Over Winter Break 2019 the Michael W Travels family went on a Deep South Road Trip.
Along the way (we live in Brooklyn, NY) we made stops in states like Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama and North Carolina.
Kim and I wanted to keep this trip as flexible as possible. We didn’t want to be tied down to a set plan of where to overnight. We wanted to be able to stay and enjoy a place longer or return to a missed place on the way back if weather wasn’t on our side. To make this happen, we decided to try to not book any hotel more than one day in advance. (We did do one 3-night hotel stay. That stay was booked the day prior to arrival.)
Initially, we thought that this idea might backfire due to it being the holidays. Luckily, we never had an issue finding a place to stay that was within our budget.
We wanted to go with a very low budget of around $70 per night since we’d more than likely be arriving late and leaving early. We were able to make this happen using a combination of cash and points.
Here is where we stayed during our trip:
- Econo Lodge- Frederick, MD: $58 (by far the worst hotel of our trip)
- Travelodge- Wytheville, VA: 7,500 Wyndham points
- Best Western Plus Arbour Inn & Suites- East Ridge, TN: $71.17 (earned $10 promo)
- Hyatt Place Inverness- Birmingham, AL: 3 nights $220.32
- Country Inn- Pigeon Forge, TN: 28,000 Radisson points
- Smoky Mountain Inn- Waynesville, NC- $14.86 (used $100 gift card I won through Twitter and also applied the $10 promo earned from prior Best Western stay)
- Country Inn Asheville West- Asheville, NC: 38,000 Radisson points
- Holiday Inn Roanoke-Tangelwood- Roanoke, VA: 15,000 IHG points
Total budget: $364.35 + 88,500 points +$100 in gift cards won on Twitter +$10 promo code
Overall, we spent 10 nights in hotels during our road trip. With the aid of various hotel points and the gift card won through Twitter, we kept our out of pocket lodging expenses down to an average of $36.43 per night!
No we didn’t stay in luxurious places but all of the places we stayed were totally fine besides our first night!
It was nice to be flexible during this trip and make decisions as we went. Our almost 8 year-old son Lucas was always curious as to where we’d be staying. Kim and I reminded him not to worry since we had our car! No, it never came to that and we all had an awesome time.
On future road trips, I’d definitely like to stick to the plan of booking no more than one night in advance, unless of course we’re doing a multi-night stay at the same property.
Do you have any strategies to make road trips a success when it comes to planning and booking your hotels?