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Thread: Where to Stay?

  1. Default Where to Stay?

    Well, I'm doing a cross-country trip that will take a little over 3 weeks. I've looked at info here saying I shouldn't try to do more than 500 miles a day, and we're sometimes going to just take a day and explore where we are. We don't want this whole thing to be scripted! But where do we stay? We have 3 nights with friends scattered around. It seems that bigger cities obviously have more expensive hotels. Hostels seem good, but in these cities it might be $20-$25 per person, where we can go out of town a few miles and get a hotel for $60.

    I have no camping experience, so how do I find a balance? I'd like to camp a few nights, so do I want to stay at a relatively large campsite? We may have some improvising which may not be able to allow us to pinpoint days to make reservations. Any suggestions are great! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Most are Non-Issues

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You are not alone in wanting to go where you will, as you will, on your RoadTrip. Most folks here will tell you not to sweat the fact that you don't have reservations - There will be plenty of empty motel rooms out there. In fact, I generally tend to pre-book myself, but most places I've stayed have certainly had extra rooms when I pulled in. I tend to pre-book for scheduling purposes, exactly the opposite of what you want anyway. I've also never had any problem finding decent accommodations either by the highway or in small to medium sized cities for somewhere in the $50-70 range, often at the lower end of that scale. If you are an AAA member, that will typically get you 10% off the rack rate. Camping, if you're younger can be a great way to stretch your budget. You can usually find camping in state parks for $15-20 a night, and in commercial campgrounds for around $20-25. Again, you can usually manage to find a site even if you don't have reservations.

    There are a few things to be aware of. It will help you to find accommodations that meet your need and fit within your budget if you settle down in the early evening. If camping and trying to set up a tent and other equipment, you'll want to be on site before dark. But even if you will be checking into a motel, doing so before, say, 10:00pm greatly increases your chances of finding an affordable vacancy. Besides, driving after dark is, in my opinion, a waste of time on a vacation/exploration type of RoadTrip where the objective is to SEE stuff. Your evenings would be better spent, having gotten a room somewhere, walking around town, stopping at a local hangout, or otherwise getting a sense of the new places you're driving through.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default You'll be fine

    I only make reservations if I'm on a tight schedule that demands I make certain waypoints at certain times and know what general area I'll be staying in. These are typically also speed runs.

    But if I have an open schedule and prefer to play things by ear and not have to meet some goal, I never make reservations. And I've never had a problem finding a hotel. I will, however, sometimes make a last-minute reservation that day. But even this is rare. Here's what I mean: I take my AAA guidebook and, if I know I'm probably going to stop in a couple of hours in a certain area, I'll whip out my AAA guidebook and see what hotels they list for that area. And then I might call ahead to whatever one I prefer the sounds of and see if they have a room for that night. If they do, I might then book it. Or I might just ask if they have a lot of vacancies or only a few. If they have a lot, I'll not bother booking to leave my options open but just know it's a possibility.

    Same with campgrounds. Oh, but I don't think you have to be young to enjoy them. This old lady much prefers camping to hotels. So, if you haven't done it yet, go for it. You might find a new hobby!

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