Cheap is what we look for when we are just needing a place to pull into around midnight, pass out, and get back on the road the next morning in a hurry. The price can go as low as your imagination allows as long as it is a clean place. In this circumstance I highly recommend that you ask to see the room BEFORE reserving it for the night, if you should find a room for say... $39 or such. Believe it or not there are some decent ones, BUT we typically go the frugal route. Mostly, because it is too hard to find a room that is cheap and clean.
Frugal is when the price may be higher than we want to really spend, but the extras offset the higher cost. For use this means usually paying $60 - $100 a night (usually on the $70 - $80 range). What we look for are hotels that have breakfast included. For our family we would easily spend $20+ if we had to eat out for breakfast the next morning. We also like to have a room with a microwave. We always travel with a cooler, but a mini-fridge is a nice bonus, too. A microwave is great for travel meals. What I mean by "travel meals" are things that our family does not eat a lot of on a normal basis, but can be made quickly, heated up easily, or eaten cold. A few examples are: canned soup, ramen noodles, popcorn, pre-cooked items from home (bbq sausage, etc.), canned veggies, sandwich items, oatmeal, etc.. Another option that is a money saver, but I confess I have not done is to go to a nearby store and buy frozen dinners to heat in the microwave. I am not a fan of these, but sometimes the kids think it is ultra-cool.... for now anyway. Probably twice in my kids existence we have purchased Kid Cuisine meals and they are cheap and highly appealing to children. They get to pick out their own meal complete with dessert, so it is a great way to make eating frugal fun.
The point is it needs to be a great place to stay that caters to families. Last winter the kids and I went with my husband on a short business trip. We stayed in a Hilton in downtown Houston. The staff was so "uppity"... you know... "snobby". Obviously, they are accustomed to serving clients that are there on business, but acted like the kids were a foreign species. We walked up to a pastry counter and, as kids will do, mine put there hands on the glass and peered in. They were in sheer delight and awe until the lady behind the counter asked them to not touch. Seriously, I know they probably left a handprint or two, but what kid would not touch the glass. Rude... rude is the word and disrespectful of children. I felt like my kids could not speak while we were there. That is just not the type of place I want my children in. Also, there were no microwaves and no breakfast included. There was a mini-fridge and it was stocked with drinks and snacks, but the prices were outlandish.
This past weekend I had to choose between the convenience of being on-sight at the THSC Conference hotel or staying at a more family friendly hotel down the road. I am so glad that we chose to stay off-sight at The Best Western Woodlands. They had a nice warm pool outside. I say this because many of the more expensive hotels we have stayed in have indoor pools, but are often chilly. We appreciated the warmth. We had a microwave in our room and a mini-fridge. Our room had free Wi-Fi internet, iron and ironing board, blow dryer, tissues, coffee and coffeemaker, soap dispenser, as well, as soap and shampoo dispensers in the shower. There was nothing missing that we could have needed. The breakfast included homemade Texas shaped waffles, scrambled eggs, sausage, biscuits, gravy, various jellies, plain and blueberry bagels, toast, danishes, mixed tropical fruit, four cereal choices, 2% and whole milk, orange and apple juice. On one of the days the sausage and gravy were replaced with hashbrowns and grits to give some variety. If you did not have your own computer the hotel also provided one in the lobby for their guests. The staff was friendly and always nice to our children. And this is our experience at all such similar hotels. Two other hotels we stayed in this Summer were equally as great, so I want to mention them, also. The Holiday Inn Express and The Hamilton Inn.... these two were a little more upscale having all white super soft bedding and choices of soft and firm pillows, but the hospitality and family friendly atmosphere was there.
There are so many great hotels that are like this. Comfort Suites, Days Inn, and many others should get a mention. Make sure on your next trip you consider all these factors. The ONLY drawback for our family was having to commute daily to our conference. We were two overpasses away... a mere 15 minutes including parking the car in the free parking garage at the conference site. Not only do I feel we were good stewards of our money with this choice, but our kids experienced a good family friendly staff at our hotel.