Friday, September 26, 2008

Staying at a Hotel without breaking the bank.

Last winter we flew across the country (well, from Washington state to Texas) with a 2 month old for 10 days and did it for relatively little money. The purpose of the trip was not to vacation, but rather to get some additional schooling for my husband. Thus, our time there did not include much site-seeing and the like. But, since we needed to take this trip and did not have much additional budget money to do it, we economized on things we could. Here are some ways we saved during that trip that you might take into consideration if you need to stay in a hotel for awhile on the cheap.

1)Free Breakfast. Find a hotel with breakfast if at all possible. If you can, make sure its a hot breakfast. This helped our costs so much...we filled up on breakfast so our lunches were lighter.

2)Free shuttle service. My husband needed to get to his aviation school every day and this hotel had free shuttle. We were also able to utilize the shuttle for a couple trips to Wal-Mart for groceries and the like during the week.

3)Laundry. We were able to bring our cloth diapers with us and primarily use those because of free laundry in the hotel. If you can't find a hotel with free laundry, take that into careful consideration when deciding what clothes to pack. Pack clothes that hide spots well and can be worn more than once. For us that would've meant bringing more disposable diapers, boughten on deep discount hopefully!

4) Mini Fridge/Microwave. These were essential to our trip. I brought along a few carefully selected kitchen tools such as a knife, can opener, a microwavable dinner sized bowl/casserole and disposable dinner ware/plates etc. We had a very simple menu, but I was able to stay within our at-home regular food budget because of doing this. You may even consider bringing some food packed if you don't have to pay extra for baggage.

Some of our meals included:
~ Baked potatoes (cooked in the micro) with broccoli, cheese and beans
~ Microwavable Rice packets with kielbasa and salad
~ Casserole made with potatoes, kielbasa, eggs, cheese and broccoli
~ Tomato Soup and "grilled" cheese sandwiches

5)Utilize walking-distance entertainment. Baby and I got free exercise and entertainment by walking to a nearby mall. I also was able to find out what fast food was at the mall food court, and in turn we went back and printed off coupons so we could enjoy a night out couple times while there. I even got to sample Chick fil A for the first time!

6) Use the hotel amenities to the fullest (and make friends with the staff:). Since we were practically living at the hotel for almost two weeks, we made sure to tip the housekeeping staff and chat with the lobby staff. They helped us to get on the internet, got us extra towels when we needed them, etc.

These ideas probably won't work for everyone, especially if you are on a more "vacation" type trip. Living this way allowed the baby and I to be able to afford the plane ticket to go with Daniel since if he were alone he would have most likely needed to eat out a bunch. It was worth it to both of us!


Carrie J said...

The best hotels we have found to stay in are Drury Inns. They have a complete breakfast, eggs and sausage to waffles, etc. This fills everyone up and lasts until lunch. They have free long distance calls and free happy hour (cokes, popcorn and snacks for the kiddos) They have always been friendly and the rooms have always been nice. The average price is usually about $75 if you join the "gold club" or some name like that.

Sarah said...

You don't know me, but I found your link via Crystal's post and a few things I read in the last few minutes makes me wonder if you (or more likely your husband) might know my brother. He is at Moody right now, in year 2 or 3 and his name is Jonathan Schultz. I am just assuming that you all are at Moody, am I correct? It may be a shot in the dark, but I wanted to ask, since I rarely find someone randomly in blogdom that might know someone I do.

Rachael said...

Thanks for the tips Carrie!

Hi Sarah, Daniel was indeed at Moody, but has not been there for 5 or 6 years. They might know some of the same profs though! Daniel started there in 2000, if that helps. Is your brother in aviation?