Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Restaurant Deals When Traveling

I mentioned yesterday that we do some planning in advance of traveling partly as a way to stretch our vacation budget a little further. In addition to looking on the Internet and in tourist magazines for restaurant coupons, I will usually look to see if I can find a restaurant on Restaurant.com that interests us in the place where we are visiting. If you aren't familiar with Restaurant.com, you can buy a $25 gift certificate for a restaurant for $10 (or less if you can find a coupon code -- CouponMom.com usually has one).

We've had this work well for us two times -- in Hartford, CT and Oklahoma City, OK. I found a restaurant that looked good that offered a Restaurant.com certificate. I bought it and then printed directions to that place from our hotel. (We don't travel with a computer or a printer, so we have to do this in advance.) We'd never been to either of these cities, much less the restaurants, so it was done completely based on their websites and the fact they offered Restaurant.com certificates. Both places turned out to be pretty good.

Following the same steps, we've also had this not work out two times. The first time was in the Outer Banks, NC. It turned out that the restaurant was kind of like a bakery, and they no longer served dinner (and we would have never spent $25 on lunch at a bakery for two people). The other time it happened was in Waynesville, NC. The restaurant was permanently closed. There was no indication of these issues on Restaurant.com or the restaurants' websites. The good news is that I didn't lose the certificates. I just emailed customer service at Restaurant.com before the 90 day exchange period ended, and they issued me a credit that I could use for a certificate at a different restaurant with which they are partners. So, we didn't get those particular deals on the trips, but we also didn't lose anything either. It's worth a try again the next time we are going somewhere that has Restaurant.com restaurants.

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