The Top Five Ways to Beat the Holiday Rush
It is said that the holidays are some of the most magical times of the year. However, they can also be extremely frustrating in terms of shopping, booking a holiday and finding the best gift before it is out of stock. Whether we are referring to Christmas, New Year's or end-of-summer getaways before the children head back to school, the holiday rush can prove to be altogether maddening. To make our lives a bit easier, let us take a look at five of the best (and easiest) ways to beat the holiday rush and reduce your levels of stress at the same time!Content
- Plan Ahead During the Holiday Season
- Use the Internet
- Avoid Mainstream Locations
- Choose the Right Time of Day
- The "Gift" of the Gift Card
The busiest time of the retail year occurs after Black Friday (29 October) and continues until the day before Christmas. While many will put off their shopping until November or December, it is a great idea to stay ahead of the curve and begin purchasing gifts as early as September, you can often pick up sales and promotions earlier in the year so last minute deals are not always the best. There are two main benefits to this approach. First (and the most obvious), you will be able to avoid those long lines, screaming children and frustrated shoppers. Secondly, it is a well-known fact that many retailers will begin to raise their prices immediately following Black Friday. Buying early will help you to potentially save a great deal of money and avoid the bulk of the holiday rush before it truly begins. Never neglect the promotional code that can be found online, there are hundreds of sites all over the internet sharing codes, now 10% off might not seem like a bank breaker but think about all the savings accumulated over the year might just leave a pity penny in your pack pocket.
Never forget that another great way to beat the holiday rush can be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home. The Internet is one of the most effective and convenient ways to find excellent deals on a number of different products or services. From encountering a doll that your daughter has been begging for to booking tickets for a flight to southern Spain, you can now enjoy more choices than ever before. Additionally, there are a number of different portals to choose so it is likely that more amenable prices can be found along the way. Some sites will even allow you to create alerts when a certain deal comes up; ensuring that you are in the right place at the right time. Be sure to compare and contrast different providers before committing to any one in particular. Finally, keep abreast of any changes as they occur with your smartphone. A great tool that can help you get alerts for Amazon purchases is CamelCamelCamel this site will allow you set up custom notifications for your presents list so when the price is at its lowest you will be read to make your purchase.
The majority of shoppers will tend to flock to nearby malls and other massive retail outlets. While there may be a wider selection of items at these venues, what good is it if you spend three hours looking for a parking place only to find that a product has been sold out? So, it is wise to perform a bit of research and think outside of the box. Are there any discount centres nearby that offer similar products? As mentioned before, the Internet can be an invaluable resource in such a case. Find nearby stores online and see what they have to offer (as well as their prices). Take down their phone numbers and make enquiries in regards to specific products. Choose boutique locations if at all possible. In fact, craft and thrift stores have a number of truly unforgettable items that are normally found at very agreeable prices. While you may not be able to find a new gaming console for your son or daughter, there are likely many other unique gifts that can be enjoyed without wading through masses of other shoppers.
The typical holiday rush will occur in the early morning (before heading off to work) and the early evening (when arriving home from work). So, use a bit of strategy and try to shop between the hours of two and four o´clock in the afternoon. Stores will be much less crowded and you will not have to walk for miles after discovering that there are no parking spaces left. This will also help you to beat the "lunch rush" which is even more maddening than the more conventional times. While this may equate to asking for an afternoon off some days or weeks in advance, it is well worth any lost wages. Also, you may very well be able to find a popular product before it has vanished from the shelves.
More and more shoppers are now choosing to give a gift card as a present. There are a few types to choose from. Retail gift cards are redeemable for their cash value at a specific store or chain of stores. A Visa or MasterCard can likewise be used anywhere that credit cards are accepted. Once again, there are some notable advantages to either choice. A gift card is a great idea if you have no clue what to get someone or if they have extremely unique tastes. In terms of beating the holiday rush, many such cards can easily be ordered online. So, there are no more lines and in most cases, these items will never sell out (as opposed to a physical product). Still, be sure to keep in mind factors such as activation fees and expiration dates.
The yearly holiday rush can certainly put a damper on what would otherwise be some well-deserved time away from work. However, these five simple steps are all excellent ways to focus your efforts in the right direction. Although you still may need to do a bit of last-minute shopping, there is no reason that you must endure the crowds, the ridiculous prices and the disappointment if the desired item is unavailable. So, place your worries aside and allow yourself to enjoy the season while beating the holiday rush!