Posts Tagged ‘Groupon’

Eat Like a Local

October 1, 2015

Getting ready to visit another city?  Groupon and Living Social are great ways to take advantage of deals in your destination city.  Using either your computer or the phone app, change the location using the zip code of where you are staying.  You can search for restaurant or activity deals to stretch your travel budget.

Groupon is a little more user friendly by letting you show the deals on a map rather than just a list but the few minutes of research you need to do using either is more than made up for by the bargains you’ll find.  The app makes it so you don’t have to print out anything so you can even grab a deal on your way out the door!

Here in Scottsdale, I’ve so far taken advantage of deals at:

Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill – Fashion Square Mall location
We went for Happy Hour and tried a number of their food offerings including Pulled Pork Sliders, Bacon Cheddar Potato Cakes, Sauteed Brussell Sprouts Pretzeland the Oven baked hot pretzel with beer cheese dip.  Off the Seasonal Menu I had the Pan Seared Shishito Peppers – a favorite of mine.  The table agreed that everything was great EXCEPT the hot pretzel which was dry and the ale cheese dip that looked unappealing and lacked flavor.  The manager was quick to take it off our bill though and even gave us coupons for a free appetizer when we return – and yes, we will!

Bink’s Kitchen + Bar – 6107 N Scottsdale Rd.
Bink'sWith all the accolades Chef Binkley has received we had high expectations and were disappointed.  The food certainly tasted fine, but both the Baby Beets Ceviche and the Heirloom Tomatoes were such tiny portions – certainly not worth their $9 and $11 price tags respectively.  It almost felt as though they were running low in the kitchen and we got what was left – certainly neither item matched pictures on the web of those dishes.  The Gazpacho and Fried Shishito Peppers were more appropriately sized to their prices and the Moroccan Fried Chicken was the hit of the table.  Part of our disappointment was in the extremely slow service.  We were there on a Tuesday night early – hardly the middle of a busy weekend evening and the food took an exceptionally long time to get to the table.  When we inquired with our server, he acted as though we had personally insulted him!


Rosati’s Pizza – N. Scottsdale -10989 E Dynamite Blvd
We love pizza.  Just not THIS pizza.  I try to say something positive in every review but in this case, I can’t.  We ordered the “Double Dough”, a medium thicknessCholula crust with a hand-rolled edge.  The dough is the foundation of every great pizza and this dough was just bland.  It had no flavor what so ever!  The sauce was okay and the toppings (Pepperoni, Bacon, Black Olives and Fresh Tomato slices) were equally bland.  To add insult to injury – it took forever!  We looked surprised when another table that had been seated at least 30 minutes after us received their pizza first and the customer explained they had phoned in their order 15-20 minutes before they arrived!  Yes, it took nearly an hour to get a marginal pizza.  Thank goodness we had ordered the fried zucchini to tide us over!  We took most of the pizza home with us and using heavy doses of Cholula Hot Sauce we were able to make it more edible.

One of the great things about getting a deal, it takes some of the sting out of the lackluster experiences whether it is small portions, bland food, slow service or all of the above!


Rollin’ Along

September 7, 2012

On my way home, I frequently see people participating in the Segway Tour of West Seattle.  While that wouldn’t be my first choice of a “tour” I do love riding Segways and think they are a great way to see an area.  I bought the Segway Tour of the downtown Seattle waterfront on GroupOn as a gift for one of my stepsons and his girlfriend.  It would also be fun as something to do with visiting relatives.

Never ridden a Segway?  It’s easy and fun!  You have to be able to stand.  You need to be tall enough to comfortably rest your hands on the handlebars and stable enough to lean slightly forward and backward.  That’s how they go, with a slight lean forward to move forward – backward to go in reverse – stand up straight to stop.  The tour operator will give you a helmet and you should wear flat shoes.

We did our first Segway tour in California as a tour of the stars homes in Beverly Hills.  Because of the agility and quiet ride, we literally were in the driveway of Tom Cruise’s home peering through the gate.  Next we took the family and did the tour offered that goes up to the Hollywood sign.  Also very cool and one I highly recommend!

You can do Segway tours of all sorts of places.  There’s one I plan to do in Miami.  It focuses on the Art Deco architecture and even the Versace mansion. How about a sunset on the beach tour in Hawaii? There are Segway tours in Washington D.C.,  Chicago, Dallas – most major cities.    When you get some experience, there’s even a “Hills and Thrills” tour in San Francisco  in addition to the “tamer” versions they offer!

Even international cities such as Berlin, Budapest and Paris have Segway tours! I think the Paris at night tour would be beautiful!

When should I Segway rather than just walk?  Ever walked all the monuments in Washington D.C.?  The hills of San Francisco?  Hiked to the Hollywood Sign?  I have done all of the above and while great – it can be exhausting!

Segways are a great way to cover a lot of ground effortlessly!  The guides also give interesting information and there is an audio system so no one is shouting or straining to hear.  Like architecture?  Fancy houses?  Segways are great ways to see both.

Is there a city you’ve been to a lot?  One you “have to go to” but don’t really want to?  See if there is a Segway tour.  They often offer more “neighborhood” tours in addition to key attractions so give you a new look at a city PLUS, the experience of riding a Segway is fun enough and cool enough to make even a routine trip more interesting!

Hate groups?  Most Segway tours are about 6-8 people but many also offer private tours for just your group.  Once you are Segway friendly, you will also find many cities where you can rent a Segway to tour yourself.  Safer, no license required and they burn NO FUEL!

Next thing you know you’ll be rollin’ along, singin’ a song…

Where Do You Want to Go?

August 24, 2012

I’m convinced many people don’t travel because they don’t make a PLAN to travel.  If you’d like to, but just don’t seem to, here are some ways to improve the odds you will go somewhere.

Top of mind awareness.  A couple of times a year, buy a travel magazine and put it in your bathroom.  Flip through the pages while answering nature’s call.  Turn down corners or tear out pictures of places that interest you. (I just bought something from an on-line retailer and got a free 1 year subscription to Travel & Leisure!)

Give a gift of travel.  This past weekend we hosted an engagement party for a young couple.  As a gift, I gave them a copy of 1000 places in the USA and Canada to See Before You Die.  I know it may be a decade or more before they can afford international travel but anyone can load up their car and spend a few days exploring sites in your state or a nearby state.

Use Pinterest.  Create virtual dream boards for various cities and countries you’d like to visit.  Go to the websites for the pictures you’ve torn from the travel magazines and “pin” those pages to boards for future use.

As the Travel Queen I’ve begun to use this new technology to collect and share places to see and things to do in a variety of cities.   Feel free to “re-pin” anything that sparks your interest.

Subscribe to a travel blog.  If you ran across this blog by accident, enter your email address to get the weekly posts delivered to your inbox each Friday.  Read them over your lunch hour or save them for sharing over happy hour with your spouse or friends.

Use a travel related credit card.  We have Alaska Airlines and American Airlines mileage cards.  One of my friends in the Midwest has a Southwest Airlines cardEvery year, your everyday purchases will help you to earn free airline tickets.

If you like to drive, you may be able to convert miles to hotel points for free hotel stays.  Check the partner arrangements before you decide on a card or just get one of the hotel branded credit cards.  American Express offers one in partnership with Starwood (Sheraton, Westin, W, Four Points, St. Regis).  Citi has one with Hilton (Hilton, Embassy Suites, Hampton Inn, Waldorf Astoria, Grand Wailea).

Once you have some places on your wish list, you can begin to price trips and look for special deals.  Your free airline ticket or free hotel nights will no doubt help with the travel budget!  Once you’re booked, you can also sign up for Groupon and Living Social to take advantage of dining and activity discounts when you visit!

When we surround ourselves with images of interesting places, they become more accessible in our minds and this increases the probability that you will actually GO.

Planning Ahead Can Save Big

August 19, 2011

We all know to buy our airline tickets at least 2 weeks in advance in order to save some money and often, the further ahead you purchase, the better chance you have for snagging the lowest fare.

If you are planning a visit to another major city sometime during the next few months, sign up for both Living Social and Groupon for that city.  Do this for cities you visit regularly whether it’s for business to because you have family or friends there.

Create a new email address for your “out of area” offers so you can easily distinguish between the local and out of town offers.

While you probably look for great deals on manicures, dining or even car services in your local offers, keep an eye out for more tourist type activities in your other city.  

Recently, Living Social offered a significant discount on a 30 minute scenic flight for 3 or 5 with Seattle Scenic Flights.  Groupon had a bargain on a “Ghost Tour” of the Market and Post Alley – a “Top 10” of national ghost tours.

Previously there have been discounts on a trip to observation deck on the Smith Tower and Segway sightseeing tours of downtown and West Seattle among many others.

Of course, there are always great deals on restaurants and lodging too.

To be sure you don’t buy “bargains” you can’t really use, use the map and directions feature so you don’t buy something for a location too far from where you will be staying.  It’s not a bargain if you spend what you saved on taxi fare to get there!

Also, don’t buy unless your trip is definite!  If you buy deals in a city where you have family or friends, you can always offer it to them if something should change but these deals are non-refundable so buy wisely!

Lastly, read the small print.  You don’t want to get a deal that’s only good during the week if you are only going to be there on the weekend.

These daily deal sites are a great way to save money both in your home city and in major cities you visit.  Sign up today (they’re free!) and start saving!

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