Where should I stay while chasing?

Figured everyone could chime in with their endorsements of their favorite post-chase crash sites.

I prefer Fairfield Inns. They're relatively cheap if you're splitting the cost two or three ways, and the rooms are big and very comfortable.

Super 8's are also good, but watch out for the older ones. We stayed in one in Council Bluffs, Iowa that was crap.

Comfort Inns have also treated me well.
 
Hotels would definitely be your best place to stay if you're too far from home after a chase, although there are some chasers who prefer to sleep in their vehicle. This can be a bit risky though, so be sure to find a safe, well-lit location if you choose to do this.

Another option would be staying at someone's house if you know someone who lives in the area and they don't mind having you stay.
 
I've never been disappointed with Best Westerns. Though you get the obligatory cardboard-box motel room, they tend to throw in extra amenities that you don't find at Days Inn, Holiday Inn, etc.

Use extreme care when using credit cards, particularly in large hotels that have many employees. A growing form of theft is occurring where a guest arrives and pays cash. The front desk clerk bills it to whatever credit card they last handled and pockets the cash, assuming you will overlook the charge or the accounting for the charge will get lost in their front office bureaucracy. This has happened to me twice, but only at the big, impersonal hotels. Hilton and Radisson.

Tim
 
Good places for chasers to stay

I've always enjoyed staying at Comfort Inns. Thev'e always been clean, had cable TV, swimming pools, etc. plus a continental breakfast. If you have a Triple AAA card you can use it to get a discount. Also, make sure your hotel of choice is located in a "good" area so you can avoid vehicle break-ins, gas theft, etc. Plus it can be rather difficult to get a decent sleep with emergency vehicles constantly screaming by, people partying outside etc.
 
I'm a cheapo chaser, and if I am chasing alone, I tend to bunk out in the backseat of my car. Upon some talks I heard earlier this season, I am even thinking of grabbing a tent and trying that a night or two while I'm out.

As for hotel preference, I tend to use cheaper is better, but with WiFi and high speed access priorities, I have began to pay the extra few bucks a night to stay at those particular places.

Motel 6s are always a decent cheapo bet. Usually if I elect for a hotel, more times than not, its cause I want a shower and a bed to sleep in; and more often than not, I'm in the target area or I don't have to be out early the next day. Outside of that, I tend to maximize my cash by sleeping in the car or a very cheap hotel.

I guess it depends on your preference, though. If you're like me, I tend to stay in hotels only when I can enjoy them. If I have to be up and out the door by 8am, then I tend to crash out in the car. It's just easier for me being as I am usually up with the sun while sleeping in the car, which means I never oversleep if I need to be at a certain target area by such-and-such time. Keep in mind that I have a small Mercury Tracer, so hopefully your vehicle offers more space options than my car. I have slept two people in there before, so I know it can be done.

Again, this is all on your preference. If you don't mind the crampy car, then save yourself some cash and use it. Besides, I typically like to spend my money on a good dinner afterwards. And if I've been on the road for a couple days, the cash I save not staying in a hotel may get me a nice room in a hotel with a pool or something to enjoy for bit of a downday!

Just my thoughts!

Ciao!
 
Sleeping in your car sounds like a good deal, but what do you do about hygiene? You can wash up anywhere, but what about showers and such? Or... do you just not take a shower because you're afraid it will ruin your lucky five-day run of successful tornado days? :-D
 
Or... do you just not take a shower because you're afraid it will ruin your lucky five-day run of successful tornado days? :-D

That, too... I haven't run into a long enough stretch of days where that's been an issue.. last year, being my first serious year on the road, I found myself chasing areas close enough to home on the second day.. as I mentioned earlier, I will get a hotel if out for extended periods, but usually, I'm not sleeping in the car more than a night or two at a time.
 
If we were doing the car camping, I'd look into the truck stops -- the ones with discounts,wi-fi, showers, and safe all-night parking.

As chains go, the Best Westerns are pretty reliable and not very expensive, and most of them will have free high-speed internet by the spring.
 
Sleeping in your car sounds like a good deal, but what do you do about hygiene? You can wash up anywhere, but what about showers and such? Or... do you just not take a shower because you're afraid it will ruin your lucky five-day run of successful tornado days? :-D

Not as if mother nature cares how you smell! :wink: If one were in need of some quick sleep on the way back...how safe are rest areas? Can you just park with the truckers and catch some winks? Anyone else who bunks in their cars sleep anywhere else?
 
If one were in need of some quick sleep on the way back...how safe are rest areas? Can you just park with the truckers and catch some winks?

I have never had an issue.. in fact, I've planned trips on rest stop locations. I slept over night at nearly a dozen this year, including Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Texas. Never have I had any issues at all with bad people, the boogie man, or highway patrol. I guess til I do, I will completely vouch for them! I usually leave the windows cracked a hair to avoid the morning interior fog-up. Still, no problems.
 
When I lived in south Florida and during my two years in Indiana, when I have not lived in north Texas, I have taken long chase vacations of three weeks or more. I guess the biggest lesson I've learned about accomodations is that, under those particular circumstances, you need a bed---a mattress, and you need to be OUT of your vehicle.

During a protracted chase vacation, your vehicle becomes your home. You're in there for as many as twenty hours a day. You eat in there, download data in there, drive dozens of hours to and from targets in there, and ultimately chase in there, too. It gets messy and smelly and claustrophobic after a week or two of this same routine.

So if you can afford it, or if you can find other chasers to help defer the costs (even if it means sleeping on the floor) there's a lot to be said for a room with a television, a chair, a few electrical outlets to recharge your gear, and most importantly, a shower in the morning.

If you can't afford it, you can't afford it. It won't kill you to sleep in your car. Once your a reach a certain age, however, it might. LOL.

If you're willing to do a little legwork, you can find cheap Mom & Pop joints for $30-40 per night, and if you can round up a few more chasers, you can make it very reasonable to split.
 
Indeed, a hotel room regardless of what chain is running it does offer the ability to wash, charge, rest and watch TV and go online a lot easier than whilst in your car. I think I must have stayed in 28 different motels last May - that was fun but you do get into the routine of unloading the vehicle every night, setting up in your room, and reversing the entire process in the morning.

Always make sure you get your breakfast as often you dont have time later on (probably for another thread but good advice all the same).
 
Because I have to produce my newscasts in the middle of the night, a motel room with Wi-Fi is mandatory for me if I'm out overnight. I have joined the loyalty programs of several chains, and usually just book something form the road once I know where I'm going to be -- price and wi-fi being the primary considerations.

Following are my recommendations (with the bias that all I care about on a chase night is somewhere to crash and somewhere to work):

I have had the best experiences with Super8 and Days Inn.
Best Westerns are great, but typically more expensive.
I also use several of the Choice hotels brands, but have been burned at enough Quality Inns to avoid them.
When I want to treat myself, I go to LaQuinta or Holiday Inn Express.

Between chasing and business, I have accumulated enough points at most chains for a free night from time to time.

As for the "where" strategy...if I'm on a multi-day chase, I bed down as far toward the next day's target as I can legitimately do so. Given that I have to start working between 11pm and 1am, that's not so far as it was a couple of years ago. If I'm at the end of an outing, I simply stop as soon as I find a place.
 
If any of you happen to end up in the same town as I am at the end of the night and there is a Marriott around that isn't full, I'd be willing to split the cost on a room. I can get a discount at Marriotts that range from 35-48 dollars a night. Just PM me or look for me on Spotter Network after a chase.
 
This is a moot point, as you rarely have many choices of where to stay at the end of a day. You take whatever is in the small town that is nearest to you. I stay wherever has the lowest rate with WIFI, and that varies from town to town. Many times you won't find even that, having to settle for no internet just to get a decent sleep, unless you want to drive 2 hours to the next town at 2AM. A lot of the little $40/night mom-and-pop hotels have internet now which is making things easier.

Truck stop showers run 6 to 9 bucks if you choose to sleep in your vehicle. Sleeping in your car is a whole other thread, but one that has been covered before:

http://stormtrack.org/forum/showthread.php?t=11770

EDIT: This is another three-year-old thread revived! Fooled me for a minute - I thought this looked familiar.
 
Lodging while chasing

Super-8's are usually my first choice for economy-class lodging while chasing. Just about all of them have WIFI in the rooms these days. As has already been mentioned, there is a considerable range in quality from one hotel to the next. While most are clean and comfortable, a few should be avoided. NEVER stay at the Garden City, KS Super-8.

Another concern when considering lodging: bed bugs. I've never encountered them while traveling (yet), but a recent bed bug epidemic is underway in this country. Look at the bed bug registry below:

http://www.bedbugregistry.com/

There's not many entries for hotels in chase alley, but just because a particular hotel does not appear in this registry, that doesn't necessarily mean they don't have them. When you check into your room, the first thing you should do is check for signs of bed bugs.

- bill
 
I've been told that Walmart allows camping in vehicles in their parking lots, so I try to find a Walmart if I'm going to be sleeping in my truck. Every time I've done this I've been left alone, and I usually notice a few other vehicles that are parked there for the same reason I am.
 
Amazing the difference several years makes (my original posts back in 2004 in this thread).

I prefer Best Western these days, but am at a point where I have membership accounts with all the major chains and collect points through the year. With that said, I do where its cheaper or who has the best points deals ongoing at the time.

But Best Western is always my preference.
 
I've been told that Walmart allows camping in vehicles in their parking lots, so I try to find a Walmart if I'm going to be sleeping in my truck. Every time I've done this I've been left alone, and I usually notice a few other vehicles that are parked there for the same reason I am.

Actually that is laziness on the behalf of the stores GM and "Asset Protection Officer" (security guard) as this is not allowed by Wal-Mart. The reason I know this is I have connections that works here in Bentonville (i wont say any relation or names as not to get them in trouble) at the scattered administrative buildings, including a few that work in the Asset Protection Department and they have told me this when I asked them out of curiosity and to see if it were an option while chasing. Also I just mean this as a helpfull FYI and not to personally shoot down your Idea Jody.
 
Here's a site that lists the Walmarts that do NOT allow overnight camping so presumably the others do allow it:

http://www.freecampgrounds.com/walmart_nocamping.aspx

This site talks about camping for free at Walmarts':

http://www.freecampgrounds.com/othercamps.html

I called the corporate offices of Wal-Mart in Arkansas and asked what its overnight RV parking policy was. They were very friendly and said it was company policy to allow Rv'ers overnight parking. They also said it would be advisable to check in with the store manager when you arrive as a courtesy. However, they said if we ran into a store that refused us we were to report this to them. We have stayed in a number of Wal-Marts and have been welcomed with open arms. Management even alerts security to keep and eye on the rigs during a stay.
 
Solve all your problems with this...works for us!

[Broken External Image]:http://i34.photobucket.com/albums/d132/garbunkel/marquis_homeimage.jpg
Actually, we do insist on staying somewhere, the Best Westerns have worked for us. I have a Credit Card I use for chasing that has a low limit (2500k) that way I protect my self a bit against fraud. We also use a debt style card that we pre-load with a equal amount from each of us, we then use that for gas...Can you imagine how much the hog above would use?
 
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Here's a site that lists the Walmarts that do NOT allow overnight camping so presumably the others do allow it:

http://www.freecampgrounds.com/walmart_nocamping.aspx

This site talks about camping for free at Walmarts':

http://www.freecampgrounds.com/othercamps.html

Depends on the situation, one or two RV's on the end of the lot is alright, people camping out of their cars is frowned upon due to liability reasons and to keep the lot free for shoppers. That is what I have been told by people that work here in Bentonville at the HQ but they did tell me it is up to the manager to say yeah or neigh to the RV's.
 
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