Be Happy Anyway

Be Happy Anyway
From Brave Girls Club

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Vacationing the Groupon Way

Have you heard of Groupon? When I first heard of it, my friend ABW was trying to use hers up before moving back to Texas. I was unsure about them. Now, I know that they are a great way to go on vacation.

If you haven't used them before, they are basically deals that give you about 50% off meals, lodging, services, entertainment. When you sign up for Groupon notifications, you will get a daily email letting know about the latest deal. Each offer is only available for a short time and often for only a limited number of deals. When you see a deal that sounds interesting, you go to the main site and read the "fine print". This is VERY important. I will explain more about this later. You will then purchase a voucher for the meal, hotel, or service. This will stay active in your account until you redeem it. For example, if you buy a $20 voucher for frozen yogurt for $10, you can redeem it for $20 until the expiration date. (Watch out for those.) If the expiration date passes, the voucher is still worth $10 for a pretty long time. There is an expiration date on these too, but not for a long time.

The first time I redeemed a deal was with I had received three $25 cards as a reward for purchasing something else. These work a little differently. You tell the site which restaurant you want to redeem the cards at and print a voucher out. The deal is you have to spend $50 dollars at the restaurant. A friend and I were headed to San Antonio's Riverwalk so I looked for a restaurant in the vicinity. Here's one of the caveats I will share with you. READ REVIEWS BEFORE YOU GO! It never occurred to me that the restaurant might be terrible. Unfortunately, terrible it was. From that point on I learned my lesson.

So when my friend and I went on a mini vacation to Austin this summer, I was very cautious. Back in December of 2012, I saw a deal for Vintage Villas - a hotel on Lake Travis.

For $69, I was able to purchase a room worth $158. After checking out online reviews, I bought two nights with the plan to go for my friend's birthday. This is where I will remind you to be mindful of expiration dates. This particular Groupon required me to make a reservation by a specific date, but the actual use date didn't have to happen until December 2013. The great thing about a deal like this is that you can plan for a future vacation by purchasing the lodging when you have the money - like a vacation savings plan. This was great because the government has implemented a furlough on its employees which has basically cut pay by twenty percent having them only work four days out of five. This put a crimp in our already planned vacations, but not to worry Groupon and Living Social to the rescue.

My travel partner purchased meals like the ones we got for Chisos

where we ate lunch/dinner for only $10 for $20 worth of food. We also get weekly coupons/deals from Chili's that we love taking advantage of. This is where we learned that we were eating WAY to much so we started sharing an appetizer and an entree.

We finished our trip with mani/pedis compliments of Groupon at Donna Liane's. Donna and her daughter Ashley gave great manicures and pedicures.

I am now in El Paso for two weeks before the kids come. And you can be certain that I will be Grouponing my way through my stay here. That is when I am not cooking things I have promised I would make off of Pinterest...but that's for another post.

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