With budget hotel rooms covering an entire range of prices, you need to consider these 5 key criteria to choose the best budget hotel in the US.
Today, you can pick from a whole range of hotel rooms all the way along the price line. If you don’t like shelling out several hundred dollars for somewhere to sleep at night, you can now take your pick from dozens of budget, boutique, and low-cost hotels which offer clean, comfortable accommodations for far lower prices. Budget hotels still come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so when you set out to book your budget hotel room, consider which of these issues is the most important to you.
COVID-19 has had a major impact on travel. Many have called off their vacations entirely and opted for staying at home. However, there are those whose jobs, families, and other obligations necessitate travel, and these people have been left wondering how safe it is to stay in hotels during the pandemic.
As the Center for Disease Control and Prevention notes, the best way to minimize your risks is to stay at home. However, if you do find yourself traveling and booking hotels and other accommodations, the World Health Organization’s FAQ page on hotel safety during COVID has information and tips for making your stay as safe as possible.
It’s also a good idea to check the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s (AHLA) Safe Stay initiative, which includes best-practice guidelines for hotels to follow during COVID-19. You can then make sure that the hotel you’re considering follows guidelines outlined there. During your stay, the AHLA’s guest safety checklist can also be a helpful resource.
Of course, the situation is constantly evolving and it’s recommended that you regularly check sites like the CDC and WHO as well as city, state, and national guidelines for updates before and while you travel.
Price Per Night
Let's begin with the bottom line. Sometimes, all you're looking for is a place to rest your head for the night, and so your primary concern is to keep the price down as much as possible. Even in the realm of budget hotels, prices can vary greatly. Motel 6 is near the bottom of the price tree, with rooms beginning at around $45 for a double room. However, for that price, you should expect to get a basic budget room without any frills, including no free breakfast and no WiFi. Accommodation is clean and comfortable, but there are no extras.
Most budget hotels charge slightly higher prices, like Days Inn, which has double rooms from around $70 per night, and Candlewood Suites, which offers plenty of amenities for longer stays and has prices beginning at $83 per night. On the other hand, some budget hotels can cost a lot more, although you’d expect to get more amenities and facilities in exchange. The Hilton Garden Inn is near the top of the price range for budget hotels, with a twin room with queen beds beginning at $179 per night.
Often the amenities and facilities that the hotel offers are what make your decision about where to stay. Sometimes, you’re willing to pay a little more than rock-bottom prices in exchange for extras like free breakfast and high-speed WiFi. Although prices are still far lower than 4-star and luxury resorts, many budget hotels provide plenty of amenities that make your stay even more enjoyable. The Hampton Inn line is Hilton’s budget offering, but it still provides free high-speed internet, a luxury free breakfast, free coffee and tea, and free local calls. Most locations also have an exercise room. The Hilton Garden Inn also has pools at most locations, free WiFi and breakfast, and more space for families in all of its rooms.
Candlewood Suites is another budget option with more amenities than most. It’s intended for longer stays, so you probably won’t have your room cleaned every day, but you will get fresh towels on request, a fully equipped kitchen, free on-site laundry, an exercise room, and an outdoor barbecue area. However, it saves by not offering a large lobby area, and there's no swimming pool.
Most budget hotels today do offer free breakfast and free WiFi, including Comfort Inn and Quality Inn, even though you won’t find complimentary hot drinks, a pool, or exercise facilities in most of them. However, many La Quinta locations do include a free pool, fitness center, and meeting rooms, as well as the typical free breakfast and WiFi, and free newspaper in the lobby.
Furry friends are welcome in many budget hotels, although most of them will ask you to pay an extra fee, and sometimes a returnable discount. La Quinta stands out as one of the few budget hotels that won’t charge extra for your dog, although you do have to sign a pet policy accepting responsibility for any damage caused by your pet, and you can only bring a maximum of 2 dogs per room. Motel 6 charges $10 per day for every pet visitor, also with a limit of 2 dogs per room, and Days Inn and Candlewood Suites also welcome dogs for a fee.
Discounts for Seniors/Families
Many budget hotels offer extra discounts or special offers for different groups of the population. Best Western has a whole range of special rates, including 10% discount for seniors aged 55 and older, 10% or more off room prices for government and military members, and other discounted rates for members of groups like the AAA and AARP. La Quinta offers a discount of at least 10% for customers over 65 at locations in the US, Canada, and selected hotels in Mexico, Colombia, and Honduras, while Motel 6 drops it’s already low rates another 10% for anyone over 60.
Not every budget hotel has special offers for families, but when they do, it can make a bigger difference to the final price, sometimes even wiping out the difference between a lower-price hotel and a slightly higher one. Holiday Inn has a noteworthy offer for kids to stay and eat for free in all locations. Candlewood Suites includes a sofa bed in most of their rooms, which saves money for families who would otherwise have to pay for an extra room.
The US definitely has the highest concentration and widest choice when it comes to budget hotels. La Quinta has over 700 in the US, Canada, and Mexico, Days Inn has over 1,800 and the Hilton Garden Inn has 560 US locations. In some parts of the world, you still have to choose between paying for 5-star luxury or what has been called ‘no-star’ accommodation.
If you’re traveling, your choice of budget hotel might depend on which chain has a branch in your destination. Hampton Inn is only represented in 10 countries worldwide, but in contrast, Best Western has more than 1,300 hotels in 46 countries in Europe and many hundreds more in North America. Holiday Inn is present in over 30 countries with 300+ properties.
Book Your Budget Hotel Room Today!
Whether your priorities are amenities, low prices, travel with dogs, or discounts and friendly policies for children and seniors, there are a wide range of budget hotel rooms to suit your requirements.