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.
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?
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 other travel sites.
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.
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.
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.
Sleep on it
Some Groupon vacation deals will sell out quickly, but most won'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!
Try Groupon Coupons
Groupon added a new feature – Groupon Coupons – in 2015, and I was quickly hooked. I love the idea of saving money with coupons, but I hate keeping track of paper or online coupons and can never find them when I need them. With Groupon Coupons, I have easy access to hundreds of brands all the time.
If you already use coupons and deals, Groupon Coupons will probably feel familiar. When I used Groupon Coupons to order pizza for Family Movie Night last weekend, I found that the coupons were just slightly better than the deals on Papa John's website. Slightly better is still better, and Groupon is a deals site I like and trust. So, I'll be checking back next time we need clothes, luggage, food and other travel deals. Find Groupon Coupons at www.groupon.com/coupons.
This post was featured on ABC's “The Lookout” and on the Huffington Post. This post contains affiliate links. I was compensated for promoting Groupon Coupons, but all opinions are my own.