In a recent post, I discussed the fact that we would spend the summer traveling and staying in vacation rentals. Because of some struggles I had with finding accommodations on short notice, we also decided to throw some Extended Stay Hotels into the mix and see how that would work.
We are currently in our second Extended Stay Hotel, and there are several observations that I’d like to share:
First, and foremost – cost. Yes, it is true that lodging is not cheap. Based on my family of 4, the average night stay for a standard hotel, in our experience has been around $80 – $100 a night. Usually that includes the minimum – beds, bathroom, and maybe free breakfast. If you are lucky, there is a dorm sized refrigerator and a microwave.
Second – amenities. When I searched online for lodging, I specifically selected the amenity of “kitchen.” Not just kitchenette, because cooking our own meals was essential for keeping prices down and trying to eat healthier. Believe it or not, we have found that we could stay in a room with a king size bed, sleeper sofa for two, with a full kitchen, for just a little more than what we were paying for a standard hotel room in the past. We found the average cost of an extended stay to be around $150, but we were able to find two out of three of our stays for $98 and $120 a night.
Comparatively, this is what both of these extended stay rooms included for that price: indoor pool, exercise room, a generous breakfast, complimentary light dinners, game room, onsite laundry, grocery shopping done by the staff, free shuttle within 2 miles of the hotel, unlimited coffee and fruit all day, high speed wifi, cable tv, dvd player, and complimentary room cleaning daily.
Our current lodging has a courtyard and sports court. The last hotel had an Xbox room with four Xbox systems and complimentary games for guests. That makes for some very happy children!
In addition, our room is stocked with all the cookware we need – dishes, silverware, pots and pans, storage bowls, cutting board, strainer, etc. We even had stainless steel appliances and granite in one, something I’ve never had in my own home!
So, yes, we are paying a little more than a regular hotel room, but just that small difference in price saves us the cost of two meals eating out per day. While I understand that traveling this way is not a long term solution, it does have its advantages shorter term. We currently do not have the cost of a mortgage, rent for a home, or campground fees, so it is essentially our “rent” for a six week timeframe, which includes all our utilities, cable, and wifi.
Third, it is not always obvious which hotels offer these type of rooms. Most hotels do not market themselves strictly as Extended Stays, as I had originally thought. Just a simple hotel search, with specific amenities such as “kitchen”, will bring up your options.
Finally, things I’m glad I brought – a few additional comforts of home, such as tupperware, large garbage bags, assorted size baggies, our own sheets and an inflatable bed, a large shampoo and soap, a collapsible hamper, laundry detergent and dryer sheets, and reusable shopping bags to easily transport groceries from the car to the hotel room.
Through this experience, my eyes have been opened to the possibility of short term vacationing this way as well. How many people do you know that will take a one week vacation and pay easily a thousand or two, for a “vacation” and you have to make your own breakfast, and certainly don’t have a pool? This may be an option!