We just completed our 9 day (turned 10 day) cross country move from Georgia to Washington. There was a lot of prep work and a lot of lessons learned along the way.
For the most part, our hotels were great and one was, well…not the best!
However, everywhere we stayed accommodated dogs for a reasonable price with some preparation beforehand.
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Making Cross Country Travel Plans
If you read any of my social media posts about our crazy cross country trip, you will know that we had quite the adventure.
On day 3 of our adventure, we had to spend an extra night in Texas, and I spent 2 hours calling 6 hotels and rescheduling our entire trip.
Most hotels kept us locked at our original rates, and a few changed it to match their current daily rate.
So as a military family (or any family that meets challenges on the road), you want a hotel that is flexible.
When you are traveling – there are a number of things you want to plan.
Create a travel plan. I used Google Maps and put in the starting and final location.
Remember that traveling with children and pets will add to your travel time.
Also, if you are driving a moving truck – you will need to account for the moving truck.
When we went through the Rockies, my husband could only go 40mph climbing those mountains.
Plan for multiple breaks.
Decide on your route. I chose locations that were about 4-6 hours from each other.
When I chose my locations, I did it thinking that we would need to add an additional 90 minutes to fuel, grab food, and use the restroom.
I did this by looking at the map and gauging how far apart each location was.
I started moving the map to find towns that would fit the time span, had a decent selection of hotels, and was outside of downtown major cities.
This is why Google Maps works perfectly (it shows distance and time between two points).
You can choose your route however you please – quickest route, sightseeing route, family route, etc.
I have always wanted to see Colorado. So we planned our trip around that.
It was well worth it!
Start booking hotel reservations. Be sure to have a calendar of your dates. I used Expedia to look at hotels in an area.
When I started making plans, I had my Google Calendar out (hard copy works great here if you use one).
I jotted down each location that was expected for each day. As you saw from above, I started playing with towns close to each other on the map based on the hotel selection.
I would check out the hotels in each place based on our budget and user reviews and pictures.
For me, safety and convenience was key. I wanted to make sure it wasn’t too remote nor did I want it right off the interstate.
I would take the address of the hotel and Google it, then look at the street view of the maps to see what was around it.
Surprisingly, I made a lot of decisions this way. Especially when the price point was similar.
We also avoided big cities like Dallas and New Orleans and opted to stay right outside to avoid the traffic.
Book the hotel by calling them individually and asking for a military rate. I saved tons this way and sometimes got an upgrade.
So even though I used a travel website to look for hotels around an area (and as a way to know where to stop), I did not make the reservations this way.
Get on the phone with each hotel and ask them for a military rate (you could even say that you are traveling on orders).
Do not call the number on the travel sites though, as this is THEIR call center to make reservations.
I google the hotel (based on the address given on the travel site) and on the right side of the screen, it will give the map, phone number, and address.
Call that number!
I paid on average $20 cheaper than any listed price.
Also, be sure to ask the hotel if they can accommodate your moving truck size.
This was a problem at one of the hotels we stayed at, but luckily they owned a sister hotel that let us park there.
We loved staying at the hotel above – if you are in the Colorado Springs area, give it a try. Click here for their website.
Write down your confirmation numbers (I had mine in a small notebook I carried with me in my purse) and ask them to email you a copy.
After speaking to the front desk about your reservation, be sure to ask them them for your confirmation number.
You should also get them to email it to you and go ahead and print out that copy.
Print out your confirmations and put them in your PCS notebook.
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La Quinta was the only hotel we consistently found to have $0 pet fee.
That’s right, nada!
Most of their hotels are pet friendly.
As long as Starsky and Hutch don’t make a mess or damage the room, you will not incur any additional costs.
Most of the pet fees are either pet pet, per day, or per accommodation (per room for length of stay).
Be sure to ask!
Many of the fees ranged from $10 to $50 depending on the hotel we stayed at.
Resorts are typically more expensive , so keep that in mind.
If you have dogs that are barkers, and you planned on sightseeing, you may want to look into a doggie daycare as the hotel can ask you to leave.
Other Helpful Tips
- If you are traveling or in the middle of a big move, don’t forget quarters for laundry. Be sure to pack a laundry bag. We found that after about day 6, we just wanted to have some clean extra clothes.
- Most hotels with pools have complimentary towels at the pool, so no need to waste your bath towels.
- When you book your reservations, be sure to give them any accommodations you would prefer (ground floor, near ice machines, near stairs/elevators, etc.).
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About the Author
Kelsey Ramirez is a Real Estate Broker in western Washington. She is also a veteran elementary school teacher, military wife, and mom to two daughters. She is the founder of The Military Move, a military-based website to help families in the PCS process. Kelsey loves to travel, write, and create amazing content. She has her Masters in Technology, which she uses to learn all new things digital.
With three decades of military support, Kelsey’s mission is to help new and existing military families in their unique adventures through all military topics including PCSing, budgeting, school choice and rights, housing, and especially just being a military spouse.