I recommend signing up for these social buying sites at least a month before your New York City trip -- that will give you time to accumulate a few deals for your vacation.
- Even the best "deal" is only a deal if you're going to actually use it.
- Don't plan your entire visit around what coupons you can score -- there are many other ways to save on your trip.
- Read the fine print -- some coupons might not be valid during your visit or might have tight restrictions.
- Sometimes you can get your deal for free or collect credits by sharing the deal with friends who make the same purchase.
The original social buying site, Groupon offers a variety of deals, some of which are definitely appealing to New York City vacationers. The Groupon Now! section offers instant deals to buy, making it an appealing option if you're already on your trip or about to leave. Their mobile app is great for finding/buying deals once you're here -- especially because you can pull up deals without worrying about printing them out. Groupon Getaways offers special deals on hotels.
Sample Visitor-Oriented Offerings from Groupon:
- 1/2 priced admission to the Museum of American Finance (Now! Deal)
- Ha! Comedy Club ($19 for admission for two and two drinks, $60 value)
Scoutmob's strength is that you can "opt in" to the deals risk-free. There's no charge for the discounts offered by Scoutmob, and you don't even have to print out a voucher, since the deals are sent directly to your iPhone or Android. And there-in lies the down-side -- Scoutmob's deals are only available to iPhone and Android users. While the window to claim a deal is short, most are good for about three months, so you can stock-up risk-free before your trip. The Scoutmob app allows you to find nearby deals and use them immediately. Please note: most deals have a maximum discount.
Sample Visitor-Oriented Offerings from Scoutmob:
- 50% off at Cacio e Vino Sicilian Restaurant
- 50% off at The World Comedy Club
- 50% off at Le Souk Bistro and Harem Lounge
Like Scoutmob, Blackboard Eats deals are no-risk -- you can opt in for the offer and use it if you like, or not with no cost. When you see a deal you like, you get the passcode, which you can use until it expires to save when you eat at selected restaurants. Offers include 30% off, free appetizers, and secret menus. All restaurants are reviewed by BBE editors before inclusion, raising the bar of quality for their offerings. Sponsored offers are clearly separated from the editors picks on Blackboard Eats. The Blackboard Eats app makes it easy to keep track of codes and accept offers.
Sample Blackboard Eats Deals for Visitors:
- 30% off dinner or lunch at Telepan
- 30% off dinner or lunch at Asia Dogs
- free crocquettes, cava and charcuterie with entree at Bar Basque
Living Social has many deals each day, each for a particular neighborhood in New York City, so you'll need to scan through them to see if there are any that are of interest to you and a good fit for your vacation. In most cases, the Living Social deals offer a straight discount -- i.e. you pay $15 for a $30 voucher for the restaurant. They also have instant deals and a mobile app.
Sample Living Social Deals for Visitors:
- New York Hall of Science Admission for 1 adult and 1 child for $13 (regularly $27)
- Russian & Turkish Baths admission for 60% off
- After hours party for two at the Museum of Sex for $49 (regularly $69)
- Mondrian SoHo hotel for $325/night (regularly $690)
Looking for deals on massages, fitness classes and even waxing while you're visiting New York City? Lifebooker might have the deal for you. Lifebooker focuses on spa, beauty and fitness deals, including haircuts, massages, hair removal, and more.
Sample Lifebooker Deals for Visitors:
- One-hour massage for $39 (usually $85)
- Gel-manicure for $19 (usually $40)
6. Gilt City
Gilt City offers "insider prices" on food, drink and spa experiences at high-quality providers.
Sample Gilt City Deals for Visitors:
- STK Midtown Dinner for Two for $120
- Beekman Beer Garden Beach Club BBQ & Beer for Two $28 (usually $48)