How to Save Money with Cheap Motels
companies tend to introduce their new models at very posh places. I appreciate
the luxurious amenities, though with the media presentations and the time spent
driving or photographing the vehicles, I rarely can partake of more than the mint
on the pillow and the thirsty terry cloth robes on padded hangers.
Im on my own, the places I stay tend to have numbers in their names.
No mint, no robes. And the towels are sometimes more see-through than thick and
thirsty. (OK. Use two.)
a recent drive between Santa Fe and Los Angeles, I came up with a question for
which there is no logical answer: Why is it easier to read in bed at Motel
6 than at the fancier place?
fancy room, suitable for a brochure cover, had a wood-burning fireplace that burst
into business at the push of a button. The bed was layered in assorted prints
and heaps of pillows and a down comforter with the loft of high-altitude meringue.
bedside table was similarly draped with Laura Ashley. And a tubby ceramic lamp
the texture of a moon rock sported a wide low shade that spilled a warm pool of
light on the toe-teasing cushy rug at bedside on the tiled floor.
I dont sleep on the floor
want the light to fall on what I hold in my hands, not the floor. Im one
of those who have to read at least a paragraph before falling asleep. This lamp
shade wouldnt tip (some do) so I ended up removing it completely. No pooled
light now, just a glaring bulb that bounced unattractively off the tin-framed
Motel 6 had a hanging lamp rather high at bedside with a pull cord ending right
at my elbow. The bulb was bright enough to flood the entire room but if it hadnt
been (many are not) I would have substituted a high wattage one I sometimes carry
pillows are meager (and bouncy) in lots of cheap motels so I added my jacket to
the pile. (I usually have a pillow in the car, too, for that matter.)
thing I like about cheap motels is that they are usually close to fast food joints
and all-night gas stations with mini-marts or supermarkets. That means I can gas
up according to my departure schedule, stock up on travel snacks and bottled water
and buy dinner.
it comes to decadence, Im fond of scarfing up onion rings while watching
someone elses local news on a motel bed for which I paid $20 to $40. (To
each her own.)
another puzzle: in expensive hotels it costs you dearly to use the phone (of which
there are at least three). Access charges, they say. In cheap motels,
local and toll-free calls are most often free. Go figure.
might be of concern to you in cheap motels. Get a second floor room (if there
is one) and/or one close to the office (in many cheap motels the owners live right
there.) In most cheap motels your car is parked right outside your door so you
can keep an eye and an ear on it. And think about it if you were a serious
thief, would you troll the parking lot of a $30 motel or one costing three to
ten times that amount? (And no, security isnt all that great at the rich
everything you can inside with you. Use all the locks and chains and move a table
or chair in front of the door, too, if it makes you feel better.
all, be alert, as you should be anywhere.
for cleanliness, the office and grounds will give you some idea how fastidious
the owners are. Check your prospective room before you move in. I
spent a night in an ideal cheap motel in Kingman, Ariz., not too long ago - $20
plus tax! The office was redolent with cardamom (like many small motels, the owners
were Asian and their kitchen was next to the office.) My room glistened with new
paint, the remote on the TV worked, the bedside lamp was high and bright and the
shower flowed full and hot. The mattress was even firm. The sheets perhaps rougher
than the picky might prefer, but I slept in silk nonetheless (more about that
yes, the onion rings from two doors down were particularly crisp and I gassed
up and was ready for a quick departure.
all you want from an overnight stop is to arrive, eat, read a bit, sleep,
shower and split, why pay for the other amenities?
cheap and spend elsewhere.