I am always on the hunt for a good deal, especially when it comes to traveling. It’s partially how I’m able to fund my trips on a writer’s salary – I know where and how to look for ways to make my trips cheaper. A lot of people think that travel writers get to go on tons of luxurious, amazing trips for free, but the reality is that most of us travel writers are regular traveling stiffs. And quite frankly, I would prefer to organize trips myself and travel on my own, rather than be told where to go and what to look at (not that I don’t appreciate press trips, because I do! Hello PRs!).
One way I’ve recently taken to making travel cheaper for Husby and I is using coupon and daily deal websites. You know the ones. They are famous for offering half-price dinners at fancy restaurants, dance classes and cheap hair and dental treatments. These sites usually offer a certain number of coupons, which are only given if a base number of people buy them.
What you might not know is that many of these sites also offer travel-related deals. One further, you can find them all over the world.
I started getting into coupon sites back in 2010, when we were living in Prague. We were looking for quick and easy ways to experience the city and local Praguers were really into coupon sites. Of course they had a number of Czech-language ones, but we discovered Lime and Tonic, a Prague-based site that has recently expanded to London. Through this site, we were able to book some nice dinners out in restaurants we otherwise wouldn’t have heard of and also got cheap tickets to see some performances around town.
Most recently, Husby and I booked an entire holiday to Cornwall thanks to Groupon. We got a deal for two nights at a fantastic boutique hotel in St. Ives, which we might not have been able to afford otherwise. This inspired the entire trip, including a day in Penzance and a chance to dive into local foods.
These sites open up travel experiences you might not have otherwise considered or been able to afford. And they aren’t just US-based. Groupon, for example, serves 100 markets in Europe, Asia and South America, in addition to its 150 cities in North America. Just do a search for “daily deal sites” and you’ll get dozens of sites to explore. Add in your destination or local area – “daily deal sites London” for example – to narrow it down.
Travel couponing tips
- Search the local market. Going on vacation? Look for deal sites that might be offering coupons in your destination to get a cheap dinner out or maybe squeeze in that SCUBA dive or helicopter experience you wish you could afford.
- Let the deal inspire you. If you’re flexible, hop on to your favorite deals site and check their “Getaways” section or equivalent for an interesting deal. You never know where it might take you!
- Be flexible. You’re probably not going to find the exact hotel you want or the restaurant you’re hankering after, but you might find something equally as good, if not better.
- Be open to new experiences. Part of the purpose of these deals sites is to make otherwise expensive experiences affordable for a larger number of people. So take that chance to swim with the sharks in Florida or have a five-course tasting meal in southern France.
- Consider going local. I hate the non-word “staycation”, but using deals sites can be a great way to explore new-to-you parts of your local area during a travel drought.
- Sign up for the daily newsletter. If, like me, you are a travel addict constantly needing to see somewhere new, signing up for the daily newsletters can inspire your next trip thanks to a cheap deal.