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Okay, I admit it — I’ve never been a big Black Friday shopper. Malls drain me, crowds of shoppers overwhelm me, and I feel like I’m already fighting a constant battle with the physical things I already own.
But this year, I realized there are a lot of bitchin’ sales on things that I do love purchasing — things I can buy from the comfort of my couch, and ones that enrich my life rather than contribute to my closet (and, someday, a landfill.)
So for the first time ever, I’m celebrating Black Friday with a Wanderland Guide — so let me know what you guys think. Unless otherwise noted, these sales end Sunday night. Happy weekend — and here are a few ideas for landfill-free shopping today!
An Online Class or Course
What better to buy for yourself — or as the greatest gift ever — than a new skill.
I was hooked from the second my friend Kristin told me about her new travel photography course, Photo Muse Masterclass. She gave me a little sneak peak at the curriculum, which includes basics on camera settings and setup, advanced photo techniques like long exposures and even astrophotography (which Kristin KILLS at!) and most importantly, getting great photos of yourself (crucial for solo travelers), editing hacks and tricks, and finally, and a bit of blogging, branding and Instagram advice, so you can share your photos far and wide. I personally can’t wait to take it. And it’s 20% off all weekend!
This course is definitely an investment but I can say with confidence that knowing Kristin and the excellent work she consistently produces, this is going to be an incredible course — and I’m very proud to be an affiliate of it. So, as an added incentive and because I think it would be a fun to have some accountability buddies to do the course with, I’m going to create either a Facebook group with anyone who enrolls in the course via my affiliate link this week! I’ll be writing a full review post of the course next month, so anyone who wants to do the course with me and gives me their permission to do so could have their photos and platforms featured here on Alex in Wanderland, too. Just shoot me an email with your receipt and we’ll go from there.
I’m an e-course junkie, so a few others that I love are Bloggers, Brands and Tourism Boards by my friend Amanda (I reviewed it here) and Superstar Blogging (formerly Travel Blog Success, and they are offering up to 66% off courses through Monday night).
A Modern Day Scrapbook
Recently, my family and I dug out the old family photo albums and spent hours pouring over them. We had a blast, but dang, those things take up a whole closet — and we lamented that there wasn’t an easy way to share them with relatives afar.
Which led me to thinking about how blogs really are the modern day scrapbook, and can be used to commemorate so many different life journeys — travels, home improvements, personal challenges, or just your everyday thoughts and musings.
If you’ve been thinking about setting up a blog, there’s never been a better time than this weekend. Elegant Themes (which has awesome, customizable themes if you’re not ready to take the plunge for a full site design), Bluehost (which has cheap hosting and domains for those getting started), and Performance Foundry (which has incredible hosting and development for those who want to get personal, VIP service out of the gate) are all having crazy sales right now!
Bluehost, for example, has shared hosting for as little as $2.65 a month, and Performance Foundry is offering 5-30% off most everything they do through the end of November.
If there’s one indulgence I can’t give up, it’s guidebooks. Lonely Planet is having a huge sale with buy one, get one off all guidebooks, including eBooks for those sticking to the physical stuff-free ethos of this post! I just picked up a few myself… just to daydream.
One thing I love about Lonely Planet is that you can buy individual chapters, perfect if you’re heading on a brief trip or to somewhere obscure. This is SUCH a good sale, however it cannot be combined with any other codes or specials (well, you do get free shipping as usual for purchases of $60 and up) but the only issue is you have to be a bit clever — if you purchase a bunch of full price guides and then a couple of chapters, it will remove all the cheap chapters. So I made two purchases — one for the full price guides, and one for the individual chapters I wanted to buy.
I mean, not that this travel blogger is biased or anything, but what could be more precious to buy than… travel?!
If you’re into tours, you’re in luck, because all the major operators are running crazy sales this weekend. Travel Talk Tours, Intrepid Travel (ALL of their 2019 tours on sale for 20% off right now.) and Contiki all have some exciting stuff happening — read my reviews of my group tours to Greece and my group tour to Egypt to see if it might be up your alley. Viator, which mostly focuses on day tours but also has some multi-day stuff going on, is pushing up to 15% off all tours with the code VIA18 at checkout.
Craving an underwater trip? Liveaboards are often a great way to snag a diving deal, and never has that been more true than today! PADI Travel (which I wrote a review of here) has some amazing Black Friday deals — like, I’m talking up to 50% off — going on. Time to snag your dream dive trip!
Not a diver but still love an adventure? I’m obsessing over the website BookYogaRetreats, which is currently one of my favorite ways to daydream. You can search by price, length, and destination, of course, but also fun stuff like yoga style and all kinds of other crazy categories. Their sister sites BookSurfCamps (which has surf and SUP trips), BookCyclingHolidays.com, and BookMotorcycleTours.com basically have all the adrenaline bases covered…
Things You Eat or Drink
Now, what is a more rewarding purchase — for yourself or others — than something you’re going to be consumed? No pulling a bottle of wine out of a closet ten years from now and agonizing over whether to put it in a garage sale or donation pile. Which is why I’m loving Winc as a way to treat yourself to something special every month.
Winc is a monthly wine subscription service where you take a little quiz, they recommend you four bottles of wine which you can confirm or swap out, and then they arrive in the mail in cute eco-friendly packaging. You can cancel anytime, penalty free, and if you don’t like a bottle, they’ll send you a new one, no questions asked. I absolutely loved their inventory, and for once didn’t feel guilty when FedEx showed up at my door, knowing I’d have something perfect to serve family and friends who stopped by that month — or, ya know, week, depending on how often you uncork. Get $22 off your first month with this link!
The Right Kind of Stuff
Okay, so let’s be real, this isn’t a zero waste blog, and we all buy physical stuff sometimes. Right now, I’m just trying to focus on making it the right kind of stuff — things that are ethically produced and packaged, and ideally, help me cut down on purchasing, especially single-use items, in the long run.
Did you know the fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world? (Fast fashion is one of my lingering weaknesses, and I’m considering incorporating that into my New Year’s Resolutions…) Yet you can feel good about shopping brands like Encircled and Prana, which focus on sustainable materials and ethical production.
Encircled is having two one days sales for both Black Friday and Cyber Monday: 25% select items plus free shipping to the US and Canada on orders over $150 using the promo code FRIDAY18, and 25% off sale rack items plus free shipping to the US and Canada on orders over $150 on Monday using the promo code CYBER18.
I’ve also been using this time while I’m home and my travels are on hold to test out new eco-products for home and for travel. Check out my Amazon Influencer list of Eco Home Ideas for all kinds of deals on plastic-reducing products like wool dryer balls (to replace single-use sheets), cloth produce bags (to reduce single-use plastic produce bags) and beeswax food covers (to reduce single-use foil and plastic wrap). And travelers, don’t miss my Amazon Influencer list of Eco Travel Ideas, featuring some new favorites like a sampler pack of Ethique’s solid beauty products (ergo, plastic-free packaging), silk dental floss in a glass bottle (ditto on the plastic), Saalt, the most stylish menstrual cup I’ve seen (no more tampons), and colorful bamboo toothbrushes (way cuter than the plastic kind),
I confess — all this purchasing is getting me in the gift-giving mood. While I work on my holiday gift guide for 2018, don’t miss last year’s version — which, I have to admit, is still so relevant I’m not sure I’ll even be able to top it this year.
Now, sharing is caring — so leave any amazing deals I missed in the comments!
Tell me, are you Black Friday through Cyber Monday shopping this year?