How to Live in a Hotel {and Why You Should Try Full-Time Hotel Living}

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At the end of 2017,  I made the hard decision to pack up my daughter and dog and leave everything I had worked to build, downsize and try full-time hotel living for a while. It may seem to be an odd decision, but for those who are asking “can you live in a hotel” the answer is a resounding yes. There were a lot of reasons why I made the decision I did, but one of them was because living in a hotel saves money. I was restarting my life – yet again – and saving money was really high on my list.


Why You Should Consider Full-Time Hotel Living - If your family is considering downsizing, take a look at living in a hotel full-time! It's easier than you think and far cheaper than you'll expect! Let me show you what happened when we moved into a hotel for 6 months!


To be honest, moving into a hotel was something that I had considered for quite a long time, but because people seem to look down on it, I put it off more than once. Just ask anyone who travels in an RV full-time about the reactions they get. It simply does not make sense to me to go into debt or pay as much as I would for an RV when I could buy a cheap starter home for around that same amount. However, full-time hotel living required none of the debt and actually saved me quite a bit of money each month. It accomplished the same thing that an RV or camper van would have and still gave my daughter and I the freedom to travel if we wanted or to stay put some place if we wanted.

How to Live in a Hotel {and Why You Should Try Full-Time Hotel Living}

I have always been one to crave a simple life and in fact, I go out of my way to find new ways to live simply. Living simply is not only about the simple things in life, but in my mind,  it is also a fantastic way to save money. It is my dream to someday own a small, self-sufficient hobby farm. When my relationship ended in June 2016, I knew that I would eventually downsize quite a bit since it was just my daughter and I at the time. So, I took a year to sell pretty much everything I owned and when the time was right, we moved into that hotel.


How to Live in a Hotel

Full-time hotel living was a huge leap of faith for me.  We were leaving an a 1,900 square foot, 3 bedroom, 2.5 bath home with a fenced in backyard and 2 car garage. We left a neighborhood with tree lined streets and a community pool. Almost everything we owned had been sold or given away. We moved into a hotel room that was maybe 300 square feet on a good day. The adjustment was huge, but surprisingly, it wasn’t as hard as I had expected it to be initially.


Can You Live in a Hotel?

I don’t do anything without research. When I researching how to live in a hotel full-time, I had my choice of extended stay hotels to choose from. Each one offered a different number of rates and amenities. Since I had a child with me, I had a few absolute needs. I not only needed a kitchenette, but I needed one with a stove and preferred a full-size fridge. It is hard enough to feed a kid in a hotel, but it would have been much worse trying to do so with a dorm size fridge and microwave. I also needed a laundry on site and a pet-friendly hotel.


Why You Should Consider Full-Time Hotel Living - If your family is considering downsizing, take a look at living in a hotel full-time! It's easier than you think and far cheaper than you'll expect! Let me show you what happened when we moved into a hotel for 6 months!


In the end, I chose to move us into a Woodsprings Suites location. It offered everything I needed it to;  full size fridge, a 2 burner stove, cabinet space, laundry and WiFi that offered both a free and upgraded version. They are also pet friendly which meant I could bring our dog with as I had originally planned. As with most extended stay hotels, it was cheaper to pay by the month than it was weekly or bi-weekly so that was the option we chose.


How to live in a  hotel with kids


Before we made the move to full-time hotel living, I thought the biggest adjustments would be missing the items we left behind or got rid of. In reality, the biggest adjustment was being together in such a small space.  There was quite literally nowhere one of us could go in the room to get away from each other which meant if we needed a break from the other, one of us – obviously me since I was the adult – had to go downstairs to get away from the other. It was a real adjustment at first, but it was not an issue even though she was homeschooled at the time. She had extra curricular activities she did twice a week and since those activities were drop off activities, I used that time to recharge and enjoy the alone time.

I can’t say what living in a motel would be like with multiple children, but I can tell you there were several families where we were who were doing just that and successfully. If you have more than an “only,” it is still worth looking into whether living in a hotel will save you money or not.


Why You Should Consider Full-Time Hotel Living - If your family is considering downsizing, take a look at living in a hotel full-time! It's easier than you think and far cheaper than you'll expect! Let me show you what happened when we moved into a hotel for 6 months!


What type of hotel is best to live in?

While you can live in a regular hotel or motel – and I have done that as well back when Emma and I were getting on our feet after being homeless – it is far better to live in an extended stay hotel than a regular room. Extended stays are made just for that – extended stays. They often have kitchenettes, larger rooms, more storage and better long-term rates. In fact, I would go as far as to say our hotel room was more studio apartment than it was hotel room.

If you’re considering living in an extended stay hotel too, you’ll need to find one that will fit your family. For my little family, Woodspring Suites fit that bill.  The rooms are decent sized and the cost was less than I would have paid for rent and utilities in a city like where we were living at the time. Austin, Texas is quite expensive to live in.  It was the cost factor that ultimately helped make my mind up to move into a Woodsprings location.

In addition to that, Woodspring Suites typically had better reviews on Trip Advisor for the locations I was looking at than other extended stay hotels. Reviews for hotels are super important and I am a fiend when it comes to reading them for any location my children will be sleeping in. Once I made my decision, I booked our room with Woodsprings Suites online at the monthly rate to save money.

Must Have Items for Living in a Hotel

During our time living in that hotel,  I very quickly discovered that there were certain items that were pretty much must-have’s for those who are full-time motel living. Mainly they revolved around the kitchen area and items that made the small space manageable.  As you can see in the photo above, we had a full-size fridge, a sink, cabinets and a 2-burner cook stove. Having the ability to cook meals was important to me and I loved that I don’t have to fight with a dorm sized fridge like most hotels offer. Having the larger fridge let me keep the ability to shop for a few weeks at a time and to continue menu planning so I could keep my grocery costs down.

When we moved in, I knew that I wouldn’t have a lot of space for kitchen gear and gadgets so to keep things simple, I bought THIS set of nesting cooking pots. This allowed me to have 4 saucepans and a fry pan with lids and a removable handle that sat down inside of each other to save space. I also brought along my InstantPot so that I would have the ability to cook quickly and to make Crockpot recipes without needing to have an actual Crockpot on hand. Finally, because I wanted to be able to continue to make recipes like my chocolate chip quick bread recipe, I brought along a large counter top toaster oven that I had at the house. It was large enough to fit a 9×13 baking dish, had a convection setting and worked fantastic for when I need to bake. For dishes, we brought a dinnerware set for four. This gave us 4 plates, 4 bowls and 4 drinking cups. I bought the same amount of silverware. Cooking utensils were kept only to the ones I actually use a regular basis and to one of each type.

Why You Should Consider Full-Time Hotel Living - If your family is considering downsizing, take a look at living in a hotel full-time! It's easier than you think and far cheaper than you'll expect! Let me show you what happened when we moved into a hotel for 6 months!

The Instant Pot, toaster oven, baking dishes and cookware were all stored in the lower cabinets with my roll up dish strainer. Having a dish strainer that rolled up makes dishes easy to do and saved space since it wasn’t taking up a huge spot under the counter. Dishes were stored in the upper cabinet with my cooking spices stored in the other cabinet. Silverware and my kitchen knives – I brought 2 with me – were stored in the one kitchen drawer that is actually a drawer. The rest of the cooking utensils, my hand mixer, pot holders and kitchen towels were stored in a 3 drawer storage cart that sat to the right of the kitchen counter.

Saving money living in a hotel

It is no secret that living simply saves money which is one reason I’m such a fan of minimalist living. When I looked at my expenses after moving into the hotel, I wasn’t surprised that we were saving money, but the amount of money I was saving was a shock. We had lived in an expensive area and we were renters so the truth is that living in a hotel was quite a bit cheaper for me than living in the house had been. It really wouldn’t have mattered if we had bought a house either since our house payment would likely have been almost as much as our rent payments.

My monthly expenses in the house looked like this:

  • Rent: $1600
  • Power – $400
  • Natural Gas – $100
  • Water/Trash – $100
  • Net – $112
  • Lawn care – $124
  • Pest control and other minor home maintenance: $100

Total: $2536.00/mo

Since we lived in a subdivision with an HOA, our lawn had to be cared for in a specific way. This alone resulted in $31 each week going out. Power was so high because here in Texas it gets hot. It is expensive to cool 1900 square feet. Pest control was up to us according to my lease as was minor home repairs such as changing air filters and the like. Because of these fees and regular expenses for living in a home, I was spending over $2500/mo just for basic living costs. That does not include groceries and other monthly fees that must be paid for.

After moving into a hotel, my monthly expenses looked like this to cover the exact same basic needs:

  • Hotel room – $1440.00
  • Laundry: $40.00

Total: $1480

Since I no longer had a washer and dryer, I have to have a place to wash clothes. For the most part, a good friend allowed me to use his washer and dryer for laundry, but should I have needed to pay for laundry, the cost would have been around $40.00 a month to use the hotel’s facilities. I factored that in when doing my budget so I had a true idea of how much I was spending. I also did not have separate utility payments since everything including internet was factored into my room cost.

My monthly room rate was also tax-free. The State of Texas considers you a resident of a hotel after 30-days which means after your first 30-day stay, you do not have to pay taxes on your bill. This saved me around $200 a month.

Total savings per month because of full-time hotel living: $1,056 per month or a HUGE $12,672.00 per year.

Why live in a hotel? Why not downsize to an apartment?

I can hear the question now so I figured I would go ahead and answer it. “If you wanted to downsize, why not just rent a smaller apartment?” As I explained earlier, living in an extended stay hotel allowed us to travel whenever we felt like it. Traveling is important to both Emma and myself so we wanted to live in a place that would allow us to do so. Also, the average cost of an apartment in Central Texas is $1300.00 per month. That usually does not include utilities which means I would still be spending $2,000 or so each month. For what? For a home that was cluttered with items that cost money to buy, items that we didn’t really need and things that neither of us actually wanted.

Instead, we chose to live a life that was a lot less stressful and a whole lot cheaper. We lived in that hotel for six months before going back home to Ohio to stay with friends for a couple of months. After my Mom’s death in February 2018, we came home to Texas because my long-time boyfriend and I had decided to move in together and start our lives together.

If you have been considering moving into a hotel – no matter what your reasons for considering it – I highly encourage you to take the leap of faith it requires. If you are unsure, put your belongings in storage for a month and test it out. If you decide it is not for you, you’re not out anything but a month of your time. For my daughter and I, it provided the kind of life we needed so we could restart.

For those that have already made the decision to try full-time hotel living, I can’t recommend WoodSprings Suites enough. You can check them out HERE on the WoodSprings website if you are interested.


We are living full-time in a hotel and not for the reasons you might think! Let me show you why you should consider living minimally in a hotel too! {Plus see how much money I'm saving by doing so!}


*This post was originally published in November 2017. Updated March 2019.

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  1. I’ve lived in a hotel for almost 6 years. I’m a minimalist, and I don’t like cleaning, so this has been an ideal situation for me. Also, I get points from both my credit card and the hotel, so that helps defray some costs.

    • Stacy Williams says

      For most folks who are living in rental homes or larger than they need mortgages, the costs of hotel living are quite cheaper. That was definitely the case with my daughter and I.

  2. Cheyenne says

    Did you have to go to a hotel that was out of your state or can you stay in a motel in the city you are currently living in?

    • Stacy Williams says

      We stayed in the same city. It worked out especially well since Texas has residency requirements that made our stay tax free after the first 30 days.

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