6 Perks of Living In Hotels

In early 2018, we both quit our jobs to travel around the US full time on our Gap Year Adventure.  During this trip, we’ve stayed with friends and family as well as camped, but the majority of our nights have been spent in hotels.

During the first 4 months of our journey, we’ve stayed 92 nights across 32 different hotels as we zig-zag our way across the country.  Thanks to our habit of aggressively chasing credit card bonuses, it’s very efficient for us to stay in hotels using points!

Aside from the money savings that apply to our specific situation, we’ve come up with several other perks that come with living out of hotels full time.  After seeing the list, it should be no surprise that we don’t plan to settle down in one place anytime soon!

Perk 1 – Free Toiletries

Almost every hotel we visit has complementary soap, shampoo, lotion, and more in the room when we arrive, but they also have numerous other items available at the front desk!

Toothpaste is one of the common ones we take advantage of and we’ll probably be able to go this entire year without buying our own.  The money we’ll save over the course of the year on these standard items will add up, but one of the best parts is simply convenience.  We don’t have to find the closest store and make a specific trip to pick up items we run out of when they’re already available for free downstairs.

Sample list of complementary items at a Hyatt hotel

Perk 2 – No Utility Bills

Ever since leaving our traditional living arrangement, our recurring bills have dropped off significantly.  The usual electricity, gas, water, sewer, trash, and internet bills have disappeared entirely while we’re on the road!  That’s hundreds of dollars every single month that we no longer have to account for.

In addition to the cash savings, we’ve noticed some related bonus perks that are unique to living on the road.  For example, we’re free to set the thermostat in our room to whatever temperature is most comfortable, regardless of what the weather is like outside.  Instead of adjusting the cool/heat cycle to stay efficient with the seasons and avoid a huge bill at the end of the month, we just pick a temperature we like and let the system run.

Another bonus perk is that pretty much every hotel has an unlimited supply of hot water for showers!  We try to be mindful and not waste water, electricity, or anything else, but we no longer have to worry about those choices being tied directly to our wallets!

Perk 3 – Less Chores

One benefit of bouncing between different hotels full time is that it cuts down on typical weekly chores significantly!

We don’t have to worry about cleaning sheets or towels on a regular basis because it’s all taken care of for us.  Additionally, standard cleaning chores such as vacuuming, dusting, and just wiping off various surfaces just don’t show up any more.

One chore that does still exist is washing our clothing, but when we’re smart about what hotels we choose, even that can be completely free!  For example, Candlewood Suites properties have completely free laundry, so as long as we spend at least one night at those on a regular basis, we don’t have to worry about paying for the coin operated machines at most hotels.

This saves us a bit of time each week that we can use to explore wherever we happen to be.

Perk 4 – Our “Home” Is Wherever we Choose

Possibly the best perk of living on the road full time is that we are in complete control of where and when we go places!

Unlike a typical vacation where we are figuring out the logistics of traveling to and from our home base, we’re already packed and on the road.  The marginal effort required to transition from one location to the next is very small compared to our more common method of traveling to one or two places before returning home.

This also gives us some control over things like the weather that you typically don’t have living in one place.  If we want to avoid having to bundle up for cold weather, we just simply follow the sun when choosing our destinations.  While we obviously can’t control the day to day weather, visiting the northern US during the summer and staying south for the winter allows us to have a pretty good idea what the temperature will be like when we step outside any given day.

Our current method of slow travel also means we can control what kind of location we’re in any given week.  If we want to be in the heart of a city with plenty of activities, shops, and restaurants within walking distance, we just pick a hotel in that type of area.  If we want to schedule some relaxation time for ourselves and just binge TV shows for a few days, then we can choose a cheap hotel in a small town and do that to!

Perk 5 – Free Fitness Center and Pool

While not every hotel we stay at has a pool, almost every single one has at least a basic fitness center.  The bare minimum we’ve run into was just a treadmill and bike in a small room, but some properties have a very extensive selection.  Many locations have a full dumbbell set up to 50 lbs which allows us to complete just about any basic routine without ever leaving the building.

When the hotels do have a pool, it makes for a great way to relax after a long day of exploring a park or city, doubly so if they also have a hot tub!

These are both perks that we just didn’t have when we lived in one location, mostly because we didn’t want to pay for a gym membership, but now they are included in the price of admission and available whenever we need them.

Perk 6 – Free Breakfast

When choosing which hotel we will move to next, free breakfast is a benefit that we pay attention to.  Luckily, free breakfast is a common perk these days, especially at the various chain hotels that we can book with our hotel points.

Assuming we wake up in time for breakfast (not always a given), it’s a great way to start out the day with a full stomach and a full wallet.

If we time it right, we can fill up on breakfast, only need a light snack to get us through lunch, then only really pay for one full meal for the day: dinner.

It’s Not All Perfect

While I would love to tell you living out of hotels is all rainbows and sunshine, it has some downsides as well.  Frequently packing up our possessions and hitting the road can be tiring at times, but the benefits of slow traveling around the country far outweigh them for now.

We’re coming up on the 4 month mark of living on the road and we’re not ready to head back home any time soon.  Be sure to follow us here on the blog and via our Instagram account to keep up with our travels!


8 thoughts on “6 Perks of Living In Hotels

  1. How many days are you typically stationary right now? We’re on the road for just a couple weeks right now and I’m finding two nights in one spot isn’t QUITE enough. I think in future trips I’ll try and stick to 3+ nights in a location before moving on to the next place.

    I still pay attention to utility use etc when we stay in rentals for environmental reasons 🙂

    1. We’ve found that 4-5 days is ideal for most locations. That allows us a couple days for being tourists and seeing the sights as well as a couple days with more downtime.

      If we didn’t have the luxury of plenty of time, 3 nights would probably be fine for a lot of places. As you mentioned, 2 night stops make everything feel rushed.

      We’re also conservative with our utility use, but it’s nice not having to worry about getting that bill every month!

  2. Have you looked into the hotels that also offer free “dinner” (manager’s reception / evening social hour) etc. Residence Inn, Staybridge Suites, Homewood Suites.

    Probably not as big a deal for you guys but with our family of 8, those are definitely chains we look for

    1. The only time we’ve taken advantage of that this trip was when we stayed in a Sheraton that had an evening service every night. I might pay closer attention to this now that you mention it!

      It will be nice to have a few dinners covered for us, but I can see it being a HUGE deal when you have 8 mouths to feed. Thanks for the reminder 🙂

    1. Kids certainly add another level of complexity, but there are people out there making it happen at we speak.

      I’ve always been fascinated by cruise ship retiree stories and it’s probably something I’ll be looking into a few decades from now.

  3. I’m curious what you do about health insurance. I love this idea and we are on track to retire very early, and would like to do this for our first year, but the biggest worry I have about leaving our w2 jobs is not having health insurance, or having to pay an arm and leg for it.

    1. Hi Christina,

      We currently use a plan off the WA exchange that only costs us ~$5/month in premiums due to the subsidies we get due to our low income. Location and “income” while not working are the biggest factors to consider when figuring out the best health insurance for your situation.

      I wrote about all the different options we considered in this post:
      http://moneymetagame.com/fi/gap-year-planning-many-mediocre-health-insurance-options/

      Thanks for reading!

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