Looking Under the Hood of TripAlertz, a Groupon-Style Vacation Site

a happy group of skiers
a happy group of skiers

TripAlertz.com, which calls itself "the only online travel community where the prices go down as the number of bookings go up," works a bit like Groupon.com. It offers a deal on a vacation for what's billed as a discount "member price." If enough people decide to book -- in its case, usually 50 -- then the price drops for everyone to become what it terms the "epic price." Think of it as a way to get a group rate, except everyone doesn't have to travel at the same time.

TripAlertz's deals, which appear on Tuesdays and linger for two weeks, are typically land-only, which means airfare won't be included, but available dates of travel can span several upcoming months -- you don't have to pack a bag for this weekend to score the savings. TripAlertz also seems to focus on mid-range (and often, acceptably average) properties that frequently dip into budget territory, such as the Hilton Papagayo on Costa Rica's Pacific Coast, a property that frequently impresses with lower prices if not its appointments.