By Mike Thayer
I recently treated myself to a vacation, four days of fishing fun on a lake. But unlike last time, roughing it in a tent and having to pack things up early with the threat of a golf ball size hail storm looming, on this trip I got a hotel room.
There were several budget-minded hotel chains to choose from in the Bethany, Missouri area I was vacationing in and after doing some online homework, I went with the Family Budget Inn. I've never stayed at one before, the online reviews were positive, the amenities looked great and the most important thing, the price was right!
I got my room, a queen size bed, microwave, mini-fridge for just $50.50 a night! And I did my room reservation direct with the hotel. Part of my research was seeing how cheap I could get using those "low price" outfits like Travelocity, Booking.com and Priceline, but the best they could do was match the already low Family Budget Inn price, so why bother with a site like Expedia, which can lead to getting pummeled with unwanted travel "extras" in your email for car rentals, plane tickets, etc. In my humble opinion, the ONLY thing those booking sites are good for is to find hotels and compare prices for the area you'll be staying in. But once you find what you're looking for, do the actual reservation direct with the hotel.