There's no doubt, the Gullatte family loves to travel. Karl and Donna, along with their two young children, have taken in the sights in so many places that it's hard for them to keep up with where they have and haven't been. Over the years, they have traveled to destinations in at least 14 states. Their goal is to hit all 50.
Of course, hotels become their home away from home, so when they are searching for a good one, it has to have all of the important amenities.
"Especially breakfast. With a family of four, it means a lot when you can include breakfast in there and not have to go out," said Donna Gullatte.
While breakfast and other perks are usually readily available online, some information is not. I asked the Gullattes if they have ever checked out who may be living in their temporary home away from home.
"We have not. Living as in residing there on a daily basis? That's a good question," said Karl Gullatte.
Before you check in, you may want to check out the sex offender registry in the location you are heading to on vacation, particularly paying attention to the former offender's current address.
While there are several websites offered, we checked out homefacts.com. Let's say someone is heading to Athens. The cheap rates of the Town & Country Inn look mighty attractive, but type in the address, and you'll find this is the home to at least six registered offenders, one offender had a victim who was a ten year old girl.
The owner of the Town & Country Inn said he is aware of the sex offenders living there, and he tells other customers of their presence.
Mike Gunter is an investigator with the Limestone County Sheriff's Department. He keeps track of the 150 sex offenders living within the community, and said as long as the motel is at least 2000 feet away from a school or childcare facility, it's in compliance with the law.
"It's usually these pay by the week or pay by the month motels. They become known within the sex offender circle, and they'll start frequenting these locations," said Gunter.
Hundreds of sex offenders in Alabama are released each year, so we discovered quite a few locations near popular family destinations. In Huntsville, we found two offenders living at America's Best Inns and one at Country Hearth Inn in Madison, both just minutes away from the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.
The Knights Inn in Birmingham looks fairly decent online and it's just four minutes away from the Civil Rights Institute, but if you check the address, two offenders live there.
One lives at the Coliseum Motel in Montgomery, just five minutes from the zoo. We found another at Express Inn East, just a stone's throw from the Montgomery Museum. This offender abused a six-year-old girl and a 13-year-old boy.
The Gullatte family just returned from Las Vegas and is already planning other trips in the near future. However,their planning will now include more than just checking out a hotel's amenities.
"Along with checking the price, and checking how the hotel looks, and checking for free breakfast, I'm going to be doing criminal checks as well," said Donna Gullatte.