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Author Topic: Anyone ever collect those Travel Coupon Guides you find in rest areas?  (Read 11846 times)

jfs1988

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Anyone ever collect those Travel Discount Guides you find in State Dot rest areas, truck stops, & sometimes in fast food places adjacent to the freeway?

I used to collect those because of the maps. The guides were divided into sections of region or highway corridor. Childhood memories. Sometimes I would make an excuse to go used the restroom at a rest area just to get those magazines.
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roadman65

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They are good when traveling in strange areas!  My dad, when he was alive, used to use them and, like you said, the maps are good!  They point out what interchanges and where the motels are.  If staying for one night you are only using the bed and showers, so why pay a lot for a room.  The coupons in them usually bring the price down around $40 to $50, that is good, and even as low as $35 in the south or parts of the midwest.
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Sheryl Crowe

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When i was doing my sign-shopping/road trips over the last few years, i would scarf those books up...made it a point to hit the first rest area in each State to see what they had....they saved me a nice little pile of cash on each trip.  And as Roadman65 said, they are very helpful in finding a good place to stay in areas you dont know.
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briantroutman

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About 15 or so years ago, some of the ones published by Market America (with the red-bordered cover) featured an interesting bonus: interchange guides showing the specific brands of gas, food, and lodging available exit-by-exit. Kind of like the "Next Exit" books, but free—and probably a little more out-of-date and a little less reliable. Most of the other hotel coupon books (the blue or green-covered books) didn't have these exit service lists, at least in my experience. I don't think anyone includes them anymore.

I think part of these guides' charm was how poorly executed they were (at least back then)—using Interstate shields on a US route, oversimplified maps leaving out major intersections but oddly including very minor ones...
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texaskdog

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Some of them aren't good deals and sometimes they are not honored (like the Super 8 in SW Kansas City) but many are good deals
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huskeroadgeek

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I used to pick these up on a regular basis, but usually don't anymore. One of my favorite one of these that I used to have(I still might have one buried deep in a box somewhere) was one of Nebraska-Iowa interstates from the early 80s. They had all of the exits listed and then some businesses had advertisements. I thought it was so neat when I was little because it was the first exit guide of any type I had ever seen.
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theline

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Mrs. theline has always been an irredeemable scrounger on the travel brochure rack in rest areas, motels, etc. It drives me nuts, because I'm anxious to get on the road and I have to wait while she peruses the rack.  :banghead:

It invariably pays off during our travels, as she finds useful discounts and interesting places to stop. Bless her heart, she refrains from saying "I told you so" and puts up with my grumbling over the delays.  :love:
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Pete from Boston

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Sometimes just to get a sense of what the big hotel clusters coming up are.  But for discounts, it's all Priceline these days.  We never spend more than $50 for a decent hotel anymore when traveling.
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texaskdog

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Sometimes just to get a sense of what the big hotel clusters coming up are.  But for discounts, it's all Priceline these days.  We never spend more than $50 for a decent hotel anymore when traveling.

I use Priceline to find who is lowest, but use the hotel website and also call them and choose the best of the 3, and if you dont use priceline you dont have to prepay.
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texaskdog

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Mrs. theline has always been an irredeemable scrounger on the travel brochure rack in rest areas, motels, etc. It drives me nuts, because I'm anxious to get on the road and I have to wait while she peruses the rack.  :banghead:

It invariably pays off during our travels, as she finds useful discounts and interesting places to stop. Bless her heart, she refrains from saying "I told you so" and puts up with my grumbling over the delays.  :love:

yet she puts up with you spending time looking for strange road stuff
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theline

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Mrs. theline has always been an irredeemable scrounger on the travel brochure rack in rest areas, motels, etc. It drives me nuts, because I'm anxious to get on the road and I have to wait while she peruses the rack.  :banghead:

It invariably pays off during our travels, as she finds useful discounts and interesting places to stop. Bless her heart, she refrains from saying "I told you so" and puts up with my grumbling over the delays.  :love:

yet she puts up with you spending time looking for strange road stuff
Well of course my time is much more valuable than hers! Thanks goodness she doesn't visit this site, or I'd be in big trouble.

The most valuable discounts she finds this way are admissions to attractions and occasionally restaurant discounts. If you can stand the hassle of sorting through them, there is value to be had. Fortunately for me, she has the patience.
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Avalanchez71

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I used these to get rates like $49 and $59 at full service Marriott hotels over the years.
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TheKnightoftheInterstate

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Still do. Have a huge stack. Part of my "I refuse to let go" childhood
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exit322

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Yep, same here.  I still collect them.  Have more of them than my wife would like to see me have, though the older ones are certainly starting to show their age.  It might be time to scan those ones to the computer and get rid of the falling-apart paper.

No excuses needed here - my wife knows we're stopping at the welcome center or at least at a rest area within a state while traveling (though one of the newer companies, "The Official Interstate Guide," ships their quarterlyish guides free, www.freehotelcoupons.com )

For what it's worth, if anyone has older coupon guides and wants to get rid of them, send me a PM...if the price is right and it fits guides I don't have, I'd be interested.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2013, 10:13:20 PM by exit322 »
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exit322

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About 15 or so years ago, some of the ones published by Market America (with the red-bordered cover) featured an interesting bonus: interchange guides showing the specific brands of gas, food, and lodging available exit-by-exit. Kind of like the "Next Exit" books, but free—and probably a little more out-of-date and a little less reliable. Most of the other hotel coupon books (the blue or green-covered books) didn't have these exit service lists, at least in my experience. I don't think anyone includes them anymore.

I think part of these guides' charm was how poorly executed they were (at least back then)—using Interstate shields on a US route, oversimplified maps leaving out major intersections but oddly including very minor ones...

Sorry, didn't even see this post.  The red Market America guides are by far the worst in terms of mapping quality.  I'm half-amazed they still survive, given you can't use the maps for any purpose whatsoever, if that part of the guide even *had* any maps.
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exit322

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Sorry for the 2-year bump.  Looks like the green guides no longer have the detail of maps (not that they were ever great in detail) that they used to, and the individual hotels are no longer on the maps - just cities with lodging choices.

Just due to the internet and all that entails, I'm sure the hotel coupon guides are on a downward spiral and will sooner than later be gone altogether...but I'll keep collecting them until they are (despite the obvious mapping quality drop from the green ones).
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GCrites80s

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I got bored with the guides as road memorabilia long ago.

But hey, coupons.
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Pete from Boston

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We glance at them sometimes just to get an idea of what exits have hotels, but really, a smartphone with Priceline is faster, more thorough, and has deals on better places. 

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hbelkins

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We glance at them sometimes just to get an idea of what exits have hotels, but really, a smartphone with Priceline is faster, more thorough, and has deals on better places.

Sorry, but I'm not willing to prepay for an unknown hotel sight-unseen, even if I save a bunch of money. I want to know where I'm going to be staying. Plus, I've heard stories of nonsmokers being put in smoking rooms and other unpleasantries.
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Pete from Boston

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We glance at them sometimes just to get an idea of what exits have hotels, but really, a smartphone with Priceline is faster, more thorough, and has deals on better places.

Sorry, but I'm not willing to prepay for an unknown hotel sight-unseen, even if I save a bunch of money. I want to know where I'm going to be staying. Plus, I've heard stories of nonsmokers being put in smoking rooms and other unpleasantries.

No need to be sorry.  Priceline name-your-price allows a high level of narrowing down by star levels, etc.  I've used them a bunch when I just needed to be in a general area, set it for three stars, and done great.  From experience I will say my good-result rate is on par with other methods.  As for nonsmokers being put in smoking rooms, that happens (and is resolved) at the front desk, not Priceline.

Regardless, the name-your-price is just one option.  The general booking feature of it and other similar apps still renders the rest-area booklets obsolete as smartphones reach near-ubiquity. 
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hbelkins

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At least one of the popular rest area booklets has an iPhone app now.
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hobsini2

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I still collect them on a yearly basis.
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Pete from Boston

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Sometimes just to get a sense of what the big hotel clusters coming up are.  But for discounts, it's all Priceline these days.  We never spend more than $50 for a decent hotel anymore when traveling.

We glance at them sometimes just to get an idea of what exits have hotels, but really, a smartphone with Priceline is faster, more thorough, and has deals on better places.

I should look upthread when someone bumps rather than just post whatever comes to mind.
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corco

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We glance at them sometimes just to get an idea of what exits have hotels, but really, a smartphone with Priceline is faster, more thorough, and has deals on better places.

Sorry, but I'm not willing to prepay for an unknown hotel sight-unseen, even if I save a bunch of money. I want to know where I'm going to be staying. Plus, I've heard stories of nonsmokers being put in smoking rooms and other unpleasantries.

There is some risk - when I worked in the hotel business, Priceline/Hotwire were generally fine  (unless you needed to cancel) unless we were sold out. In that case, those guests that arrived after 9:00 PM or so were the ones put in smoking rooms or relocated to another hotel, and by policy you weren't getting moved to a better room since you were paying considerably less than other guests (the amount you pay Priceline less Priceline's cut ends up being not very much money). I worked overnights, so I'd get to deal with the last arrivals (when room pickings are slim*/people have to be moved to another hotel), and that was often unpleasant. I personally don't use third party sites, but I would never ever use one during a "peak" timeframe when the hotel is likely to have a shortage of rooms.

Management would never say it directly, but I think the hotel business in general despises things like Hotwire and Priceline, but they have to play the game since they're so popular. Hotels end up having to compete with other area hotels to negotiate bulk rates
with these companies, and then those companies take an absurd cut, and the hotel front end has no control over the reservation. I couldn't even see what the guest was paying Priceline for a room - only what Priceline was paying the hotel. The hotel I worked at actually had to pull off of Orbitz, because their room rate demands were getting to be too low.

Those companies are weird leeches that are strange by-products of capitalism. I choose not to support them because I don't think they're fair to the hotel industry (and really aren't that much cheaper), and since an awful lot of hotels are franchisee-owned, you're often taking money out of the pockets of regional business owners that really are just trying to make payroll and aren't trying to become billionaires. They forced their way in as middle-men that weren't needed and now take a ridiculous cut of room prices. It's gotten to the point where competing hotel chains have partnered to launch their own sort of competitor in RoomKey (https://www.roomkey.com/).

*It's funny how hotels work- I worked at a 425 room property, and on busy nights when I'd get in the pickings were pretty slim as far as room assignments went. All the "good" rooms get taken by demanding guests at the beginning of the day, and they tired people who limp in just wanting to go to bed would get stuck with the shittiest rooms as far as possible away from parking or in rare cases would have to be relocated to other hotels.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2015, 12:27:19 AM by corco »
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The Nature Boy

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I find with Priceline that if you're booking in a small enough area that you can usually guess the hotel before you book it. If you're booking into a town that only has one Days Inn or Holiday Inn and you see that your star rating matches up with one of those chains, odds are that that will be it. In bigger cities, it can be a crapshoot.

I've never had a bad experience with Priceline.
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