Wondering if Groupon deals will really save you money?
YES, Groupon is legitimate. My family has been using Groupon for years. You can find all kinds of deals on Groupon, but we especially like deals for family activities and vacations.
We often use Groupon to save money on family activities close to home. It's a great resource for creating epic weekends or staycations. You can also find deals for
- vacation packages
- and more!
If you like to plan and budget your family trips in advance, Groupon can be a great money-saving tool for travelers. But it's important to know how Groupon works so you don't spend your money on a deal that doesn't really work for you.
Whether you are looking for a fun activity close to home or an exotic vacation, here are my top tips for booking a great family activity or vacation through Groupon.
Know how Groupon works
Groupon partners with local businesses to offer deep discounts to customers. You pay Groupon, and then redeem your voucher with the merchant. Groupon gets a commission from the sale. It's a great way to try new activities, restaurants, lodging, or vacation packages.
Visit groupon.com or download the Groupon mobile app to get started. It's completely free to browse Groupon. No commitment or membership is required to access the deals.
Groupon has a satisfaction guarantee. For many deals, you can get your money back within 3 days of purchase, exchange the Groupon, or get a refund if you're unhappy with the experience. If the promotion expires, your Groupon is still worth the amount you paid for it with the merchant.
Groupons come and go. You can often wait to buy, but there is no guarantee that the same deal will be there next time you visit Groupon's site or app. Some merchants like iFly almost always have a deal on Groupon.
Visit the merchant's official website and compare the Groupon deal with the regular price and other discounts. You'll usually find more options and deals on the official website. Make sure the Groupon deal is the best fit for your family.
Recently, my teens wanted to try iFly in Ogden, Utah, which costs about $60 per adult (age 13+). For that same $60, I found a Groupon that included iFly, Flowrider, and rock climbing – all at the same location.
Three activities for $60 is a MUCH better price than one activity for $60. And my teens loved all three.
Read the fine print
This is my top tip for using Groupon. There is actually a “Fine Print” section on the Groupon page, but make sure you read everything on the page so you know exactly what you're getting and how it works.
- What's included?
- What's NOT included?
- How do I redeem the Groupon?
- Does this Groupon cover my whole family? If not, can I buy more than one?
- Does this Groupon include the location I want?
- When does the Groupon expire?
- Are there blackout dates?
- Is this Groupon changeable or refundable?
- Are there resort fees, cleaning fees, taxes, or other costs that are not included?
- Are reservations required? If so, how do I make reservations?
Click that FAQ or Live Chat links if you still have questions. You may not need to do this for less-expensive local deals, but booking a hotel or vacation package is a bigger commitment. Find out everything you need to know to feel confident about your purchase.
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.
By reading the fine print, 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 Groupon. But by reading all those details before we booked, there were no surprises and our stay was just what we hoped for.
You can read reviews for every established deal on Groupon. These reviews can help you decide if this is the right deal for your family.
But don't stop there… For more expensive resorts, activities, and vacation packages, use TripAdvisor, Yelp, Google, and other reputable sites to find general reviews for this destination. Read others' experiences to find out if the experience, location, service, etc. are a good value and a good fit for your family.
Some time ago, I was intrigued by Groupon deals in Costa Rica and the Bahamas. When I read reviews on tripadvisor.com, I found that one of the resorts 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. When there are lots of good, recent reviews on multiple sites, then you're likely to have a good experience too.
Download the Groupon app
The Groupon mobile app is the easiest way to browse, buy, and redeem Groupons. The app is free and easy to use.
I'm “old school” so I often print Groupons from the website. But the more I use Groupon, the more comfortable and convenient it is to just access our Groupons through the app when we arrive.
Watch for sales
Groupon often has sales, which means that you can save even more. You can often save an extra 20% on family activities.
Look for discount codes on Groupon when you're browsing for deals. They are usually easy to spot and apply on the website or in the app.
My family likes Groupon a lot. It's our go-to site when we are looking for fun weekend activities because we almost always find something extraordinary.
The original 2012 version of this article was featured on ABC's “The Lookout” and on the Huffington Post. A lot has changed since then, but we still love Groupon. I've updated the post to reflect our most recent Groupon tips and experiences.
I hope that these tips help your family find a great travel deal on Groupon.
Joseph @ HolidayTravellers
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
Sounds like you got a great vacation for a great price. I hope you get to return to St. Croix soon!
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.
Michele @ Malaysian Meanders
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.
Mary @ The World Is A Book
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.
I would have loved to meet you at TBEX! Hopefully, we’ll have another opportunity before long.
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!
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.
I agree. Thanks for your comment!
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!.
What about plane tickets I usually go through gate 1 so this is so new to me. Looking at the China trip.
Hi. I’m not familiar with that specific Groupon trip. I recommend that you read the fine print carefully. Do post a question on Groupon if anything is unclear. Don’t buy unless you feel like you understand what you’re getting and how it works. 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.
Thanks for sharing your experience! Those sound like such wonderful trips.
We’ve been quite fortunate in our dealings so far. Just returned from a Jersey shore vacation at a really nice hotel right by the beach. I had read both good and bad reviews on the hotel but decided to go anyway. Same thing when we did two B&B stays booked through Groupon. All three times we did nothing after buying the deal but show up. No problems any of those times.
Glad to hear that you’ve had repeat good experiences! Thanks for sharing!
On Saturday July 25, 2015 I purchased 2 groupon getaways after reading the fine print stating that my money would be refunded if the agency could not book the dates I wanted to travel. This was close to $2000, so not an insignificant amount of money. I immediately called the travel company and was told that I could not travel on the dates I wished. I called groupon back (within 2 hours of the purchase) and was told that they could not refund it until they spoke to the travel agency, and that should be by Monday. Well… I called Monday and of course they had “reached out” to the travel company but hadn’t heard back. I called Tuesday and was told the same thing. I asked to speak to a supervisor but of course they were all busy. They would be “happy” to call me back. No one did. I called Wednesday and was told the same thing as the past 3 attempts, but elected to speak to a supervisor. Forty minutes later, a supervisor was telling me the same thing about being unable to refund without speaking to the travel agency. However, SURPRISE, in the middle of telling the supervisor that this was inappropriate, Emily who has handling the “ticket” got a response from Vacation Express. So..apparently my money is going to be refunded but I am not holding my breath. Never again will I use groupon or Vacation Express.
Thanks for sharing your experience, Alina. It sounds very frustrating, and I hope that your money is refunded soon.
Here is a great Groupon Getaway the next time your in Florida swim with the manatees https://www.groupon.com/deals/nature-coast-manatee-tours-7
Amazing site thanks for sharing.