Mrs. Funmeister and I have been traveling Florida and the southeast for a couple of years now. During that time we have honed our skills in staying at the motel or hotel that give us the biggest bang for our buck.
My father used to say (about many things, from watches to cars), “the expensive ones are jewelry and the cheap ones are junk. Find yourself a mid-range model that does the job.” As I have gotten older, I have come to see the wisdom in this observation.
Because I am married, we have not stayed in many so-called “budget” motels. There have been a number of those occasions however, due to conditions beyond our control. The adage “you get what you pay for” more than applies here.
Low budget motels are indeed cheap – and scrimp on the necessitates. The toiletries usually are barely sufficient, one does really not want to use the plumbing facilities unless absolutely necessary and the beds – and bedding – can be suspect to say the least.
It only took a couple of these experiences to teach us to book early, make sure we tour the rooms if there are any questions and to develop a relationship with an accommodations flag that gives us confidence that a room unseen will at least be suitable.
At other times, we have treated ourselves to a five star hotel – “uppity” as my wife would say.
These places go out of their way to “help” you, and by “help” I mean upsell…or should I say “upgrade our experience.” That being said, none of these upgrades are complimentary and when it comes to breakfast in the morning, they are more than willing to seat you for their gourmet and overpriced breakfast buffet.
It caused me to coin a phrase “ymbatpfi” – pronounced Youm-BATT-fie – which means (if you can afford to stay here) “you must be able to pay for it.”
However, somewhere in the middle, there are a number of mid-range flags which can put you in a comfortable room, with amenities, at a reasonable price. In the morning, there generally is a breakfast that you actually can eat, a fair array of options from waffles to fruit and many times with an attendant who keeps the facility clean and well stocked.
We have had great luck with many in the Wyndham chain – especially Microtel. We also have done well with the Baymont hotels and more recently with another chain, the Best Western. There are some other flags, but they have been rather stiff necked about allowing my wife and me to combine our pre-marriage points under a single account. So we are taking advantage of those which are more user friendly.