The Next Frontier For Cheap Travelers: Local Deals

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

For budget travelers who have the luxury of carrying around a smartphone on the road (I’m sure there are a few), the next frontier in traveling cheap is in the instant local deals market.

Both Groupon and Yelp have launched location-specific phone apps that will show you deals in and around your current zip code. Yelp launched their service in late June (Yelp Deals), and Groupon’s Groupon Now recently expanded to 17 North American locations, giving you access to instant deals at the touch of a button.

In the interest of good journalism, I tried both services out myself. Using Groupon Now I was alerted to an offer for two hours of pool and a bottle of champagne (perfect for impressing dates!) for 40% off the normal $200 rate at a local pool hall. Not bad, but for those non-formal nights out, I tried out Yelp’s deals service and found my local bagel shop offering a free small coffee with purchase of a bagel — now we’re talking!

I doubt either of these services will help travelers discover great authentic eats or culinary gems, but let’s face, when money’s short on the road, we’ve all gone to great lengths to save a buck or two. Now when is Groupon going to get into the airfare market . . .

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