19 Replies Latest reply: Apr 18, 2016 2:46 PM by muppetwrangler RSS

Going in an USA roadtrip - should I pre book hotels online or walk in?

hkraytai Gold
Currently Being Moderated

I take a roadtrip annually for a week or so and usually when I am ready to call it a night I would search the GPS where I happen to be for Marriott property options. There are lots of Courtyards, Fairfield Inns, etc., everywhere in the US. Now is it a better idea to plan ahead and reserve a room? Would the pre booked rooms be any cheaper than walk in rates? I like th freedom of deciding on the fly and not bound by some prior reservation so am wondering if the price difference is significant. Of course for busy seasons at busy areas I would pre book.

(For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Going in an USA roadtrip - should I pre book hotels online or walk in?
    brightlybob Platinum 10 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    I can only speak for the UK, but Id never just turn up at a hotel and request a room, thats just asking to be shafted at best, and at worst finding no rooms are actually available and sleeping in your car at worst. Having said that when I was on my US Roadtrip I was amazed at the number of roadside hotels in the USA so that seems kipping in your car for lack of a room will be unlikely, though I still very much doubt you'll get a competitive price.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: Going in an USA roadtrip - should I pre book hotels online or walk in?
      tommo781 Gold 8 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      I would NEVER just turn up.  I ALWAYS book ahead.  But I have to admit, I think it may be more to do with getting older and needing the absolute reassurance that I have a place to stay already booked.

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

      • Re: Going in an USA roadtrip - should I pre book hotels online or walk in?
        phctourist Platinum 20 Reviews
        Currently Being Moderated

        There are good reasons to take either approach.

         

        It is helpful to have the flexibility to stop when it suits you.  You can  make a few calls when you know, generally,  where you want to stop and take the best available rate.

         

        Nevertheless, once you get on a route and find that every one is fully booked, you can experience a disaster.  Years ago, we were driving from Washington, DC to Rochester, NY and found that every hotel from Williamsport, PA to just south of Rochester (a 3 or 4 hour drive) was full, due to a bunch of college and high school homecoming events along with Canadian Thanksgiving.

         

        Since that horror show, we always book in advance!  We must have tried 25 or more hotels along the way.

        (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: Going in an USA roadtrip - should I pre book hotels online or walk in?
      phctourist Platinum 20 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      Bob, is "kipping in your car" a British expression or is it a typo? 

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Going in an USA roadtrip - should I pre book hotels online or walk in?
    bejacob Platinum 38 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    I used to just take my chances waiting until I was ready to stop for the day before deciding where to stay. I no longer do. In many cases you will be able to find a better rate by booking ahead, especially when using the Marriott website. The price difference may not be huge, but over a week-long (or longer) trip it can add up.

     

    One option you might consider is using the mobile app to book while you're on the road. You'll probably be able to get a decent rate, but still have the flexibility of making the decision of where to stay until late in the day.

     

    Here's an example of what can happen when walking into a hotel without a reservation. Re: Asking for a special rate at check in without a reservation.

     

    These days, I book everything before leaving home. That way I know I've got a place to stay and how much I'll be paying. There are a lot of CYs and FFIs around, but I'd hate to pass one by only to find out my choices for the next couple hundred miles aren't Marriott brands.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Going in an USA roadtrip - should I pre book hotels online or walk in?
    clebert Platinum 21 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    I agree with bejacob about booking ahead.  If you don't care what brand hotel you end up at, you're probably fine not booking ahead and maybe even using the coupons you can find at truck stops.  If you are collecting MR points and want a Marriott branded property, better to book ahead as rates tend to be cheaper, and places can sometimes fill up.  My parents are notorious for road tripping without planning ahead, and I recall as a kid having to sleep in the car once in San Francisco because all the hotels were full.  This was before cell phones, and we spent literally hours going from hotel to hotel, stopping at payphones and using the Yellow Pages, etc., to no avail.  But it still happens today.  Fairly recently, in Naples, FL, my parents had to sleep in their car in a Walmart parking lot because all the hotels were full!  We also got stranded without lodging in Naples 3 nights once during high season and couldn't find ANY lodging for 3 consecutive nights, so we had to bounce between the RC and Crystal Shores, and neither of them was anywhere near affordable. 

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

    • Re: Going in an USA roadtrip - should I pre book hotels online or walk in?
      bejacob Platinum 38 Reviews
      Currently Being Moderated

      Wow. Never had to sleep in my car. In years past, I found some good deals in the rest stop coupon books, but you really have to be brand neutral to make that work. I lucked into a great place just outside the French Quarter on my first trip to NOLA for something around $60/night with breakfast included. Now that virtually all my stays are with Marriott, it just doesn't make sense not to book ahead. The worst things that can happen is that you stop earlier or end up driving a bit farther than planned. In the first case, enjoy the late afternoon and evening. In the second, file that information away for future trips. Either option is better than being stuck without a place to stay when everything is full.

      (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Going in an USA roadtrip - should I pre book hotels online or walk in?
    peymanagement Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    I am usually a pretty organized person with researching and planning trips, On road trips, however I do all of the research but I usually want flexibility in case I want to deviate or stay longer in one place.  in earlier times, when you had to use yellow pages and pay phones, I agree it was a more time consuming and a bit dicey to do walk ins, In those days I used the little booklets you found at rest stops across USA. Now I have Apps on my I phone that can tell me instantly what is available coming up. I could not imagine in this day getting caught without a room. On the question of rate, even if I am in the parking lot of the hotel, I book it on  line, Usually on line rates don't change that much as arrival approaches, but sometimes they go up, usually not down, but there are exceptions. I have walked into hotels and observed the walk in guy getting charged a higher rate than I was on-line even though I had booked the room within the past hour.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Going in an USA roadtrip - should I pre book hotels online or walk in?
    hkraytai Gold
    Currently Being Moderated

    What a nice bunch of folks here! Thanks for the advice. I will prebook for my next trip which will be from NJ to Montreal via Bar Harbor. I should really know better. Last Summer I was on a roadtrip with my son out west and all the rooms in Bishop CA were filled, then Lee Vining, no surprise were full so we ending up in Bridgeport.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Going in an USA roadtrip - should I pre book hotels online or walk in?
    jm1991 Gold 3 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    If its in a remote area i dont think there would be much difference in price booking ahead or day of. Larger cities might be better off booking ahead. If your route is not set in stone, i would suggest booking same day. Do use either the mobile app, i tried a walk in and their rate was much higher than the app, so i went ahead and quickly booked on the app. Also if its on a weekend dont forget to search for the MEB code. There are some significant savings at smaller properties like courtyards, and residence inns.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Going in an USA roadtrip - should I pre book hotels online or walk in?
    ramoneur Platinum
    Currently Being Moderated

    >should I pre book hotels online or walk in?

     

    both,

    book some in advance you really want to stay at

    but leave enough space/days in between for buffers/emergency

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Going in an USA roadtrip - should I pre book hotels online or walk in?
    carat Community Manager Marriott Associate Silver
    Currently Being Moderated

    Great advice here!  hkraytai, sounds like you have a fun adventure ahead of you!  Looking forward to hearing your travel stories.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Going in an USA roadtrip - should I pre book hotels online or walk in?
    californian Platinum 37 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    It depends on how you feel about sleeping in your car if the inn is full.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

  • Re: Going in an USA roadtrip - should I pre book hotels online or walk in?
    muppetwrangler Platinum 8 Reviews
    Currently Being Moderated

    I do lots of road trips and tend to book ahead.  That being said, I've also booked last minute when I wasn't sure if I would make it to the destination on time.  (This cancel-the-day-before policy has ruined many plans! )

     

    Just recently, I checked the mobile app for a rate before walking into the hotel without a reservation.  I asked at the front desk for their best rate and was given a lower rate than anything offered online.  $22 lower.  Sweet.

    (For each location tag, you will be guided through a 3-step process to add (1) a city and a state or a city and a country, (2) a Marriott brand, and (3) a Marriott hotel.)

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