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Get a free ride to the great outdoors this Black Friday, thanks to REI and Skedaddle

Nothing better signals the start of the holiday season than family gatherings followed by the busiest shopping day of the year. While some traditions are worth holding onto, regardless of how dramatic and awkward they can be, REI and Skedaddle want you to “#OptOutside” on November 25 – aka Black Friday – and enjoy the great outdoors.

“We want to help people get outside,” said Adam Nester, CEO and co-founder of Skedaddle. “Hopefully, in about a week …, people will take advantage of the fact that they’re with their family and friends,and choose to explore national parks and nature rather than going to shopping malls and acting on consumeristic behaviors.”

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About to celebrate its second anniversary, Skedaddle gives its users transportation options via an iOS and Android app. It gathers those interested in getting out of the city to areas impractical for Uber or Lyft, and instead of connecting users directly to passenger vehicles like those services, Skedaddle acts as a booking service, connecting interested travelers with underused charter buses. Skedaddle now moves about 50,000 riders a month, adding to its near 400,000 total to date.

Skedaddle users browse routes that originate and end based on their location, or they can suggest an entirely new route to where they want to go – be it to a ski resort, the beach, or music festival. Suggested routes can be seen by all users and go “live” once they reach a minimum number of seats, usually 10. The first person to suggest a route gets to ride for free, building in a strong incentive for Skedaddle users to be active in their trip planning.

As part of REI’s second annual #OutOutside campaign, the retailer has partnered with Skedaddle to offer rides completely free of charge from REI locations in Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Denver to gorgeous and peaceful locales guaranteed to be free from the frantic and chaotic shoppers on Black Friday. It’s worth noting that, while trips will begin at REI locations, the company has given its employees the day off to enjoy the outdoors as well, so stores will be closed.

“This eliminates a barrier for people to get outdoors,” said Rob Discher, REI’s director of communications. “For people living in a downtown area who don’t have cars, getting out to a national park is hard. This whole program is to help unlock the outdoors for more people, hopefully creating a new tradition on what people can do on Black Friday.”

Routes are filling up fast, so #OptOutside with Skedaddle soon if you’re interested. If the route you’re interested in is already full, remember to search for others – or suggest one of your own.