Groupon Getaway Deals—Online Travel Shopping

Groupon.com is becoming an increasingly popular discount site to buy anything from jewellery to fine-dining experiences. It also offers a wide selection of worldwide travel options, advertised at slashed rates.

However, discount websites do not necessarily offer the cheapest rate. On a recent trip to New York, I booked my hotel through a discounted travel site, naturally believing this would be the cheapest rate, until I stumbled upon the hotel’s rate posted on their website—I was actually paying more through the discounted website! Thankfully I was able to cancel my original booking and re-book with the cheaper rate.

I’ve since become a more educated discount website shopper, researching the actual price of the item or service before I make a purchase. Since then I have received fantastic deals like 80 per cent off a salon-quality blow dryer and 60 per cent off a three-month yoga package.

We decided to do the heavy lifting for our readers and put this theory to the test by comparing vacation packages through Groupon’s Getaway Deals with direct online bookings. Here’s what we found!

 

Vacation deal #1—Dominican Republic beach resort

Location: Punta Cana, Dominion Republic

Deal: Seven-night, all-inclusive stay at the Caribe Club Princess Beach Resort

Details: Roundtrip airfare and all-inclusive amenities in the Superior Room

Dates: April 25–May 2

Fine print: Airfare through selected US cities, and prices in USD

Groupon.com: $799/person (note: in USD)

princess-hotels.com: $1,052/person

Savings: $253

While booking through Groupon seems to save you $253/person, the exchange rate alone will eat up your savings. Plus, the biggest challenge with this deal is that the flight departure is only available through selected American cities like Baltimore, New York, Cleveland, Fort Lauderdale, and San Francisco, to name a few. So unless you happen to live within close proximity to one of these cities (which is geographically unlikely if you live in Canada), the hassle and cost of merely travelling to a selected airport is not worth the overall hassle.

Need more info? Try these Groupon tutorials from Techboomers 

 

Vacation deal #2—New York City hotel

Location: Manhattan, New York

Details: Weekend stay for two in a King Room at the Manhattan at Times Square Hotel

Dates: Any weekend (Friday–Monday) in February

Fine print: Date cannot be changed once booked and deal is non-refundable

Groupon.com: $109/night

Hotel website: $132.53/night

Savings: $23.53/night

While this package does not include airfare, the difference of $23.53/night for the hotel adds up to a total weekend savings of $70.59, giving you extra pocket cash to splurge on dinner or shopping.

 

Vacation deal #3—Colorado ski resort

Location: Crested Butte, Colorado

Details: Weekend stay for two in a Deluxe King Room at the Elevation Hotel & Spa

Dates: March 6–8

Fine print: Date cannot be changed once booked and deal is non-refundable; does not include ski rental or equipment

Groupon.com: $149/night

Hotel website: $242/night (flash sale)

Savings: $93/night

The cheapest rate for the same package through the hotel website was a flash sale of $242/night. Otherwise, the rate for this room could go as high as $388/night, which would mean a savings of $239/night! The difference for two nights alone could pay for your plane ticket to Colorado.

The moral of the story is that yes, Groupon typically offers lower rates, but you have to do your research and read the fine print to ensure you’re saving enough to make the trip worthwhile.

Generally, these getaway packages do not include insurance to cover medical emergencies, trip cancellation, or lost/stolen luggage, so always ensure you have a travel insurance plan that will take care of your needs.

 

For more information on medical and non-medical plans for Canadian travellers, click here.

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