So, how exactly DO we purchase our Groupon Getaway experiences? I’m glad you asked.
As I mentioned, we receive emails from Groupon a few times a week. Once I saw a trip that caught my eye (I always wanted to go to Rome, Italy; Joel always wanted to go to Tokyo, Japan), I logged into my free Groupon account to obtain more information. Some of the info I needed before going further with my purchase included:
- The dates the trip is offered
- The cost differences for leaving on different dates (a trip may be $200 more if you leave 2 weeks later)
- The cost differences for leaving from a different city (leaving from New York City is typically cheaper than leaving from Atlanta for European trips)
- The hotels offered for lodging (I like to cross-reference a hotel on TripAdvisor to make sure it offers a clean, traveler-friendly experience)
From there, I selected our departure city (New York City) and date (March 19th). Although many major airports are represented (such as Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson, Boston’s Logan and Chicago’s O’Hare), often times, you can add on your nearest airport for a small fee (for example, leaving out of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta instead of John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City (Queens) would have cost us an additional $200 per person, but we had already decided on adding in the road trip experience).
Now, it is important to take note of the next few pieces of advice (this could make or break your trip):
- Make sure you have a valid passport prior to booking your trip. If you are traveling outside the U.S., a passport is required. Passports must be valid for at least six months after the date of travel and contain at least two blank visa pages. It’s always best to check the State Department’s website for important info on the destination and its entry/exit requirements. If you need assistance obtaining or updating your passport, click here. If you need updated passport photos, click here.
- Many of the international trips on Groupon Getaways are PER PERSON (so, if you and a friend want to do the $1,400 trip to Europe, it’ll cost you $2,800 total unless it says it’s $1,400 for two people – which some cruises offer).
- If you are not purchasing a Groupon Voucher, you have to pay for your trip in full at the time of purchase.
- Not all of the Groupon Getaways offered include the flight. Unless it is otherwise specified in the deal, airfare is not included (our Europe and Japan trips DID include airfare). Always make sure to check the fine print.
- If you are doing a solo trip/traveling alone, you may be charged an additional fee. This fee starts at about $400 and can increase or decrease, depending on the destination.
Once you have completed the purchase, your voucher will be available in your account under “My Groupons” and will include all of the necessary booking information. Make sure to contact the agent/merchant as specified on your voucher (for example, Gate 1 Travel) before the book-by date. Also, make sure to mention your Groupon Getaways voucher before you book a date within the travel window specified in the Fine Print & Details section. While on the phone with the travel agent/merchant, provide your credit card information (if necessary) to secure your reservation. You can also reserve add-on experiences for your trip during this time (i.e.: An excursion to Mt. Fuji if you’re visiting Japan or an overwater villa in the Maldives).
If you’ve chosen a hotel that allows you to book dates directly on Groupon’s website using the booking calendar, select your dates, room type and number of guests directly on the site (or mobile app). We used this method when booking hotels in Phoenix and Chattanooga. After you’ve chosen the desired options, click the “Book!” button to complete the ordering process and you’ll receive an email that confirms your purchase and includes all your travel information.
And that’s it! A few clicks, a 10-15 minute call with a travel agent/merchant (for international trips) and your getaway is booked! Now, time to start packing!