There is nothing that does the trick quite like experiencing the chill of January in New England to inspire the desire to travel someplace sunny and inviting. For the budget conscious literary traveler, however, a tropical vacation isn’t always a viable option. Internet savvy travelers are no doubt familiar with websites like Expedia and Travelocity, which have long been vital resources in trip planning. Now, with the rapid rise of flash sale websites there are even more options for affordable travel. For those not yet familiar with the ingenious phenomenon of flash sale websites, such as Groupon and LivingSocial, among many others, there is no better way to get acquainted than to jump right in with their websites or iPhone applications. Once on the site you can choose your location and are immediately offered a plethora of discounts on everything from dinners at local restaurants to services provided by nearby spas. The only catch being that the deals are only available for a limited time and in limited quantities.
While Groupon has been around in its current form since 2008, it wasn’t until this past summer that the sight known for its huge discounts teamed up with Expedia to provide affordable travel options in the form of travel experiences pre-packaged and available for a limited time at a discounted price. With Groupon’s “Getaways with Expedia” and LivingSocial’s “Escapes” there is no excuse not to break the monotony of the winter months with a new experience and possibly a warmer climate.
The mission statement of Living Social is one any literary traveler can relate to. According to the website, “our mission is to add surprise to every calendar. So we dig deep, pursuing both the things that define a place and the undiscovered jewels.” As someone who caught the travel bug long ago, there is nothing better than perusing vacation possibilities as easily as browsing titles at a book store. With Groupon and Living Social you can explore affordable options handpicked by the websites with the budget conscious consumer in mind. As an additional bonus, most packages come with added perks. Purchase Groupon’s “Castle & Manor Tour” and not only will you spend six nights in Ireland, but the trip is prearranged to give you two nights in an authentic castle and four nights in a boutique hotel, allowing for a variety of new experiences.
Not looking to leave the country, or even perhaps the state? There are always options for weekend jaunts to nearby accommodations you may not have ever known existed. After entering “Boston” as my location on LivingSocial, I am offered a remarkable amount of cozy two night stays at a variety of bed and breakfasts in Massachusetts and surrounding states. From an outing in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, complete with a voucher for dinner and a complimentary bottle of wine, to a weekend at a quaint Cape Cod inn including a discount on spa services and daily breakfast, the options are vast and each uniquely appealing.
One can also appreciate their homage to the literary traveler in particular. Describing a picturesque cottage, LivingSocial whimsically digresses that “Henry David Thoreau may have never found a companion that was as… companionable as solitude, but we’ve uncovered an Escape with which you’re sure to get along famously in a setting just as intimate.” Ultimately, even if you are unable to travel further than your living room couch, perusing the various trips is its own little escape, allowing a break from the dropping temperature with the possibility of exploring an idyllic locale without breaking the bank.