I like to travel. Since you’re reading this site, I imagine that you probably like to travel as well. One of the things that I most enjoy about the concept of traveling is that everyone can travel in their own particular style. I try to let people travel how they like to travel, and I will say that it is a bit annoying when people try to tell me how I “should” travel. One of the travel goals is to visit all 3,143 counties in the United States. I’m currently at 2,123 counties (67.5%) which both sounds like a lot and still has a lot left to go.
One artifact of trying to be in every county is that you end up staying in a lot of very random places. Like I said earlier, I don’t mind that other people like staying in 5-star hotels while I’m staying at Super 8s and Rodeway Inns. I even occasionally will post hotel review posts of these random hotels which my friend and colleague Shawn from Miles to Memories likes to tease me about. I mean who doesn’t want to read an exciting Homewood Suites Dayton-Fairborn, Candlewood Suites Portland Airport or Best Western Rory and Ryan Inn review? 🙂
Planning a Washington / Oregon / Idaho / Montana county trip
In any case, I am looking at picking up 55 new counties in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana in a few weeks. This should complete the first 3 states for me while picking up a good chunk of southwestern Montana.
I’m flying into Boise, Idaho (I believe that will be my 28th state I’ve flown in/out of) and will spend 3.5 days picking up most of the counties in white in the image above. I’m using Autoslash for my car rental and yes, gas is going to be expensive.
(SEE ALSO: Is it better to rent a car vs. Turo?)
Racking up Wyndham Rewards points?!!?
I tend to get a bit of analysis paralysis when booking trips like this, because I am so obsessed with finding the best “deal”. In this case, I am also trying to take advantage of a Wyndham hotel promotion where you can get a “free night” (actually 7,500 Wyndham points) after 2 stays. Wyndham Rewards points seem like such a random hotel currency to collect, but ever since their promotion with Vacasa, I think they are the most valuable points currency out there. We booked a “1 bedroom” cabin in the Smoky Mountains last fall where we got about 3 cents per Wyndham point.
(SEE ALSO: How to Book a Vacasa Vacation Rental Using Wyndham Points (Step by Step Guide))
So if I’m paying $100 for a random Days Inn, but earning 3,750 points from the promotion plus another 1,000 points or so from the actual stay. that means I’m getting a rebate of $142.50 for the stay (4750 * 3 cents per point). Now that comes with a ton of caveats but still it seems like it absolutely makes sense. You can actually do that promotion twice (4 stays for 2 free nights) but it only worked out for me to do it once.
Five random hotels
So with all that being said, here are the 5 random hotels I booked:
- Holiday Inn Express Lewiston, Idaho – I ended up using my last free night certificate here (after using 3 at the Holiday Inn Express Manhattan Times Square South. Yes, this isn’t an AMAZING use of IHG free night certificates but I only had a few months or so left to use it and cash prices for hotels here were pushing $200 or above
- Days Inn by Wyndham Coeur d’Alene – cash rates were quite high here, so I booked it for 13,500 Wyndham Rewards points (10% discount due to having the Wyndham credit card).
- Super 8 Pocatello – I paid cash here at a rate of $114.30 all in. This will be the first of my 2 qualifying stays for the Wyndham promotion. I paid for this with my Capital One Venture X card and will probably (maybe?) use Capital One’s purchase eraser feature to offset the cash cost. I would have liked to book this through the Capital One portal to use the travel credit as well as get 10x points, but I couldn’t do that per the terms of the Wyndham promotion
- Fairfield Inn Boise – I used 18,000 Marriott points for the stay here.
- La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham San Jose Airport – I’m flying to San Francisco for a work conference after my Boise trip so this hotel will be paid for by work and will be my 2nd qualifying stay for the Wyndham promotion.
I know I enjoy reading these types of posts from other people about planning trips, so I hope that you enjoyed this one as well.
Good luck and happy travels! Where are you off to next?
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You can count me alongside you for not “traveling the right way.” I love the experience of traveling and visiting new places and trying new things. Our last 3 trips as a family have been staying at a Days Inn in Gatlinburg (to max out the recent Wyndham promotion), the St. Regis in Bermuda, and then backpacking in North Carolina.
There’s no one way to travel, but wherever I go, I love to have the best experience for the least money. Sometimes that experience is staying in an oceanfront room at a resort, and sometimes its falling asleep in a hammock with fireflies twinkling all around me.
Also, I totally agree on the Vacasa front. Wyndham is now my points of choice. Our next trip is to Maui where we got a $350/night condo right on the beach that sleeps 6 for 13,500 points/night. It may be one of my best redemptions yet!
Yeah – I am not saying that the way I travel works for everyone, but at least leave me alone and don’t tell me how I “should” be traveling :-). You travel how you want to, and let me travel how you want to.
Glad to see you are onboard as well! Vacasa really is great especially for families since their definition of “1 bedroom” condos is a bit ridiculous 🙂
I’m with you on being more of a motel type of traveler but Days Inn and Super 8 will likely (depending on the local owners) make that HIX and Fairfield seem like the Ritz. Nothing against Days Inn or Super 8 but the lower you get into the world of discount hotels the more likely you are to have a filthy gross room that stinks of stale cigarettes or worse. Are they cheaper, sure but sometimes you get what you pay for even if it’s just for a quick overnight on the road.
Yeah – I know. I have found that with that class of hotel that you have to be really careful about reading the reviews as it’s a bit of a hit or miss. I guess we will see how it goes – maybe I’m just building up anticipation for the review post 🙂
No disclaimer needed. I always get a laugh at people who feel like they should tell others how to do something when they clearly were not asked. My type of travelling is sometimes using points for an oceanfront resort and other times its just a Interstate hotel on the way over the Rocky Mountains to my twin sisters house. We share the same goal – the least money out of our pockets.
Enjoy your trip! I love the area around Lewiston/Clarkston. My dream is to have a vacation home on a river close by.
Thanks Stacy! Depending on how interesting the trip gets, you may see a trip report here in a few months