If you use social media, whether it is Facebook, Twitter or you write a blog, it is likely you have seen many of the location-based applications such as Whrrl, Gowalla, or FourSquare. It’s not just about checking in, it also allows businesses, large and small to provide unique promotions to people using these applications. I do like these applications but one problem is that you aren’t presented with the promotion until you have checked-in, or even after. This is fine if it is some place you may frequent more than once, but if you are a tourist, you may not have a second chance to visit that restaurant or store.
This is where location-based coupons can be a better travel friend. These days if you live in the U.S., Canada or the U.K. in or near a metropolitan area, you probably have been invited to join a location-based coupon service such as Groupon, Tippr, LivingSocial and CityDeals. These are wonderful programs which help promote local businesses (as well as national chains or online giants) including restaurants, tours, and spas. I use them for San Francisco and the East Bay (where Berkeley is located) with much success and savings.
But here is the fun part and why it is a travel tip. I also subscribe to cities that I visit often (like San Diego where I am going to two blogging conferences this year and Phoenix where my parents live part of the year). Or cities that I am considering visiting like New York. When planning a trip I start paying more attention to the deals. I have purchased restaurant coupons where I got a voucher worth $50 that I paid $25 for. I have purchased spa services where I can get a manicure or pedicure for half price. No knocking hotels, but their spa service prices are a little crazy and I would rather support a local salon that is more affordable.
I have noticed walking and photography tours in some of the cities I am interested in, what better way to catch the local flavor of a place?
I encourage you to take at look at the companies I have mentioned (and there is probably more out there) not only for your local area use, but for when you travel. It is a way to save money on meals and allows you to support local businesses, which is always a good thing!
How about you? Anyone have a similar travel tip? Or have used one of these services while traveling?