5 tips for getting the most from Groupon Getaways

Groupon Screenshot_edited-1

Who loves travel deals? I do! Those Groupon Getaways deals are tempting, but are they really a good deal? We tried it and found out that they can be if you’re smart about it. We recently bought a Groupon for three nights in a one-bedroom condo from Key to the Rockies in Keystone, Colorado. We took the trip last weekend and it was awesome!

Here are five tips that helped us book a great vacation through Groupon Getaways.

5 tips for getting the most from Groupon Getaways | tipsforfamilytrips.com

1. Ask yourself, is this really what I want?

You have to pay in full when you buy the Groupon, not when you take the vacation. This might be the best deal ever, but if you don’t use it, you’re pouring your money down the drain. Before you click “Buy”, think about how this getaway fits into your existing plans and budget. Do you have dates in mind when you KNOW you can use it? Will you need to sacrifice something else to fit this trip into your schedule or budget?

Bermuda

2. Read the fine print

Watch out for hidden fees, blackout dates and expiration dates. $240 for three nights in a 1-bedroom condo in a resort town like Keystone looked like a screaming deal, until I read the details and saw that we would also be charged a $60 cleaning fee. That was 25% more than the advertised price, but still a better deal than comparable condos I found on Expedia.

We were traveling to Keystone that weekend anyway and needed lodging, so the Groupon was a winner. However, a 25% mark-up might have been a dealbreaker for a trip that we weren’t already planning.

I also compared costs between staying in the condo and eating all our meals there vs. a nearby budget hotel with a complimentary breakfast and they were even. We loved the extra space and comfort and there is no doubt that we made the right decision.

Tips for visiting the Statue of Liberty

3. Ask questions

Groupon has a Q&A section for each deal where you can write a question to be answered by the property. The speed and accuracy with which your question is answered by the property may be a good indicator of how you’ll be treated during your stay.

I asked a last-minute, nit-picky question via Groupon and it was answered within hours. It was the first of several positive interactions with the managers of our Keystone condo.

Even if you don’t have a question of your own, reading others’ questions and the response times can give you some good information about whether this deal is right for you.

Tips for visiting Canyons Resort with kids | tipsforfamilytrips.com

Photo credit: Canyons Resort

4. Read Reviews

Read reviews of the property on one of the many online travel review sites. I was intrigued by Groupon deals in Costa Rica and the Bahamas, but when I read reviews on tripadvisor.com, I found that one of the hotels was not well suited for young children and the other had a lot of ho-hum reviews, so I moved on.

Don’t rely too much on a single positive or negative review. Get an overall impression from multiple reviewers and you’ll get a good idea of what to expect. There were not many reviews on our Keystone condo, but they were consistently good, so we felt safe to take the plunge.

5 tips for getting the most from Groupon Getaways | tipsforfamilytrips.com

5. Sleep on it

Sure, some Groupon vacation deals sell out, but most don’t. If you check Groupon frequently, you’ll have some time to decide on most of the getaway deals before they’re gone. I saw the Keystone condo deal on the day it was posted and waited until there were just hours left on the clock to commit.

I’ve seen three Groupon deals for different Keystone properties since I booked this one. If this deal gets away from you, a similar deal will likely come around soon.

These deals are not being offered for charitable reasons. The ONLY reason they are offered is to fill rooms that might be otherwise empty in the off-season or for some other reason. You might be able to find a good deal for the same destination by other means.

Booking a Keystone condo through Groupon Getaways worked well for us. Using these guidelines, I will be on the lookout for more Groupon travel deals!

This post was featured on ABC’s “The Lookout” and on the Huffington Post.

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28 comments

  • Very good advice for choosing a Groupon Getaway. Reading review online is really good. It helps you to know what you are paying for.

    • Thank you! I really do think that you need to do your homework here. There are some great deals out there, but not all of them are right for everyone.

      • I bought a vacation in St Croix last year and it was truly awesome. Two people, for seven nights, few yards away from the water for less than $650.00. Now this is with added tax. Airfare was only $260.00/person round trip, breakfast included… Sure it wasn’t 5 star hotel, but we spent most of the time laying down on the beach, snorkeling, diving… It was so great, that I’m actually playing with a thought of moving there, lol.
        So in process of looking for that exact deal so I can go one more time to see if the feeling of falling in love with the place was real

  • You totally made the right choice. We booked a room at one of the budget hotels that Keystone owns and it was a dive. It was AWFUL. Luckily we were there for a conference and needed the cheapest option so we were only in the room for sleeping or I would have been mad.

    • So sorry! Sometimes you do just need a place to sleep for the cheapest price. We always dither between paying more for comfort and saving that money for something fun. Fortunately, this time we were able to get both.

  • It looks like you ot a great deal! That’s a very nice condo. I keep looking at the Groupon Getaways in Asia but haven’t bought one yet. I have specific dates when I want to travel. I’m afraid that I’ll buy it and then find out that the Groupon designated rooms for my dates are already taken. I have no idea if though if they’ll only take so many Groupons per date. So, I guess I’m waiting for a time when I have more flexibility.

    • On the one I bought, several people (including me) asked about availability of specific dates in the Q&A and received answers. I’m sure that a lot of your concerns depend on the individual property, so it’s nice to have the opportunity to ask questions up front. Once I hit “Buy” and had a certificate to print, I called the property right away to make reservations.

  • You lucked out on a wonderful deal and place. I’ve used Groupon for a number of things but haven’t used its Getaways portion yet. Great advice here. I too read multiple sites for lodging reviews. We’ve passed up on some lodging deals with no reviews found. Hope you had a great TBEX experience. Sorry to have missed it and meeting you and fellow bloggers.

  • Great tips! That fine print will get you if you are not careful. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way before.

  • I’ve used both a Groupon Getaway and a Living Social one, both with very positive results. The ones that bug me though, are the hotels that advertise $99 for a room, but only for two people. The last one I looked at wanted $30 extra per person, even for children. That was a huge dealbreaker for me.

    • We had that experience when we were looking for a room in Las Vegas for our family. Many of the advertised rates are for only two people. It is annoying and can be a tip-off that the hotel is not as family-friendly as others.

  • Another thing to look at in the fine print is the Book By and Use By dates. I missed the Book By date on one deal but thankfully had a very nice booking agent who let me use the voucher anyway. Phew!

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  • Great tips. Sometimes I get that over-excited feeling when I see a groupon deal and instantly want to buy (like if I accidentally watch HSN). Before I buy I always check other resources to make sure it is actually a good deal. I think the tip to sleep on it.

  • al comprar un groupon para un viaje bs as-colonia en ferry no daba la opcion de comprar dos viajes, solamente uno. Compre uno y al querer comprar el segundo sale un cartel que dice “Sorry, you cannot buy this deal. Have a look at some other deals here!” No se porque sucede esto y no me sirve un solo pasaje ya que debo viajar con mi marido. Como se soluciona esto?. Gracias si pueden ayudarme.

    • Graciela, mejor que hable con Groupon para ayudar con este tipo de problema. Creo que ellos pueden ayudarle a comprar el otro viaje, or si no, se pueden devolver su dinero. Si busca “Customer Support” al fin de groupon.com, se puede escribir su problema y ellos le ayudara.

  • How exactly does groupon trips work you buy it then what I am interested in a lot of the places I see but can’t sny reviews except this one on how it works! Is it easy or difficult?

    • You purchase the Groupon online and receive a printable voucher in your account with instructions on how to redeem it. On ours, we called the property to make reservations and gave them the information from the voucher, and it was smooth sailing from there. I would be sure to have your voucher on hand when you arrive at the property.

      Since each property is different, some may make the process easier or more difficult than others. Overall, it shouldn’t be much harder than making a phone reservation in the usual way. Just be sure to always read the fine print before you buy. Good luck!.

  • Great tips! I’m shopping around right now for a trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands (haven’t decided which island yet) so my starting point is to look around Groupon to see if they’re offering anything and to see a rough estimate of budgeting. I’m also doing my own research of places as well.

    • Groupon is a great place to do a little window shopping, and hopefully to find a good deal. The Virgin Islands are beautiful, and lots of fun. Happy planning!

  • We have used Groupon for Kenya, China, and Spain. We were very satisfied with all three. The hotels in China and Kenya were super luxurious. The Spanish hotels were less luxurious but perfectly located and fine hotels. All tours had excellent tour guides and drivers. We we were completely satisfied with the three trips.

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