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Shopping online rather than at brick-and-mortar stores can save you a good deal of money, especially when it comes to expensive travel gear like luggage, carryalls, outdoor wear and seasonal sports equipment. TPG Assistant Editor Melanie Wynne has compiled this list of the top sites for discounted travel gear to help you get properly outfitted for your future trips – without spending a bundle.
Discount sites for travel gear, clothing and accessories generally fall into two categories. Online versions of major retailers that offer everyday sale prices on a wide variety of brand-name goods, and Internet-only stores that typically offer limited-time sales on overstocked inventory. The latter are best for snagging a great deal on big-ticket items that you’ll use over the long haul or can give as holiday gifts that look more impressive than their actual price tags. They generally require you to sign up (either using your email address or by logging in via Facebook), and tend to offer some of the best travel-gear deals on the Web.
*The following sites are marked as either ESP (everyday sale prices) or LTS (limited-time sales) to help guide your future travel gear purchases:
Amazon.com – ESP
You can find almost everything for sale on Amazon, the largest internet-based business in America – including anything you might need or want for a trip. In addition to selling its own branded products, the site hosts a multitude of affiliates and third-party sellers. The latter generally offer the best deals.
Travel gear you’ll find: Luggage, bags, backpacks, money belts and packing cubes; travel pillows and blankets; travel-size toiletries and storage bottles; cosmetics and cosmetic/toiletry cases; comfortable clothing for men, women, and children; outdoor, recreation and fitness clothing and equipment; electronics, connectors and adapters; the Amazon Kindle; digital movies and TV shows; and e-books, hardcover and paperback books.
Potential discounts: 10 to 60 percent off retail prices
How to opt in: You’ll need to create an Amazon.com account with a password, and will be given the option of saving your credit card information for future “one click” purchases. The site’s $99-a-year membership program, Amazon Prime (free 30-day trials available), gives you free two-day shipping on all orders, 30-minute early access to limited-time Lightning Sales, and unlimited access to photo storage, digital movies, TV shows, e-books and music streaming.
Overstock.com – LTS
First opened for business in 1999, this online liquidator of close-out merchandise now features more than one million items. A simple search for “travel” on Overstock.com yields over 21,000 different things you might find useful while on a trip.
Travel gear you’ll find: Luggage, luggage carts, bags, backpacks, and packing cubes; travel pillows and blankets; passport covers; travel-size toiletries; toiletry and cosmetic cases; comfortable clothing for men, women, and children; outdoor, recreation and fitness equipment and clothing; electronics, connectors and adapters.
Potential discounts: 20 to 80 percent off retail prices
How to opt in: Sign into Overstock.com as a guest, sign up for an account to store your shipping and/or payment info and receive invitations to private sales throughout the year, or join Overstock.com’s Club O Rewards program. The latter generally costs $19.95 per year, but for a limited (and unspecified) time, it’s being offered for $9.95 per year. The program enables you to earn 5 percent in Club O Rewards on every order (up to 40 percent on select items), which can be used for future Overstock.com purchases, and you’ll receive early access to private sales and free shipping on all orders.
REI Outlet – ESP
As a major national retailer of outdoor gear and travel-related items, Recreation Equipment, Inc. (REI) is known for big name brands, quality and selection rather than low prices. Its online outlet, though, offers good bargains on close-outs and overstocks of these same items, and shipping is free on all purchases of $50 or more.
Travel gear you’ll find: Luggage, bags and backpacks; comfortable, often wrinkle-free clothing for men, women and children; camping gear; sunscreens and bug sprays; and equipment for skiing, climbing, cycling, kayaking, etc.
Potential discounts: 30-60 percent off retail prices
How to opt in: You can simply sign into the REI Outlet site as a guest and make online purchases, or you can spend $20 on a lifetime REI membership in order to earn a 10 percent annual refund on your purchases, as well as additional coupons and invitations to private sales throughout the year.
Sierra Trading Post – ESP
The online version of a Western U.S.-based outlet chain, Sierra Trading Post offers everyday sale prices on 3,000 brands’ worth of travel-related items.
Travel gear you’ll find: Luggage, sports gear (skiing, surfing, etc.), golf accessories, and gadgets like binoculars.
Potential discounts: 35-70 percent off retail prices
How to opt in: Sign in to Sierra Trading Post as a guest or sign up for their DealFlyer email and you’ll receive monthly free shipping offers, additional discounts of up to 30 percent, and invitations to secret sales and giveaways.
Planet Gear – LTS
A members-only website that offers steep savings on travel-and fitness-related clothing and gear for women only, all close-out items featured on Planet Gear are available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Travel gear you’ll find: Luggage and bags; swimsuits; sunglasses; equipment for surfing, snow sports, camping and hiking; casual clothing; and a wide variety of shoes.
Potential discounts: 70 to 85 percent off retail prices
How to opt in: You must sign up here (via email or Facebook) for access to sale events that start daily at 9 a.m. PST and last up to 7 days.
The Clymb – LTS
Based in Portland, Oregon, e-tailer The Clymb offers wholesale-type pricing on major brand outdoor gear, apparel and accessories for men, women and children. As an added bonus, The Clymb also offers its own adventure travel packages, such as a week at a surf camp in Costa Rica or an 8-day bike tour around Oahu, Hawaii.
Travel gear you’ll find: Luggage, packs and bags; clothing and shoes; camping gear; equipment for climbing, paddling, fishing, cycling and more; watches; sunglasses; headphones and speakers; gadgets and chargers; iPhone and tablet cases; books, maps and DVDs
Potential discounts: 60 to 90 percent off retail prices
How to opt in: Signing up for site membership is required, but free. If you choose to receive email notifications, you’ll receive advance notice of new and/or special deals. If you invite a friend to join, you’ll each receive a $10 credit for The Clymb when your friend’s order ships.
eBags – ESP
In business since 1999, eBags offers an inventory of more than 55,000 styles of suitcases and bags, including major brands and those from its own in-house eBags brand.
Travel gear you’ll find: A slew of styles of suitcases, bags and packs; packing accessories such as cubes, cosmetic cases and toiletry kits; men’s and women’s fashion accessories like watches, hats, sunglasses, scarves and jewelry; and children and babies’ travel accessories
Potential discounts: Up to 50 percent off retail prices, as well as “Steals of the Day” discounts of up to 75 percent
How to opt in: You can choose to shop at ebags as a guest, or sign up for a free account that automatically enrolls you in loyalty program eBags Rewards, which earns you 5 percent back in eBags Rewards on every order and gives you access to members-only sales. You may also choose to simply provide your email address in order to receive Steal of the day alerts.
And don’t forget about…
RetailMeNot. Offering limited-time coupon codes for upwards of 50,000 different retailers, this is a great website to check before you buy just about anything online – including travel gear. Not only can you find coupons for several of the sites listed here, but also travel outfitters like Magellans, TravelSmith, Victorinox, Tumi and Irv’s Luggage. Potential savings through these coupon codes range from discounts of $10-30 or up to 75 percent off retail prices.
What are your own favorite sites for discounted travel gear?