Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tightwad Travel Tip – Finding Inexpensive and Unique USA Motels

About five years ago, I traveled across country staying at some of the cheapest and most interesting motels in the United States. These are the small-town, forgotten motels with names like the Dew Drop Inn or the Wigwam; the ones that were on a major highway before the Interstate system bypassed them. Here you will find unique floor plans and, sometimes, astonishing color schemes. I'll never forget the place in Kansas with a grass-green bedroom and a Pepto Bismol-pink tiled bathroom! But, regardless of the décor, one consistent feature of all these motels is price. They are 50 to 75% cheaper than their counterparts on the Interstate.

The owners operate these motels on a shoestring budget that does not allow for an Internet presence, so you can't make reservations in advance. But, if you're willing to spend a few extra minutes at the end of your day's drive, you'll be richly rewarded with an inexpensive and unique motel experience.

When you're ready to stop driving for the day, look for a cluster of motel advertisements near an exit. Get off and pass by the motels flanking the Interstate and drive the three to five miles into town. You should find the lower-priced, distinctive motels along what was formerly the main route through town. If you don't immediately see one or two, stop at a gas station and ask for a recommendation.

By the way, since these motels are usually family-owned, the owners do not have to follow corporate policy and can more easily accommodate your needs. In the two weeks I spent criss-crossing the United States, no one objected to, or charged extra for, my dog.

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