Four Weeks Till I Move Into Hotels Full Time

Time flies. It’s crazy to think that I graduated college over 2.5 years ago.

Damn. It really wasn’t till I started writing that sentence that I realized just how fast time has gone by.

After living in Tampa for more than a year after graduating college I decided I wanted to move somewhere else. I stayed in Tampa because that’s where my parents live, and I didn’t want to be too far from them. After much thought I decided to move to Seattle/Bellevue, a decision I don’t for a second regret. On one hand I do miss my parents, though on the other hand it also made me realize just how crappy Tampa is.

After over a year in the Pacific Northwest I started plotting my next move. Not because I don’t like the area, but because for now I’d like a change of scenery.

In October I somewhat flippantly threw around the idea of moving into hotels full time. I’m at home maybe 10 days a month at most, so when you factor in what I pay in rent and for my car/car insurance, it was certainly easy to justify living in hotels full time. But still, actually being “homeless” seemed kind of terrifying.

But the more I thought about it, the more I decided to actually give it a try:

  • I’ll do it for a year, and will reevaluate at that point.
  • It’ll hopefully make for some interesting stories and tons of flight and hotel reviews (in case I didn’t fly enough last year).
  • I decided I wanted to try and go at it with the perspective of going places for a couple of weeks at a time. In other words, rather than being a permanent nomad, why not take the opportunity to live all over the world for a couple of weeks at a time?

Up until now it has all kind of felt like an abstract possibility. But now that I look at my calendar it’s finally hitting me — I’ll actually be “homeless” in four weeks.

There’s a lot of stuff running through my head, of course:

How many bags do I want to travel with?

In the simultaneously awesome and depressing movie “Up in the Air,” Ryan Bingham gives the “What’s In Your Backpack?” speech, intended to be a metaphor for the things in life that weigh you down:

Well, I’d like to ask the literal version of the question — if you live in hotels full time, how much should you carry? Usually I just travel with my 20″ rollaboard and laptop bag, but is that really all I want to have with me when “permanently” traveling? Does it make sense to travel with a checked bag or duffel as well? It’s certainly a tradeoff, since the more bags, the tougher it is to move around, and the higher the chance that things go wrong.

My biggest concern still involves laundry

I’ve gotten good recommendations about this since I first mentioned living in hotels full time. Even so, one of my biggest concerns is still how to do laundry when you’re living in a hotel. It’s funny how there are some things you take for granted when you have an apartment that become a major challenge when you live in hotels.

Hotel laundry is ridiculously expensive, so I guess I’ll be best off going to a laundromat. That’s still kind of the biggest roadblock I see with all of this, in addition to the above question about how many bags to take.

What do I do with my furniture?

I really only brought my car, my computer, and some clothes when I moved from Tampa. I purchased all my furniture here in Seattle, most of which is from Ikea. Now I kind of don’t know what to do with it.

On one hand I don’t think you can sell Ikea furniture for much. On the other hand I’m thinking maybe I should put it in storage, but I’m not sure when I’ll move out of hotels and also not sure where I’ll end up moving to, so I would not only be paying to store it, but potentially also be paying to move it.

I dunno…

It’ll be a while before I stay in one place for long

My goal over the next year is to live places for a couple of weeks at a time so I can really get a feel for different cities.

However, staying places for long periods of time will have to wait for a bit, since I have a ton of travel planned between mid-April and mid-August. I’m not quite sure how my schedule filled up so quickly, but I doubt I’ll be anywhere for more than five or six days, which will be interesting. Once I actually move out of my apartment in mid-April I’ll start brainstorming more and blocking out chunks of time to actually station myself places.

What hotel strategy should I take?

Hopefully one of the more interesting aspects of this for you guys will be the number of hotel reviews I’ll hopefully be writing. I’m trying to figure out the best way to maximize value while living in hotels full time, and have a general strategy.

At least 50 nights with Hyatt Gold Passport

So I love, love, Hyatt, they’re hands down my favorite hotel chain.

If it made sense I’d probably park most of my nights there. At the same time there’s zero marginal value for exceeding 50 nights with Hyatt. You get four Suite Night Upgrade Awards for achieving Diamond status, so if anything there’s negative marginal value the more you stay, since a smaller percentage of nights will be in suites, without any other major benefits.

Hyatt does have Courtesy Card, which is their invitation only status. Theoretically it intrigues me, except the requirements are unpublished and at times qualification for it seems arbitrary. I’d hate to spend 250 nights at Hyatts only to not get Courtesy Card, so I’m a bit torn on just how far to go with Hyatt…

At least 75 nights with Starwood Preferred Guest

This should be really easy, given that I already earn two elite qualifying stays and five elite qualifying nights towards status for each of the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express and Starwood Preferred Guest® Business Card from American Express. That means I start the year with four elite qualifying stays and 10 elite qualifying nights towards status.

While Starwood Platinum only takes 50 nights per year, if living in hotels full time I see the value of going for 75 nights.

That’s not only because you earn an extra Starpoint per dollar spent, but more importantly because you have access to Your24, whereby you can choose when you want to check-in, and then you have your room for 24 hours. That seems really valuable if living in hotels full time.

Starwood-75-Night-Benefits

Use Club Carlson to fill in gaps

Club Carlson’s co-branded Club Carlson Premier Rewards Visa Signature® Card is one of the most lucrative hotel credit cards out there. When your redeem points for a two night award stay, the second night of your stay is free.

Given that lots of their properties have very reasonable award redemption rates, I suspect this will really come in handy.

Club-Carlson-Second-Night-Free

Use Hilton HHonors to fill in gaps as well

I’m presently an HHonors Diamond member through spend on the Citi® Hilton HHonors™ Reserve Card. Even if I don’t put $40,000 of spend on the card this year, I’ll still have HHonors Gold status as long as I have the card, which gets me the most important hotel elite benefits (complimentary breakfast and internet).

And as much as Hilton HHonors’ award chart devaluation was epically bad for my typical redemption patterns, there are still some great deals out there for non-aspirational redemptions.

For example, the Doubletree Beijing is a Category 2 HHonors property, making it 10,000 HHonors points per night. The fifth night is free, meaning if you stay five nights it averages out to 8,000 points per night.

Doubletree-Beijing

I value Hilton points at about 0.4 cents each, so consider that to be a really good deal.

Take FULL advantage of IHG Rewards Club PointBreaks

Okay, I probably already have too many hotel chains I’m “sleeping around with” above, but the single best award value in the hotel industry is IHG Rewards Club’s PointBreaks promotion, which are published every few months. They offer select hotels for 5,000 points per night, which are worth $30.

InterContinental-Phnom-Penh

Some lists aren’t great, but in the past there have been some awesome InterContinental properties on the list, so if I ever see one I’ll gladly book it for a month. Can’t beat that when it comes to hotel living!

Is there anything you want to see me do, living in hotels full time?

Ultimately part of the reason I’m doing this is so I can share my experiences here.

I’m not limiting that simply to objective hotel reviews, but I’ll also periodically be sharing my thoughts on the mental aspects of being “homeless” and permanently wandering.

If I weren’t blogging I probably wouldn’t be doing this, because I think it has the potential to feel lonely. That being said, I know it’ll be an unforgettable experience, and at the end of the day I’m not really one to feel lonely as long as I have you guys to talk to. 😉

If there’s anything you’d like to see me do or if you have any creative ideas, I’d love to hear them!

Comments

  1. What I’d really like to know is what business you’re in that pays for all your flights and hotel stays. I’ve been getting your letter for some time now but have never seen that mentioned.

  2. Can’t you store the furniture etc. in your folks’ attic? But mostly it isn’t worth storing and moving furniture around, unless you have very valuable pieces, so I’d probably just sell or give it away on Craigslist and buy more furniture again later when I needed it. Moving costs have gotten silly. As for laundry, instead of hotel laundries, you can find places that do your laundry for you by the pound so you don’t spend your own time sitting in the laundromat. OK, must run. Good luck, I look forward to reading about your adventure.

  3. Do US tax laws and regulations have any way of dealing with someone who does not live anywhere, and thus has no “tax home”? I’m self-employed, and at tax time so much depends on whether expenses were incurred at, or while traveling away from, my tax home.

  4. I prefer hostels to hotels for that reason, I would go crazy by myself in a hotel. That being said I’m in a hotel right now, so sometimes it’s nice to have a private atmosphere (and clean bathroom).

  5. Lots of places have by the pound/kilo laundries where you just drop off your clothes and pick them up later. Beats sitting in the laundromat.

    Or you can always get a serviced apartment type place as many of them have a washer/dryer.

    Or you can just wash things in the sink and hang them up overnight to dry. If you get clothes that are the right kind of fabrics they dry very fast.

    So, plenty of laundry options. But if you insist on limiting yourself to expensive US-based chains you’ll pay the price if you want them to do you washing. But I guess if you are using points for all of your rooms you can afford it. Do you have enough points to essentially be living for “free”.

    Living in big business hotels won’t really give you a local experience. But that all got beat to death in the comments the last time this subject was raised.

  6. Its a bit if a shame you seem to be restricting yourself exclusively the US chains, it would potentially be interesting to your readers to know more about earning and bring, and indeed living the the likes of Accor, Taj, Oberoi, etc.

    You can live anywhere in the world so why do,it exclusively in US hotels.

  7. Sell everything.

    No way it’s worth paying for a year of storage, even if you take a loss when you sell it.

    You probably won’t need it, but is there any way you set up a system to take donations (of rooms / points) from your readers?

    I am a fan of Marriott – I would gladly ‘donate’ 100,000 or 150,000 points to you so you could check out some of their nicer properties.

    Are airBnB or Couchsurfing options you will consider? Staying in a hotel will get lonely, mix in some of these for some human interaction, and local flavor.

  8. I was in Eze at a Relais and Chateau….Chevre de’ Or and had a heart attack when I saw the laundry charges they wanted…..they said the nearest laundromat was on the other side of Nice so I walked into town and found a dry cleaners that did laundry “by the pound”. It cost me about 20 euro for a big laundry bag and kept me from having to deal with the logistics of schlepping dirty clothes here to there and wasting valuable tour time…..especially if you are not renting a car…….Another idea would be to pre-position clothes and other long stay items at an airport locker that you think you plan to go thru on a regular basis…and an Army duffel bag would be a great investment….finally do you have friends in Seattle who you can “let use” your furniture? I think your hotel plan is great idea and one that I plan to follow in about 3 years when I retire……….

  9. Your biggest concern is *laundry* – seriously? Just do laundry at the hotel – most have guest laundry…

    I have been a full time nomad for about a year, living in different places every week or two, and live almost entirely out of a North Face Surge II “Daypack”. Two pair of jeans, 9 American Apparel tri-blend solid color shirts, a few button-down shirts, a stuffed flightless bird, and my MacBook Air. That’s all one needs.

    Don’t bring a rollerboard. I freaking hate those things.

  10. After moving to Tampa last June, I really don’t agree with you on it being bad. It’s a really great place, especially if you are even a little social. TPA is about to get a big $1B overhaul as well.

  11. As for laundry, i would ask a local hostel that question since they would know the best prices in their area.

  12. Sell your stuff and travel with your carryon and computer bag. Stuff is overrated. I am curious as to how it works out living light.

    Now you may want to get a safe deposit box for important documents and the like, i have one of those at my local bank.

  13. I have a better idea….try staying in AirBNB rentals as much as possible…preferably in a room while the owner is still there. I did it for the first time recently and it’s so much better than hotels. You get to experience local culture and no one is trying to rip you off for laundry or internet, like upscale hotels do.

  14. What to do with laundry? Fly to Tampa once a week! 😀

    If you know where to look, you can often find people to do your laundry for much cheaper than what the hotel charges. That’s certainly true in China and India, and probably many other places. Look up local guides (maybe even engage their services for a day or two) and ask them for a recommendation. They will always know someone, as their clients will all want to get their laundry done for cheaper than the hotel.

  15. Jeff makes a good point re Taxes. I’d use your parents’ address as your “permanent” address b/c 1) you lived there previously and 2) FL has no state income tax.

    As for the laundry, we stay in Embassy Suites a lot b/c we have kids and I often see a coin laundry facility on the hall.

  16. If blogging and travel is your business, could you write off you hotels, food and transportation as an expense? you are a self employed blogger, making a living doing such, so maybe you can write it off.

  17. Agree with former, after some hotels try couchsurfing for a bit. Might find a drinking buddy, or a wife.
    Keep your primary carry-on, and have a second larger bag which you ship to your next locale. I sold my furniture off craiglist, gave some decent electronics/wine to family/friends, and Goodwill took the rest.

  18. This sounds like an awesome idea! I would love to see some more “city reports” from the places you get to spend a couple of weeks in, for example the touristy sites and places people have to see in a country. As exciting as Europe is, it would offer a unique point of view if you stayed in some of the lesser known countries in Asia and the Middle East. Can’t wait to hear some great trip reports in the near future.

  19. I admire your sense of adventure and enjoy your blog, but I’m betting that this idea sounds better than reality. Living in hotels? And establishing residency for tax purposes takes more than a Hyatt in a tax free state.
    The IRS will assume your mailing/last address until proven otherwise.
    Think long and hard about this idea. It’s not easy.
    Oh, and keep blogging about it. Should be interesting. Bon voyage.

  20. We recently gave up our home and became “home free” which term I like much better than “homeless”. We sold everything we could, donated a good amount, gave away some items to friends and rented a small storage space for things we felt we might use in the future. We don’t plan to go back to our home state and my husband continuously reminds me that the cost of storage will surpass the value of what is stored. If you have IKEA, sell it on Craigslist OR donate it and use the tax deduction. I agree with traveling as light as possible. Carrying heavy bags gets exhausting if you are not going to stay in one place for any significant period of time. In Europe, you go up and down many stairs in train stations. You never need as much as you think. Good luck with your adventure. I look forward to reading your reviews. And for your reader, Lark, I hope that you too will enjoy some of the beautiful Mariott properties around the world. How generous of you to share them.

  21. You might run this by your car insurance carrier. These out-of-the-ordinary living arrangements sometimes flummox them.

    Also, a person’s residence for tax purposes is a bit more complicated than just picking a place and calling that it.

  22. Laundry rec: It is usually not too hard to find a fluff and fold type place that will do your laundry for dirt cheap. Check out wikitravel for the city you are in and see if there are areas where hostels are clustered together (like Khaosan Road in BKK). The places usually cater to backpacking tourists who are trying to spend <$25/night for months on end. In other words you are not going to be the first guy with laundry problems.

  23. Good luck!

    Luckily, you can change your mind at any time. I suggest deciding on where you might return to for a month to month if the hassles of being a transient start overwhelming you.

    Nothing like coming home.

  24. you are thinking way too deep, that apartment is not really a home anyway, you pay the rent and get to hang out for 30 days or so. I dont mean to pry but I think most of the time you are alone anyway and not in some kind of relationship with somebody. so it doesnt matter whether you are in Seattle or Sicily, you are still alone with a change of scenery.

  25. I suspect, as Lucky will not be earning income while officially a resident of any country outside of the US, simply stating residency in FL at his parents house is sufficient. We’ve just moved out of the US, so we’ve spent some time with the right people to understand the joy of the US tax code.

  26. To all those mentioning IRS/tax issues…. You do realize that 100% of Lucky’s income is attributable to business ownership (this blog, his award booking service, etc), right? He will presumably pay corporate income tax in whichever jurisdictions those businesses are domiciled (I would imagine even if they are passthroughs, but I am not a tax lawyer). If PointsPros, Inc is not a passthrough, he could conceivably have 0 reportable personal income as long as he doesn’t pay himself a salary or make any distributions.

  27. I have to laugh every time this plan of yours is discussed and someone suggests you (YOU!) should think about staying in hostels or couchsurfing. The horror!

  28. Lucky, you should stay (and write about) some of the lower end brands of the major chains, just as a point of comparison.

  29. You’ve got readers all over the globe…perhaps some meet-ups now and then? Could make it less lonely 🙂

  30. Hi Ben, how does this effect your official ” tax home” and how you manage taxes. Very curious.

  31. Ben,I thought about doing cruising all year round, so there is no different with doing hotel all year round…. it is going to be fun.

  32. Why not keep your furniture and rent your apartment with its furnishings. You might make some money and it will be there if and when you decide that you want a place to live – even for a few months per year.

  33. The tax lawyer in me loves how this has kind of turned into a tax discussion!

    I thought a while back you were looking at staying at some Kimpton properties — maybe you could do that now?

    I echo what one of the previous commenters said about wash & fold services — I think that’s your best option for laundry.

    As far as loneliness goes, you might want to try visiting places where you know people (coughDCcough), and also maybe checking out meetup.com for gatherings of people wherever you are (if you’re abroad, there may be expat groups and stuff).

  34. I have been doing this somewhat for the last 2-3 years. I’ve had roommates in my condo which covers my expenses and therefore my living expenses are wherever I am at. This provides me a home base & someone to handle my mail.

    But now my condo is in escrow and I am also going to be voluntarily “homeless”.

    As far as “homeless” = loneliness.
    I’m naturally an introvert like you. I have found that I go out more, do more and interact with (10X) more people when traveling as I do when I’m at “home”. I think it’s easier to be lonely at a home base.

    “How many bags do I want to travel with?”
    This goes along with the question of storage or not. I really don’t want to be packing “everything” with me. The idea of carrying around a polar ski jacket with me in Thailand or Bali does not work for me. At this time I am not going as far as getting rid of my car. I feel that I still need it for when I am in the US, So I store everything in my car. I’ll leave my car with family (who I stay with for a few days when transitioning) who live near all the major airports in the SF Bay Area (Tampa for you?).

    “My biggest concern still involves laundry”
    If that is your biggest concern then you don’t have many barriers to doing this. 1- Time your stays so that when you need to do laundry you’re at a hotel that has machines, 2- Laundromat or laundry service, 3- in a pinch go ahead and pay the hotel to do your laundry over all if you’re working the points your still under budget, 4- last resort you can do what my uncle did for years and wash your clothes in the sink although I’ve have not succeeded in doing so and ending up with clean clothes. Figuring out how to get your clothes washed is just part of the adventure.

    “What do I do with my furniture”
    My opinion, GET RID OF IT! Reducing your stuff is one of the hidden benefits of doing this. DON’T PAY FOR STORAGE, a wasted expense. Sell it for whatever you can get or just give it away to charity and collect some karma points (& tax write off). I’ve also given some “good stuff” to some friends who have said that if I ever need it back I can take it back.

    “I’ll be a while before I stay in one place for long”
    By staying a couple of weeks or more in one place I think you will discover a whole new level of travel. I stay 2-3 weeks to 2-3 months in one place then take short few day trips from there. You end up truly absorbing the area and culture and enjoy it at a whole new level as opposed to showing up taking a picture and leaving.

    “Use Hilton Honors to fill in gaps as well”
    This was my preferred hotel chain before they change the reward structure. I agree on Double Tree Beijing, just stayed there on points and you get a lot of hotel for the value. Did not know of the 5 day thing, I’ll have to stay longer next time. Been working IHG like ‘TravelIsFree’ does and it is working better than I thought it would.

    GO FOR IT!

  35. On one hand it sounds adventurous but on the other hand lonely. YWhat about friends? The club levels seem to often have a lot of regulars but it will take time to connect if they are not people you work with. My favorite Westin club lounge so far is in Alexandria-the gal that runs it, is awesome!

  36. When I must unload large items of little value (i.e. Ikea-ish particleboard “furniture”) I donate them to Salvation Army. They come to my home to pick them up (I don’t have to be there; can just leave item outside) and provide a receipt for tax purposes. Assuming it’s the same in Seattle, you can book a pickup via satruck.org/donate-goods. It’s a practical solution for me as the hassles of unloading cheap bulky stuff (photographing & posting on craigslist, responding to potential buyers’ questions, having potential crazies come to my home to complete the transaction, etc.) don’t justify the small amount of money to be made.

  37. 1. Donate the furniture to charity
    2. Try some extended stay brands, that should also help with the laundry issues
    3. Have a vote on the blog for ‘where should I move to next month’ – keeps the sense of the unknown for you and us!
    4. Arrange a monthly ‘meet Lucky’ session in whichever city you’re in so you can meet some of your readers and they can give you local tips
    5. I’m still jealous about the Club Carlson card and Hilton Diamond status via CC – wish we had them here!
    6. Have fun travelling!!

  38. Donate your furniture to charity and take a tax deduction. Do not waste your time doing laundry. Send it out ( not through the hotel).

  39. How about checking out the western side of South America? Santiago and Lima are interesting, Guayaquil has its moments, Quito and Cuenca are World Heritage sites. Plus, they are good value for points.

    And, BTW, get rid of your stuff. You can always get more stuff. Put necessary papers in plastic tubs (less prone to mildew and bug attacks) and see if your parents can house 5 boxes or so.

  40. I would suggest checking out vrbo.com or similar. Often prices are cheaper than a hotel and in most parts of Europe, for instance, a LOT more fun and enjoyable. I’ve never stayed in a hotel in France, always opt for an apartment. If you need recommendations, email me. There are some great people to work with in Paris and the south of France. But get out of the hotel mindset!

  41. I think it is an interesting experiment and you *may* enjoy it for perhaps six months, but… Once the novelty wears off, I suspect that you will tire of the arrangement and long for someplace to plant a root or two. What about social interaction and maintaining contact with friends or making new ones? Limiting yourself to bellmen and desk clerks is hardly the ideal choice for building healthy relationships. (Despite today’s common use of ‘Social Media,’ Facebook, email etc., developing the interpersonal relationships that last a lifetime requires an investment of Face Time.) I’ll continue reading your reports, but my guess is that the hotel-only arrangement won’t bring much joy.

  42. @Scott, thanks for posting that previous article–that’s a very interesting rule regarding the 12 month working assignment length. As I’m planning on doing something similar in June I have began looking into the tax options/benefits and have started to look into the feasibility of passing the physical presence test and qualifying for the foreign earned income exclusion. Now this makes me wonder which could be more beneficial–the foreign earned income exclusion or having writing off travel expenses…

  43. Car share like zip car is a rip off. It is good if you need a van at 2 am for two hours or are going to use about the max daily milage in the shortest time period, but even thenn…sometimes still not a good deal really. One hour equals what I get for a day’s use.

  44. This is somewhat similar what travelisfree doing, but I guess his budget is lower so it will be interesting to see how you maximize yours. Posting those could be REALLY interesting.

  45. The laundry and bag question go hand and hand. I don’t think doing laundry at a hotel is a big deal or expensive if you do it yourself. I personally am picky how my laundry is done, because I don’t like it smelling like laundry detergent, which means detergent is in it still. Usually hotels have a good washer and dryer you can use. I bet you could even ask someone working there if they could let you put your laundry in.
    When I go on a trip for two weeks, I have a backpack and a hockey bag full of clothes. I never do laundry. I usually have a car too, so I just throw stuff in the trunk.
    Even if you leave the hotel, they will often let you leave your bag there and you could just take another bag to do a little trip if you want and leave the big bag there. Even if you didn’t just stay at the hotel, haha they will often be really nice and let you do this. You could also mail your laundry to your parents your something. haha One time I didn’t do laundry for a really long time, and I just bought new stuff at cheap places like Marshalls. haha One time I bought kind of a killer pair of jeans in Queens, New York at some kind of big lots kind of place in like a Mexican neighborhood, and I was trying them on behind rolls of carpet. haha I think I paid like $8 for Levi’s.
    Sell your furniture. Sell all of it on craigslist starting now. Ikea furniture sells. Don’t make the price too low. It would be stupid to move really any furniture and then store it for what will feel like ever when you are paying $180 a month or something, and also pay to move it to storage! That would not be the business smart move. It doesn’t make any sense, especially if you are not attached to any of it. You can always buy new stuff cheap. There is no shortage. It will be way easier to move out if you already have your furniture out and you did it piece by piece. Believe me. And you will have some money in your pocket, and there is nothing wrong with that. I think you really don’t want to get into a storage deal. You should keep it in mind though if you buy something or you are absolutely sure you will come back in a month and escape paying a full month. Usually, places have the first month free.
    Maybe you should just sell everything big like a table or a bed, and just put all your personal stuff in your car and drive it to your parent’s house, if you don’t want to sell the car.
    I have 6 surfboards that are really awesome near LAX that I need to get, but I have paid $500 almost in storage!
    Kurt Cobain liked room 226 of the Marco Polo on Aurora in Seattle. It is not exactly the Hyatt though. haha
    When I moved out of my apartment in New York, I lived in hotels and it was a way better deal. I know all about this. I think one thing you might find which I probably shouldn’t mention is that you might get bored and find that hotels are kind of a waste of money, and how little you actually get in reality for your money. It also might stop being a vacation, and you might start looking at it from the point of view of the people who work normal jobs and show up there everyday and do the same thing everyday. In your situation with traveling, it absolutely does not make any sense to pay for a regular place too, or a car really. Sell that too. Renting cars is so cheap these days. The car I rent is actually one of the fun things for me when I go on vacation.
    I think the people who will think it is cool are going to be cool people in general and the type you want to hang out with.
    You could just get a roommate or something though.
    I think paying rent is a big waste of money too.
    Maybe you should start a small club where you have a couple properties in different places, and everybody pays a share on all of them or a few places, and you can all not loose your money by paying rent. I’m down. I think Paris is a good start.

  46. LOL at everyone suggesting that he should stay at a hostel or do the airBnB thing. This is Lucky we are talking about here – the king of airline/hotel points. If I were him, I too would be thinking hotels only.

    As far as the “you’re gonna be lonely” comments, remember that not everyone needs friends around 24/7.

  47. I really love my Scrubba wash bag for doing laundry. It’s the greatest invention for travelers.

  48. Have you looked into any of the mail forwarding services? Since you do need an address in the states this would be an option and you can view any mail via email and have anything important sent to you. I’m curious if anyone has tried this and have any advice or recommendations. Certainly using your parents’ address is a good idea as well.

    Also, what about your car? Are you going to sell it? I’ve thought about long term rentals and the time when I am traveling only get a car when I need it; but always renting. More companies are doing long term rentals and deeper discounts; plus you get points. No maintenance or other associated costs.

    Thoughts?

    Good luck with this experiment. Look forward to reading your updates.

  49. I lived out of a backpack for almost a year when I was about your age. I packed way too much. Travel light. There were no frequent flyer miles or hotel award programs so my strategies were not worked around any of that. I spent a lot of time in Asia and doing laundry there is still so cheap. I can honestly tell you I never worried about laundry, ever. I did my share in the sink. I never regretted doing it and that time changed my world view forever. If you can, consider small local properties and authentic experiences.

  50. My mother used to vacation in a motorhome and several of the magazines had a section on the practicalities of full time motorhome living like tax residence and mail forwarding. You might find a google search of fulltime motorhome living helpful in seeing some relevant articles.

  51. @ peachfront — My parents don’t have a lot of extra room, and that would require moving it cross country, which would probably cost half of what the furniture is worth (at best).

  52. @ Stuart Falk — I hope to make it to India in the fall, but I have so much travel planned through summer that I won’t make it there till then (which, based on the weather there, is probably a blessing).

  53. @ Ed — I’d definitely like to do some non-US chain hotels as well. But to be perfectly transparent, do keep in mind that I also much of my income on things related to US loyalty programs, so overall it probably still makes sense to stick to them as much as possible if I’m going to be able to make this work.

  54. @ Lark — Hah, you’re too kind!

    I might eventually mix it up a bit, but at the end of the day the blog is about hotels and loyalty programs, so don’t want to get too far away from that.

  55. @ Geoff — And at the end of the day that’s why I think it will make an interesting experiment. Not convinced I’ll love it or hate it, but happy to give it a shot and share my thoughts along the way!

  56. @ Joel — Well because I’m renting my apartment as it is, and rent keeps going up, so don’t see that being a “profitable” venture.

  57. @ Jana Miller — For what it’s worth, a vast majority of my friends aren’t actually in Seattle, and in a way I’ll probably see them *more* with living in hotels, since I can live in cities where I know people.

  58. @ No Fly Zone — I’m approaching this in the opposite way. I have more friends in Singapore than Seattle, for example, so if anything this arrangement will mean that I’ll be able to spend more “in person” time with my friends.

    And I agree I may tire of this, in which case I may eventually “abort” the experiment. But I’m happy to give it a shot.

  59. @ Austin — I’ll probably just use my parents’ address for mail. As far as my car goes, one of my parents’ cars is really old, so I’ll be giving them mine, which seems like a win-win.

    Initially I was going to just focus on public transportation and taxis as needed, but long term may look into “car share” companies.

  60. Ben obviously isn’t the first person to live in hotels, but it does seem like his strategy is unusual for the genre. Like in the early days of priceline, some folks in expensive cities like SFO found it cheaper to bid on local hotels than pay rent! And of course there have been generations of “drifters” seeking out cheap lodging. I can’t recall anyone trying to travel the globe on hotel loyalty points (supplemented by cash room rates). Is it actually possible to accumulate enough of these? I mean, we’re talking MILLIONS of points.
    Meanwhile, while this doesn’t seem like a particularly good life (it should make good blog reading, though!), the logistics aren’t really that daunting. It would be a lot harder without a “permanent address,” but I’m sure Ben will simply use his parents (state tax free) Florida address. Ben will probably choose to sell/donate his cheap furniture, but I do think he’s going to need to rent some sort of self-storage unit unless he can get a friend or family member to store his belongings (I once let a family member store his stuff in my basement when he moved semi-permanently to the Caribbean).
    I could easily live out of one suitcase, but what do you do if you’re moving around to DIFFERENT CLIMATES? Like you don’t want to lug around a winter wardrobe with you in summer.
    From his “laundry” comment, it seems like Ben only stays in 4-star hotels. In the USA, laundry is a snap at 3-star and below hotels as they usually have laundry rooms. Otherwise, every town has a laundromat (if you have a car to get to it). Other countries are weird though. Like on extended trips to China, I try to squeeze in a HI Express because they have laundromats. Most other “cheaper” countries usually have affordable pay-by-the-pound options, but a lot of Western European often have only scarce/expensive laundry options.

  61. My initial thought wasn’t really about the laundry (as it can easily be done in the sink or laundrette or at a hostel or hired) but WHAT ABOUT THE INTERNET!?!? I know that there is WI-FI out there but for me it is never reliably fast when I really need it away from home! Lounges can be spotty as well as hotels! Good luck on the internet connections! Now that will be something to hear about! As well as where/what/how to eat breakfast/lunch/dinner without gaining 300 kilos! Looking forward to hearing about it as there was an older lady who lived at a hotel that was reported about a few years ago (curious also how many times you go to TPA for relief). Glück!

  62. @ Aeroman380 — You’re right, that really is my single biggest concern. Going to have to do research on hotel wifi speeds upfront, I think.

  63. Does one “Make a Green Choice” with SPG for the miles when you’re actually living in the hotels for the extra Starpoints?

    I probably would!!!

  64. I guess we’re like minded in that when I take long trips, laundry is my biggest concern! Like you, I have friends all over the world, so my social life traveling is generally better than when I’m home… Laundry–if you can lower your standards occasionally, most of the mid-level chains: Hilton Garden Inn, Courtyard (should you choose to stay at Marriott), Hyatt Place, even Holiday Inn Express generally have coin laundries. I’ve done laundry all over the world in those types of hotels.

  65. Frommy experience, you can sell Ikea furniture on craigslist for 80-90% of list price. It’s crazy!

  66. If you decide to store some stuff in Seattle, ask a moving company about storage. That was much cheaper for me than a storage unit. And if you eventually decide to relocate, your stuff will be all ready for the moving van.

  67. You’re crazy Lucky! But in a good way! I would probably consider doing the same if I was in your boat. What is there to loose? Like many have stated here, you have loyal readers all over the globe and they can probably let you couch surf or at least do laundry at their place.

    Aside from Hotel Reviews, you should have no shortage of crazy stories from your adventures! Can’t wait!

  68. Maybe you could do some meetups with readers! Thats sounds really fun!

    Good luck on this new project, can’t whait to read that. I dont know if ppl say this to you very offen but on sharing not just the rewiew of airlines and hotels but sharing with us your story,fears and ideias about life make this blog very special for me, to come here everyday 🙂

  69. You are awesome! You would regret your decision. You are going to have an exciting and memorable experience. I will live vicariously through you and look forward to all of the hotel reviews! Enjoy!

  70. Can’t wait! Let the homeless era begin! Be sure to let everyone know when you’re in their area. 😉

  71. Agree with SC Parent. Ikea stuff has very good resale potential on craigslist, especially smaller things that people can carry home or fit in a car without disassembling.

  72. Are you negotiating rates with these hotels? Seems like it could add up to cost well over monthly rent…

  73. What address will you list on credit card applications? What will you do if a bank wants to see a copy of your utility bill, as they sometimes do?

    If you can solve the issues, I think you’re absolutely on the right track. Rent, or even house maintenance is a b.s. expense if you travel extensively. I’ll be looking for stats on your percentage of free, or cash and points nights.

    Personally, I’ve thought about making a Priceline “Name Your Price” booking for the second, third, and any subsequent nights of your stay. Then, when you know the hotel, make a direct booking for the first night and leverage your elite status to stay in the same upgraded room for the Priceline nights. How about it?

  74. @Lucky can you broadly outline the past year of apartment living?

    How many nights did you actually sleep there?
    What was your total rent? (Approximately is fine)
    How much in utilities and other costs?
    Divide costs by nights to find that figure.

    My guess is that people will be shocked.

  75. @ Willy — I’d rather not get into exact numbers, but I’ve been spending an average of about 10 days a month home. Let me just say that by the time I factor in rent, my car payment, and car insurance, staying in a hotel for those nights became a compelling option.

  76. Ethnic areas of town tend to offer pretty great deals on “fluff and fold” laundry services. I’ve seen them for as low as $0.75 a pound with varying minimums.

    Or maybe pay for the services with a miles/point booking? God knows you have enough points to do it, Lucky.

  77. I have nothing important to say other than this has to be one of the best ideas I’ve seen in any blog to build readership; this is going to be fun to follow. I know this move not all about readership, however, it will be very popular with readers.

  78. Good luck with your new adventure, Ben! Can’t wait to read about your experience. Your decision reminds a bit of the guys over at For 91 Days (http://for91days.com/) where they’re living in a city for, you guess it, 91 days. Of course they’re living in an apartment instead of a hotel. Maybe you can meet up with them in one of their cities. Would make for an interesting blog post.

  79. Interesting. I spent about 5 years doing 100% travel though I didn’t get options for what hotels — one company used Marriot mostly and the other used Holiday Inns.

    First you should limit to what you can pack in a large and the largest bag you can carry-on if you are flying. (plus laptop) As far as storage, get rid of the bulky stuff and rent a small storage unit where you are “semi-based” or have someone who can collect mail for you at.

    As others said, you can usually find local laundromats that do service by weight. Always request specifically that they FOLD them. Hangars are a pain and folded can go right back in the suitcases. No whites, stick with all colors including tshirts and underwear.

    No towels, no toiletries that are provided by hotel, if you find a property with products you like then stow them in your bag daily and you will have them when you get to a property with crappy products.

    I had some very long stays (as long as 8 months with a few in the 6 month range) — get on good terms with the hotel and if you have to go away for the weekend they will either keep your stuff stored or put the room out of service. (my company would NOT pay the hotel if I took any vacation days, your case is obviously different)

    Good Luck.

  80. Back in 2001 I spent 6 months in a hotel. In my case I was on a per diem and I still had a house in another state which I visited every 6 weeks.

    It had a small kitchen (no oven). There was a laundry room that I could use. The people treated me very well. I would often come back to the room and find they left me some snacks/drinks.

    Still it got tiresome living in a very small room (nothing like a suite at a Hilton or Hyatt).

    Good luck.

  81. The longest I’ve managed in a hotel was a month – one room, albeit decent view. Wore scrubs at work so minimal laundry – got a bit fed up with takeaways after a couple of weeks but got to know all the local shops well (it was a small rural New Hampshire town!). The hospital were paying for it when I was a student so I could hardly complain. Not a big chain so no points though 😉

  82. We’ve been nomading for two years now, living out of hotels and doing some housesitting.

    Get rid of the furniture, sell it or donate it to charity. The cost of storage will end up more than the cost of replacement. If you store it for a year and then open the storage closet you’ll wonder what you were thinking.

    Use your parents address for your address. This will work for taxes, insurance coverage etc. Have them hold your mail and once a week or so have them forward it to you.

    Discovered a laundry trick from a dancer on a cruise trip that is pretty close to brilliant. They use a spray bottle, filled with vodka, misting the costumes. The alcohol in the vodka kills the bacteria on the costumes, preventing smells etc. So…unless you’ve spilled marinara sauce down the front of your shirt, simply spritz your shirt (or whatever piece of clothing) lightly with the vodka and hang in the closet. Laundry duties are significantly less with this process.

    We also use laundromat services in places, dropping off a sack of laundry and picking up later. Especially in Asia, this is really affordable.

    By ditching the underused apartment and only paying for the hotels, you free up a good deal of money to invest etc. We love this lifestyle, we see our friends more than we used to, and hope to never have an apartment/house again.

  83. I use my own towels at most hotels! hahaha Radisson towels are usually ok. I think when I was at a Hyatt they were ok. I don’t stay below a 3 on Priceline though. I was at a Hyatt Regency which was awesome, and they had a coin laundry machine I think near the pool area. .75 cents. Seriously. Wash. Dry. Not that hard. not that anyone is saying it is, except with all this fluff and fold stuff. I wouldn’t trust any of these people with my underwear.
    I think I am going to start my own blog. hahaha
    I would be embarrassed by the truth of some of it though, and I would have to learn how Lucky crosses something out and writes something else, because that is what I would do to the some after truth and write quite a bit of it, and then cross that out and write pretty much all of it.
    I would have to keep some of it quite though for legal reasons. hahahahaha

  84. I stumbled upon your blog and I think you have a really great point of view. I also live in hotels and I love the experience of having a different view from my room every couple weeks. Feel free to check out my blog (jetsetter520.blogspot.com) and I look forward to reading about your journey!

  85. After you solve your laundry problem your next big hurdle will be a microwave and a frig……..

  86. Having done the long term travel thing before for work, I’ll second what many people have said– you can always find a local laundry service or laundromat, and in a pinch can wash in the sink/tub. Many hotels have that retractable clothesline in the bathroom. As for internet perhaps worth it to get a MiFi as backup or a phone that has the hotspot function (eg iPhone 5s + Verizon)

    @Lucky, if you pass through NYC you’re welcome to stay a few nights if you get tired of the Andaz 🙂

  87. Re: what to do with your IKEA furniture . . . Craigslist. Buy it (or similar to it) back from Craigslist next year when you get resettled. Looking forward to keeping up with your adventures in the next 12 months or so, L! Safe travels!

    –yrf

  88. Hi Lucky!

    Please come visit Honolulu! And it’d be lovely to have a meet up if possible! We’d love to show you around!

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