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Wednesday, October 13

Taking Another Mystery Shopping Vacation

This is what I dreamed of when I heard about mystery shopping: living a lifestyle I wouldn't be able to afford on my meager salary, paid for in exchange for evaluating the places I visit. A free vacation - all by mystery shopping!

I am spending four nights in South Florida. Each night is at a different Hilton-branded hotel either in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale or Miami. In addition to the free meals included with my hotel stays, we are shopping six casual dining restaurants. These are alcohol age-verification shops, where the most important aspect is whether we are carded when we order a drink. They are 90% easier than regular restaurant shops that require timings, evaluating the quality of the food, service and cleanliness, etc. All these require is a PASS or FAIL on whether we were carded, whether we were asked to join the frequent customer program and if we were told about food specials. I am reimbursed $35 for food and drink and paid an $8 fee.

Two of the hotels pay a fee, and all offer complete reimbursement of my expenses including lodging, valet, food, drinks, etc.


  1. Too bad you already have a partner! hee, hee!

  2. Hey Marilyn - there's room for one more. Come on down!

  3. you work with hotel shopping companies that don't you? thats crazy! wow

  4. Hey Dave - yes, that's a bummer, but they are much easier than yours (no hard feelings - without a challenge I would get bored!). For this trip the two non-paying jobs were Hampton Inns. Very basic shops. Gives me a free room and all I report on is check-in, room standards, the free breakfast, an interaction with the manager when possible, and check-out.

  5. I'll have to pick your brain on that. Interesting to see that a shopper can find value in the room and breakfast only with no pay.

  6. Dave - Shoot me an email and I'll give you the lay of the land.

  7. How do you manage to stack shops like that? Most of the shops I've had to do are ridiculously inflexible about their dates. If I could stack shops like that, I'd be more serious about them.

    1. Cynthia,
      Some times contacting the scheduler will help, especially if you have done shops for them before. Often I start with my destination in mind and then build my route. It usually works out but not always. I normally find enough shops wherever I am going to justify my travel. I take measured risks. For example, in April I am doing a timeshare shop in Gatlinburg. I decided this will be a getaway with my mom. Worse case is I spend four days in a resort with a mom I don't see too often; base case is I find enough gas stations to cover our gas and a few restaurants to pay for our meals. Best case is I do all the above plus I find some lucrative side shops to do while Mom lounges by the pool.