Drive from San Francisco to L.A. - where to find budget accommodation
Replies: 8 - Last Post: Mar 25, 2013 12:31 PM Last Post By: johnsang
Mar 21, 2013 6:51 AM
Drive from San Francisco to L.A. - where to find budget accommodationHi,
Myself a 3 others will be driving from San Fran to L.A. starting on the 6th August 2013 and arriving in L.A. on the 10th August.
I'm not exactly looking for info on where to go or how long it will take but I do need some help with accommodation. We're looking at staying in Monterey/Carmel, Santa Barbara and then maybe somewhere in between like Pismo Beach.
I've looked briefly at motels like super 8 and had a quick look at this site http://www.choicehotels.com/ but wondered if anyone had decent info on how many motels/hotels there are in these areas? We need to pay no more than $100 a night for a room and ideally less than $80. We need two separate rooms so that budget is per room. I know they'll be basic, maybe not really that great but hopefully clean enough and a private room.
Also, ideally we'd be staying more centrally when in a town but that depends on rooms prices. Does anyone know what taxis are like in these areas? For example if we were 10 mins by car outside Monterey and we wanted to go out for drinks at night and needed a taxi back to the motel/hotel - would that be feasible and cheap?
Any help much appreciated.
Mar 21, 2013 7:41 AM
Mar 21, 2013 12:06 PM
2We use Wyndham Group motel chains (Super 8, Howard Johnson, Days Inn, etc - there's a long list) and we aim for about $80.00 per night average. On your trip our planned stops are Monterey, Morro Bay (or San Simeon - one to cancel), and Santa Barbara. In your case though, you have four nights on the road ... I would probably add a second into Santa Barbara in August - visit the beach.
The advantage of these chains - in addition to having a smart website - is that in most cases you can cancel or amend right up to the day of arrival, and certainly up to 24 hours prior. So we always pre-book everything, expecting to amend about one in four.
Mar 22, 2013 2:31 PM
Mar 22, 2013 2:47 PM
4Motel6 has that name because they allow you to cancel or amend up till 6:00pm on your planned date of arrival. So pre-booking is not a risk, and places do get busy. Their rates do change over the year - just check the website - a San Luis Obispo Motel6 in April is "from $69.99" and "from $101.99" in August.
The other advantage of pre-booking is that it saves you precious time at the end of each day - you are not trawling an unfamiliar town looking for vacant rooms in a holiday period. The two hours before sunset are often great times to go for a walk or go to the beach, or have a beer.
Mar 22, 2013 7:34 PM
5The so called cheap chain motels like Motel 6 and Super 8 are clean and well kept up... These are major companies...not mom and pop places that have variable quality....
I know some people have a fetish about sleeping in beds that other people have been in...for those there are those sheet rolls you can buy at places like Bed Bath and Beyond...
My only complain is that the cheap motels... tend to draw the "wrong crowd" sometimes...not always...just because they are the cheapest on the block... And the ones that are in "bad neighborhoods" will have that vibe in the parking area...unless there is a wall or barrier around the motel... But there are a lot of seniors and construction trades people staying there too...
Motels in America tend to cluster around the Interstate Exits... And only occasionally also on main streets... Many of the older "independent" motels are on regular surface streets...because before the Interstates...these streets where the main tourist road...! The best example of that is the famous Route 66...which was a surface road made obsolete by the Interstate Hwy System...
For small places, B&Bs and other "hidden gems"...perhaps contact the local government or tourist office were you want to stay...for a recommendation...
Mar 23, 2013 1:09 AM
6I can endorse vasenka's last paragraph (and others too of course) ... many times I have contacted (months prior to travel) - the local chamber of commerce or visitors bureau in small American towns - they are always super-informed, friendly, and able to provide lots of alternatives you would never have thought of.
Mar 25, 2013 11:39 AM
Mar 25, 2013 12:31 PM
8Mweston. Even if everything is fully booked there will be noshows and cancellations. If you know where you will be, fine, make a reservation, but if you want to hang loose then be prepared to look harder to find something. You may want to start looking earlier in the day, call ahead and ask. Look for off brand motels. Look further from the beach. Rooms will probably be higher in the summer. I just checked Motel 6's around SLO in August and they average $10 to $15 more than in April. for 4 people. I don't like to feel constrained by a fear of not finding a room. I have always been able to find something somewhere. If you go to a motel and they are full ask them where to look? They almost always know where there is availability.
Also, establish a presence on Airbnb.com. some of their hosts are pretty flexible and will take last minute guests if their profile and references look good.
Check out all our reviewed and recommended accommodation and book online.