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The Cheapest Places to Sleep

Here's what you'll find inside America's budget motels

They all look the same when you're cruising the Interstate at 65, but there is a world of difference between budget motel chains. True, travelers don't go to them for the amenities, but some budget chains are a lot more budget-oriented than others, and some go out of their way to buck the budget stereotypes. La Quinta Inn chains, for example, offer free coffee and Danish to guests--no great leap for mankind, but a little nicety almost unheard of at budget motels just a few short years ago.

The table below tells what each of the 12 biggest budget motel chains has to offer. Senior citizens, for example, might want to note which chains don't offer senior discounts, while CNN fanatics can learn where to turn in for their daily fix.

For those travelers who want specific recommendations, both Consumer Reports Travel Letter (CRTL) and Money magazine sent their reporters nationwide in search of the best budget motels. They judged motel chains according to comfort, convenience, cleanliness, price, and safety. Of the 12 chains listed below, both publications gave high marks to Comfort Inn, Hampton Inn, La Quinta Inns, and Super 8. CRTL also selected Red Roof Inns, and Money liked Travelodge-Thriftlodge.

We've started a library of "Living Footnotes" for this section, and welcome your suggestions and your URLs to make it more useful. Use our customized Lycos search to linkthink your way around the web, or feel free to consult the experts about the above topic.

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Updated on October 8, 1995