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Old 07-21-2014, 07:45 PM   #41
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We stay at mid and lower prced chains but we have found the lower priced chains to be fine. On our bike trips, we have good experience at what I will refer to the 'Indian' hotels since they all seem to be managed by people from India. These are the old hotels that were once in the center of town until the highway was built. The rooms are typically clean but might still have old fixtures or some paint required. (Some of the TVs might be the first ones placed in the room The people at the desk are typically very friendly and helpful. It is likely however, our experiences make us more flexible when it comes to accommodations.
See also: "Patel Motel". Patel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
As a landlord I've been impressed by the bootstrap family-centric progress of the Patels.
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Old 07-22-2014, 07:28 AM   #42
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Most of our (car) travel starts when we wake up and ends when we feel tired. Therefore, we rarely make reservations except at our final destination. We are willing to pay more at the final destination since we typically stay there for a full day or more. Overnight stops may be as short as 7 or 8 hours - just enough time to sleep and shower. For these short stops, we typically use the booklets (mentioned elsewhere) that can be had at any of the welcome centers and many tourist stops along the way. We look for chains with lower prices or occasionally take a "flier" on what turns out to be a dive (or else a pleasant surprise.) Rarely do we call ahead because we have learned that even if one Interstate interchange is booked up for some reason (local or regional "event") there will be an "oasis" within 25 to at most 100 miles. We typically (well, I specifically) have the reserve energy to drive that far in my sleep (er... forget I said that.) I hate the process of obtaining a room for the night while on the road. It's absolutely necessary when going TO a destination of 1000 miles, for instance, but, on the way "home", I've traveled into the wee hours just to avoid picking from another batch of bad to mediocre or expensive choices. 2 years ago, we wrapped up a visit to St. Augustine Fl at about 12:30 PM. We got in the car and drove for 15 hours (well, I drove for 15 hours) to get to our home base. While not necessarily prudent, it seemed better than another crap shoot at a decent room.

We have found that many of the well known chains are generally clean and comfortable, but we balk at paying $10 to $12 per hour to sleep and shower. It just goes against the LBYM mentality that got us to FIRE. We could afford it and probably should - just to avoid the occasional bad surprise (and the typical smell of curry). But then we think of our home in Paradise, where we own, but could instead rent for less per night than many of the higher cost chain hotels. Mentally, I guess we struggle to make the "value equivalency" between a 2br 2bath condo overlooking the Pacific vs a small (clean) room with a king or queen bed and a bath - in the middle of a corn field. The only "water view" is overlooking an Interstate pond created when they needed the fill for the road. Instead of the sound of palm trees swaying in the trade winds, there is the sound of jake brakes as the 18 wheelers exit the Interstate.

I guess both of us are simply "wired" to avoid paying very much for "consumables" like hotel rooms. So YMMV.
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Old 07-22-2014, 07:42 AM   #43
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Brother-in-Law who is a doctor had a son graduate from med school so he generously booked motel rooms for everybody who attended. I won't mention the chain but it had a red roof. He got the cheap rate. There was no coffee maker, no fridge, for the kleenex box that's usually stuffed under the counter, they gave us 6 tissues in a plastic pack. No breakfast of any kind, and coffee offered in the lobby was crummy. We were on the 3rd floor and the toilet didn't flush right (what happened to the people on the 1st & 2nd floors?) A bunch of Indians (from India) showed up for a big wedding. There were 10 of them in the room next to us (they were very quiet since I guess they knew they were violating the rules). Am guessing spicy curry & alcohol don't mix--next morning there was barf on the deck, barf outside the elevator, barf inside the elevator, barf on the stairwell, and barf in the parking lot. I wrote a scathing report on the comments card and said if you're trying to do the cheapest rates available, why not just dig a 8' x 4' hole in the ground and throw a piece of plywoood over it?--you could offer a super low rate then. Saw the cleaning girl down the hall from us and left a $15 tip because she was pregnant and the room didn't cost me anything. Worst stay at a motel ever!
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Old 07-22-2014, 07:48 AM   #44
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Stay at a dive ?
Bed Bug Registry - Check Apartments and Hotels Across North America

Stay at a mid-range cost chain hotel ?
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Old 07-22-2014, 07:52 AM   #45
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We prefer Holiday-Inn Express or the Drury Inns (in the midwest). Anything around $100 or less with full breakfast and heated pool and hot tub is fine with us. I always look up the cheapest rate I can find on the net, then call the hotel direct and ask if they'll match the price. They always do and that way I have a confirmation number from the hotel and employee directly in case any type of a discrepancy comes up.
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Old 07-22-2014, 08:09 AM   #46
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We prefer Holiday-Inn Express or the Drury Inns (in the midwest). Anything around $100 or less with full breakfast and heated pool and hot tub is fine with us. I always look up the cheapest rate I can find on the net, then call the hotel direct and ask if they'll match the price. They always do and that way I have a confirmation number from the hotel and employee directly in case any type of a discrepancy comes up.
That's a great idea! We stopped booking on the discount sites because the chains used it as an excuse to not provide adequate customer service, eg you're not happy with the room? Sorry, we can't do anything because it wasn't booked through us.

BTW, though we tend to stay at HIE, when I was a kid it was dives galore! My DF took pride in finding the cheapest looking flea motel he could spot from the highway. Lol.
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Old 07-22-2014, 09:04 AM   #47
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We have found that many of the well known chains are generally clean and comfortable, but we balk at paying $10 to $12 per hour to sleep and shower. It just goes against the LBYM mentality that got us to FIRE. We could afford it and probably should - just to avoid the occasional bad surprise (and the typical smell of curry). But then we think of our home in Paradise, where we own, but could instead rent for less per night than many of the higher cost chain hotels.

<snip>
So YMMV.
Well, I guess that's why there's a whole spectrum of hotels out there on the road! DH and I are really frugal in some aspects of our lives (bought a house well below what we could afford, lived for 10 years with only one car), but we like our creature comforts when we travel. Payin-the-toll's description of the unnamed hotel "with the red roof" made me shudder (although the smell of curry would just make me hungry).

DH grew up poor, as in sometimes not enough food in the house, and we share the same LBYM values. I had to laugh, though, at how his standards have been raised; we'd already decided on our recent vacation to Alaska that we'd spend the 7-hour layover at Denver in the airline club ($100 for day passes for 2 people). On the way back, faced with a 2-hour layover but with both of us worn out (6:20 AM flight out of Seattle, both of us had caught a bad cold), DH said, "since we're both worn out, let's use the airline club again". Yeah, OK.

I think that comes out to a lot more per hour than a Hampton Inn, but at least it includes open bar and munchies.
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Old 07-22-2014, 11:49 AM   #48
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We travel a fair amount. We use Priceline bidding extensively, and on occasion Hotwire. Also look for specials, advance booking on chain web sites. We have done extremely well with Priceline bidding-in NA and in parts of Europe. You need to do your homework and understand how it works though otherwise you may be disappointed.
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Old 07-22-2014, 11:09 PM   #49
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The comments about the curry smells are funny. We arrived very late to Montreal after some seriously scary car trouble in the middle of nowhere (the Adirondacks) and as soon as we walked in to the hallway to get into our apartment rental for the week, the strong scent of curry overtook me. I was starving and thought to myself "OMG that smells so good!", then thought that overpowering curry smells are typically frowned upon by most. But not me.

Sadly, the fridge contained no curry when we entered the apartment.
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Old 07-23-2014, 12:38 AM   #50
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In the past, we've had excellent luck using Priceline and bidding on rooms. Out of 12 bookings, we've had 11 very good experiences and 1 so-so experience. The problem with Priceline is that you need to know where you'll be on a given night, something we don't do very often.

We also like B and B's but are cautious and only book rooms where we have a trusted recommendation or that are highly rated in directories DW has. (I do the Priceline bidding. She does the B and B vetting.)

For quick stays along the highway on road trips where we don't have reservations, we typically go for lower tier (two star) major chain motels. We had a couple of bad experiences with mom and pop independents (yeah, we should have checked the rooms before we took the keys!) and DW has crossed "dives" off the list for now.
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Old 07-25-2014, 11:39 PM   #51
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We use Tripadvisor to find good hotels that aren't always chains. We look for high rated unusual or historic places. Otherwise, we fall back on chains.


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Old 07-26-2014, 12:34 AM   #52
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My sister swears by the coupon books they hand out at the rest stops along the interstates. There are "discounts" on chains mostly, some low cost-some mid range. When I used one the discount was the same price they advertised on the marquee.
I hate the fact that the front desk is a kind of bidding negotiation-whatever number they think will work is the one they throw out.
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Old 07-27-2014, 10:31 AM   #53
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My sister swears by the coupon books they hand out at the rest stops along the interstates. There are "discounts" on chains mostly, some low cost-some mid range. When I used one the discount was the same price they advertised on the marquee.
I hate the fact that the front desk is a kind of bidding negotiation-whatever number they think will work is the one they throw out.

When I haven't already reserved a room, I am sometimes temped to haggle the price down. Depends on my mood. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. All about supply and demand, I guess.

I was in Cape Cod sort of unexpectedly, in July of this year, and was looking for a cheap decent motel. Found a big, old, 2 story place with about 20 rooms. Parking lot was empty. Lots of other empty motels right next door. I asked the price for one night, 2 people. Landlady said $80. Gradually got her to drop the price to $60, paid cash on the spot. Win, Win. And the room was decent. 2 beds, fridge, micro, a/c. Everything clean. Just old.
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Old 07-27-2014, 10:40 AM   #54
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I hate the fact that the front desk is a kind of bidding negotiation-whatever number they think will work is the one they throw out.
That's the last thing I want to do after a long day of driving. I walk-in, drop the coupon on the counter, say "I'd like a room for the night if you can honor this coupon". Usually it's a "yes". If the answer is "no", I start walking to the door. The only time I made it out the door was when there was a local "event". That problem was solved by driving another 1/2 hour.
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