If the Internet is good for anything besides watching “Sh*t People Say” videos, then it must be instant knowledge. How long were Katy Perry and Russell Brand married? Click, click, boom – 14 months. What season of American Idol was Ruben Studdard on again? Give us a few seconds – season two. We figure most of you know this because you have been surfing the web with the best of them since the ’90s.
It’s time to harness the Internet’s power for good. Not that stalking old classmates on Facebook isn’t, uh, good, but what is better than saving major dollars? Here are our tips on planning your summer vacation for 50 percent off or better.
By now nearly everyone has tried out a service like Groupon or LivingSocial for at least a simple service, such as a restaurant, but did you know they both offer discounted vacations? Groupon Getaways and LivingSocial Escapes both offer various deals around the country. From bed and breakfasts to beachside cottages, both sites have great options spread all around the country. Most deals are at least 50 percent off and last for a week instead of the typical 24 hours.
Is It Really a Deal?
Just because you see “50% off!” doesn’t mean it is a good value. Look at each deal and see what is included. Many of the smaller cabins or bed and breakfasts will package several things together — such as adding free massages or complimentary bottles of wine — to get the total value higher so they close more profit. Ask yourself if you would be interested in everything in the package, and look at the price of staying without a coupon to ensure you are actually saving money.
Remember to Research
Anyone can get their business signed up for one of these coupons, so don’t blindly buy a vacation coupon. It may be fine to take a $10 chance on a restaurant, but if you’re dropping a few hundred dollars to stay at a resort or a small hotel, go to Trip Advisor and do your homework. What are other guests saying? If the good people at Trip Advisor are recommending it, then it’s probably OK!
Saving Money? There’s an App for that!
Download both the Groupon and LivingSocial apps to your smartphone and check the local coupons while you’re on vacation. With some proper planning and by checking the apps each day you may be able to save big on your meals or activities, too!
If you aren’t a Foursquare user yet, you need to be. The geo-social network recently teamed up with American Express and offer deals for visiting small businesses. For example, you may visit a small restaurant and when you “check-in” (just like on Facebook) you can get $10 back for a $10 purchase. No gimmicks, and no complicated setups. Just check-in, spend money, get money back.
Foursquare also offers “specials” to users who check-in. You can search the specials in your area, so if you are looking for dinner you can see if there any good specials close by. It’s not uncommon to find free appetizers or desserts, or even 10-25 percent off just for checking in on Foursquare.
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