With groupons becoming more and more universal, one can virtually buy anything from clothes to household appliance to restaurant deals at a discounted price. However, a lot of people hesitate in the face of travel deals. For those of you less familiar with the concept, groupon is a platform for merchants to offer deals to consumers at a lower than normal price. A few of the more well-known brands are Wowcher, Amazonlocal, Living social and of course, Groupon.
Most of the travel offers massively discounted flights, as well as accommodation and breakfast at a hotel (say goodbye to dodgy hostel and communal showers!) to a popular destination such as Berlin and Budapest. Some even throw in tours for an extra ten to twenty quid such as river cruise, horse riding and even all inclusive deals. The price usually hover around 100 to 200 for Europe destinations depending on the length of stay, normally from 2 to 5 nights. Deals to America, South East Asia and other exotic places are sometimes available too, starting around 500.
Despite the obvious draw, some people are afraid of fine print and hidden charges; and that’s reasonable. I had many reservations when I first saw them, and it wasn’t until a friend taking the plunge that I realized with the right expectation, this really will become the new way to travel in comfort affordably:
1) Read the fine print
This might sound obvious, but sometimes people get too excited by the prospect of it and forgot to check. It should state the period available to redeem the voucher as well as what is included and what isn’t. Make sure you know the refund/ cancelation policy so you can get your money back if things go south.
2) Call ahead and inquired the availability or make sure you are relatively free during the stated time period.
Sometimes the date you want might not be available – especially if it’s a holiday period.
3) Make time for the call
4) Be prepared to pay extra for flights
Most of the time the flights included in original price is at an ungodly hour in the morning or late at night at Luton. So if you want to make the most of your trip and the groupon, be prepared to pay around 40 per person to upgrade to Ryan air or Easyjet at Gatwick or Standsted. Trust me, you will save half, if not all of the money from not having to taxi to the airport.
5) Check the location of the hotel, especially with multiple hotel offers
Usually the hotel will be centrally located, and it might be worthwhile to visit its website and check its rating on Tripadvisor. Some deal will offer a choice of hotel, if you have your heart set on one of the hotels calling the travel agent ahead to check its availability to avoid disappointment. Beware that some travel agency will try to give you another hotel – do not give out your groupon code until you have the dates and hotel you desire.
6) Hand luggage only
Though this one might be obvious, but unless you throw in another extra 30, you will have to adhere to the hand luggage restriction of the airline. However don’t worry; most people are on the same boat
After that, it’s really just printing out the hotel voucher and checking in online at the right time. Although my friend and I experienced a slight hiccup with check in because the travel agency booked for us, although fixing it was as easy as calling them and they checked in for us and emailed us the document.
If you don’t like the hassle of calling the travel agent, and believe me, I hate calling people at a restricted time period too, then you should check out Voyageprive. It’s a luxury travel website offering 4 to 5 star hotels and you can forgo the whole calling process by simply choosing options online.
See the original article on felixonline