I’ve just added a new obsession to my repertoire; online group coupons.
I’m sure many of you have heard of Groupon and Living Social, the largest in an ever increasing field of companies offering localized and national coupons for 50-90% off. For those of you who haven’t, check them out. You can either sign up to receive a daily email or go directly to their websites to check for coupon deals in your location of interest. These offers are time limited, usually available only for a few days.
Led by Groupon in 2009, this internet couponing phenomena has grown at an incredible speed. Groupon is a privately owned Chicago company that in late 2010 turned down a six million dollar acquisition offer by Google. Livingsocial is their closest competition.
Most people just check out the deals in the area where they live but I’ve discovered that it’s perfect for saving a bundle on travel. For example, this summer our family is off to Charleston and Hilton Head, SC and Savannah, Georgia as well as Washington, DC. After researching our destinations, I have an idea of what things we want to do. With our family, ghost tours are always a favourite. Through Groupon and Livingsocial, I bought two separate ghost tours, each at more than 50% off. I also bought a 1 ½ hour authentic southern cooking class in historic Savannah for myself, a Savannah architectural tour and a Charleston Museum plus two other historic sights pass for our group. To keep fed and watered while seeing the sights, I purchased restaurant and smoothie coupons for Hilton Head, Charleston and Savannah. Even though I haven’t found anything I would use in Washington, DC, I have saved over $150.00 for our southern States trip.
Livingsocial has a section for accommodation deals and package vacations which is well worth checking out. I didn’t find anything for this trip because most of the resort packages are based on two people.
Groupon covers areas all over the world including Europe and Asia whereas Livingsocial is only in Canada and the USA. If you find any other sites that cover areas outside of North America, I’d love to hear from you.
It’s easy to get carried away when buying these deals, so keep the following points in mind:
1. Buy only what you know you will use.
2. Check expiry dates.
3. Keep track of your purchases. I keep my coupons in a binder that is sectioned by location. I also have a master sheet in the front listing the deal, the location and the expiry date.
4. Deal only with reputable sites with money back guarantees such as Groupon or Livingsocial.
Group couponing is another tool to stretch your travel dollar. You never know, tomorrow’s deal may be the attraction or tour that you were planning to pay full price for. Very satisfying.