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  1. #1

    Default Phoenix to Portland

    Hello, Road Trip America!

    Long-time reader and first-time poster here. I'm a 23-year-old native Arizonan that's never lived more than a 15-mile radius from my place of birth. For various reasons, over the past two years I've been considering a move to Portland, Oregon and after recently giving my notice at my much-despised job in sales I've finally decided to bolt from the desert at the end of this month. I know that I want to drive from the Phoenix area to San Diego and then take Highway 1 and the 101 up the coast into Oregon.

    My issue is that I am having some difficulty planning my voyage up the coast. You see, I currently work for a hotel company (let's just say its brands include chains that rhyme with "Schmoliday Schminn" and "Clown Plaza") and I could potentially recieve an employee discount on rooms (maximum of $49 per night) if I choose to book in advance.

    But part of me feels like just hitting the road, taking the time to experience the beauty of the Pacific Coast, and stopping only whenever I feel like it... which unfortunately might mean paying more to stay in Motel 6's and Best Western's along the way.

    I suppose the question I am getting at is: based on experience, is it realistic to expect to find an affordable place to stay on the California coast, in the middle of summer, with no prior reservations? Or should I pursue the slightly cheaper employee rates and guaranteed night stays (despite whatever itinerary I must impose on myself)?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Unanswerable Question

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    As it happens, I am writing from a Schmoliday Schminn in St. Louis. We had a reservation for a room with a single queen bed on the noisy (freeway) side of the building. We very easily upgraded to a two bed room on the quiet side. They just delivered a small fridge and microwave, because we asked for it. There is quite a lot to be said for staying in a chain that values its name. If we had gotten this room with your discount, we'd only be paying $30/night. I personally think that the 'freedom of the road' can be overrated. I don't mean to dismiss it or imply that I plan out every trip to the Nth degree. What I normally do is set a schedule, and that simply means knowing where I'll be each night, and do a little research into what there is to see and do along the way each day. I don't necessarily know which of them I'll stop to see or which roads I'll take. But I know there are more things to do than I possibly can and I know that there will be more good things tomorrow. The fact is that nobody can make the call on how freeform your trip should be, or how much you're willing to pay for that freedom, but you. But for my 2˘, I'd take advantage of that huge discount to stay at a slightly upscale (from Motel 6 at any rate), enjoy the amenities, and save my adventures for the daytime.


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

    Default What would be the cancellation policy for those rates?

    I have often made reservations if I believe I'm going to be traveling where lodging might be difficult to find. I keep track of the cancellation policy and then cancel when I can still get a full refund if it appears I won't be able to, or don't want to, get to that hotel on that particular night. This gives you the best of both worlds, imho.

    I think if you're traveling through those areas during the week, you should be fine....although you may have to keep your eyes peeled for those "vacancy" signs. And it's always possible that the more upscale motels are full first. However, if you're traveling on the weekend, it might be a bit more challenging to find a vacancy in the summer.

  4. #4

    Default Thanks AZBuck and Judy!

    Thanks for the advice on my upcoming trip. It's certainly reassuring to hear opinions from experienced road-trippers!

    After hearing both of your thoughts, I went ahead and looked into those reservations once again and was able to book a really great hotel in Monterey, CA for 2 nights... and a night outside San Simeon... AND a night in San Diego (where I can catch the hometown Diamondbacks take on the Padres at Petco Park!).

    I'll be able to crash at a friend's place for a few days in San Francisco, but I haven't quite pinpointed which places I'd like to stay in coastal Northern California or Oregon. When I do, I think I'll go ahead and make those reservations after all and worry about the cancellation policies (no penalty 24-hours in advance) later.

    Thanks again for your help!


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