Admittedly we purchased the majority of the gear and products we needed for our trip from Amazon and other random websites. No matter what our shopping was done primarily online and started with a very healthy mixture of slickdeals.net and ebates. The funny part is that almost all of these websites do not have anything (necessarily) to do with leaving your job, traveling or whatever — they are just our favorite websites.
Slickdeals.net – The king of online deal forums. I struggle to describe accurately what this site is. In essence it’s an online community of bargain hunters and deal-sharers. You can troll the site like I do looking for literally any deal on any product (warning: you will buy tons of shit), browse by categories such as food, electronics and apparel or sign up and set specific keyword deal alerts – such as “kindle” and get a text or email anytime a deal is posted with the word “kindle” in it’s title. I have about 5 sites that I am addicted to and will struggle without during our travels, this is one of them.
Wine.Woot.com – Woot. I don’t know what to say. It was the original deal of the day website before deal of the day websites even existed. The site cut it’s teeth selling one electronic product per day at a ridiculous deal. A couple times a year for a very brief period of time (typically no more than a couple minutes) they would sell their famous “bag of crap”. Customers who were quick enough to pull the trigger on these $5 mysterious bags we’re often times greeted at their front door with flat screen TVs, Apple computers and much more less-than-desired “crap” that Woot scraped together from their offices or past sales. It quickly developed a cult following of loyal customers who frequented their message boards to provided unmatched and unbiased commentary on each deal being offered. It became so popular that the site branched out into other categories, one of which was wine. They focused on small, California wineries and invited the wine makers to engage their customers on their message boards. The result was incredible. People like me in Chicago had the chance to buy speciality wine I would have otherwise never had the chance to – -and all at ridiculous prices. Those were the days. Woot became so popular in fact that it was acquired by Amazon a few years back and while it’s still a site worth checking it out it is unfortunately just not the same. I still have to give the site props because it all started here. Is this a travel blog or some sort of awkward documentary on the rise and fall of Woot?
Amazon – Yep, the same company who pooh poohed Woot is in all honesty the single greatest retailer (in my opinion) in the world. I don’t think that you want to hear all the things that I love about this company. If you shop online and haven’t ordered from Amazon then start right meow! You can even buy cell phones & contracts on Amazon.
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ebates – Second mention on the same page, blog foul. Think of ebates as an online mall of sorts that gives you access to a ton of stores that you are familiar with. (Walgreens, Gap, Macys, etc..) When you shop these stores through ebates you will receive a percentage of your purchases back in the form of a rebate. The percentages vary (average is probably 5%) so you will not get rich, but if you shop online why not start your shopping experience at ebates. If you are wondering how this works essentially all the retailers are paying ebates a “finders fee” for sending customers to their site. The finder fee is typically larger than the percentage that you will get back. The difference is what ebates keeps for itself.
EyeBuyDirect.com – This is definitely out of place. I couldn’t resist though. For the first time in my life I went to a real eye doctor in September of 2014 for an exam. I couldn’t see well at night and watching the TV or a Power Point presentation was frustrating because it was blurry. When the doctor said that I could definitely use glasses I was excited. Then the doc handed me off to a young sales woman who helped me pick out my new pair of glasses. How exciting! She then told me that if I buy 1 pair today my second pair is 50% off and you know what? I am a sucker for a good deal. I picked out a pair of sweet everyday glasses and prescription sunglasses. The sales woman wrote me up on what was the equivalent of a diner check for two pairs less 50% off on the sunglasses for a grand total of $740. I paused. Put on my “is this a fucking joke?” face and politely asked if she was serious. She said she was. I asked if she was aware of this thing called the internet where they sell products for much cheaper than you could get at places like this. She said she was, but that those online places all sell product from China and that sometimes they don’t come with the right prescription and they don’t offer warranties and this and a that. I was excited so I said the hell with it and bought them. One of the stupidest things I have ever done. I got 3 pairs of prescription glasses from EyeBuyDirect.com for $54 delivered. And they work perfectly. You can save 5% on your order using coupon code: IFU11DW9HM
ebay – Way back in the day I was all over eBay. My user rating of 46 was built in just a couple of months back in high school. I have used the site sparingly between now and then. In the last 3 months I have completed 10 or so transactions, both on the buying and the selling side. I forgot how simple it was and the good deals that you can get. I bought: Macbook Air, Unlocked MOTO X, two Kindles and a really nice 80L Osprey backpack. I have sold an iPad Air, iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy SIII and a couple other electronics. It is a beautiful thing. If you have lost touch with your inner eBay now is your chance to get back in the game. Sign up today and start buying and selling.
Last Bottle Wines – Back to the wine thing, do you see a pattern? These guys are cool (well, I think they are guys and they seem cool). There similar to Woot but will have several deals per day. You never know how many of any offer they have so it could sell out in 5 minutes or 5 hours. Before we decided to leave the country I was on this site multiple times a day and buying way too much wine from them. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to some quality and unique wines without breaking the bank. You can save $5 off your first order just for giving it a shot.
WTSO – Double U Tee Es Oh. Wine Til Sold Out. I really do hate to say it like this, but in my opinion this is a slightly broke-ass version of Last Bottle Wines. Or maybe Last Bottle is just an awesome version of WTSO? Either way there are some differences. The style of selling is similar – multiple single offers throughout the day. The actual offers vary quite a bit. While Last Bottle will focus on wines from the west coast of the USA you can feed your need for international wines on WTSO. And if you are into the bubbly you are in luck – they go through tons of that stuff and it’s typically the good stuff from France too.
Steep and Cheap – A very cool deal-of-the-day and pop-up shop site dedicated to products meant for travel, hiking, skiing, etc.. This site is owned and operated by Backcountry.com which is a great site as well. If you have something very specific in mind this might not be your best option as the assortments are limited, but the deals are great. It worked well for us because we were able to do some research, familiarize ourselves with different clothing and by some product on the cheap.
craigslist – This site is definitely the scariest and creepiest on the list but can also come in handy for both buying and selling quickly in your area. From real estate to in-house massage services to iPads, if you can dream it there is a good chance that you can find it on craigslist.
What are your favorite sites?