**FILE** Travel and shopping are expected to rise to near pre-pandemic levels during Black Friday 2021 on Nov. 26. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
**FILE** Travel and shopping are expected to rise to near pre-pandemic levels during Black Friday 2021 on Nov. 26. (Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

While retailers like Walmart, Target, Amazon and Best Buy have unveiled their Black Friday deals that should galvanize sales on the biggest shopping day of the year, the travel industry might enjoy the most significant boost.

As vaccine rates increase and wearing masks remain mandated at airports and on Amtrak, holiday travel should realize pre-pandemic norms as many seek in-person visits with loved ones.

The American Automobile Association [AAA] predicts this Thanksgiving will see travel volume rise as much as 80 percent over 2020 and come to within 5 percent of pre-pandemic 2019 levels.

A spokesperson for AAA said they anticipate about 53.4 million people will travel by air, roads and rails this year.

“This Thanksgiving, travel will look a lot different than last year,” Paula Twidale, senior vice president at AAA Travel, said in a statement.

“Now that the borders are open and new health and safety guidelines are in place, travel is once again high on the list for Americans who are ready to reunite with their loved ones for the holiday,” Twidale said.

Meanwhile, Best Buy officials said the company already began early sales for Black Friday when it launched its “Black Friday Price Guarantee” in October.

“We’ve had some of our Black Friday deals available since mid-October and now we’re kicking off thousands of the hottest deals a whole week early to make sure our customers get a great price on the gifts they want most,” Keegan Shoutz of Best Buy stated.

Amazon announced earlier this month that more Black Friday deals than ever before would be available starting on Thursday, Nov. 25.

The online retailer noted that customers would be able to shop “incredible deals with deep discounts on top products and must-have items.”

Customers can take advantage of Amazon’s Black Friday 48-hour deal event, from November 25 through November 26, by shopping on amazon.com/blackfriday, on the Amazon shopping app, at Amazon 4-star stores, Amazon Books stores, or by asking “Alexa, what are my deals?”

In addition, Prime members get 30-minute early access to select Lightning Deals on Amazon every day throughout the holiday season.

Walmart said it received positive customer feedback for the big box store reinvented Black Friday shopping experience last year, so the retailer decided to announce the return of its month-long savings event, “Black Friday Deals for Days.”

The company said its second “Black Friday Deals for Days” events would deliver “the incredible prices customers expect from the most anticipated shopping day of the year with a safe, convenient shopping experience — this time with a little something extra for Walmart+ members.”

New this year, paying Walmart+ members will receive early access to online Black Friday events throughout November — an opportunity to shop all the same hot deals four hours earlier than the scheduled start times for all three events.

“We continue to build Walmart+ to be the ultimate [experience] for our customers,” said Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer for Walmart U.S.

“That means we’re there for our customers every day with key benefits like free unlimited delivery from stores and free shipping with no order minimum. But it also means we create extra excitement for them during the big moments, like Black Friday. So we’re excited for our Walmart+ members to be first in line for the hottest Black Friday deals out there,” Whiteside said.

Like last year, Walmart said it would spread out its Black Friday savings to three events throughout November, with each beginning online at Walmart.com and continuing with the same deals in Walmart stores.

Since Oct. 31, Target has unveiled new weeklong “Holiday Best deals” available to shoppers in stores, online and via the retailer’s same-day services like Order Pickup and Drive Up.

“We know many of our guests are looking to shop early this season and that value is incredibly important to them, especially during this time of year,” said Christina Hennington, executive vice president and chief growth officer, Target.

“That’s why we’re introducing our week-long Holiday Best deals, giving guests confidence they’re getting great value and making the deals available online and in stores so guests can shop however is most convenient for them,” she said.

Stacy M. Brown is a senior writer for The Washington Informer and the senior national correspondent for the Black Press of America. Stacy has more than 25 years of journalism experience and has authored...

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  1. I’m opening a store within the next few months, and Black Friday is already on my mind! It’s been so helpful to use planogram software http://www.retailsmart.com to workshop my ideas. I thought the pandemic would be slowing down by now, but no such luck. My shop layout will be more important than ever I think.

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