Cheap Trip Tip #2: If you do pay, make the most of it
Self doubt, self care and pushing past presumptions
The second night on the road we splurged for a hotel. Not a fancy hotel for sure, in fact a hotel at the intersection of two interstates with broken doors and a broken shower for $50 a night. But we needed a place to get a good sleep for the night, because we had hit a breaking point yesterday with lack of sleep, water and confidence.
We turned 30 this year, are living through a global pandemic, and have held stable jobs for years. We are not the people we were in our 20s when we would have stayed under a bridge for the night, and we arrived at this $50 a night Quality Inn with hesitation.
However, there was a nice guy our age to check us in. He was stressed as he was the only person working that night, and it reminded us again that for all of our woes over the past few days, it is still a huge privilege to be able to travel like we are doing. We got our keys, he warned us of the broken door and we checked into our room.
The room was beautiful- two big queen beds, with the comfiest sheets and mattress I’ve slept on in awhile. However, because of lack of sleep and general mood, we weren’t in a state to truly appreciate the hotel until we woke up the next morning having survived the night, and not had anyone break into our car as we had feared.
The main point of booking a hotel when you are trying to travel cheap is either when there is no place to camp, or you are emotionally and mentally so exhausted that you are thinking of quitting travel altogether. This is a good time to realize that you are probably exhausted and need to give yourself a little TLC if you are able.
Cheap Trip Tip: Just do it. Book the hotel for the night and don’t spend time on regrets. Take a night to sleep and recalculate, and then in the morning take advantage of all the bonus things a cheap hotel has to offer.
Shower when you get to the hotel, as well as right before you leave. You never know when you will get a chance to shower again, so soak it up.
Pack all the free stuff in the hotel room for the rest of your trip (soap, extra rolls toilet paper, mouthwash).
Sometimes it’s not anything exciting that you want to put in your mouth, but free coffee should never be passed up. There is also always a sort of nice camaraderie between the other guests staying the night and also looking for that free coffee.
Soak up that Wifi
Charge all of your devices, and use that free hotel wifi to the max. Download the podcasts you want to listen to on the road and at the campsites where you won’t get service. Make all of the calls to family and friends, and make booking arrangements for travel for upcoming nights so that you don’t find yourself in as stressed of a place as we did when we booked this little hotel in Albuquerque.
In the end, it’s all chance. Do what you need to do, and don’t worry about what you don’t do. Take care of yourself and push yourself, but also recognize when you really just need to book a cheap hotel for the night and restart. Also, travel takes practice. And we are definitely out of practice. Be good to yourself as you get your sea legs back.