Whether you're touring Scotland's idyllic North Coast 500, wending your way across the wilds of Dartmoor, or visiting a distant city, you'll need somewhere to rest your weary head after hours of driving.

Read our tips for booking an overnight stay that will enhance - rather than detract from - your road trip pleasure.

Road trip tips


It's not fun trying to find last-minute accommodation, so it's important to book ahead if you can. This is doubly critical if you're travelling at busy periods, such as summer Bank Holiday weekends or Christmas.

However, booking ahead might not always be the best policy.

Cost: Should you wait until the last minute?

While planning ahead will reduce the chances of frantically having to find a room at the last minute, it may not be the best way to save money.

Waiting until later on the day of arrival could result in significant savings.

According to Travel Wanderlust, "Prices usually plummet around 4pm as hotels work to entice customers to their empty rooms.

"If you're bold enough to wait until after 8pm, you'll find prices probably reduced by another five to 10 percent again."

Hotels often sell their rooms cheaper later on so they can cover at least some of their costs.

Don’t want to book last-minute?

Prices also tend to fall two or three days before a certain date, so you're in luck if last-minute booking sounds too risky.

Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland

But: be wary of dynamic pricing

Prices don't always fall closer to the date.

Some hotel chains use dynamic pricing (like airlines do), which means the earlier you book, the lower the cost. With this in mind, it’s a good idea to keep tabs on prices in the weeks before your trip.

Avoid Fridays and Saturdays

Demand for accommodation can rise on the weekends, so if possible, avoid Fridays and Saturdays - when hotels know they can get away with charging more.

Nearby attractions will also be quieter.

Booking hotel online

Can you cancel your room?

Being able to cancel your room at no cost means you can change plans if you find a cheaper option - or if you change destination (or need to postpone the trip).

Not all rooms offer free cancellation, but it’s something to look out for.

Which booking site should you use?

Famous hotel booking sites like Booking and Agoda may not always offer the cheapest prices. Indeed, some hotel chains may not even appear on these portals.

Some chains offer their best rates on their own websites or apps, so it's worth researching this.

What about Airbnb?

You may be able to find cheaper accommodation on Airbnb – or similar. However, the extra hassle of communicating with the owner and organising a check-in time can be a drawback. Hotels, meanwhile, will have someone available to check you in.

Airbnbs can also sometimes be tricky to locate - not ideal after a long day on the road.

On the plus side, many Airbnbs have cooking facilities, so you can prepare your own meal - which will be cheaper than eating out.

What about hostels?

The word 'hostel' may not fill you with enthusiasm if you're planning a relaxing getaway - particularly if you're travelling with your family or as a group. But some hostels do have family rooms available, and some have been set up to help people enjoy certain activities - such as hiking.

Places like the lake District and Dartmoor National Park have park-run and private hostels designed for those seeking outdoor adventure.

Road trips: Selecting where to stay

Credit: Pawel Pajor - stock.adobe.com


But it's not all about money. You'll need to be close to where - or who - you want to visit, whether that's an attraction, a particular beauty spot, or friends or family.

Easy access to motorways or other routes may also be a consideration when choosing accommodation. 

Parking availability

Since you'll be driving, you need to ensure parking is available in any accommodation you choose. If you’re opting for a bed and breakfast, for example (which may well be cheaper than a hotel), make sure they have parking spaces.

Some B&Bs only have a handful of parking spaces, while big hotels may have ample parking.

EV charging

If you're driving an electric vehicle or a hybrid, find out if the establishment has EV charging available. This could save time and hassle in the morning, when you want to get back on the road quickly. 

Hotel breakfast buffet


Most UK hotels and B&Bs serve breakfast, often of the buffet, help-yourself variety. But it’s worth checking what's available, if it costs extra, and what time it is served.

If you’re travelling with vegetarians, vegans, or anyone else with special dietary needs, double check they won’t go hungry.

Read reviews

To help guarantee a pleasant stay, read reviews of any prospective accommodation. Look out for references to things that are important to you - be that breakfast, cleanliness, Wi-Fi strength, or level of service.