In Search of a Good, Cheap Motel in Hotel

By Charles Hopkins Published 11/27/2007 | Travel
If you wouldn't dream of travelling without securing a reservation
(complete with confirmation number) three months in advance at the
nearest Hilton - well, you're probably not reading this article.

But if you're like more adventurous travelers, who drive until
they're tired (or until the gas runs out, whichever comes first),
finding a good, cheap motel at a moment's notice can be problematic.
When you see a dozen different motels vying for your business at the
next interstate exit, how do you know which one to choose?

Fortunately, there's a little-known way to find at least "minimally
acceptable" motels. And that's by making a habit of stopping at
information centers, usually located at rest stops when you enter a
state, and picking up a copy of a green-covered Traveler guide.

The ad for these Traveler guides reads "Read 'em and sleep. Coast
to coast, more hotels accept Traveler Discount Guide's coupons that any
other guide." Coupons are available for a wide range of discount to
mid-tier hotels and motels.

Most of the truly sleazy motels these days have been weeded out by
competition, so the basics for your night's stay - a bed, television
and shower - are pretty much standard. More and more common are
refrigerators and microwaves, which can be a real convenience,
especially for people traveling with small children.

Also common are free coffee in the rooms and a free continental
breakfast - though such a breakfast may consist of cheap coffee and
day-old bagels.

If you're willing to pay a bit more - say, 20 or 30 a night more
- many motels offer Premium packages. You'll usually get a bigger
television with, perhaps, premium channels, amenities such as a pool,
exercise room or Jacuzzi, and often a fuller breakfast selection.

Traveler guides also offer other information that might help you
make a choice. For example, the Guides usually indicate which
hotels/motels accept pets, if there are weight limits for the pet, and
the additional cost. You might also discover that a particular motel
offers free accommodations for children under 18.

In short, stopping at an Information Center and reading the
Traveler Guide can be a convenient way to wade through your
accommodation choices when travelling in unfamiliar territory. If the
Information Center is near where you plan to stop for the night, you
can also get advice from the people who work there and live nearby.
Some will even call the motel directly and make a reservation for you.

When you add that convenience - plus clean restrooms and free
coffee! - taking the time to stop at state Information Centers can be
well worth the extra time.