Friday, April 29, 2011

Use Groupons in your travels

Have you heard of Groupon?  It is an on-line coupon type of advertising that businesses sign up for.  There are all kinds of discounts, we look for the 50% or higher savings.  On our recent Hawaii trip, we had Groupons for food and activities.  50% off for Para-sailing, snorkeling, high end Korean Steak house, Asian Tacos, lunch in China town, you name it!  

We have a trip planned this summer out to the west coast for 2 months, with the kids meeting us along the way, and Sandy already has food and activities lined up for 50% off or better.  

You have to create an account, but it's free.  You set up a profile of what items you are interested in:

 Then when you find something you want to buy, you will make the purchase on-line with a Credit Card.  You pay the discount price, print the certificate, and show up at the store for dinner, or what-ever.  We never had a problem with any of the merchants, they were all happy to see us.  Groupon is a very legit advertising company, and I'll bet if you ever have any problem you'd be covered. 

 You just sign-up for cities along your route of travel, or where ever you happen to be hanging your hat, and you'll get emails for Groupon offers.  

If you'd like to sign up for groupon, please use this link (I get a kickback).  Not that I'm selling anything, I just think it's a good deal for everyone. 

There's another company that offers the same type of service, called Living Social.  It's another source of savings that we used while in Hawaii and will use again in the future.  But, most of our purchases to date have been with Groupon. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


No, I haven't forgot about you! We are in Honolulu Hawaii, for a few days and it's not really camping related. But I did want to pass on some observations, in case you are planning a trip out here.

It is beautiful, but a tourist trap. You just have to watch your bottom line, we used a lot of Groupon's to save money. We are limiting our eating out, by cooking in, but even groceries were a shock.

We rented a car, but watch out, they charge for every little thing! Review your contract before you leave, they charged us $12 a day for an extra driver, I've never seen that before. They do have a bus service that serves the whole island, but it'll take you a half a day to get to the north shore.

We are staying on the West end of Waikiki. If you are retired Military you can stay at the Hale Koa Hotel. I'll bet they have really good rates. I parked in their parking garage for $140 a month, even though we're only here for 10 days, that's a lot cheaper than $25 a day at my hotel. Cars are expensive and parking is too! 21°16'59.85"N 157°50'7.66"W.

You have to make it out to the Dole Plantation, they've got the BEST Pineapple Ice Cream! 21°31'33.27"N 158° 2'16.46"W.

We saw a lot of Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles at Laniakea Beach, nice place to snorkel and watch the turtles. 21°37'8.60"N 158° 5'7.41"W.

The Polynesian Cultural Center is always a favorite.  It's expensive, but they give discounts for Military service.  Their evening show is really good, and they have little villages on the grounds to explain the different  island cultures. It's a good over view of the whole island history.  Plan a whole day there, or if you save your ticket you can come back another day to catch something you missed.

Well, Sandy finally got me up in a Parasail.  As a Air Traffic Controller/Pilot, I've always had a thing about parachutes and jumping out of an airplane.  But the 6 of us went up today, and I couldn't opt-out of this one. IT WAS A BLAST!  I'd recommend Hawaiian Parasail Inc. (watch for a Groupon!).

And then there were FINS in the water, chasing us........

About 8 Dolphins showed up.

Check out the Downbeat Diner in China Town for breakfast or lunch.  Good food, and look for Groupons.

Another place with Groupons is TASTE (Tasty Asian Style Taco Eatery), good Asian tocos, run by a young entrepreneur.  This is a mobile kitchen, check the link for the current location and he was only open for lunch.

Do NOT rent from Snorkel Bob, a rental chain in Hawaii.  They advertise $9 a week, then up sale you when you get in.  We went for the up sale and had a terrible mask fit.  They didn't care when I complained.