If you’re on a budget and plan to be on the road a lot, a motel might be the best place for you. The word motel came from the words “motorists’ hotel”. They began in the 1920s as motor courts on the edges of towns, to service travelers along the highways. Motels are convenient if you’re bringing your car and you just need a place to stop for the night, since most motels, unlike hotels, are located along highways.
The traditional motel is made up of a single building of connected rooms whose doors face a parking lot. It can also be a series of small cabins with common parking. Motels are usually composed of just one or two floors, at most three. Unlike hotels, motels are very basic, they usually contain just rooms, a manager’s office, a reception and sometimes a diner. Although some motels may have a small pool, that’s usually the sum total of its amenities. Also, unlike hotels, rooms can be entered through the outside, which makes for almost no interaction at all between the owners and their guests.
The quality and standards of every motel are different, although generally, motels are not known for their fastidiousness in cleanliness and security. If you’re traveling with small kids, it might be wiser to consider other alternatives, or at least check on the room before settling in. You could also try booking in motels that are part of a large chain, since these motels usually have more reliable standards than individually-owned ones.
Another caveat is if you’re planning to book a motel in Latin America or Asia. In most of these countries (such as Colombia, Panama, Chile, Singapore, Manila, etc.), motels have become known as “love hotels” or “short-time hotels”. This came about because the motel’s relative anonymity made them ideal places for people with sexual liaisons in mind. These motels offer short-time or transit stay with hourly rates, and are definitely not a place you’d want your family to stay in.