Tips / Tricks for making reservations on the road

Discussion in 'Americas' started by PineyMountainRacing, Oct 7, 2020.

  1. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    Random thoughts:

    We do ~10 day trips in the West and stay in motels. Towns are far apart along the dirt roads we take, so riding until we feel like stopping is rarely an option.

    We used to wing it a lot, and I don't remember ever getting shut out. Now we make reservations at least a few days in advance.
    We also usually have a fairly large group of maybe 10 riders. So that is a factor.

    We have stayed in Cameron AZ a few times. There is only one hotel there, and it can be hard to get into.

    I have been very displeased lately with Google searching for motels. The first page of entries is full of Ads for Expedia and the like. I would greatly prefer dealing directly with the hotel.
    However after some fiddling and or waiting Google will show a map of motels near where I want along with a phone number directly to the motel and some ratings info. I use this a lot.

    I would never have believed that the canned travel sites could consistently get one a lower rate.

    We have had a few instances of all the online reservations sites saying a given town or motel was full, but when we called we got rooms.
    I also don't like the way the travel agency sites charge your credit card immediately.

    I have never tried Booking.com. I just figured it was another Travelocity or Expedia.
    I am too old for something like Airbnb or the taxi sites.
    #21
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  2. scootac

    scootac Just a Traveler

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    Oh the horror!!!
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    :lol3
    #22
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  3. tridawg

    tridawg Been here awhile

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    Hotels.com app. Buy 10 get one free.
    #23
  4. PineyMountainRacing

    PineyMountainRacing Oops....

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    that’s interesting, I just logged in and the app already knew the town and nite I wanted to stay, what I was looking for on booking .com and Travelocity last nite,
    #24
  5. tridawg

    tridawg Been here awhile

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    That's big brother watching ya. :D
    #25
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  6. RimBenty

    RimBenty Greg - Bender of Rims

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    I don’t travel like that much but went with my daughter across country to her new job and used the Choice hotel app on my phone. They have several different brands and we got a free night out of it, Also just took the wife to beach and earned another free night.
    #26
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  7. RW66

    RW66 Been here awhile

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    Central Mexico
    Bookings . Com is my go to for places to stay. My wife and I traveled for almost a yearn In Mexico and western US and that is what we used. The problem with the comments that people write is here in the US they want a 200 dollar room but they want to only pay 50 dollars. Yes I have stayed at some not too good places in the US but I try to set about a 60 dollar limit. All of the hotels were better than camping. In Mexico I try to set about a 30 dollar limit and most of the time that gets me a good room. The problem with reservations is that you have to keep a schedule and it has caused me a couple of times to ride longer than I wanted.
    I had a friend that traveled more than me. He traveled from Panama to Alaska all the time and he traveled shorter days and what he did was arrive in a town where he wanted to say early in the afternoon and then look around. When he was in the area he wanted he would do a google search and then go checkout the place, if he liked it he would stay if not he would find another place. His secret was to arrive early in the afternoon.
    I have a son in the US and another one in Mexico and they both like air B and B.
    I guess what I’m trying to say is after you travel for a while you will find what works for you.
    #27
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  8. Donkey Hotey

    Donkey Hotey De Jo Momma

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    Thirty plus years ago--before cell phones and interwebz--I traveled with a Motel 6 guide in my saddlebag. It was laid out well. You could quickly find a location near where you wanted to go. The prices were published. I even learned a trick: the 800 number had rooms held until 9:00 or 10:00 PM. You could be standing outside a Motel 6 with the No Vacancy sign lit, call the 800 number from a pay-phone outside and get a room.

    Their rooms were spartan but always clean. I don't need a desk with writing instruments, a sitting area, refrigerator, coffee maker or anything else. Clean firm bed, clean carpet, clean bathroom: perfect. Somewhere along the way, their quality went to hell, as did their clientele.
    #28
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  9. PineyMountainRacing

    PineyMountainRacing Oops....

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    yep, cold AC, hot shower and clean sheets. I really like the old style motor inns where my bike is parked right in front of my window, I can keep the curtains cracked just a smidge and any time I wake up I can take a peek and see the bike is OK. a lot of the motels on the websites don’t give any pictures of the parking lot.
    #29
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  10. klaviator

    klaviator Long timer Supporter

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    I have often used Booking.com but prefer to deal directly with the motel. Sometimes the rate through a booking site is much cheaper and sometimes it is actually more.

    For my last trip out west I researched motels along my route and booked some in advance. In some cases I found the rates so high that I changed my route to avoid staying in that city. I also started my ride report as I was planning my trip and got some good info from inmates who knew the areas I would be riding. Another option is to start a thread in trip planning.

    By looking at motels in advance you can get a feel for rates and availability in the towns you are considering staying. if availability is really low you may want to book in advance. If plenty of rooms are available then wait. Also, not all motels are on those booking sites. For example, I booked a room for 3 nights in Hurricane, Utah. When I got there I saw a few motels there with better rates. I picked Hurricane because an inmate recommended as much less expensive than nearby Springdale.

    As far as the quality of the motels, that depends on how picky you are. Maybe I have just been lucky but I can't remember the last time I ended up in a really shitty motel.

    The two places I stayed that really stood out on my last trip out west where both fairly inexpensive. The first was in Marble Canyon (the only place in town) and the second in Ouray. When i checked in to the Motel in Ouray I asked what the rate would be if I had just showed up and asked for a room. The lady said about 10 bucks less than through the booking site.

    My ride report for that trip including the trip planning is here: https://advrider.com/f/threads/southwest-by-versys.1066154/

    If you do a ride report as you go you are much more likely to get good info or meet up with other inmates.
    #30
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  11. kokemill

    kokemill Been here awhile

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    We have 2 modes of travel, one with my wife and one alone. The mode with her doesn’t fit your plan, she requires a pool unless we can book something on Airbnb for twice the price. Best change midway through a trip was using Expedia (I think) to book the lodge at Ingonish as a base for the Cabot trail.

    when I’m riding alone I use these;
    Cheap- long day and riding late I use motel 6. My sister has a big annoying dog and knew about them from their pet friendly rules. You tell the motel6 app where your headed and it shows the hotels, rooms, distance, and rates. If you have it setup you can just click buy on the room/location you Want and the room Is paid for. I Have always been treated well, most of the time with them offering special parking for the bike. Once the desk guy met me outside with keys and paper work in an envelope and checkin was him pointing at the room. It is basic , simple and clean. Coming in at midnight and rolling out at 7 it is all I’m looking for.

    not as cheap- I’ve used the mid priced chains with AAA discount and sometimes HD program discount. Cost is usually double my cheap expectation and I almost always disappointed. Except for the Capital Reef Resort in Torrey Utah. It was a best western then but they hid it well.

    above not as cheap, low end of major chains - Hampton Inn, Fairfield, etc. these are as good as the guest room in my house. Clean and usually free breakfast. Once at a Hampton inn , after I had checked out and paid, I mentioned nicely that the trim ring on the shower head wouldn’t stay on the wall and that it had a sharp edge- it would be good to get that fixed- the housekeeper might not notice it. I got a text and call in the parking lot as I was driving away - the manager had comped the stay using a Hampton inn perfect stay rule.

    ok it’s a treat - (full disclosure - I’m a lifetime Marriott status member) when I look at the weather map and realize that I’m going to be rolled by a major storm that I can miss by sleeping in and eating a long breakfast I’ll spring for major chain (usually Marriott which could be free for me) and wait out the rain for a few hours.

    pro tip - the national systems roll over reservations to local hotels at midnight, I found that discounts disappear and rates go up. At 11pm I’m making sure I have cell service and at 11:30 the bike is stopped and I’m on the phone making reservations if I don’t have a motel 6 booked. Real life example, a few years ago heading to Dallas from Tonopah (scenic ride through monument valley) I pulled into the Shell on the corner of 64 and 491 in ship rock just after 11pm. After I filled my Roadking , black and chrome show pony now covered in chalk from hitting a water crossing on 160 at speed, a older veteran (most likely Navajo judging by location) came over and wanted to talk biking adventures. So we talked until well after midnight , because that is what you do. When I called for a reservation the rate in Albuquerque was almost double what I had seen earlier, I was pissed at the the man (Not my Navajo friend - “the man”)and just rode the all the way Dallas. So I really owe my friend, I win almost all BSD games with 1589 miles in 24 hours. Probably not the safest plan but it was a nice sunrise as I passed Amarillo. So make reservations before midnight unless you need to listen to old war stories.
    #31
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  12. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    Last time I stayed in Ouray I had to pay $270 a night at a Travelodge and this was at least 10 years ago and it was the cheapest I could find in mid-summer. This is a place I try to avoid.

    We always try to include the Marble Canyon Lodge in any trips we do around the Grand Canyon. It has been very cheap and the original rooms are neat. The newer ones are kind of blah.

    The old restaurant was a lot of fun. But it burned down. New one is just okay.
    #32
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  13. PineyMountainRacing

    PineyMountainRacing Oops....

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    you guys are great, the suggestions help a lot. new set of 705's on the bike, it's good to go. organizing my stuff and finishing packing today. not sure if I'm headed out tomorrow or Monday, no big hurry really. doing backroads and no Interstate makes it harder to calculate where I'm ending up for the nite. but usually by mid afternoon I have a pretty good idea when I want to quit for that day.
    #33
  14. RCR001

    RCR001 MOTO CHASER Supporter

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    You Enjoy the trip, wish us canucks were allowed to join ya!! :-)
    #34
  15. PineyMountainRacing

    PineyMountainRacing Oops....

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    Hey Scott, hope you’re all safe. If the border was open I’d head in your direction. Hope we can all get together next Spring, virus be damned :ricky
    #35
  16. Oilleaker

    Oilleaker Ne’er do well tinkerer Supporter

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    I just came back from a few weeks out to colorado from NY. Used priceline for most of my motels when I wasnt camping. Right now rates are pretty damn cheap everywhere and everywhere seems to have vacancy. You can get much cheaper rates if you just pick an area and let priceline pick the actual spot. It will tell you 3 options usually with a set price, but you don’t know which you’re getting til its booked.

    Ended up at the hilton in omaha for less than best western or motel 6. I was camping when I was away from the interstate so didnt have any problems booking as late as midnight but if youre staying to smaller roads you should be good as long as you pick a place by 8 or 9.

    Its crazy how cheap motels are going right now, at least away from tourist destinations on weekends.
    #36
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  17. PineyMountainRacing

    PineyMountainRacing Oops....

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    thanks for the reconn, I followed your RR to the clapped out end :beer
    #37
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  18. wellcraft

    wellcraft Been here awhile

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    I always plan my stays before I ever leave home that way I know exactly where I'm staying each night and I've had time to research the area I'm staying in as well as lodging options, eateries and points of interests. If I make reservations before leaving home I can spend more time riding and not have to waste time searching for someplace to stay each night, its also one less thing to worry about and allows me to enjoy the days ride more. Google or Bing are good options to find lodging as well as reviews on hotels so as long as you have a cell phone and receiving a signal just enter lodging in whatever town you plan to stay and all sorts of useful information from several sources will pop up. Pre-departure planning goes a long way in helping me avoid staying in unsafe areas or nasty hotels and more time enjoying the ride.
    #38
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  19. Sjoerd Bakker

    Sjoerd Bakker Long timer

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    If I am not wild camping in the USA I spend a few minutes while having an afternoon break or supper and look at sites
    booking.com , hotels.com, and Hotwire and / or just ask maps.me or google map for hotel locations and for price offers in the vicinity.
    I may actually register for a room, or choose to walk in .
    Hotwire is interesting in that they also like Priceline do not give out the hotel name and address until after you commit to taking the room , but that is okay by me since my choice is based on low price and I find that they wind up being in the same group of hotel brands as the other booking sites .
    I don’t bother reading any reviews because what I have found is that they vary for any hotel between overly vain nitpuckers calling the hotel a dump at the same time that others are praising it as fine .

    As a matter of principal I refuse to use AirB&B and similar short term rental mediators for tourists . These businesses are run by shadowy entities which outright buy up all types of housing and also handle getting clients for other property owners and both will often shirk their responsibilities regarding regulations , restrictions and taxes . In these money- making schemes large numbers of family houses and rental properties are removed from the market and this drives up purchase prices and the cost of rental accommodation in the market so much that the local populations can no longer afford to live in their own towns , driven away by the tourist stream . This is a blight in many cities around the world .

    I also avoid B&Bs in general because I see no price advantage and they are a hassle because they appear to require a lot of digging in their website or phone calls to get price info.
    I also can’t see an advantage in any of the so- called “free night’s stay “ after collecting ten or whatever overnights at a particular chain. Their prices totalled for that number of days usually cover more than the prices summed as I pay at random selections , so that “ free” night is more than recouped for me.
    #39
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  20. Tricepilot

    Tricepilot Bailando Con Las Estrellas Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    This is precisely what happened to Fredericksburg, Texas, now the most expensive place to live in the state. It's smack dab in the heart of the Texas Hill Country, West of Austin.
    #40