Best places for shopping and tips for packing
The love affair between Australians and Hawaii has been going on for years, and while we may have seen a small 3 per cent dip in visitor numbers in 2016 we’re spending more than ever.
Last year our spending was up 3.8 per cent to US$877 million. That’s more than a cool billion Aussie dollars.
While the shopping in Hawaii has its rewards any time of the year, come November the bargains reach fever pitch with the Black Friday sales.
These post Thanksgiving sales are the Super Bowl of shopping in America, so we’ve put together some tips to help you prepare for the big league.
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BAG IT UP
One of the advantages of flying Hawaiian Airlines is that everyone flying from Australia to Honolulu, even those in economy, can check in two 32kg bags, that’s a whopping 64kg of baggage allowance.
To maximise the room for your bargains travel light on your flight to Honolulu and pack just a handful of clothes and a swimsuit, leaving the rest of the room for your new purchases.
Some regular Black Friday international shoppers pack a smaller suitcase inside a larger one for the flight over, and if you’re in the market for new luggage this is a chance to go over with hand luggage only and come back with a new matching set.
And the best bit? When your shopping marathon is over a holiday in a tropical paradise awaits.
Arrive a few days before Thanksgiving so you can do your research and start limbering up.
If you’ve never cut coupons before, now is a good time to start. Check local newspapers for special offers and extra discounts and snip away.
You can also find coupons online, including Waikele Premium Outlets’ website where joining their VIP Shopper Club lets you print a Savings Passport. Hawaiian Airlines passengers also receive a special savings booklet and a gift when they shop at Waikele.
Pop into Macys to pick up your 10 per cent Off International Visitors pass. It won’t work on top of all sales but will for some and as it lasts for 30 days you can get it before the crowds descend.
Once those sales signs go up things are going to get hectic so it’s best to get the lay of the land beforehand.
“Ala Moana Center is Hawaii’s most frequented shopping destination, attracting 48 million visitations each year,” Francis Cofran, senior general manager of Ala Moana Center, says. “Thanksgetting Day (Black Friday) will be no exception, so we encourage customers to plan their day in advance. Shoppers can use the directories located within the Center or download the GGP Malls app.”
Wandering aimlessly around shops can be relaxing at times. Black Friday will not be one of those times. Make a list of things you want to buy for yourself and for other people along with a budget you want to stick to.
Try on any clothes and shoes you may want to buy and make a note of what size fits you best for every item. That way you can avoid long queues for change rooms and have laser sharp precision on sale days. The shoe department is one of the busiest on Black Friday so do all of your ‘are these comfortable?’ checks before the madness.
While Black Friday sales are traditionally the day after Thanksgiving, some stores open on Thanksgiving Day itself, allowing you to get a jump on the bargains.
Janna Herrington, director of marketing and business development at Waikele Premium Outlets says trading at the famous outlet mall starts at 9am Thursday, November 23 and doesn’t stop for 38 hours when doors finally close at 11pm Friday night.
“Start early on Thanksgiving Day or if you can brave the overnight hours, shop on Thanksgiving night at 11pm through 8am on Black Friday to elude the crowds.”
While the Ala Moana Center is yet to reveal their 2017 hours in recent years some stores opened from 6pm to midnight on the Thursday before reopening at 6am on Black Friday, so it’s best to check individual store websites in the days before.
Prepare for sensory overload.
While Honolulu’s Black Friday shoppers are relatively polite and unlikely to push you over for a pair of shoes, there’s going to be a lot of them. Your head is also likely to be spinning as it tries to take in all of the bargain options.
Comfortable shoes are a must, and clothes that are easy to get in and out of will speed up change room times.
Come prepared for long queues with something to read and bring a portable power bank for your phone. You don’t want to run out of batteries if you lose your friends in the crowds or when you’re trying to do the maths on 20 per cent on top of 50 per cent discounts.
Don’t try to do it all at once. The Ala Moana Center alone has more than 290 stores, then there’s the Waikele Premium Outlets, the Ward Village Shops with Nordstrom Rack and TJ Maxx, and Waikiki itself will be packed with stores on sale including the International Marketplace with Hawaii’s first Saks Fifth Avenue.
Black Friday may be the big one but the sales will continue over the weekend so don’t panic. Take breaks throughout the day. Stay hydrated. Breathe. And get back in there.
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