Drew and I recently took a trip to Italy using a Groupon voucher which included the hotels, rental car and flights. When we saw the price tag we immediately jumped on the trip, and then the doubts started to creep in. Now having returned from the trip I would like to shed some light on the topic of travel vouchers through Groupon.
Ok, first of all buying a Groupon. I am not going into much detail about the actual buying process because everyone has been there done that for a restaurant, spa or oil change. So the buying part was easy. We chose our dates and the airport we wanted to fly out of and clicked buy. We did have a slight glitch but chatted with the customer service at Groupon and it was taken care of immediately. Buying the Groupon is the only thing you do through Groupon, the rest is taken care of through the actual travel company, in our case Gate1.
Calling Gate1 to confirm our reservations was very easy and the agent was awesome! He gave us tidbits of information to make our trip easier and helped us get the best flight for our trip. Please keep in mind the quicker you call to confirm the reservations the better your chances are of getting quite a few flights to choose from so you can get the best arrival and departures times that aren’t too early or late.
As our trip got closer, and we started getting everything ready, we decided to look up the car rental company so we had an idea of what the deposit would be. Panic had us looking up train schedules and trying to still do our trip without the car that we had already paid for. The reviews for the car rental company were bad. There wasn’t one good review anywhere! Once the panic subsided we called Gate1 and they assured us they didn’t have any problems with that rental company and if we did to call them right away. Needless to say there was no issues. Not a single one!
So here is a rundown of the good parts of doing a Groupon/Gate1 trip:
- Once you call to confirm your reservation with Gate1 everything is done. No need to check hotel reservations, car reservations, or flights, it’s just done.
- Using the hotel vouchers are super easy! You print them off before you leave and hand them to the front desk person at the hotel and they hand you a key. That simple.
- Any questions Gate1 goes above and beyond to give you all the information you need and even some you didn’t think you would need.
- Gate1 only works with very reputable companies. The hotels were awesome, the rental car company (in spite of the horrible reviews) was very good and the itinerary couldn’t have been better.
- If you are worried about traveling solo this is a great way to travel, but with a group sort of. You are not staying with a group it’s an independent trip, but you are not the only person that booked for that date. So in our case we saw the same families on the flight and at each hotel and it was nice to have a conversation with a familiar face at the end of the day.
- This goes without saying, but I am going to say it anyway. The price. Even booking straight through Gate1 the price is so affordable. Booking everything separately would have cost us a lot more in this case, but that might not always be the case, so do your research!
To be completely honest there wasn’t anything bad, but there are a few things that people might see as a downside and I wanted to mention them briefly.
- Paying for everything at once. If you buy through Groupon making payments is not an option. Nor is paying for the flight then saving money and paying for the hotels. All money is due upfront. Now if you book through Gate1 there are a few payment options after a down payment, keep that in mind.
- You can not pick your hotels, airlines or car rental companies. When you book you have to accept the hotels that are part of the package. If you are particular about where you stay this might be seen as a downside. This was also a slight issue when we called about the rental car company and asked if we could possible change to a different company and were told no. Please keep in mind all companies they deal with are good companies with no complaints (through their travel agency).