TIME TO SHOP

Sunday Herald Sun - Escape - - COVER STORY -

Learn how to sur­vive Hawaii’s big­gest shop­ping day in style. 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 $US877 mil­lion. That’s more than a cool bil­lion Aussie dol­lars. While the shop­ping in Hawaii has its re­wards any time of 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.

COUNT­ING DOWN

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

(pre­mi­u­mout­lets.com/vip) 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 Macy’s 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, but 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

HAWAI­IAN AIR­LINES AL­LOWS FOR A WHOP­PING 64KG OF BAG­GAGE, EVEN FOR THOSE IN ECON­OMY

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.

THANKS­GIV­ING DAY

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,” she says.

While the Ala Moana Cen­ter is yet to re­veal its 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.

GAME DAY

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 bat­tery charge 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.

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 trop­i­cal par­adise awaits.

PIC­TURES: SUP­PLIED

A per­fect Waikiki sun­set; and (from top) shop­ping in Hawaii is amaz­ing any time of year but, come Novem­ber, the bar­gains reach fever pitch with the Black Fri­day sales; when you’re done with re­tail ther­apy, hire a surf board and en­joy the trop­i­cal par­adise.

PIC­TURES: HAWAII TOURISM/TOR JOHN­SON/MARK KUSHIMI, ISTOCK

Dusk at the Lew­ers Waikiki shop­ping com­plex (left); and (above) Oahu’s re­tail of­fer­ings range from small bou­tiques to large, main­stream shop­ping cen­tres. Pack light so you can re­turn home with a full suit­case. Some reg­u­lar Black Fri­day in­ter­na­tional shop­pers pack a smaller suit­case in­side a larger one for the flight over. When shop­ping’s done, go body­board­ing at Waikiki Beach.

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