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Based on chain hotels’ digital footprints, it may have appeared that small stops fit for one-night stays were wiped from America’s landscape. However, their livelihood is based on transient travelers who remain a mainstay of the U.S. travel industry.
To find it and other independent motels, road-trippers must pull over and ask either their smartphone or a live human being — the latter are conveniently located in any small town — what lodging options lie ahead.
That’s what I did on my recent trip through the heartland, where I was able to find independent motels most nights. And I found that in many cases, the old roadside motel has gotten an upgrade. Though they are still decidedly one-star, my experience indicated travelers can expect flat-screen televisions, free Wi-Fi and beds that are perfectly comfortable.