Earlier this week, the United States dropped COVID-related restrictions on entering the country. The longer the pandemic went on, the more travel inched its way up on the list of things people couldn't wait to do once the storm had passed. While there are still plenty of reasons to be careful, travel is no longer a “look forward to,” but a “must do” for many people.
Finding ways to save money on travel is still as important as ever, and one popular way to save on a getaway or vacation is finding Groupon deals. Most people are familiar with local deals found through Groupon’s App and website—typically for health and wellness, restaurants, and events—but they also feature travel deals and getaways, which are worth a look while planning a trip.
How Groupon Works
The first step is to either visit the website or download the app. A quick email sign-up on the page will also get deals sent to your inbox, featuring sales and current deals for getaways and closer to home.
Groupon partners with local businesses to offer deep discounts to customers. A customer pays Groupon and then redeems the voucher directly with the merchant, who pay Groupon a commission. New businesses, in particular, love to use Groupon to highlight their products and services.
In a 2018 article in The Penny Hoarder, Groupon spokesperson Nicholas Halliwell stated that the company offers three types of travel experiences: domestic hotels, air-inclusive international packages, and cruises.
“We typically feature 3 ½- to four-star properties in major destinations but also have an assortment of local hotels to provide members easy access to local getaways,” he said.
For the international and all-inclusive deals, Groupon works with third-party tour operators and travel companies who are specialists in arranging air-inclusive deals.
“We chose tour operator partners based on their ability to provide packages that are affordable without sacrificing experience,” he said.
Example Groupon Travel Deals
Travel deals via Groupon are featured in searchable categories based on interests. Domestic deal vouchers can be redeemed directly with the merchant and are confirmed on purchase, whereas the all-inclusive stays require a confirmation/booking from a third-party travel agent or company before they are officially locked in.
For example, one deal for the Dominican Republic – an all-inclusive stay for two in a king or two double suites – includes meals, snacks, unlimited beverages, nightly entertainment, as well as access to a VIP beach, pool, and sports bar, plus it covers hotel taxes.
Other deals include:
Allison Laypath, founder of the blog Tips for Family Trips, featuring tips from 20 years of traveling with her family, shared her experience with Groupon.
“We once booked a condo in Keystone, Colorado, through Groupon. We needed an affordable place to stay and didn’t want to crowd our family into a cheap hotel room with no kitchen. We found a great condo through Groupon.”
Groupon’s blog details everything to know about their Getaways for help in planning an ideal trip.
Using City-Specific Deals
When traveling to a different city or area, search the Groupon app for deals near your current location. These can include tickets to a local attraction, restaurants, tours, or discounts at local businesses.
Melanie Hartman of Livingston, Texas, founder of the blog Dreams Built In, has been living in an RV full time with her family of four since August 2021 and uses Groupon.
“Groupon is amazing! They offer discounts on a wide variety of products, services, and activities so that you can do more with less,” she says. “When we are traveling to a new area, we check Groupon for deals on activities we’d like to do or places we’d like to explore. It also allows us to eat out more and still stay within our entertainment budget.”
Things to Note
With any deal on Groupon, it is important to understand what is included, when they can be used, and any limitations. It’s necessary to read the rules or policies to consider before purchasing one of the deals. One section to pay particular attention to is the “Fine Print.”
These can include:
- The voucher’s expiration date – Many deals typically have a three or six-month expiration date.
- Specific details – Understanding what services are included in the deal being offered.
- Blackout dates – The deal may not be available on weekends or holiday periods
- Book by date – Understanding when the trip must be booked by, even for travel far in advance
- The number of people – Many deals are only for one person, so make a note of how many are needed.
- Expect some limitations. With the deep discount offered, flight times, airline, and even airport choices are often not flexible.
Laypath says when reading the fine print for her deal, “we learned that there was a $60 cleaning fee on top of the advertised rate. And we had to figure out how to reserve our dates and check-in with the voucher,” she says. “But by reading all those details before we booked, there were no surprises, and our stay was just what we hoped for.
Gabby Beckford shared her experience using Groupon for travel on her blog, Packs Light. She says she trusts Groupon because they do in-depth research on each business and merchant they work with, have a 90% customer satisfaction rate, and feature more than 48 million active global customers.
“I love Groupon and have never had a bad experience, but always read the fine print and do your research,” she says. “I did an international trip to Sri Lanka, and by reading the fine print and communicating with the tourism company directly, we had a once-in-a-lifetime adventure!” Her post also highlights exactly what to look for in examining a deal to make sure the experience is successful for what is desired.
Alternatives to Groupon
Of course, Groupon and their sister site LivingSocial aren't the only discount travel game in town. Sites like Travel Freely help consumer coordinate their credit card applications and bonuses to get free travel and discounts on things like hotel rooms, flights, theme park tickets, and more. Their site also provides helpful tips to avoid common travel discount mistakes.
The average Travel Freely member earns around $1500 a year, and before they even launched their site, the founders had amassed nearly $50,000 in free travel. And there's no reason you can't use Travel Freely to get extra cash to spend on Groupon travel deals – that's a win, win.
Travel deals are waiting, and that dream trip is on the horizon.
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This article was produced and syndicated on Wealth of Geeks.
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Kelley Dukat is a freelance writer, photographer, and event planner currently based in the United States. She has spent the last year as a nomad travelling and house sitting. She holds a Journalism degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder and previously served as a trade magazine editor. Her favorite include dog friendly travel, road trips, nomad life. She is currently working on a memoir, and a series of personal essays.