Thanks for the reply. I have a few questions if you don't mind.
- Why do you recommend choice?
I recommend Choice for a few reasons. Most importantly, they own a TON of hotel brands. You'll never have a problem finding a Choice Hotel and that's helpful on a spontaneous trip. The own Clarion, Comfort Suites, Comfort Inn, Econo Lodge, Mainstay Suites, Quality Inn, Rodeway Inn, Sleep Inn and some less common ones like Ascend Hotel Collection, Cambria Hotels & Suites and Suburban Extended Stay. I also really like some of their brands. Sleep inn is generally always a nice room, Comfort Suites is always great too.
They also tend to have great sign up offers with their Visa card which I recommend getting (ASAP since points take awhile to post after the first billing cycle where you meet the terms of the offer, usually spending $1,000 within 90 days). Use that whenever you book a Choice room. You'll rack up a crap ton of points and will get a ton of free rooms. If it's too late to take advantage of that, still get one and sign up. You'll get 10 points per dollar within 2 days of checking out of a room so later in the trip you'll still have tons of points and then with the card you'll accumulate even more points that don't expire (unless you totally stop using the card or staying in hotels) to use on your next trip.
Plenty of people prefer other chains and cards like Hilton and Hyatt (there's a thread dedicated to that here
) but there are less of them and they require pre-planning. You won't be driving down the road in the middle of nowhere between parks and come across a random Hyatt but you'll find no problem finding tons of Choice Hotels. Wyndham is a good option too, I just don't like their rewards programs as much and their most common brands that you'll find everywhere generally blow.
RedB wrote:Have you ever had trouble finding a hotel this way?
No. I used to have less brand loyalty because I was stupid and not using rewards programs so usually I'd get off a random exit and just drive up to random hotels that looked to be in our price range. Occasionally we'd come across hotels that were booked and I'd end up having to get back on the highway and keep driving for another 20 minutes or so but that was rare and now I book with the app (often when I'm only about 30 minutes out) so it's not a problem.
RedB wrote:You say the pros outweigh the cons. What cons have you experienced?
There really aren't any to be honest other than the fact that there's no structure whatsoever and some people don't like traveling that way. Personally, I don't care one bit.