It seems like no matter where we vacation, there is always a crowd. We are a family of 6, and when we travel any great distance, we usually inherit an additional cousin or nephew. Then, we hit the road knowing that because of our family size, we are going to have to pay more for a lot of things. Motel rooms are one of those expenses that just don’t allow much leeway. This is because when we go to a motel. we are always above the legal accommodation for one room, which is usually 4.
That’s not to say that every now and again, someone won’t give us an extra cot for one room. In stop-gap situations, we have almost always found some someone who would allow us to crowd into one room, shower, nap, and get on our way. While we were certainly grateful (it was better than making do in our van), but this is not an ideal solution for an extended stay. If you want to be comfortable, then you have to get the appropriate number of rooms.
For one thing, we have learned that the type of hotel makes all the difference in comfort. The cost per day for two rooms at a nicer hotel is $110.00 or so, with discounts. This is well worth the extra money. The reason is that the added accommodations in these hotels is usually immense and helps you save money elsewhere. Usually, an extra $40.00 more gets you a swimming pool, a continental breakfast and better security. In other words, you can save money on recreation, going out to eat & secure parking. Plus, everyone feels better in a nice motel. You’re less likely to think “man, if I had just spent $40.” If you’re a solo traveler, I see the logic in just paying for the basics. But for a family, I definitely recommend paying the extra money, getting some nice rooms, and packing the rooms full of as many people as the hotel will allow. Then, enjoy all the amenities a nice hotel has to offer!
However, I understand that finances can be a major issue for most people. Virtually all family vacations have a tight budget. I’m definitely not advocating blowing a bunch of money on 5 star hotels without a plan to save money elsewhere. Food and activities are where savings really start to add up. For instance, you don’t have to eat out all the time. Instead, you can use the refrigerator, microwave and coffee pot in your room for a whole selection of easy-to-prepare foods and drinks. Also, don’t shop at the tourist stops for food. Find a supermarket. If you need beach clothes or dress clothes, same deal. Go to the closest superstore or thrift store, like you would at home. Being on vacation doesn’t mean you can spend whatever you want whenever you want!
Another great tip is to get adjacent rooms. This worked really well for keeping an eye on our teens. It also gives you and your spouse that needed barrier that’s crucial when you’ve had it up to here with kids. My kids were equally entertained with the workout rooms and the pool available at the hotel, and when we were all in the room together, the game console we brought kept them settled down.