if you live in Indiana and plan to drive to Delaware to buy that new 65″ LCD TV – but if you are shopping for smaller items and are within driving distance of a sales-tax-free state, the savings could be quite considerable.

Escape being sane

Lets make a checklist for this one – one lawn chair per person, one portable toilet, soft drinks, snacks, phone backup charger cord, music, spare batteries and a total lack of respect for yourself.

This is of course the checklist for the 5AM shopper. And no – not 5AM on Friday – 5AM on Thursday. You’ll be the person I see waiting outside Best Buy when I’m driving to relatives for Thanksgiving Dinner. To you, saving money on a new laptop or TV is more important than turkey and stuffing. And to be honest, given how some family dinners can be, who’s to blame you.

Doorbuster deals can indeed really be worth it. The only thing that can spoil a 19 hour wait in line is snow, rain and people who try and jump the line when the store doors open. Before Black Friday, always ask the store in question what their line policy is, when staff will be present to control lines, and whether they hand out tickets hours before opening. Also be sure to check store inventory, because showing up as number 150 at a store with just 40 laptop is a colossal waste of time.

Escape jail time

There are many ways you can get in trouble on Black Friday – spending too much and maxing out your credit card is just one of them. If you really want to avoid finding yourself facing some real trouble, don’t jump the lines, don’t push store staff members and don’t yell at checkout clerks.

Remember, if you think Black Friday is a hassle for you, consider what a hell it is for people that have to work this time of year. My motto is that Black Friday needs to be fun – yes, waiting in line can be a bit of a bore, and once store doors open, everyone is fighting for themselves, but that doesn’t mean you need to behave like a jerk.

Introduce yourself to your fellow shoppers in line, chat about what they think the good deals are, and make sure you have a good time. Because quite frankly, if it turns nasty – the fun is gone, and I’m going to head home for some sleep.

Escape the crowds

You really think there is anywhere with no crowds? I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but even the smallest places in the nation with one Wal-Mart for the entire community will have its fair share of crowds.

The best kept secret about Black Friday deals is that most of the same deals will pop up again between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Granted, the real doorbusters may not be as cheap – but if you are like me, you probably don’t mind spending $25 more if it means saving a trip to the hospital, or watching someone get crushed by an angry mob.

Escape it all

If you are one of the members of the “I hate Black Friday” crowd, then you can stay inside all day and watch TV news reports of injured shoppers, or you can get away from it all and check into a hotel. While everyone is busy finding Zhu Zhu pets (or whatever is in this year), you can enjoy the hotel pool, order room service and get yourself pampered.

If your budget is a bit more flexible, picture yourself on a Hawaiian beach on Black Friday, or sipping cocktails on a cruise ship.

Escape the heat

I can’t really see anyone actually in a warm climate wanting to do their Black Friday shopping in the cold, but if you want to get in the Holiday spirit with a nice case of the flu, then you can leave your warm climate and head to one of these fine cold climate malls:

Gurnee Mills, Gurnee, IL

This massive mall is located about 30 minutes up the highway from O’Hare international airport. The mall is surrounded by several cheap hotels, and is home to over 200 stores. The mail itself is indoors, so warm climate visitors won’t feel too chilly. The doors open at 5AM on Black Friday and stay open till 10PM. About 20 minutes from Gurnee Mills are the Pleasant Prairie Prime Outlets – stores here open at midnight on Black Friday!

The Mall of America, Bloomington, MN

This is the king of all megamalls – with over 500 stores and a huge amount of food outlets, a theme park, a theater, an aquarium and more – this is where you can shop, and those deal haters you’ve dragged along can entertain themselves on their own. Stores here open at 6AM on Black Friday, but be prepared to encounter an absolute zoo when it comes to parking.

Tysons Corner Mall, McLean, VA

Tysons Corner mall may ring a bell if you are an Apple fan – this is where the first Apple Store in the world opened its doors. If you are not a fan of gadgets, you’ll be happy to know that the mall is also home to your usual lineup of luxury department stores. Doors open at midnight and stores stay open till 10PM.

[Photos from: Getty Images, Mall of America photo: Flickr/puroticorico]

Cyber Monday: not just for retailers any more

After four days off, the world will slide behind its desks again on Monday morning. They’ll try to get back into the swing of work life, but it won’t be immediate. So, as they ease back into productivity, many will push into the shopping world they dodged three days earlier on Black Friday. The hotels will be waiting for them, with more than 60 of them pushing deals to try to get in on the holiday shopping action.

Around 69 million people are expected to jump into the Cyber Monday fray, with workers aged 18 to 24 seen as the most likely to shop at work. Overall, 54 percent of people with internet access at work will start to take care of their holiday season obligations on Monday.

According to a survey, 87 percent of the retailers surveyed plan to get deals out in front of online consumers this holiday season, up a tad from last year’s 83 percent. So, it’ll be tough for the hotels to stand out, but this won’t keep them from trying.

Fifty of Starwood‘s resorts will be offering deals during a three-day sale that starts on Monday, with discounts of up to 45 percent. But, you’ll need to travel between the beginning of January and the end of April. Seven Affinia Hotels properties are offering 15% off a 2010 stay at properties in New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. The James Hotel in Chicago is offering a 100% bonus on gift cards purchased.

Gadling’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals guide

Yes – Black Friday is almost here again, which means brave people will once again be out of bed at 3am so they can stand in line with 500 others, just to save $100 on a TV. Before I mock those people too much, I too will be one of them. Even though I don’t need any new gadgets, I enjoy being part of the madness that is Black Friday.

If you don’t get too excited by this concept, or you’d rather be shot than be part of this once a year event, then check out this massive lineup of great online deals we have collected for you. Shop from the comfort of your own home, without the risk of being trampled to death in a mass of slow moving shoppers.

Double your gift certificate with James Hotels

Gift certificate promotions are nothing new – but this deal from James Hotels is truly a great way to kick off our lineup. To celebrate Cyber Monday (Monday November 30), you can buy “James Credits”, and double your purchase for free.

James Credits can be applied towards a room, but also the restaurants and bars (only exception is for the spa and private events). James Credits can be purchased up to $500, which means a $500 investment gets you $1000 to spend at their hotels. One minor piece of fine print – the free credits need to be spent before March 31st 2010. Click here for the deal, and more details on James Hotels.

Callpod Black Friday / Holiday bundles

Callpod is one of my personal favorites – they make some of the best portable device chargers on the market. To celebrate the Holiday season, and kick off Black Friday, Callpod has put together three bundles of their products.

The Chargepod Uno is on sale for $39.95, the Chargepod Duo for $49.95 and the Chargepod multi-device charger is just $59.95, with three adapter tips and a voucher for three more. You’ll find the deals on their holiday special offers site.

25% off iBend artist series iPod and iPhone stands

iBend sells very simple cool looking iPhone stands. They normally retail for $7.99, but you can get one for 25% off. Head on over to The promotion begins today and ends December 25th 2009.

Portable grilling on the go – buy 2, get 2

Yeah, grilling season may be over for most, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of a great deal on a fun disposable grill. The EZ Grill can be stored until you need it, and when you are done (and it has cooled down), you simply throw it away. These normally retail for $19.95 per pack of 2. But between now and December 25th, when you order a pack of two “party grills”, you’ll get 2 for free. Head on over to to order.

Moshi voice command alarm clocks – up to 40% off!

We took the Moshi voice command travel alarm clock for a spin on Monday – and proclaimed it ” the cure for the crappy hotel alarm clock”. Between the 27th and the 30th of November, you can get up to 40% off your own Moshi alarm clock. This means you can order a voice command travel alarm clock for just $19.99! Head on over to to order.

ACES Black Friday shopaholic train + hotel discount for NYC shoppers

South Jersey shoppers who want to make their way to New York City for some Black Friday action can sit back and relax on the Aces Shopaholics train. The train leaves Atlantic City at 10:02 am on Friday the 27th. All passengers will receive a “signature ACES shopping tote”. Hardcore shoppers who want to spend the night in New York can stay at the Ace Hotel and enjoy a 10% discount by using coupon code “ACESTRAIN”. This code is valid on stays from November 27th through December 30th.

$25 rooms at the TradeWinds Sandpiper resort in Florida

What better way to enjoy Black Friday than booking yourself a relaxing $25 room at a luxury resort in Florida. The Tradewinds Sandpiper resort is offering these discounted rooms “as low as” $25 to early bird Tweeters and Facebook fans on the 27th, starting at 6am (EST). The rooms will be available for select dates in January and include the resort fee. The $25 rate is a discount of almost $200.

The only way to get the fantastic rate is to follow the resort on, or visit the property’s Facebook Fan Page luck!

20% off all purchases from booq bags

Booq bags are extremely popular – and once you see their lineup, you’ll see why. They make really good looking bags, with a very smart design. On Black Friday, you can order anything from their store with a sweet 20% discount and free shipping. You’ll need to use promo code SWEET during checkout.

40% off all Ten One Design products

Do you ever get annoyed by trying to type on your iPhone or iPod Touch? Did you know that there is actually a stylus that works with it? Ten One Design invented the Pogo Stylus, and is selling all their products with a 50% discount on Black Friday. In addition to this, the 50th customer to place an order on Black Friday will win a free iPod Touch! The discount is valid between the 27th of November and the 30th, which means you can sleep in on Friday (unless you want a chance at winning that iPod Touch!). Head on over to for their products.

50% discount on be.ez notebook bags

be.ez notebook bags and sleeves are on sale with a whopping 50% discount on Black Friday. The deal is only available through their Amazon storefront. In addition to this, all netbook sleeves are free with the purchase of any 10.2″ netbook on Amazon. The following bags ar
e on sale:

  • LA besace 13″ Addict Wasabi Messenger Bag (Black/Wasabi): 50% off MSRP
  • LA besace 15″ Lime Drop Messenger Bag (Grey/Lime): 50% off MSRP
  • LA besace 15″ Classic Messenger Bag (Black/Orange): 50% off MSRP
  • LA robe Sleeve for MacBook 13.3″ (Black/Pumpkin, Black/Wasabi, Black/White): 50% off MSRP
  • LA robe Netbook Sleeve 10.2″ (Black/White, 2Blue, 2Green, 2Pink, Red Kiss/White): Free with purchase of any 10.2″ netbook

Head on over to the be.ez bag store at Amazon for these deals. The promotion starts on November 26th, and lasts till December 30th.

Cyber Monday hotel deal – 15% off an Affinia hotel stay

Right after you recover from Thanksgiving and Black Friday, you can once again become immersed in deals on “Cyber Monday”. This new deal day was invented by online retailers as a way to get some of their own attention.

One of these deals comes from Affinia Hotels where you can book a room for 2010 with a 15% discount. The reservation can be made until Sunday November 28th 2010. In addition to the 15% discount, the first 50 people to create or update their “My Affinia” profile and book a room with a discount will receive a $50 Amex gift card when they check in.

The discounted rates are available at any Affinia hotel in Chicago, New York or Washington D.C. and can only be booked on on Monday November 30th between 12:00 EST and 11:59pm EST. To book a discounted room – be sure to use this special link.