Sunday, May 18, 2008

Saving on Hotels - What's Your Style?

Saving on lodging when traveling is going to vary depending on your style and what you want and need in your accommodations.

I have a friend Whit who avoids hotels/motels whenever possible. She and her husband would much prefer camping for a whole variety of reasons, including the low nightly rates. I'm all about saving money, but regardless of the low cost, camping is definitely not my style! I need a bed, climate control, a shower, electricity, a flush toilet, a sink, four walls, a ceiling, and a floor. I really could go on and on about this subject, but let me just say that the one time I went camping (because I made a promise to Whit that I would try it), it rained and was hot. I kept thinking, I'm ready to go in now. But there was no "in" -- we were camping! So, I sat there praying, Dear Lord, I'm so grateful that I'm not homeless. Please bless those who are. I was being sincere.

Regardless of my need for some basics in lodging, Whit will argue that hotels are a waste of money. For her lifestyle, that is true -- but I need to blow dry my hair! (If you ever were to see my air-dried hair, you would understand that this is a need and not just a want.) Whit will also remind me of what I've told her from my days as a housekeeping manager at a lovely AAA Four Diamond hotel: don't walk on the carpet with your bare feet; don't drink out of the glasses in the bathroom; and whatever you do, don't let the bedspread or blanket touch your skin. I know, I know. But I can still avoid those things and feel the room rate is worth it.

Michael, on the other hand, is a Motel 6 guy. He shares the same philosophy with Whit that spending a lot on hotels is ridiculous. So, he has found that Motel 6 has a great low rate in cities of all sizes across the country. They provide the very basics (exactly what I listed above as my needs -- and nothing more) and are consistent in their quality ("it'll do").

When I started traveling with him (for him to run marathons in different states), I learned about Motel 6 being his lodging of choice. Knowing that I'm a pretty frugal person, Michael was surprised to learn that I wasn't very excited about the accommodations. But I worked at a AAA Four Diamond hotel for 4 years! -- I really enjoy a nice hotel (despite the aforementioned issues which I'm sure are industry-wide). Yes, a motel would meet my needs, but I want more: interior hallways, a pretty room with little amenities, a beautiful lobby. It makes coming back to the room after a long day of sightseeing or cheering on runners at a marathon a nice experience.

So, Michael and I discovered we had clashing ideas on lodging styles. I had a remedy for this problem (I didn't want to stay in a motel, and we didn't want to pay high prices for a hotel): Priceline! Tomorrow, I'll share with you some tips on using Priceline that we use to make us both happy.

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