Winter is in full effect and many of us are looking to pack up and escape the cold weather. Unfortunately, travel into warmer climates tends to be a bit more costly during this season. While saving up is inevitable when planning a vacation, many of us prefer deals, not overspending. Third party sites like Groupon promise travelers affordability, great hotels and easy bookings, but at what cost? Before you commit to booking your next trip, here are a few things to consider.
A deal may be a deal but with third-party sites like Groupon, you have to be extra careful. Is the deal for the exact amount of time you were hoping to be gone? Is airfare included? If not, how far away is the nearest airport and what is the cost of getting to and from? If your ideal destination isn’t available and you choose another location, is the value worth what you would be willing to spend elsewhere? Dates are key as most third-party sites have unpredictable cancellation policies, but we’ll get to that later.
READ THE FINE PRINT
Reading the fine print is essential. There are often extra fees and taxes tacked on to that irresistible vacation package that are not stated directly in the trip’s description. So a deal advertised at 40-50% off, might be a lot more pricey when you factor in those extra fees.
CANCELLATION & DATES
When you book a trip through third-party sites like Groupon, you are paying for the entire trip at once so it’s essential to read the cancellation policy. Notice, for this specific trip, you must cancel at least four days before checking in. In some cases, you can get back a fraction of what you paid if you need to cancel later, but most often your money is gone. Another thing to note, if you are booking a trip for 5 days from Los Angeles to London and airfare is included, be aware that flights like these are LONG and for Groupon, that still counts as one day, so your five day vacation from Los Angeles to London is more like three days when you consider flying time.
CHECK THE HOTEL SITE & READ REVIEWS
Going directly to the hotel’s website is a great way to determine if the hotel is actually what it’s promoted to be on third-party sites. You can also decide if you are getting a good deal from the rates offered directly through the hotel. Also, reviews from other people who have either been to his hotel or booked this deal before also help determine whether or not this location is somewhere you want to go.
We want to hear from you! Have you ever booked a trip through third-party sites? If so, how was your experience?