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Old August 2nd, 2010, 08:29 PM   #1
ChrisZwolle
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places to stay while on the road

This topic is about places to stay while on a long road trip, for example a hotel, motel or campsite.

What are your experiences? Which hotel / motel chains offer decent cheap rooms? Can you arrive without reservations?

I used to use campsites, carrying a 2-seconds light tent with me. However, I want to try out some hotels.

As far as I know, the highway hotel business in Europe seems to be most developed in France.

For example Formula 1 (F1) hotels offer very cheap rooms (as low as € 29 per night), but they don't offer private bathrooms or wireless internet. For example Ibis is slightly more expensive (economy class), around € 50 per night, but has some more amenities.

Some hotel chains that seems interesting for the one-night traveler;

AC Hotels: Spain, Portugal, Italy
AS Hoteles: Spain
All Seasons: mostly France
Etap: mostly France & Germany
Formula 1 Hotels: mostly France
Ibis hotels: France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Portugal
Travelodge: United Kingdom

I use various campings on my road trip, but I get a little tired from lugging all the stuff around and hoping for good weather. It's cheap though, generally around € 15 per night.

Got any more?
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 08:45 PM   #2
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i had the best will to stay in Autogrill motel, but the price for double room was 80€
fortunately, i had list of hotels in nearby places so i took an exit and overslept in cheap hotel. when i have to sleep at my way, i calculate where would the night catch me, and i find cheap hotel, not neccesserly at motorway
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 08:45 PM   #3
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In US is damn easy to find cheap roadside motels in any major exit. On exits very near major cities, sometimes cheap non-branded motels can serve other purposes (like a hot bed for hookers and their clients), but outside such areas near small cities that is usually not the case.

Motel 6 (owned by Accor), Travelodge and Super 8 are among the most ubiquitous motel/roadside hotels in US.

France has another very interesting and good-value roadside hotel chain: Première Class (yes, pretentious name). They are priced at-par with Etap, but they offer good deals on advance reservation, free Wi-Fi and so. In France I prefer Etap to Formule 1.

If you are travelling off-peak, some beach resorts can offer unbelievable deals. I once stayed in a € 300/night resort in Southern Italy paying € 35. It was my best roadside rest ever.

I always check-up the major European reservations websites: Booking and Venere. If my trip is planned, it is not difficult to find a hotel selling cheap beds at last minute if you are not in peak season.

Some other strategies include looking for hotels (on the internet)

- in industrial areas/districts from Friday to Saturday (once got a 4* at Torino paying € 59), they always come with WiFi
- for beach hotels in winter and some km off the highway near (but not at) ski mountains in summer
- near minor/medium airports but not that close
- in a city/town second after the first off the ramp

I ALWAYS check for parking... indeed, the importance a cheap hotel website gives for parking is usually a good indicator of whether it is a hotel catering for guests arriving by car or not. Last thing I want is to have to park my car away from the hotel after a day-long driving.

In any case, travelling alone is always expensive in that sense. If you have a girlfriend, it is better (getting a girlfriend who likes or at lest that might start liking road travel for the sake of travelling is another matter, if you out there all have tips on how to make them like the road, forward them to me ). If you have friends that like to travel too, it becomes easier, because one extra person or two in the car will not increase much your car costs and then you can share lodging expenses. But they need to be people with whom you can live for some days in confined spaces almost all the time. I have 2 friends in these conditions, too bad they live far from here and one is already engaged with a girl who hate road travel.

I don't like to sleep at campsites, never liked indeed. When I had just gotten my driver's license, I traveled twice while sleeping in my car at rest areas. But it was a bad experience, I'd not repeat it unless needed.
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Last edited by Suburbanist; August 2nd, 2010 at 08:58 PM.
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 10:34 PM   #4
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I once used a Etap Hotel in Marseille. It was not directly on a highway though.
But I can only recommend it. It was quite cheap (less than 50 €) for a room. The room had one big bed and a smaller one above it. So it can host up to 3 people. It was very clean and with own shower/bathroom.


Btw from what I've seen so far motels seem quite rare in Europe. You see them alot in american movies but I've seen very few in Europe. Are they noticeable cheaper than hotels?
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Old August 2nd, 2010, 10:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lpioe View Post
I once used a Etap Hotel in Marseille. It was not directly on a highway though.
But I can only recommend it. It was quite cheap (less than 50 €) for a room. The room had one big bed and a smaller one above it. So it can host up to 3 people. It was very clean and with own shower/bathroom.


Btw from what I've seen so far motels seem quite rare in Europe. You see them alot in american movies but I've seen very few in Europe. Are they noticeable cheaper than hotels?
In Italy, they are not. And they have a reputation of places that double as convenient places for young people who don't have their own space to, well, go to have some more private time with girlfriend and so, as attitudes toward bringing girlfriends to your parent's houses are way, way different there.
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 12:38 AM   #6
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Good idea to open a thread about this. Small local hotels are cool too to stay the night though. Just a couple of km's from the highway/main route that brings you to your final destination. That's what we did last year in South Germany.

Anyway, what I wanted to say is that Ibis is the same thing as 'Accor Hotels'. They're the same, a fusion basically. They're all over Holland too (Chris prefers saying the Netherlands, I know). So you can put 'the Netherlands' in your Ibis list Chris I liked the Ibis Hotel in Winterthur, Switzerland. Great service! I also stayed in a F1 hotel in Le Mans (how funny ) Can't remember much of that though. I do remember that the showercabins were public, and everyone on the same floor could use them
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Old August 4th, 2010, 04:45 PM   #7
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Travelodge and Premier Inn are the two biggest 'roadside' chains in the UK I think, travelodge tends to be on motorways while premier inn is more often found on non-motorway trunk roads and at the edge of cities.

Travelodge rooms start at £19 while premier inn rooms are a bit more upmarket and start at £29. Those are off-peak, book in advance rates though, if you just turn up on a peak day you will pay 2 or even 3 times that in some locations. There are numerous smaller chains and individual bed and breakfast type places too. You can get guidebooks listing independent accommodation near motorway junctions.

I like campsites too and I've used them fairly often in France and Spain, especially if they have nice wooden cabins etc
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Old August 4th, 2010, 04:46 PM   #8
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Another very cheap and basic chain I've seen in a few places in France is called Mister Bed.
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Old August 4th, 2010, 06:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisZwolle View Post
AC Hotels: Spain, Portugal, Italy
AS Hoteles: Spain
All Seasons: mostly France
Etap: mostly France & Germany
Formula 1 Hotels: mostly France
Ibis hotels: France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Portugal
Travelodge: United Kingdom

Got any more?
You may add Poland to at least IBIS & ETAP which is more and more every year across the country.
As my job is all about driving daily, I am also using many hotels(70.000km/year and guess around 100nights/year by average ) I do travel not only in Poland but still have stayed in sooo many of them already.
In Poland there are many hotels and motels by main routes, though not always exactly on the highway, like in France(F1 and others), but more often closer to some villages or suburbs.

Prices vary from EUR 20-25 up to EUR 70 and I am speaking about resonable 3star standard including hearty breakfast(not like French or Italian one).

Normally clean and most is well maintained and easy to find. Booking may be essentiall in some areas though.. Especially in less turistic destinations.

What I am doing many times is booking by some web pages -even from my mobile same day, or even 3 hours ahead, just to be sure and get the best rate available.

Last edited by seszele; August 4th, 2010 at 06:12 PM. Reason: mistakes
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Old August 5th, 2010, 12:29 AM   #10
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I have only slept at the "road side" thrice (old fashioned word for 3x) (i.e, in a middle of a road trip, not a destination):

-Some hotel near Léon

-Etap in Saint Paul-le-Dax

-Etap in Rennes

The staff at the Etap's were very rude, but I have no complaints about the rooms. In other hotel, I only saw one woman, who was nice.

I have never heard of "AC" in Portugal, and I only know of two roadside hotels in Portugal, one at a service station (Leiria) on the A1 and a motel just north of Figueira da Foz on the EN109

Last edited by DanielFigFoz; August 5th, 2010 at 12:39 AM.
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Old August 5th, 2010, 01:03 AM   #11
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Do some European highway service areas include hotels/motels?
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Old August 5th, 2010, 01:28 AM   #12
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Yes, maybe 50% in the UK do, and some do elsewhere.
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Old August 5th, 2010, 01:32 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Penn's Woods View Post
Do some European highway service areas include hotels/motels?
There's just one hotel on Slovenian motorways (Kongo), with prices of at least €70 per night for a single room (with breakfast) and at least €120 for a double room (with breakfast).
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Old August 5th, 2010, 11:33 PM   #14
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In Denmark, not one single rest area has a hotel/motel. Some major truckstops have hotels.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 10:37 PM   #15
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There are usually at least two motels located a short distance from almost any American highway exit. There are also an innumerable variety of chains, which cater to every budget. Most motels near highway exits seem to be affiliated with these chains rather than independent, the independent motels being more in the city or town.

At the bottom of the barrel, there's Motel 6. These go for anywhere between $30 to over $100 a night, depending on the location and what's happening there that specific night. During low season in a small-to-medium sized Midwestern city, Motel 6's will typically cost between $30 and $60 / night for a double room. Although Motel 6 is definitely a "budget motel" in the U.S., most of them would better fit a low-to-mid-range classification in Europe, with each room having a decent amount of space and its own private bathroom and TV with cable, and air conditioning. Some locations have a pool.

Not much further up the ladder are Days Inn, Super 8, and a variety of other chains. These usually cost $50 - $100+ a night for a double. They usually have a pool, free Wi-Fi, slightly more amenities, and most importantly, a cleaner "feel" than Motel 6.

In the mid-range are Ramada, Holiday Inn, Best Western, AmericInn, Fairfield, and others. A double room there will set you back around $80 - $140 a night (more, of course, in large cities, but we're talking about roadside hotels), assuming there's nothing major going on in the town you're in.

Luxury hotels aren't usually located roadside but within cities.

One thing about staying "roadside" is you are unlikely to have much within walking distance. Most people staying roadside drive everywhere, even if it's two blocks away, due to inhospitable walking conditions, lack of sidewalks, etc.

Last edited by tvdxer; August 6th, 2010 at 10:43 PM.
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Old August 6th, 2010, 10:38 PM   #16
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How are the Orbis hotels in Poland?
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Old August 7th, 2010, 10:52 AM   #17
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We made a 4days trip in slovakia last week, and we spent 2 nights in a hotel in the city center for 21euro/room/night and 1 night in a roadside pension for 30euro/room/night...
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Old August 7th, 2010, 04:11 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Verso View Post
There's just one hotel on Slovenian motorways (Kongo), with prices of at least €70 per night for a single room (with breakfast) and at least €120 for a double room (with breakfast).
But you may try, for example, Bit center near exit Ljubljana-Bizaovik (http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&sour...%B8%D1%8F&z=16) for about 25€ p.p. in double room
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Old August 7th, 2010, 04:21 PM   #19
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What would be really nice are hotels with free wi-fi. As I understand this is already rather common in the United States, and in the more upscale European hotels.
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Old August 7th, 2010, 05:12 PM   #20
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It does seem to be common here, but I don't know how reliable it is. I have a data card from my cell-phone provider which provides me free Internet anywhere in the U.S. And that's why I say it "seems to" be common: I keep seeing it and hearing about it in ads and listings, but I don't pay attention because I don't need it. The only time I can remember being at a place where I couldn't get reception, I was staying at a Rodeway Inn, near Erie, Pennsylvania, which was part of a truck stop (which I didn't know when I reserved there) So I searched for networks that my computer could pick up, and the only thing it could find was the truck stop's service, which was not free.

The last time I was outside the U.S. was a trip to Montreal. Was there for about five days, and the hotel's free wifi (which I did need because my cell service would have cost extra there) was down the whole time. So I don't count on this sort of thing. Next time I go to Canada, I'll look into adding Canada to my data plan. (In fact, I did end up logging on through my network, figuring I'd end up paying a certain amount per day. But they charged by the kilobyte so I ran up an enormous bill. I said I would be happy to pay a reasonable amount but not the whole thing, they wouldn't budge.... It wasn't pretty. Not going to do that again.)

Last edited by Penn's Woods; August 7th, 2010 at 05:18 PM.
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