When I Book
A question I often get when traveling on a long motorcycle trip (aside from is your butt sore?) is ‘do you book your hotels ahead of time?’ The answer is yes…sorta. Before three years ago, I would just show up at a hotel and ask if they had any vacancies. While this method worked most of the time, sometimes it failed miserably; I’d end up checking multiple hotels before finding out everything was booked and then I’d have to ride another 30 miles or more to the next town. It may sound like a good idea to go ahead and book all of your rooms ahead of time but…we are talking about traveling via motorcycle here. What happens if you get caught in bad weather or they have a tornado warning in Kansas and you have to divert a few hundred miles off course? Most hotels probably have a 24 hour prior to arrival cancellation policy but on a multiple night trip that could mean having to cancel multiple hotels.
So if I don’t wait until I get in town and I don’t book before the trip, what do I do? I book at lunch. By lunch I’m usually passed the halfway point on mileage for the day and I know if I’m going to make it to my anticipated end point for the day. Plus, if I can’t find anything in the town I was planning on stopping for the night, I still have plenty of time to make alternative plans, whether that’s to ride a bit shorter or a little longer.
How I Book
If you’re traveling to a place you’ve been before you may already know what hotel you’d like to stay at for the night however, if it’s a new place you likely have no clue. My secret weapon in this case is the Hotels.com app. I type in our destination and let the app show me all the best deals. You can even fine tune the search feature if there is some sort of landmark or particular neighborhood you’ve like to stay near.
I’m normally looking for 3 things to help me make my decision of which hotel to choose for the night.
- Price – When possible I like to keep it around the $100 mark but a lot of the price depends on the day of week, geographical location and even what events are going on in the area. I’m a big fan of Hampton Inns and hotels similar to them.
- Good Reviews – Hotels.com provides you with the reviews of their users plus as well as TripAdvisor reviews. You don’t need to waste time reading through all the reviews but I like to make sure the place is pretty nice, well maintained and clean. Sometimes people will leave a small nugget of information in their review that may help you make up your mind.
- Location – After 400+ miles on a motorcycle, once I get off the bike at the end of the day, I don’t want to get back on it again until the next morning. Plus, if you’re planning to drink at dinner, just plan on leaving the bike in the hotel parking lot.
- Just a quick “hack.” When I’ve narrowed down my hotel choice, I type its address into the maps app on my phone which will allow me to check out other hotels, restaurants and other surrounding businesses. I find doing this to be really helpful.
So why Hotels.com?
- They have a lot of hotels to choose from.
- Many times they can get you a better deal than booking direct through the hotel. *Sometimes you’ll get a last minute Secret Price when booking the day of that can save you LOTS of cash.
- No phone calls, no hassle, takes just a few seconds to pay for the room and you get a confirmation email.
- After 10 stays you get a FREE stay! (On my last 10 day trip, I only paid for 7 nights)
I hope you found this post informative and got something from it. There is no right or wrong way to book a hotel room while traveling via motorcycle, but I have found this way works best for my 99% of the time