Smart Shoppers’ Guide to January Sales

If you’ve been saving up for the January sales (or just got some vouchers in your Christmas stocking), you’ll want to be in at the start for the best of the treats.

1. Set a Budget

Yes, this is the boring part, but a little planning saves tears when it comes to sales. It doesn’t need to be a fancy to-do either. Whether you jot down your maximum spend on a napkin or enter it all in the Notes app on your mobile, just make sure you’ve got something written down to refer to as you go.

You can set your January sales budget up as part of your monthly spend (to see where it fits in with mortgage payments, credit card bills and food shops). Or research the pieces you *really* want online, then mark their cost as your maximum budget.

Savvy shoppers know it’s the cost per wear that is most important when buying clothes.  A more expensive item that you will get lots of wear out of is of greater value than a cheap throwaway that you wear only once.

If you end up spending more than you planned on things you didn’t really want anyway, the joy of a bargain fizzles pretty quickly.

And remember that, while most shops offer returns on sales, you should always check the returns policy before you buy.

2. Decide Where to Shop

Where to begin your treasure hunt?

In Leeds, Harvey Nichols is the obvious choice for bags of designer style – all just 6 minutes’ walk from our central Leeds hotel. But if high-street brands are your thing, you’ll want to head to Trinity Leeds. The shopping centre also has marketplace-style food trucks in the Kitchen for a tasty refuel in cool surroundings.

In London, Westfield has all the designer brands plus high-street shopping under one roof – with parking! Choose from the west London mall or the Stratford mall out east. If you base yourself at our London Marylebone Travelodge, you’re also well placed for Selfridges, Liberty’s and Hamleys.

Remember that it’s not just shops that do January sales. Restaurants are also after more customers after the Christmas boom, so look out for deals. Last year, Newcastle was a hotbed of restaurant offers that made a shopping weekend a real bargain. If you’re after technology and home interiors deals, it’s worth visiting the Team Valley Retail Park too, as it’s just 10 minutes from the centre of town.

And for the really brave, Castlepoint, just on the outskirts of Bournemouth, is the UK’s largest retail park. They’ve got everything from bbqs to faux fur coats, with all the big-name brands you could want. Plus parking is free. Once you’ve braved the sales, settle yourself with a hot coffee and forkful of cake at South Coast Roast on Bournemouth’s Richmond Hill. Then toddle off with your bags to one of our central hotels.

3. Tips for Staying on Track

It’s easy to lose track of time in a shopping mall (or shopping frenzy), but don’t put off food and drink till you’re ‘done’. January sales mean packed shops and queues for food at peak times, so it’s a good idea to bring a refillable water bottle and a bag of snacks in your bag.

Ideally, bring a fashion-friendly backpack to keep both arms free for carrying purchases. Stuff your supplies in there and you’re set.

Whether you’ve got a backpack, bucket bag or shoulder bag, always keep it zipped. January sales aren’t just a magnet for shoppers, unfortunately, so protect your valuables in the crowds.

Going to a new city? Download apps to help you work out where you’re going on public transport, which is the nearest Wifi hotspot and where the next petrol station is.