By Ariana Arghandewal
Whether you’re on vacation or escaping the stress of everyday life, a spa day can go a long way in helping you recharge. The only downside is the cost. Who wants to dump $80 on a facial, $90 on a massage, or $100-plus on a body scrub? If you’re on a budget, these prices aren’t exactly affordable. Going to the spa should be relaxing; it shouldn’t give you an anxiety attack over how you’re going to pay for everything. Here are four easy ways to hack your way to a cheaper spa experience:
- Go to a beauty school. No matter where you are in the world (barring a remote village in Afghanistan), chances are there’s a beauty school within a 20-mile radius. You’ll find a myriad of bargain treatments at these schools, all performed by unpaid students there to gain experience. Pop into one and enjoy a spa day for a fraction of the cost. Fancy a European facial? Your out-of-pocket will be around $25 for 45 minutes of pure bliss – at least $50 less than what most spas charge for the same service. That frees up your budget for even more pampering. So treat yourself to several treatments, but don’t forget to tip!
- Group buying sites. Group buying sites like Groupon and Living Social frequently offer upwards of 50 percent off spa treatments in major cities worldwide. Travelzoo is also a great resource where you can regularly find spa packages from upscale chains like the Four Seasons for less than $100. These can be an especially good value if you’re vacationing in a resort area with inflated prices. Meanwhile, Yelp not only lets you research spas via its huge database of customer reviews, but you may even come across deals offered exclusively to Yelp users. Watch for the Groupon-style “Offering a Deal” box on the right column of the merchant’s Yelp page for substantial discounts.
- Spafinder. Spafinder is a great resource for finding a spa that fits your needs, and the site’s offers page lets you look for discounted package deals at participating spas. To double-dip and save extra cash on your spa bookings, purchase Spafinder gift certificates through an online cash-back portal. Check Cashbackmonitor for the highest available payouts and you’re on your way to additional savings. The highest payout I’ve seen was 10 percent; while this isn’t substantial in and of itself, the savings add up when combined with the discounts from the Spafinder offer page.
- Mystery Shopping. If you’re a detail-oriented person who can accurately recount your spa experience afterwards, mystery shopping might be a good fit. Some of the most prestigious shopping companies will not only reimburse you for spending a day at a spa, but will pay you for it. I completed one such assignment a few years ago and received $300 worth of spa treatments and $50 for my time. In today’s social-media-dominated world, where everyone is constantly looking for a platform to share their opinions, getting compensated for doing so is not a bad deal.
Follow these tips, and the next time you’re in the market for a relaxing spa day, you can avoid the stress of paying an exorbitant sum for it.
Ariana Arghandewal is the creator of http://www.pointchaser.com, a fun and informative look at travel deals across the internet and around the world.