If you're not familiar with Groupon, it is a website and smartphone app that provides discounts and deals on dining, activities, services, and goods. Purchasing deals on Groupon can often save you from 15-75% off at a number of local restaurants, shops, and services you already use and love.
I also use Groupon to find fun new things to do — like escape rooms, wine tasting events, and cooking classes — that I wouldn't have known about otherwise, and all at a discounted price.
Groupon isn't only useful for saving money in your home city. It can also be a great way to save on your next trip. Think outside the box and check Groupon for travel ideas before your next trip within the U.S. to save money on dining, activities, and excursions at your destination.
Never Pay “Full Groupon Price”
First things first: I suggest signing up for Groupon's flash sale notification emails to get tipped-off when they have a sale. While most Groupons are usually already 25-70% off regular prices for dining and activities, these extra sales can shave even more off your total.
Typically, their promo codes are “SALE3” or something similar. If you know you'll be traveling to a domestic destination at least a few weeks in advance, it's worth it to wait for a flash sale and buy your Groupon for dining, drinks, and excursions then.
Groupon Student Discount
I just recently learned about this Groupon hack, and am so excited about it! Groupon recently rolled out a student discount. This doesn't necessarily mean you have to be a current student: this works for graduate students, doctorate students, and really anyone that still has access to their college email address (you too, alumni). This student discount gets you an easy 25% off any Groupon.
They cap your savings at $20 off each Groupon and it can't be stacked with flash sale promo codes. This is an awesome deal if you still have a college email (or have a child or friend who does). Apply and read the fine print here.
Find Things To Do on Groupon
Visiting a city but stumped on what to do while you're there? Simply filter your results on Groupon for the US city you're visiting, and select the “Things to Do” subcategory. You'll be inspired by all the options of fun ways to see the city: kayaking, helicopter rides, pub crawls, cooking classes and more. These options are unique and offer more variety than your average walking tour. The best part is you can get them at a discounted price on Groupon.
Thrifty Tip #1: If you're looking for more tours, activities, and day trips, check out Airbnb Experiences!
Find Dining Deals
One of the most expensive parts of traveling is eating out 2-3 times each day. A great way to cut down on this expense is to find awesome deals for restaurants, bars, and cafes on Groupon. Almost all dining deals on Groupon are over 50% off.
Thrifty Tip #2: Want to make sure you're eating at the best restaurants around the city? Do a Yelp search for the top restaurants in the area, and then take to Groupon to see if there are deals. You can also filter on Groupon for the highest rated restaurants in the city you're visiting. Cheap brunch, cocktails, and dinner? Sign us up.
GROUPON+ Cash Back Program
Groupon recently came out with the GROUPON+ Cash Back Program. Instead of buying a Groupon and then using it when you pay at an establishment, with the Cash Back feature you just link your credit card, “claim” the deal on Groupon, and then pay at the establishment with that credit card.
This GROUPON+ feature is mainly for dining deals. I like it because you don't have to pay for the Groupon up front, you just “claim” it and get reimbursed by Groupon when you use it! Most GROUPON+ deals are 25-75% cash back at cafes, restaurants, and bars. Check out this one for 100% cash back at Dunkin' Donuts!
Don't have Groupon+ yet? Sign up here.
Find Cheap Hotel Discounts
Groupon can also be used to find cheap and unique boutique hotels you may not otherwise find on typical hotel websites. Find great hotel deals at a discounted rate, and filter by map view to make sure you get lodging in a prime location.
Thrifty Tip #3: Looking for more tips on cheap accommodations? Check out our other stories on hotels, Airbnbs, and more.
Before jetting off to your next domestic travel destination, take a minute to browse the options of Things to Do, Dining, and more on Groupon. Who knows: you just may find the perfect unique excursion, brunch spot, or activity on Groupon for your travel plans, all at a discounted price. Happy travels!