Do you ever take road trips with your family? Maybe you go to visit relatives that live several hours away. Perhaps you play on a travel sports team that requires you to drive many hours to get to your games. Or it might just be vacation time!

No matter the reason you hit the open road, one thing about such trips that many kids look forward to is staying the night at a hotel. It's kind of like a sleepover at someone else's house! There's a new bed, a television with different channels than you're used to and, if you're lucky, there may be a pool to swim in!

For kids who are used to sleeping in the same bed every night, the chance to sleep at a hotel is a bit of adventure. Many hotels are quite large. There could be hundreds or even thousands of other people staying there.

Some hotels have gift shops. Most hotels have elevators that can also be fun to ride. And don't forget the hotel gyms, saunas and hot tubs!

Of course, parents, especially those who travel often for work, probably don't get as excited about staying in a hotel. But it can still be fun for adults. Parents sometimes look forward to the little conveniences, such as spa services or made-to-order breakfasts or late-night room service.

Hotels have been around a long, long time. In fact, the earliest hotels were probably small inns that existed to lodge travelers thousands of years ago. Since the first cities sprung up and trade began, people have needed to travel to conduct business and visit friends and relatives.

Today, there are large hotel chains that you probably know by name when you see their signs alongside the highway. There are also many smaller, privately-owned hotels, motels and bed-and-breakfasts.

If you're familiar with the term motel, you might have WONDERed what the difference between a hotel and a motel is. Motels became popular in the early 1900s, shortly after the first cars began to appear on the nation's roadways.

With the ease of travel that came with automobiles, people began to travel farther and more frequently. This gave rise to the need for places to stay along the nation's new roadways. The “motor hotel" or “motel" was thus born.

Motels tend to be smaller places to stay. They generally are u-shaped or square with an inner courtyard that serves as the parking lot. Motel rooms have doors that face the parking areas. Ground-level rooms have doors that open directly to parking spaces, making it easy to unload and reload suitcases from the trunk.

Hotels, on the other hand, have rooms that are like apartments within a large building. They don't tend to have external doors that open directly to the outside or the parking lot. Hotels also tend to be much larger and often have more amenities.

Hotels tend to be located in or around larger cities. Motels, on the other hand, are scattered across the country. Many are located in very small towns along popular roadways. Hotels also tend to be used for multiple-day stays, whereas motels are usually used for just one night while traveling.

Wonder What's Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day may test your strength!