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.