Updated: Apr 7, 2021
The Budget Inn in Boise, Idaho must be seen to be believed. Yes, I have photos.
While touring Idaho in 2014, we got an engine warning light in the car. It sounded a little funny, and we weren't familiar with where to find a mechanic deep in the mountains of central Idaho. Hell, the closest gas station was at least 30 miles away. We figured we could safely drive it at a low speed back to Boise. Fortunately, we were right.
We had been in the woods for a couple of weeks. Baby wipes and sponge baths take care of most dire things, but there's nothing like a hot shower and a warm bed out of freezing temperatures to really revitalize you. As it turns out, hotel rooms in Boise are actually much more expensive than you think. Maybe it was the summer tourist season, but the cheapest thing in town was a La Quinta at over $200 per night. Since we'd quit our jobs for the summer, our prerogative was pinching every penny we possibly could. $200? I'm driving back out to the woods for that.
While we waited for the diagnostic to be finished, we found Boise's Budget Inn for $50/night online. Well, it's 75% off versus everything else. I guess we'll take it.
We booked the room and were pleasantly surprised that the mechanic found our car's issue was only misfiring due to dirty gas. Apparently some of these gas stations in the middle of nowhere are cutting their gasoline with God knows what. You live, you learn. No repairs needed here; just a clean tank of gas.
Relieved, we know luck is on our side. We're sure this night inside of a building meant for overnight occupancy is our ticket to a relative heaven compared to sleeping in a tent.
But there were more lessons in store for us.
Like advertising: sometimes what you see is exactly what you're getting. Don't make any crazy assumptions about what you expect a room to have inside of it. You don't save over 75% versus everything else in town by having toilet seats.
It was presumptive of us to think our hotel room would have luxurious amenities like seats on the toilet.
Protip: Save money by only having part of a wall.
Keep your guests on their toes with paper-stuffed electrical outlets.
Bonus: Your camping trip guests will appreciate the increased likelihood of a fire.
Wanting three outlets for three appliances is more than aspirational: it's 1% bourgeoisie nonsense. Keep it real and remember your roots.
They will supply you with a coffee maker from Black & Decker and a dirty amenities tray from a Holiday Inn Express.
Frank Lloyd Wright is so two thousand and late. Artistic angles provide all the light you need. It's not like you're even in the bathroom for very long without a toilet seat anyway.
It's a little unbelievable, but we're kind of stuck with this at the time. Whatever, we've had worse. Plus, we can hear our downstairs neighbors are voraciously having a wonderful time. We must be missing something.
We figure we'll at least get a shower in and get over it. After I take mine, my girlfriend gets in. We get a knock at the door from our downstairs neighbor.
A grizzly heavy set man in his 50s or 60s with 5 or 6 teeth is having the time he has paid for with his lady friend disturbed by us. The audacity we had to take a shower. These showers are so outrageous that they are essentially piping our runoff water directly into his room. Also, this is an issue to be taken up with us, not hotel management.
The other thing that I remember from this place was the missing door handle on the bathroom door. What kind of person would think privacy is important in a bathroom? What kind of person wouldn't want to wash their hands and then stick their fingers immediately in the sharp corners and angles of the particle board door hole where a thousand others have done the same thing? What kind of person would expect a seat on a toilet, an honestly-acquired coffee maker, basic electrical safety, or a light fixture that's not about to fall off the wall?
Us, I suppose. We left and went back to sleeping in the cold dirt.
Have you been through some budget accommodations? Tell me about it!