Discover how to live in a hotel full-time with these helpful tips! From finding the right extended stay hotel to dealing with space issues, you’ll learn everything you need to know to make the most of your stay. Plus, find out how hotel living can actually help you save money in the long run. Whether you’re embarking on a new adventure or just need a temporary living situation, living in a hotel full-time can be a unique and exciting experience.
Sometimes life throws us a curveball that we don’t understand. This was the case with my own life in late 2017. I found myself packing up what I could and leaving everything I had worked for years to build.
To be honest,, I was picking up the pieces of both mine and my daughters life from a relationship that had gone bad.
It happens and today, I am so very glad it did. I would not have the amazing family that I do.
But that day in 2017, I packed up what I could fit in my car, my daughter, and my dog and moved into a hotel. It was then that I learned the tricks behind how to live in a hotel full-time.
Is It Possible to Live at a Hotel?
Absolutely! While most people look at hotels as something they only need when they’re on vacation, it is possible to live at a hotel. Many hotel chains offer extended stay options that are designed for long-term guests. These rooms are typically fully furnished and include amenities such as a kitchenette or full kitchen, laundry facilities, and free Wi-Fi. While living in a hotel may not be suitable for everyone, it can be a convenient and cost-effective option for those who need a temporary living situation, such as digital nomads, business travelers, or people in the process of relocating.
Those options were exactly what I needed since I had a kid and a dog with me.
Why Move Into a Hotel Full-Time?
To be honest, moving into a hotel was something that I had considered for quite a long time. I had put it off more than once though due to what I expected people to think about it. After all, I had a preteen and what would people think about that and all?
I have learned not to really care what people think. Moving into the hotel helped with that.
But, just ask anyone who travels in an RV full-time about the reactions they get. While I love the idea of full-time travel, it simply does not make sense to me to spend that amount of money. I could buy a starter home for what I would spend on a new RV.
Someday I would like to travel full-time, but during that time in 2017, it simply was not an option.
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.
Plus, it came with perks like housekeeping and I don’t know of anyone who doesn’t like having their bed made for them.
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.
What Type of Hotel is Best to Live In?
I don’t do anything without research. I will research until I am blue in the face.
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 rates for a long-term stay and different amenities, but 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 just a dorm size fridge and microwave.
I also needed a laundry on-site and since I had my dog with us; a pet-friendly hotel.
Woodspring Suites Review
In the end, I chose to move us into Woodspring Suites.
It offered everything I needed it to; a full size fridge, 2-burner stove, cabinet space, laundry and Wi-Fi that offered both a free and upgraded version. They are also pet friendly which meant the dog was okay.
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.
In Texas, if you live in a hotel for more than 30-days, you are considered a resident. This works to your benefit and means that you only need to pay taxes on your room that first month. After that, your housing costs are tax-free. Texas sales tax is currently 8.25% so that amounted to saving at least $100.00 per month.
Before we made the move to full-time hotel living, I had 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.
What Adjustments Does Hotel Living Require?
The biggest adjustment we had was 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 if we needed a break.
To be frank, it was a hard adjustment at first, but not a real big issue even though she was homeschooled at the time and we were used to being together most of the time.
I also made sure 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.
She did, however, spend a lot of time in the bathroom singing. She has a beautiful voice to this day.
I can’t say exactly 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. That fact alone tells me it can be done.
What Type of Hotel is Best to Live In?
I will be honest and tell you that I have lived in both an extended stay hotel and a regular one at different times in my life. In fact, Emma and I lived in a regular motel room for a few months after we left the homeless shelter in 2010.
If you’re looking for a cheaper place to live long-term, an extended stay is the way to go.
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 of a studio apartment than it was hotel room.
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 is quite expensive to live in.
Sure, I could have left Austin, but it had been our home for six years at that point and I really tried not to do too much uprooting at once. I had a kid and she needed some form of stability.
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 Woodspring Suites online.
Must Have Items for Living in a Hotel
During our time living in a 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 did not have to fight with a dorm sized fridge like most hotels offer.
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 the cookware that I might need to make just about anything that sat down inside of each other to save space.
Finally, because I wanted to be able to continue to make recipes like my chocolate chip quick bread recipe, I brought along a large countertop convection and toaster oven that I had at the house. It was large enough to fit a 9×13 baking dish and worked fantastic for when I need to bake.
For dishes, we bought 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.
The Instant Pot, toaster oven, baking dishes and cookware were all stored in the lower cabinets with my roll up dish drying rack. 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 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.
How Can I Live in a Hotel for Cheap?
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
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 were 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.
2023 Update: These costs and the costs below were what I spent in 2017. As of the time of this writing, cost of living has increased quite a bit. As a result, both cost breakdowns would likely be higher today than they were then.
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
Since I no longer had a washer and dryer, I had 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.
Total savings per month because of full-time hotel living: $1,056 per month or a HUGE $12,672.00 per year.
Is It Better to Live in an Apartment or Hotel?
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 was important to both Emma and myself at the time 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.
Had I been tied down to a lease, I would have had far less time with him than I ultimtely did.
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 WoodSpring Suites enough. You can check them out HERE on the WoodSpring website if you are interested.