Introduction:Planning a road trip? I recently drove 2500 miles, so I know that finding hotels for a long trip can be tricky - there's a lot to choose from and countless ways to book a room. There are hazards to avoid and perks to be earned - follow these five recommendations to ensure that your next road trip is pleasant and rewarding!
Use a website like Hotels.com, Expedia.com or TripAdvisor.com to do a preliminary search of your destination city to see what you like and what's available. These websites are especially helpful if you are traveling with a pet or have other specific amenity requests. Utilize the map features to see how far from your route each location is. Think about what can be sacrificed for expedience and what is worth spending extra for. You may want to stay two nights in 2 star hotels and reward yourself on the third night with a 4 star spa resort. Sketching out your trip will ensure that you make the best choices in lodging and will also motivate you for the trip!
Using the same searching websites for reading reviews is a must, and you may want to check Google and Yelp as well. I read the negative reviews first to see what the potential problems could be. Some things can be tolerated, but cleanliness, safety, comfort, and good customer service are non-negotiables.
Narrow down your favorites to two or three hotels. Visit their websites to confirm details such as rates, dates available, types of rooms available and pet policy and fees. You may find that reading the fine print will rule one or two out. If you have specific requests, like a certain type of room, location, or amenity, phone the hotel. Make sure they have what you need available, and make sure that their customer service manner is to your liking.
Before you book, think about joining the hotel's rewards program (if it's free). You can accumulate points and generally get better rooms if you're a member. It doesn't take long and it may save you money on your trip.
I recommend booking a hotel through its own website, or over the phone, unless you have an excellent deal through a third-party site. I've booked hotels both ways and have had mixed results. Sometimes a discount is worth it, but be advised that hotels may stick you with a lower quality room and fewer perks if you get a discounted room. Phoning the hotel sometimes yields lower rates than they advertise on their own website, plus you can make sure they reserve what you want.
I recommend no more than 8 hours of driving per day, in order to enjoy your trip and preserve your health and sanity. The beautiful scenery and interesting places you see will sustain you on the road. But driving all day is bound to be stressful and taxing no matter what, so you deserve a great place to relax each night. If your hotel doesn't have room service or a restaurant, use Yelp or Grubhub to find restaurants that deliver to your hotel. It's a great opportunity to get a taste of local culture. And to balance out your long day of sitting, make sure you get a bit of exercise before hitting the road again.
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