Living in a Hotel - How much does it cost and how do you do it? (2023)

Can You Live in a Hotel?

Living in a hotel used to only be for the rich and eccentric on the luxury spectrum and the poor eccentric on the other. Howard Hughes and Marilyn Monroe were on one side and on the other were transients in the worst parts of town. But as travel has become more affordable and accessible, a new group has emerged: those with a flexible work schedule who wants to live simply and see the world.

This article is not for someone who wants to live full-time at the Beverly Hills hotel. It's also not for a family of four or someone who needs to show up at the office 9-5 every week. Instead, it's for someone (or a couple) who wants to see as much of the world as possible and live in as many different places as possible within a reasonable budget. In short: the growing number of traveling contractors who would rather live in the city they work in rather than commute back and forth to an expensive apartment rarely get to appreciate. It can cost less to live in hotels and travel than to live in San Francisco, New York, or many other desirable but outlandishly expensive cities (see the cost estimates below).

How to Live in a Hotel

1. Get Rid of Everything You Have Not Used in a Year

Do this even if you don't want to live in a hotel. If you haven't used it in a year, there is a 99 percent chance you don't need it. Those items are sucking up your money and/or mental energy to store. Go to eBay, look up the item's value in recently completed auctions and decide if you want to sell the item or give it away. We wrote this online charity auction guide, which has our eBay tips. If it's not worth selling, give it away to your favorite non-profit. Or give to a friend.

Still not convinced you can or should get rid of all that stuff?

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Try going on a 3-7 day trip with just the following: 1 jacket, 4 shirts, 4 pairs of underwear, 1 pair of shoes, 1 pair of pants and a bathing suit. You will find that not only is it possible, it makes travel way more fun. You spend less time thinking about moving your stuff around and more time having memorable experiences. Everything, including your mobile office, fits in a bigger laptop backpack. Or, if you travel heavier, you should be able to get everything into a quality carry-on bag, with room to space.

2. Establish a Home Base… or Don't
Even if you live in a hotel most of the time,

(Video) How Much Does It Cost To Live In A Hotel Suite 365 Days of The Year?

Living in a Hotel - How much does it cost and how do you do it? (2)

it can be nice to have a home base to store stuff. This could be a storage locker, your parents' house, or even a small apartment that you AirBnB when you're not there. How to get a free house by renting it out as a vacation rental home is for another article.

3. Negotiate for a Long-term Rate

There are two approaches to living in a hotel: negotiate with the hotel for a great long-term rate or book last minute. You probably want to negotiate if you are staying somewhere longer than a week.

4. Use Apps, Not Web Sites, to Find Hotel Deals

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Living in a Hotel - How much does it cost and how do you do it? (4)

(Video) Living in a Hotel for 6 Months

I usually stay less than a week in one location and prefer the last minute. Unless a major convention event in your city will take all available hotel rooms, you save money by booking last minute. This is the rare occasion where procrastination pays off.

Apps like HotelTonight and offer better rates than websites. For example, often the app finds prices 10-25 percent less than on the website. Discounts range from 10-80 percent off the published rate.

5. Paperless Billing and Mail Forwarding Switch to paperless billing even if you're not living out of a hotel. There usually is still some mail that can't be paperless (IRS, tickets — you know, the fun stuff). For that, the USPS has a Premium Forwarding Service for $18 a week that will forward your weekly mail anywhere.

6. Use the Hotel Gym
One of the few downsides to constant travel is that it's easy to let

yourself go. We all feel better when we get our heart rate up for 30 minutes every (or every other) day. Few hotel gyms are that great and likely are way worse than the class, gym, running or biking route that you are used to. But getting in the hotel gym, if only for 15-20 minutes every other day, seems to be a cure for lethargy that can set in when traveling for extended time periods. Even better, try to convince a few friends to do a regular morning zoom workout. This option requires more planning and one designated cat herder, but it is the most fun option.

7. Use the Front Desk

Not only does the front desk have extra adapters, toothbrushes and misc. supplies, they often can point you toward the best places to see and eat nearby that may be buried in Yelp or your maps app. For bar and nightlife recommendations, ask the hotel bartender for the name of their favorite place.

8. Get Uber and an Electric Scooter

(Video) Living In A Hotel: How To Get The Best Deal On Hotel Rooms

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As an alternative to a car, use Uber and rental car agencies. Rental cars, when not rented at an airport, are generally much less expensive than you think ($10-20 per day). I also use an electric scooter for most short trips. This is not for most people, but if it sounds at all intriguing, consider a compact electric scooters.

Cost to Live in a Hotel

The short answer: living in a hotel is as expensive as you make it. It can be less expensive or more expensive than renting an apartment, depending on your standard of living and how you are able to deduct expenses.

At first, living in a hotel may seem expensive. For example, on average you spend $150 a night on hotels (which in 2022 gets you a pretty nice room if you use deal apps like Hotel Tonight). That would be $4500 a month, which is super expensive for most people. But once you start living in hotels, you travel more and spend more nights visiting friends, camping, staying with a significant other at their house, getting free nights on rewards. On average, I only actually stay in a hotel about half that time, so now I'm at $2250 a month.

Now look at all the money saved each month by not renting a place:
$50 - gas and electric
$25 - garbage and water
$100 - TV, cable , internet
$100 - basic living and cleaning supplies, replacing sheets, towels, laundry detergent, etc.
$50 - house cleaning

$100-200 - furnishings (assuming most people spend $1200-2400 a year on furnishings)

Add all that to your $1500 a month, and you are getting closer to the $2250 number.

If you have read this far, you also like to travel. So you're probably renting hotel rooms, say, on average, two nights a month at $150 a night. Now you are well past that $2250 number.

Now consider that living in a hotel may be largely tax-deductible if it's work-related. Depending on your tax bracket, this adds another 15-35 percent discount to your hotel stay. That average price of $150 a night might only be $100 a night if it's deductible. Tax deductions to your rental apartment are generally limited to the relatively small percentage you can justify as a home office.

(Video) How to Live in a Hotel Long Term

Finally, if you're staying in hotels most of the time, you probably don't need a car. Not having a car is a bigger cost and time savings than most people think. Depreciation, gas, and insurance are the biggest costs. But many people underestimate the little costs that also add up: parking, parking tickets, car washes, repairs, oil changes, accidents, registration. More importantly, not having a car generally saves you time - a LOT of time.

Time Savings of Living in Hotel

The above calculation of the costs will vary wildly based on your standard of living and other factors. What is more constant is the time savings of hotel living. You never or rarely have to:

  • make your bed

    Living in a Hotel - How much does it cost and how do you do it? (7)

  • wash your sheets
  • do dishes
  • do laundry

    Living in a Hotel - How much does it cost and how do you do it? (8)

  • clean your house or organize someone else to do it
  • shop for house supplies, bedding, etc. (and track down deliveries)
  • shop for home furnishings or art (and wait for the delivery truck or assemble the furniture)
  • maintain plants or a yard

Overall, hotel living is not for most people. But if you don't have kids, have a flexible work schedule, and can work from anywhere, it's much more appealing than furnishing an apartment in an expensive city. You save time, can potentially save money, and get to live in potentially very lovely and different surroundings. Finally, the most significant benefit to hotel living: you just get out more! You get out of the routines that make life fly by too fast. Instead, you make more memories, go on more adventures and meet more people. If you have the opportunity - try it!

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Also check out our: The Best Travel Backpack Review.

(Video) Hotel Investing Explained | Millionaire Mindset

Other Articles You Might Enjoy

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Is it cost effective to live in a hotel? ›

It's Cheaper

Extended stay hotels are often more affordable than apartments. When you factor in the cost of a lease, utilities, and other expenses, an extended stay hotel can be much cheaper than an apartment. This is especially true if you are traveling for an extended period.

How do people afford to live in a hotel? ›

Staying in hotels could work out to be cheaper for your budget.
So, here are five tips that will help you to live in an extended hotel.
  1. Find Out the Cost When You Plan On Living in a Hotel Long Term. ...
  2. Pick a Hotel that Offers Quality Services. ...
  3. Choose a Convenient Location. ...
  4. Select a Large Room. ...
  5. Bring Your Food Supply.
Nov 20, 2019

How much would it be a month to live in a hotel? ›

The price for a month-long stay at an extended stay hotel can vary drastically based on location and the type of property that you are booking. However, based on our data points below you can expect to spend anywhere from around $1,163.12 to $4,359.60.

What it's like to live in a hotel? ›

With hotels, everything is taken care of, there is furniture, and someone who will clean your room. Quite often you can get a hotel with a mini kitchen so living in a hotel will feel similar to living in an apartment.

What is the 15 5 rule hotel? ›

15/5 rule: When a guest is within 15 feet their presence should be acknowledged through some means whether a smile or head nod. Similarly, when a guest is within 5 feet they should be greeted in an appropriate manner whether that be a “hello”, “good morning”, or “good evening.”

What happens when you live in a hotel? ›

Can you live in a hotel permanently? You can live in some hotels indefinitely and for long periods of time which is essentially a permanent residence in some cases. As long as the hotel does not have restrictions on the duration of your stay, you should be able to remain there as long as you wish as a paying guest.

What is the 72 hour rule in hotels? ›

Reservations must be cancelled seventy two (72 hours) hotel time, prior to your arrival date, in order to avoid a one (1) night full room cancellation fee. If reservations are cancelled less than 72 hours before the arrival date, you will may be charged the full room charge plus taxes.

Is it cheaper to live in a hotel or Airbnb? ›

Airbnbs are usually cheaper than hotels for longer stays and large groups, but they don't offer the same services. Sally French is a travel rewards expert who joined NerdWallet in 2020.

Is it smart to live in a hotel? ›

Whether you've considered it before now, living in a hotel can actually be a stellar housing option for the short or long-term. It's an extremely flexible method to live in a city, with prices potentially lower than an apartment.

How do you cook while living in a hotel? ›

Our Readers' Best Tips For Cooking Real Meals in a Hotel Room
  1. Make the most of the in-room appliances. ...
  2. Consider bringing an electric kettle or a rice cooker. ...
  3. Stock up on shelf-stable ingredients that are easy to heat or taste good cold. ...
  4. Packaged backpacking food – all you need is hot water.
Jun 17, 2013

How long can a person live in a hotel? ›

The notice will give you either 30, 60, or 90 days to move. The amount of time you get to move is based on how long you have lived in the hotel or motel. If you do not move by the date in your notice, the hotel or motel may start the eviction process.

What should you not do at a hotel? ›

Top 10 Things You Must Not Do In A Hotel Room
  • #10 Lying After Damaging Something.
  • #9 Leaving Jewelry and Money.
  • #8 Keeping Bathroom Door Unlocked when Taking a Shower.
  • #7 Sneaking In your Pets.
  • #6 Smoking.
  • #5 Stealing from the Hotel.
  • #4 Drinking Tap Water.
  • #3 Cheating the Minibar.

Why is there no room 420 in hotels? ›

Some hotels are playing it even more safe by removing room 420 altogether from their room numbers. It´s kind of a superstitious move – the same way hotels went mad some decades ago and removed level 13 and room number 13. Other hotels have been even more creative with their solution, labelling room 420 as “419 + 1”.

Why do hotels require a 2 night stay? ›

Rate plans usually have the min stay restriction for 2 reasons: Revenue Management Reason — The hotel manager or revenue manager decides that this coming Saturday night is very busy but the shoulder nights are quiet so he puts a 2 night min stay for Saturday so it blocks more bookings for 1 night stays.

Why do hotels check at 4PM? ›

2) the delayed check-in times (3PM or 4PM) are to allow housekeeping enough time to get all the rooms clean. If there are enough available rooms, most hotels let you check in early, but they don't want you to ASSUME that just because you show up early you can check in.

Do hotels care what time you check in? ›

While some hotel brands differ slightly, expect a universal check-in time for your hotel around 3PM and a universal check-out time around 11 a.m. While you don't always need to check out of a hotel, you do always need to check in and get your key to be granted access to your room, which means you could be stuck waiting ...

Why do hotels have doors between rooms? ›

The purpose of these doors is to allow convenience for family or friends sharing two hotel rooms, but the doors also provide security when the rooms are occupied by separate parties, as well as maintaining the fire-resistance of the partition between the rooms.

Why do hotels not give you 24 hours? ›

Because housekeeping employees typically work 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., hotels may need to pay overtime or add shifts to process early check-ins and late checkouts. That's costly. Hotels also risk losing revenue if you check out at, say, 8 p.m.--far past the time most guests are willing to check in.

Is it cheaper to stay at hotel or house? ›

Spend Less for Better Accommodations

In fact, the price typically works out to be cheaper per person than hotels would cost. Some travelers have spent up to 33% less when booking a rental. Why? It comes down to the nightly rate.

What is the difference between a hotel and a motel? ›

The major difference between a hotel and a motel is that the latter is generally considered more of a family establishment whereas a hotel traditionally caters more for business people. Motels arose out of the distinct need for a no frills place for people to stay during cross-country drives.

Is it safe to live in an Airbnb? ›

The bottom line on Airbnb safety

Whether it's your personal information or health that you want to protect, Airbnb is usually as safe as staying in a hotel and can even, at times, be safer.

What is it called when you live in a hotel? ›

The word for a person who stays at a hotel is guest, but the guest might live in the same city where the hotel is located, or the guest could have traveled across an ocean.

Why do people choose to live in a hotel? ›

People live in hotels for a variety of reasons. For some, it's the convenience and comfort that comes with having all the amenities they need right at their fingertips. Hotels provide a safe and secure environment, as well as access to restaurants, shops, entertainment venues and more.

Why you should live in a hotel? ›

By choosing to live in a hotel, you also no longer have to worry about paying bills for water, electricity, gas, property tax, insurance, cable TV, internet, among other common expenses in other types of properties. You just need to pay for the hosting cost.

What to eat when living in a hotel? ›

10 Healthy Dinner Ideas You Can Whip Up In Your Extended Stay Hotel Room
  • 10 Healthy Dinner Ideas You Can Whip Up In Your Extended Stay Hotel Room. Do you often travel? ...
  • Omelets. ...
  • Rice Bowls. ...
  • Grilled Cheese. ...
  • Homemade Miso Cup of Noodles. ...
  • Macaroni and Cheese. ...
  • Broccoli Cheddar Baked Potato. ...
  • Hummus Salad.
Jan 13, 2021

What are good foods to take to a hotel? ›

If you can bring a few simple foods in a cooler or stop at the grocery store near your destination, your options expand dramatically.
  • Fruit! ...
  • Vegetables. ...
  • Yogurt. ...
  • Hard-boiled eggs. ...
  • Cheese. ...
  • Hummus. ...
  • Guacamole. ...
  • Prepared meals.
Aug 18, 2021

How do hotels reheat food without a microwave? ›

Directions: Boil water in a kettle or over the stove. Place the food you want to reheat in a heatproof container like a mug, Pyrex measuring cup, or a small sauce pan. Pour boiling water over it. Wait for at least 5 minutes for the food to warm up.

How many hours is one night at a hotel? ›

Usually a night goes from 3 or 4 PM on one day to 10 or 11 AM on the next.

How many hours is short time in hotel? ›

The bottom line, a "short-time room" may be a room belonging to a bar, a room at a nearby hotel, or even a curtained off section in a bar, which customers of a bar, or customers of a freelancer, can pay to rent for short periods of time, usually for around 30 to 45 minutes.

Can a hotel tell you what room someone is in? ›

No, a hotel cannot tell you what room someone is staying in. This information is confidential and only available to the guest who has booked the room. Hotels take privacy very seriously and will not disclose this type of information without permission from the guest or legal authority.

What are the safest floors in a hotel? ›

Request a Floor

The second floor and above usually require your room's key-card to access the floor, making it more secure. Also, most fire truck ladders can reach up to the second, third and even fourth floors. Never stay on the top floor. Worst case scenario: your hotel is under attack.

What is the most common hotel problem? ›

Hiring and retaining staff has always been one of the most common problems in the hospitality industry. Every hotel requires quality staff on all fronts; be it administration, maintenance, kitchen, housekeeping, or frontdesk.

What is the most cost effective way to live? ›

The Cheapest Way To Live: Best Tips For 2023
  • Live in a condo or apartment.
  • Live in a housing cooperative (“co-op”)
  • Live in a duplex.
  • Live in a mobile home.
  • Buy a Tiny Home.
  • Buy a fixer-upper.
  • Rent an efficiency apartment.
  • Rent a guest house.
Dec 26, 2022

What is the cheapest month to stay in a hotel? ›

Best Month to Book Domestic Hotels (in the U.S.)

During the month of December, hotel bookings are 6% cheaper on average. The second cheapest month to book a hotel deal in March. Avoid October, as this is the most expensive time to book a hotel stateside.

Is there anything cheaper than a hotel? ›

Apartment or House Rentals

It Can Save You Money – You can usually find rentals much cheaper than hotels, especially if you are in a large group. Better Amenities – Apartment and house rentals typically have amenities that might not be available to you in a hotel, such as a kitchen or a washer and dryer.

How can I live on $500 a month? ›

Here are 15 of the best savings tips:
  1. Take cold showers. ...
  2. Get rid of your car. ...
  3. Stop using a fridge. ...
  4. Replace your house with an RV. ...
  5. Bake cookies in your car. ...
  6. Reuse plastic sandwich bags. ...
  7. Turn your car off—while it's still moving. ...
  8. Make your own cleaning supplies.

Where is the cheapest and easiest place to live? ›

The cheapest places to live have a low cost of living in a number of areas, including housing, groceries and transportation. Mississippi has the overall lowest cost of living of any state. Kalamazoo, Michigan, has the lowest cost of living for any city in the U.S.

Where is the best but cheapest place to live? ›

Most Affordable Places to Live in the U.S. in 2022-2023
  • Hickory, NC.
  • Green Bay, WI.
  • Quad Cities, IA-IL (Davenport-Bettendorf, IA & Moline-Rock Island, IL)
  • Fort Wayne, IN.
  • Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Beaumont, TX.

Is living in Airbnb worth it? ›

Contrary to common belief, living out of Airbnb full-time can actually work out cheaper than a traditional lease. Plus, there are lots of perks that come with it. You can earn thousands of points and miles from your "rent" each month and enjoy the flexibility of moving whenever you wish.


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