Using Groupons on Trips
by Stacy Curtis
If you're a fan of Groupon, you know how great the discounts are. Whether you're a Groupon groupie or newbie, read on to see some of the unique ways to save bucks on your next vacation.
Groupon collects discounts of 50% to 90% on local services, events, items, trips, tickets (you name it!) and provides them to us. When enough people (the tipping point) purchase that day's discount, the deal is on. Groupons are easy to redeem. Access through email, Twitter, Facebook, tablet or mobile device to get daily deals. Purchase deals for yourself, buy and give to friends, or just pass the deal along so a friend can use it.
Great Groupon deals have compelled me to purchase several times and the process was easy: Click "Buy," get the certificate, and use at merchant location (in-person, on phone, or via website). For a weekend family getaway to San Antonio, I signed onto that location in advance to choose from a month's worth of deals. One day a Tube Haus Groupon showed up on my phone. What a fun addition to our trip! I clicked through to investigate, then purchased. I got a deal ($7 instead of $15 for a tube) and now had a 'friend' at the location. Groupon will expand your horizons and take you to places you wouldn't have known otherwise.
Be sure to purchase the deal you want within the time limit stated (typically 24 hours, sometimes extended) or it'll be gone. Print your purchased certificate, or better yet, save some trees and get Groupon for your mobile phone for access at your destination. Tube Haus used their phone to scan my phone's Groupons and we were on our way. Simplicity and technology on the river!
There are many Groupon features new to me, so I contacted spokesperson Kelsey O'Neill who shared the following insights:
- To start, we recommend that you "follow" the city or cities you plan to visit a few months in advance. This way you can keep an eye out for the deals that will make sense for your trip, including hotel stays, outdoor activities like mini-golf, horseback riding, water parks, walking tours and local festivals, which typically require advanced booking.
- Sign up for Groupon Getaways with Expedia. Groupon's newly launched travel channel features an array of great destinations and vacation packages each week, with lots of options for family trips. The best part about building trip activities on Groupon is that you're seeing the city like a local, not a tourist!
- Groupon also offers deals with companies like ZipCar, making transportation to and within your go-to destination a snap.
- In addition to Groupon's traditional daily deals, Groupon Now! offers real-time deals on-the-go in 25 cities nationwide, providing cures for boredom, hunger, or time to spare. These instant deals are great for travelers on the go who hate itineraries; pop into somewhere local and enjoy a new experience. Shoppers can search for these deals based on their location via Android/iPhone apps or the web. Unlike traditional Groupons, Now! deals are available for a few hours or just a day and are designed to be redeemed instantly, not saved for future use.
- Read all of the deal details and ask questions; like any purchase decision, you should be informed about the details and fine print. If you have any questions on the deal you're looking to purchase, the Groupon discussion board on any deal provides a convenient way to reach Groupon team members and business owners that day.
- Book appointments in advance. For lots of Groupon deals including spas and restaurants, appointments/reservations are required. Booking in advance ensures you will get the time slot you're looking for.
- Don't just check out the deal in your email: Click through to Groupon.com. This is because Groupon actually features many more deals than what appear in your daily inbox. To see all deals available to you now, click on the "all deals" tab at the top of the screen when you log in.
- Make sure you know which deals you have, and when you need to use them by. Groupon sends friendly reminders, notifying you of deals expiring soon. (This one almost caught me! I purchased museum tickets for a 'spare' weekend that kept getting pushed back. They didn't expire for 6 months, and we used them the very last week. I also purchased Canvas-on-Demand for family Christmas presents. My brother waited until the evening of the last day to submit his family photo).
- Again, make sure you are fully informed on a Groupon purchase—like any purchase—and they're there to help!
Groupon is using the tipping point concept for social good as well. The G-Team helps people connect and make a positive impact on their communities. I look forward to seeing more as the G-Team grows.
©2011, Stacy Curtis.
Stacy Curtis is a freelance writer based in Fort Worth, Texas.