Affordable Travel Guide to Motels

Drive In and Hit the Sack

Motels

Time was that you could choose between a hotel or motel, but as a result of the new variations on accommodations options, the once-essential motel seems to have sunken into near obscurity, and certainly has lost its sheen. Most people that we interviewed cited motels as “cheap, crummy places to stay” and others checked off “low-budget family rooms”. Some do indeed answer to that description, but others, like the Motel 6 and Super 8 chains, are clean, inexpensive accommodations, roadside where you’re going. Others still, are designed for people who love to drive, but insist on upscale stay-overs.

Motels, a condensed word that indicates “motor hotels”, were born of the automobile era in America, when the popularity and widespread availability (read: affordability) of cars gave rise to travel by means other than rail or air. People drove cars from where they lived to where they vacationed, or made their cars part of a road trip-style holiday. And they wanted to be able to park and walk right in, ready for sleep.

Why Choose a Motel?

Odds are there is a motel on the way to where you are headed on business or personal road trips. The key positive factors with motels are:

  • quick access to highways
  • convenience
  • low cost (mostly)
  • easy wheelchair accessibility
  • many have pools
  • vast majority are family-friendly
  • most are pet-friendly
  • one or two levels make them easy for seniors
  • a bed and a bathroom may be all you need

For touring groups, such a bus tours and motorcyclists, motels are ideal roadside accommodations. They can usually handle a large group (book ahead!) and there is direct access to the rooms from the parking lot; in most motels, you can park right in front of your room door. If you have a bunch of children in tow, it’s easier to take the kids right to the room, instead of dragging them through a hotel lobby.

Motels are about convenience and cost-effectiveness, not glamour, by and large. People who want motel accommodations are looking for a clean room, preferably quiet (although the structure of motels can mean noise transfers between rooms), in a location where they can drive in, check in, sleep and get an early start back on the road in the morning.

Technically, some resorts that are architecturally similar to motels (a string of adjacent rooms) are designed for stays longer than one night, as is the case with most motels, and their amenities tend to be better overall, often with on-site restaurants. Whether chain-operated or independently owned, motels fill the bill when you want a place to sleep on your way to your destination. What could be easier!

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