Travel News: How to find Black Friday deals for travel and attractions in Kansas City and beyond


As we work our way toward post-Thanksgiving shopping, you’re going to be bombarded with travel deals that sound so good you’ll want to plan a vacation around them, or scoop up the savings for a destination you already have plans to visit.

And that includes Kansas City staycations.

Travel deals are popping up for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday or the lesser-known Travel Deal Tuesday. These include price breaks and extra perks for purchases ranging from hotel rooms to airfare, tours, cruises, rental cars and tickets for events and attractions.

Before you buy do your homework. Read the fine print and research whether an advertised deal really is a bargain. You can do that by researching prices online. If you have a flight in mind, for example, go ahead and find out what airfare is now. Apps like SkyscannerGoogle Flights and Kayak let you set up price alerts.

As we work our way toward post-Thanksgiving shopping, you’re going to be bombarded with travel deals that sound so good you’ll want to plan a vacation around them, or scoop up the savings for a destination you already have plans to visit.

And that includes Kansas City staycations.

Travel deals are popping up for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday or the lesser-known Travel Deal Tuesday. These include price breaks and extra perks for purchases ranging from hotel rooms to airfare, tours, cruises, rental cars and tickets for events and attractions.

Before you buy do your homework. Read the fine print and research whether an advertised deal really is a bargain. You can do that by researching prices online. If you have a flight in mind, for example, go ahead and find out what airfare is now. Apps like SkyscannerGoogle Flights and Kayak let you set up price alerts.

BLACK FRIDAY SALE

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I’ve pulled together some of the local, regional, national and even a few international deals I’ve found online.

ATTRACTIONS

The Kansas City Zoo is offering buy one get one free ride wristbands on Black Friday for use that day, along with discounts on memberships and special pricing on an Adopt a Wild Child animal adoptions that can both be purchased online at kansascityzoo.org.

Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is selling select tickets to several Kauffman Center Presents performances at 20% off. Use promo code GIFT20 at kauffmancenter.org/events-tickets/kauffman-center-presents by the end of the day Dec. 2 to save on six events in 2020 from Squirrel Nut Zippers & Dirty Dozen Brass Band on Feb. 1 to writer/producer David Foster with singer/actress Katharine McPhee on May 19.

Sea Life Aquariums and Legoland Discovery Centers in Crown Center and across North America are offering up to 50% off their annual passes now through Cyber Monday. Find details at visitsealife.com and legolanddiscoverycenter.com.

Union Station is offering $20 off a one-year annual membership, new or renewing, purchased Friday through Monday. Members can visit Science City, the Model Train Exhibit, KC Rail Experience and Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium, plus they get discounts to the traveling national exhibits hosted in the historic depot and other benefits. Use coupon code 5962619 at unionstation.org.

Paradise Park, a family fun center in Lee’s Summit, is selling its family four-pack at 50% on Friday only. The package is four adventure day passes good for use by Aug. 1. Activities include go karts, rock climbing, mini golf, laser tag and more. Find the deal at paradise-park.com/event/black-friday-sale.

EVENTS

Several regional festivals are offering ticket discounts:

▪ Heartland Stampede, the new name of the annual country music festival Country Stampede that has moved from Manhattan to Topeka’s Heartland Motorsports Park, is selling $99 three-day general admission tickets starting on Black Friday. Use code BLKFRIDAY at heartlandstampede.com. The event is June 25-27, 2020, with headliners Luke Combs, Toby Keith and Cody Johnson.

▪ Dancefestopia has $99 three-day general admission passes this weekend only and might offer flash deals on Cyber Monday, too. Watch at dancefestopia.com for details on the electric dance music festival in LaCygne, Kansas, off U.S. 69, on Sept. 10-13, 2020.

▪ Roots N Blues Festival Oct. 2-4, 2020, in Columbia, has 20% off passes when you purchase a pack of four at rootsnbluesfestival.com before Jan. 3.

▪ True/False Film Festival March 5-8, 2020, in Columbia, is taking 10% off a limited quantity of passes on Cyber Monday. Use code cybermonday at truefalse.org.

Musical Theater Heritage Theater at Crown Center is selling remaining tickets for “A Spectacular Christmas Show” performances between Dec. 5-10 at 25% off using code BlackFriday25 at musicaltheaterheritage.com. Purchase now through 10 a.m. this Saturday.

TRANSPORTATION

If you have a destination in mind, Google the city and “Black Friday” or “Cyber Monday” to find available deals. Check directly with airlines, hotel brands you favor and attractions you like to visit.

To catch the flash deals available at airlines, follow your favorites on social media or sign up for their frequent flyer programs and accept their emails. Many steep discounts are limited to just a few seats, so shop the deals as early as possible for your best chances in nabbing a great airfare.

Another option is to set up airfare trackers for any flights you’re watching. Hopper, the online booking entity promoting Travel Day Tuesday, says that in analyzing 25 to 30 billion daily flight and hotel price quotes in its database, the Tuesday following Thanksgiving has consistently offered the most deals during this shopping period, including discounts on 20% of all domestic and international routes, with savings of up to 40%. You can see previews of some deals at traveldealtuesday.com.

It hasn’t been formally announced, but industry experts expect Amtrak to run its Track Friday Sale for the fourth year. Last year the discount was 30% off nationwide train travel through the end of April with no blackout dates. The sale should start Friday and run through Monday at amtrak.com.

The major cruise lines are offering deals but they are keeping them under wraps. Expect price discounts, stateroom upgrades and onboard credits. Sign up for alerts from Royal Caribbean at https://www.royalcaribbean.com/cruise-deals/black-friday and keep tabs on Carnival Cruise Line at https://www.carnival.com/cruise-deals.aspx, or find your favorite cruise line.

 

HOTELS

One of the first travel promotions to land in my email inbox this season was an imaginative offer from Hotel Grinnell, a 43-room boutique hotel in a converted 1920s junior high school that we stayed at earlier this year on a trip to eastern Iowa. Book a two-night weekend stay at the hotel, not far off Interstate 80 in Grinnell, nearly midway between Des Moines and Iowa City, and you pay the temperature for the Friday night of your stay. So if it’s 30 degrees according to the National Weather Service report at 5 p.m. the Friday you stay, you’ll pay $30 plus tax and your Saturday night remains the booking rate. The deal is good for travel dates between now and March 1, and can booked at hotelgrinnell.com using “FRIGID!” as the promotional code.

Great Wolf Lodge in Wyandotte County, along with the brand’s 17 other family resorts featuring indoor water parks, is offering a Cyber Monday 48-hour sale. You’ll find up to 48% off on select rooms and nights for stays from Dec. 2 through Jan. 16. Use promo code CYBER48 at greatwolf.com starting Monday.

Historic Elgin Hotel, a 13-room boutique property about 60 miles north of Wichita in Marion, opened its Parlour 1886 restaurant last month. The owners are running a promotion starting on Black Friday through Dec. 29 that scores anyone making a new overnight reservation on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday one free dessert in the restaurant. A two-night reservation any of those nights gives you a choice of either one free dessert or 20% off your dinner tab, excluding alcohol. Book at historicelginhotel.com.

The Fontaine, a 132-room boutique hotel on the Country Club Plaza, is offering 40% off stays between Dec. 2-Sept. 20, 2020, when you book direct. You must book between Dec. 2-8 and use promo code CYBER at thefontainehotel.com.

21c Museum Hotel has two brand-wide promotions, and there are eight of these contemporary art-focused hotels open (including Kansas City, Oklahoma City and Bentonville, Arkansas) with three more coming soon. A Black Friday flash sale will take 21% off best available room rates for stays through March 31, 2020 (except Chicago, which is opening this winter and allowing the discount bookings through the end of 2020). Book at 21cmuseumhotels.com/2019blackfriday from Friday through Sunday. On Cyber Monday only, you’ll get a $25 voucher to the 21c restaurant of their choice for every $200 gift card purchased. Visit shopat21c.com on Monday for details.

The Skirvin Hilton, a historic hotel in downtown Oklahoma City, is offering a Black Friday deal that extends to Dec. 20. You can get a room for $109 per night for travel through Feb. 8. Use promo code P19 at skirvinhilton.com or call the hotel and ask for the Holidays at Skirvin deal.

All Gaylord resorts are offering 30% off rooms and discounts on ICE! event tickets to encourage holiday travel over the next month. Only 250 room nights are available at this rate per location, with the closest being Gaylord Rockies Resort near Denver and Gaylord Texan Resort in the Dallas area. The sale starts at 8 a.m. on Monday and applies to select dates through Jan. 5. Find details at christmas.gaylordhotels.com.

Xanterra Travel Collection has more than a dozen brands that are offering discounts Friday through Monday ranging from up to 40% off stays in lodges at Zion, Grand Canyon, Death Valley and Yellowstone national parks to deals on cruises, bicycle tours and event tickets. Find links to all of the offers at xanterra.com/Thankful.

Nearly every hotel in Las Vegas seems to have a holiday deal. One example: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’s Double or Nothing offer is a buy one night get one night free. You have to stay at least two nights, so they actually discount each night 50%. Don’t forget you’ll also incur the resort fee most Vegas hotels charge. Book before Dec. 3 for select dates from Dec. 17 to March 4. Visit the offers tab at cosmopolitanlasvegas.com.

Downtown Denver hotel The Curtis is playing off the city’s status as the mile high city by offering a limited number of rooms for $52.80 a night for stays through Feb. 29. Their deals start Friday and run through Monday at thecurtis.com/offers/black-friday-meets-the-mile-high.

Holiday Inn, Kimpton, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites, Hotel Indigo and other brands with properties around the world under the InterContinental Hotels Group umbrella are offering up to 20% off select rooms and an additional 5% for travelers who are members of the free IHG rewards club. Book now to Dec. 17 for stays through May 31. Booking this deal requires non-refundable, full pre-payment for the entire stay. See full details at ihg.com/cybersale

Most national online travel agencies and booking sites are promoting heavy discounts for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, some of which have already started. Visit ExpediaHotwireBooking.comHotels.comPriceline and other travel websites and look for a link to these specials on the homepage. They often have guidance on how to best keep up with deals that will be announced throughout the weekend. Some require you use their app for deals, like HotelTonight.

File photo (March 20, 2019)  AP PHOTO

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