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  1. #1

    Default Tetons/Yellowstone trip from Ohio

    Hello! This is my first time posting, and Im looking forward to hearing all of your wisdom!
    Our family of 6 is planning a roadtrip to the Tetons and Yellowstone for late June. We are planning to take interstate 80 most of the way, which takes us through DesMoine, Omaha, and Cheyenne before we head north to the Tetons. We plan to take the northerly route home, through Cody and the Black Hills.
    Finding lodging along the way is proving to be challenging, considering the size of our family, the desire to keep costs low, and the sparseness of cities in Iowa and Nebraska. (We have secured lodging for the NP's)
    Does anyone have tips or recommendations for places to stay or how to improve this leg of the journey?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,816

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    What have you been looking at for hotels to this point? What kind of budget are you looking at for lodging?

    I've never had too much difficulty finding reasonably priced hotels along I-80 - since it is a major cross country corridor, you can usually find a pretty good choice of hotels every 30-50 miles or so, even in otherwise small towns.

    For example, Kearney and North Platte are two of the larger towns in Western Nebraska - they each have about 20 motels from budget to 3 star choices and are about 90 miles apart, but then in between there's another 3 or 4 smaller towns each with at least a handful of motel options. Certainly, in summer and especially on weekends those places can get busy and rates are going to be higher than at this time of year, but you should be able to find something, especially this far in advance of your trip.

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks! I have been looking at various travel sites (hotels.com, expedia, etc) and also direct brand sites. Since we have 4 kids, we prefer to be all in one room, and that is tricky these days. Also, my hubby is tall, so we have to have a queen-sized bed, not a double. I'm trying to keep the nightly rate to around $150, but in some areas that is proving to be difficult.
    We are hoping to make it all the way from Toledo to Des Moines in the first day, then to North Platte, then get all the way to Jackson Hole in the 3rd day.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    11,052

    Default Tools on the RTA Lodging Page

    Howdy,

    I used the RTA Lodging tool (see the navigation bar) entered 4 guests (we don't have an option to enter 6 guests) and found the Quality Inn and Suites (at the airport in Des Moines) for $110 per night.

    You can set the budget from $65 -- I set it to $65 to $149 and found a dozen or so rooms.

    You might see if that tool is helpful to you. As a bonus to us, if you book through RTA Travel, we receive a small referral fee for your lodging.

    You can also use the circle tool to see the cities that would be along your route over that three day period. On the Advanced Maps page.

    Mark

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    10,300

    Default Google Maps™ Finds More than Just Routes

    One way I have found to locate motels along my route is to use Google Maps™. As long as I know roughly where I want to stop for the night, I just find a moderately-sized town and zoom in until places of business start to be displayed. Just to check, I looked at stopping midway between Des Moines and Omaha, and zoomed in to Adair IA. Sure enough, although only a very small town, there was a budget motel (2-star) right off the Interstate with rooms from $45/night. With your brood, I would be looking at getting at least two rooms.

    While it is possible to get from Toledo to Des Moines (560 miles) on your first day, I would strongly suggest planning on doing fewer miles. First off, you are absolutely going to need to make a few stops to let the kids get out of the cramped vehicle and blow off some steam. This will also help avoid incessant chants of "Are we there yet?" There are lots of such places beyond the simple roadside rest areas.

    In general, small town motels tend to be less expensive than those around big cities. For example, there's a name brand motel in Newton IA, maybe 15-20 miles before you get to Des Moines that has rooms from around $100 or one-third off the $150 prices you're quoting. Your second day is a bit shorter, so you might want to press on a bit beyond North Platte to Paxton or Ogallala NE where there are more budget friendly options. But even pressing on a bit from North Platte, you're still going to need at at least one more overnight to reach the Tetons. You may, then, want to reconsider your planned overnight stops to allow them to be more evenly spaced out.

    AZBuck
    Last edited by AZBuck; 02-20-2024 at 05:41 PM. Reason: Typos

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    11,052

    Default And just one more thing to keep in mind.

    And just one more thing to keep in mind.

    Late June is prime time for Summer Softball League in the West. Just about every motel that can accommodate 30+ rooms per team will be fully booked on the weekends in mid-to-late June. It might not affect you, because those teams tend to use the chains, but always keep in mind summer swim, soccer, and softball leagues.

    And I second the advice that Buck has provided -- find a way to add at least one more day in transit--both ways.

    Mark

  7. Default

    Traveling by car with a large family can surely be difficult, mainly when you need to look for places to stay that don't cost too much. On your trip across Iowa and Nebraska, you might want to check out affordable hotel chains such as Motel 6, Super 8 or Best Western. These places usually have family rooms or suites that are good for big groups and don't cost too much. Booking in advance can also help secure better deals. You could also look into websites for holiday rentals such as Airbnb or Vrbo. It's possible to discover houses or apartments you can rent on your journey that offer enough room and better facilities for your family than usual hotels do.To reduce expenses, preparing snacks and food to take with you can help save money instead of eating at restaurants. Also, having some activities for children is beneficial when driving for a long time.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,816

    Default

    6 in a room is going to be a challenge. You're certainly going to be running up against occupancy limits - many places are going to limit 5 people to a room.

    This might be a case where you might be best off narrowing down a few choices in your destination city that are within your budget, and then calling to see if they will allow 6 in a room and/or if perhaps they have adjoining rooms with a connecting door.

    Other options might be looking at extended stay/all suite type hotels, which often are reasonably priced and could have some larger rooms, and could also have in room kitchens, which could help reduce your meal costs.

    In your shoes, I would also be looking at AirBnB and see if there are any whole house/apartment rentals reasonably priced near your route. There again, any increased cost could be offset by the ability to cook food instead of eating out and/or give everyone a little more space after being together in the car all day.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,218

    Default Hotels for five or more

    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Michael View Post
    6 in a room is going to be a challenge. You're certainly going to be running up against occupancy limits - many places are going to limit 5 people to a room.
    They do exist, and from what I understand, they all have kitchen facilities.

    Lifey

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    11,052

    Default

    Lifey,

    This looks like quite a good resource for motels that cater to larger families in the USA.

    Thanks for pointing it out.

    Mark

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