Index for Insanity, Inc.
Why is it that the supposedly cheap motels don't bother to put a cheap clock and/or a radio in the room? It used to be that some of these motels were fairly cheap, but now the rates are no longer cheap in many areas. It seems that for $50+/night is not enough for a clock, so you can tell what time it is at night. Instead you get to trust the front desk to give you a wake up call, but I can't trust them to give me a non-smoking room, so it is best to bring your own clock.
The only cheap hotel that I have found which is decent is the Oasis off of the 15, north of Las Vegas. It has been some time since I stayed there, but if you go during the week, when there special is effect, the room rate is $20 and you don't have to apply for any cards or anything like many of the other places. The room is pretty nice and they seem to take care of the place.
Other than that, I really don't think that you save any money by trying to stay at a cheap place as it costs you in other ways. Often the cheap places are in areas which are not great. Also, the cheap hotels are often made very cheaply and so the noise can be really bad so you might not get much sleep or in case you don't have an alarm clock and don't get your wakeup call, you might get too much sleep.
I have had some good luck finding a nice place at a reasonable rate using hotels.com (not associated with them). One problem is their lack of customer service telephone lines. I stayed at one place in Reno, NV and had some problems. When I checked in, I was asked for a $50 deposit or a credit card. They said that it was in case I used the phone or the mini-bar. This was a lie. The rate that you pay through hotels.com is supposed to be the full and complete charges, excluding other services like movies, phone, mini-bar, etc. When I went to check out using the TV service, there was an electricity fee to recover the increased cost of power. I tried to call hotels.com, but just ended up on hold forever and never managed to talk to anyone. I went to the front desk and talked to them and showed them the paperwork which stated that everything was paid for. It took a bit of work, but I did manage to get the fee taken off. I was informed that next time they would not take it off though. I later managed to contact hotels.com and they said it was in violation of their agreement for the hotel to charge that fee. Which is nice, but if there is not way that you can have hotels.com talk to the people at the hotel, then you end up having to spend quite a bit of time dealing with it.
There are other Websites, like Orbitz and others, which allow you to get a discount rate at a good hotel. To me this is a much better value than trying to deal with a cheap hotel. Also, there are places with camping cabins which are often cheaper than a typical hotel or motel. Although I really dislike KOA Kampgrounds due to their cost and poor customer service, there are some which are good values. I just would not count on it. Just be careful since often KOA campgrounds are near major highways and can be very noisy. I did stay at one which was quiet, so they made up for that by leaving a very bright light on all night.
Index for Insanity, Inc.
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