The Inside Scoop on Using Groupon to Travel

Get terrific travel deals using Groupon to travel. Here's 5 tips and tricks to get the most out of your Groupon Getaway.

A year ago, my husband Billy and I decided to take our first-ever one week vacation. (No work. No kiddos.) We were about to celebrate the first birthday of our second baby. And we were tired.

So I found myself saying something I never thought I'd say: "I want to go to a resort." Exhausted and depleted, I wanted one of those all-inclusive deals where you pay upfront, your decisions are limited to on-site restaurants, and you walk outside each morning to the beach. Sounds good, right?

tips for Groupon travel

It also sounded a bit pricey. So we started browsing Groupon Getaways

But I was nervous. I mean, it's one thing to buy a Groupon for a pottery class or to try out a new salon. But it's quite another to fork over serious cash for the promise of a plane ticket and resort stay in another country. 

I had a lot of questions about how it all works out. So today I'm sharing a few things we learned along the way.

#1 - Remember that you're buying a Groupon.

Because of the way I was reading the getaways (and because I was so excited), I felt like I was booking my trip when I bought it. No. I was essentially buying a gift certificate to a travel agency. So it's important to follow-up your purchase with a call to the agency to actually book your trip.

#2 - Pay attention to dates. 

Each Groupon spells out the dates of the trip that are available (and if you're getting flights, from which airports). When we were browsing vacations, I pretty much constructed a spreadsheet of all the location, dates, and cost options.

One thing I learned the hard way, though, is that you may want to call the travel company directly (contact info usually in the Groupon details) to make sure your dates are still available before you buy.

#3 - Dates full? You can return.

Once we purchased our Groupon, we learned that the vacation option we wanted out of the several it listed was already booked full. The agency tried to offer us other choices, but ultimately, we decided to refund our Groupon and purchase another one instead. 

I can say from experience, that if you run into a similar situation and the trip you desired is no longer available, the return process is pretty straightforward. (I'm not certain if they allow returns for other reasons, so you want to be sure you want the trip when you purchase!)

#4 - Family vs Adult

When I think "Adult resort," I think plenty of coffee available in the morning, no one blaring a boom box at the pool, and everyone's in bed by a reasonable hour. But not everyone defines it this way, and you may want to read the small print for phrases like "clothing optional."

We chose to book at a family resort. However, upon arrival, they offered to transfer us to a sister resort that was only for adults. This led to me forcing Billy to ask about wearing clothes. The guy looked at me and was all, "Oh no, Senora, you'll need to keep your clothes on." Okay, that wasn't why I was asking... Whatever.

#5 - Additional costs

So is the all-inclusive really free once you get there? In our experience, we needed to pay for transportation from the airport to the hotel. (There were plenty of taxis and shuttles available at the airport.) You can pay for this upfront, but Billy felt he could probably get us a better deal onsite.

There were tip jars set up everywhere even though the hotel information had said no tipping allowed. But it certainly wasn't required or even particularly expected.

But the Groupon we purchased covered our airfare and hotel stay, which included food. So we really did not need to pay anything additional once there. Of course, excursions were available for purchase at the hotel if you wanted to experience tourist activities around the area. But that's totally optional.

We were super satisfied with our travel experience, and we got an amazing deal on the trip thanks to Groupon. We will absolutely book travel this way again. In fact, Billy texts me a deal almost daily, suggesting we visit Paris, Barcelona, Jamaica. (I mean, I require a lot of convincing apparently!)

But the first time made me a bit nervous. I hope if you're considering it, these tips help! Seriously, browse these getaways and you'll be ready to hop a plane!

How do you get travel deals? Have you ever traveled with Groupon Getaways? Any questions I can help with? 
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