Budget motels are especially popular when inflation reduces purchasing power, which is the situation facing the average traveler today. Buy many have risen their rates sharply in the past year, though they are still well below most standard motel charges.

Here are a few of the better-known chains and where to write for a free directory. Some toll-free numbers are included. If you have any difficulty reaching a budget motel operation, you can call the toll-free information number, 800-555-1212, and ask if the chain has an "800" number. "Senior citizen" discounts are available at the first two listed.

Days Inns of America, 2751 Buford Highway NW, Atlanta, Ga. 30324.

Econo-Travel Motel Hotel Corp., 20 Koger Executive Center, P. O. Box 12188, Norfolk, Va. 23502 (800 -- 446-6900).

Budget Host Inns, P. O. Box 10656, 2601 Jacksboro Highway, Suite 202, Ft. Worth, Tex., 76114.

California 6-Western 6 Motels, 1156 South 7th Ave., Hacienda Heights, Calif. 91745.

Exel Inns of America, 4706 E. Washington Ave., Madison, Wis. 53704 (800 -- 328-5511).

Family Inns of America, P. O. Box 12428, Knoxville, Tenn. 37904 (800 -- 447-4470).

Master Hosts-Red Carpet Inns, P.O. Box 2510, Daytona Beach, Fla. 32015 (800 -- 238-6040).

Friendship Inns International, 739 South 4th St. West, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101.

L-K Penny Pincher Inns and Motels, 1125 Ellen Kay Dr., P.O. Box 5446, Marion, Ohio 43302 (800 -- 848-5767).

Red Roof Inns, 4355 Davidson Road, Amlin, Ohio 430002.

Scottish Inns Franchise Corp., Gate West, Suite 114, 515 Two Mile Parkway, Goodlettsville, Tenn. 37072 (800 -- 251-1962).

Suisse Chalet Motor Lodges and Inns, 2 Progress Ave., Nashua, N. H. (800 -- 258-1980).

Pilot Books, 347 Fifth Ave., N. Y. 10016, publishes a national directory of budget motels. Price is $3.50.