Less Than One Week Till I Move Into Hotels Full Time

I’m having flashbacks right now to about seven years ago, shortly before I started college (that was seven years ago already?!?!?!?!). I had no clue what to expect, and wasn’t sure whether I should be more scared of classes or living in dorms.

As it turns out it was no big deal, though it’s a stage of my life I’m happy to be done with.

And I’m feeling almost exactly the same way now, as I’m moving into hotels full time in less than a week. For those of you not up to date on this, here are the previous posts on the topic:

Yeah, next weekend I’ll be moving out of my apartment and into hotels. And I have no freaking clue what to expect. Will it be awesome? Will my hotel pet peeves send me to an insane asylum after a few weeks? Will I go crazy living day-to-day with no sense of “place?”

I dunno, only time will tell. I’m not doing this because I have to, or anything like that, but rather because I want to. I figure it’s a fun experiment for a year. I’d probably get lonely if I didn’t blog while doing this, though ultimately I have you guys to keep me company, which I really appreciate!

So whether it’s the greatest thing ever or miserable, I’m in for a year and will then evaluate again. And for that matter most of my friends don’t live in Seattle as it stands, so it may end up making me more social. We’ll see…

I figured I’d provide some more updates (or lack thereof), keeping in mind that a lot of this stuff will hopefully just fall into place:

My initial “itinerary”

I’ve received lots of questions about what my “schedule” looks like for the first few months. As of now it’s all over the place:

  • Through the end of April I’ll be staying in the Seattle area, to make sure I get everything taken care of with my move, acclimate to hotel living, and also for Frequent Traveler University.
  • The only exception to the above is that I’ll be going to Vancouver for a few nights around my birthday with some friends, but otherwise will be staying in Seattle.
  • I’ll spend the first half of May in Sicily with friends. The Sheraton Catania looks really luxurious. 😉
  • I’ll be spending the second half of May (mostly) in the Middle East, for reasons I’ll be explaining in a future post.
  • I’ll be spending the first half of June in Florida and Los Angeles. It’ll be my mom’s birthday, so I’ll see if I can plan a trip for her (though I doubt it will be able to compete with last year’s trip).
  • In the second half of June I’ll be taking my last US Airways 90K Star Alliance award with Andrew.

And that’s about as far out as I’ve planned. Now there are gaps in the above, though that’s the general outline.

I have some travel ambitions, though I’m not sure how far I’ll get in the next few months. At the top of my list are:

  • Fiji
  • Iceland
  • India (gotta live there for a while, after all!)
  • Mauritius
  • New Zealand (again — haven’t been for seven years)
  • Oman
  • South Africa
  • Stockholm

Still not sure what I’m doing with my furniture

Yeah, I have to move out in the next week so it’s probably something I should have put some thought into, but I’m still going back and forth. Ultimately I work best under pressure, so I’m sure I’ll get it figured out. But I still can’t decide between selling everything on Craigslist, getting a storage unit, and shipping it to Florida.

And it’s really tough for me to make an educated decision, since I have no clue where I’ll move in a year.

Obviously if a year from now I decide I want to stay in the Seattle area I’d be best off getting a storage unit here. If I decide to move back to Florida in a year I’d be best off shipping my stuff. If I decide to live in hotels long term, I’d be best off selling it.

So based on that I’m really not sure what I’m best off doing…

Still not sure how much luggage I’ll take

It’s something I’ve been going back and forth on as well. On one hand I’d love to just live out of a carry-on, on the other hand unless I want to dress like the Simpsons that’s really not practical. I mean, I need at least three pairs of shoes (sneakers, casual, and dress shoes), and that alone takes up half of a carry-on.

But at the same time having more than one bag severely decreases mobility, so…

I need to avoid faux-maximizing-value-itis

I feel like I need to get a tattoo saying this on my forehead. A few days ago I wrote a post entitled “How Much Is A $100 Food/Beverage Hotel Credit Worth?” And I think it really is an issue.

As a human it’s natural to want to maximize value, in whatever form it may come. For example, with Hyatt you get a 1,000 point Diamond welcome amenity with each check-in. If booking through American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts, Virtuoso, or Luxury Privileges, you get a $100 per stay property credit for certain hotels.

So there’s definitely an incentive to hotel “hop” as much as possible. And as tempting as that is, there has to be a tradeoff between that and maintaining a somewhat sane life by staying in the same place. Similarly, consuming an additional $100 worth of food per stay is hardly “maximizing,” unless the goal is to “maximize” the empty notches in my belt.

Conversely, Starwood has the “Make A Green Choice” program, whereby you receive 500 bonus Starpoints per night for declining housekeeping. I have a hard time saying no to “free” points, but at the same time where do you draw the line with how many nights per stay you decline housekeeping? After all, one of the nice things about living in a hotel is that you don’t really have to clean up after yourself.

So points and food and credits and all that are nice, but there needs to be a tradeoff between that and sanity… I think?

Still deciding on hotel loyalty

I’m still trying to decide on how I’ll split my hotel stays, though perhaps this will just fall into place naturally as I make stays over the next few months. As of now I’m leaning towards going for 100 nights with Starwood and doing whatever I can to maximize Hyatt promotions (and easily requalify for Diamond in the process). Beyond that I plan to use my Hilton Diamond when convenient, but can’t say I’m interested in Hiltons much beyond that.

One status level I do kind of miss is InterContinental Royal Ambassador. I had it for years and loved how consistent the experience was. It comes with guaranteed benefits like 8AM check-in and 4PM check-out, as well as a guaranteed two level upgrade. There aren’t very many hotel chains that guarantee benefits like that. Oh, and the complimentary minibar beverages don’t hurt either, especially if living in hotels full time. 😉

Over the years I do feel like some of the value of Royal Ambassador was lost for consistency’s sake, whereby overly generous hotels cut benefits in order to align themselves better with the terms & conditions. It’s also rather frustrating that they don’t honor elite benefits on award stays, which I’ve always found to be a total slap in the face.

If anyone happens to have a Royal Ambassador referral certificate they’d potentially be willing to part with, please shoot me an email.

Hotel snack tips?

I suppose one of the advantages of living in a hotel with elite status is that you always get breakfast included. If it’s a hotel with a club lounge you get drinks throughout the day and snacks in the evening included as well.

Buy beyond that, since I won’t really have a “kitchen,” anyone have tips for the best ways to pick up snacks or drinks? I figure I’ll always pick up a case of water at a local supermarket upon arriving at the hotel, assuming the hotel doesn’t have bottled water in the gym.

I’m also mildly addicted to powdered cappuccino, which seems kind of useful living in a hotel, since you can always use coffee machines to just brew hot water and then add the power.

But in terms of snacks, I’m not sure which way to go. I don’t really cook, so as it stands most of what I eat at home is:

  • Yogurt (I have to stay cultured somehow, after all!)
  • Bananas
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Cereal
  • Popcorn

I know, glamorous life I life. 😉

The sad thing is that aside from bananas, the rest of those are really impractical in a hotel room without a fridge or microwave. So for anyone that lives in hotels full time, I’d be curious to hear how you approach food and drinks in general.

Bottom line

This is me right now:

SNL

I’m a little bit excited. I’m a little bit scared. But more than anything I’m just curious how it will all end up. And unfortunately for you guys, you’ll be hearing all about it. 😉

And more than anything else, I’m extremely grateful to you guys. I don’t for a second take for granted that I get to do what I love every day and somehow make a living doing it. I’m ridiculously fortunate, and couldn’t do it without you guys. So thanks… and hope to cross paths with many of you over the coming year.

Comments

  1. Lucky, Good luck! Hope you have a gala time and we all get to participate in your adventure vicariously!

    If you need any help on planning an India stay, just holler! I’ve stayed in the best and worst hotels in my home country and have loved every minute of it. I hope you do too!

  2. So jealous! My advice (and since I’m old enough to be your mom, I can give advice)is to ignore the naysayers. This is the time in your life to try something like this. And my second piece of advice, is if you end up hating it (and I really don’t think you will), don’t feel like you have to stick it out for a year just for the sake of the blog!

  3. As far as your furniture is concerned, I would sell what you can & then check the cost on storage vs. shipping things parent’s house. (Either way the fewer items you have the less it will be to store or ship.)

  4. What do you plan for laundry situation? If you are travelling with no more than 1 or 2 pieces of luggage, you sure will need a method for managing it.

  5. @ Juan — I’ll be mixing it up, probably 50/50. Haven’t decided for sure yet, but plan on spending a good amount of time abroad.

  6. Ben, with regard to kitchen/laundry issues, have you given any thought to staying at any mid-tier extended-stay properties such as Residence Inn, Staybridge, Hyatt House, Homewood, etc. I know these are not the “aspirational” stays you normally seek out, but they can be very convenient when “home-basing” over extended periods (at least in the US). Most have guest self-serve laundries, good in-room kitchens, and host guest “receptions” week-nights. The receptions are really complimentary light dinners and I find them usually superior to the “lounge grub”. In my opinion, Residence Inn is best of breed in this category, and I usually give Staybridge the nod over Hyatt House or Homewood.

  7. @ PennAdam — I’ll cross that bridge when I get there, but general plan is probably to use “fluff & fold” places as much as possible, or whatever they’re called.

  8. Some hotels have mini-fridges that they will lend you for your room if you ask for them. Otherwise so long as it’s not a newfangled minibar fridge with pressure pads a bit of reorganisation of the minibar can provide some much needed fridge space!

  9. Lucky, good luck on this adventure! I look forward to reading all about it. I read your blog daily!

  10. Don’t you also have an amazing trip with your father planned flying QF A380 to Australia sometime later in the year? Best of luck to you as you start this exciting chapter of your life!

  11. Best of luck! Can’t wait to hear about your experiences. Stop by SF if you get the chance. Me and one of your other followers would love to host you for a drink and/or dinner!

  12. Lucky: I think I cube fridge is a reasonable request at every property and if they can’t accommodate, they should be able to empty the minibar and at least get you a 2nd mini bar, so refrigeration shouldn’t be a big issue.

    Also, if you are even slightly inclined with cooking, a mini crock pot can easily fit in a suitcase and makes suitable meals even in a hotel. my mini crockpot has been on hundreds of flights and a handful of countries.

  13. @ Andrei — I’ll do as many as I can on points when it’s a good value, but will be doing lots of paid stays as well.

  14. I still think you are crazy…although this should be good for your income taxes. Maybe move to Switzerland? 🙂

  15. Hey Ben – we’ll be in Rome/Florence when you’re in Sicily, and in Dubai when you’re in the Middle East. So, not exactly the same places, but if you happen to be jaunting to nearby locales such as those, let me know so we can meet up for dinner or drinks!

    And, ENJOY every moment of this and relish the experience, both good and bad. We’ll look forward to reading about it!

  16. I would spend some hotel nights at extended stay brands in your chains. Still have free breakfast at most. No lounges though. They often tend to have fairly cheap rates too when paying cash.
    Laundry- I’ve done laundry at sheraton a and hyatts before. If you have nothing else to do its fine (I would work out while doing laundry since the gym it typically on the same hall as laundry)

    I would sell all your stuff no matter what. The cost of shipping/storage will offset any cost savings by keeping the furniture.

  17. Really exciting, look forward to following your adventures, Lucky!

    Are you going to consider any extended stay brands at all? That would help with the fridge side of things!

    I’m sure you’ll also try to camp out in the LH FCT and many lounges and first class cabins around the world, which will cut down on the number of hotel nights!

    I know you love Hyatt and Starwood but if you do lots of trips outside the US (especially away from capital cities) you may have to try Hilton more 😉

  18. Ben,

    I know you’re not a Marriott guy, but I’ve stayed at some of the Marriott Executive Apartments while I was in Asia – In BKK these places were around $75-$85 a night (cheaper than the JW or Renaissance).

    Not only did they have a kitchen area with fridge and sink, but a clothes washer and drier. Hitting one these places every once and a while for 3 days or a week might be helpful to you.

    A lot of these are also 1/2 MEA 1/2 Marriott hotel – so you could review them as well!

    Looking forward to living vicariously though your Hotel life for the next year! 🙂

  19. I shall follow with great interest! What a cool list of places to be spending time. Hopefully you will have friends along the way to bring some company. I agree with Denise’s sage advice, though I think the year will fly buy. If moving infrequently but with quick trios in between you can lug big bags from long stay hotel and then sprint on hand luggage leaving your every day items at which ever base. Good luck!

  20. If you always fly in your dressiest outfit then you always will be saving space….and the flight will be better!…and you could go native and just pack flip flops……fly in your dress shoes and give up those goofy sneakers………and some of the hotels you stay in might even be kind enough to bring you a microwave if you are staying a while? Don’t become weak and frequent a Hilton…….you must keep your self respect!

  21. What astonishes me is how unhealthy you must be eating/will be eating. I would get a personal blender to carry around, at least you can make green smoothies (banana, spinach, milk, berries?).

    At least look into “hemp chia power pudding” recipe – no blender reqd. hah.

  22. Agree with post #27, your daily diet doesn’t look too good right now.

    Lot of good comments so far. My 2 cents is this: You’re starting a new chapter and pursuing a very different style of life over the next year. Why not carry that over to your diet as well. Eating out for every meal will be too expensive and you likely won’t have a kitchen in most hotels. So try and consume more raw foods that you can buy in small amounts at local markets, i.e. fruits, vegetables, etc. Maybe invest in a good pocket knife (pack in checked luggage) to cut up the fruit in your room, or just ask each hotel staff for silverware. Research the raw food lifestyle: http://www.thebestofrawfood.com/

  23. Look into PODS for your furniture, etc. There are some other competing storage unit companies. So there is some competition. The unit is delivered to your home or apt. parking lot. You pack your stuff in and PODS picks it up and holds it in storage. In a year, you can have the unit sent to another state or even have it moved to your next permanent place. Prices vary and there are smaller units available. I stored a whole house of furniture and belongings with Mayflower and it cost about $200 a month for that. Give it a thought, if you have nice furniture, as furniture prices have gone up a bit in the last 5 years.

  24. Ben – it will be so much fun to hear about your adventures. My guess is that a lot of this will work itself out the first few weeks when you’re mostly staying in the Seattle area. You’ll figure out what works best for you. After all, you do your best work under pressure! 🙂

  25. I would look into the POD storage units.
    They drop off the container and you fill it. Then they store it offsite. You then will have the option to have it shipped to a final destination for a cost. The only disadvantage is you will not have easy access to get 1 or 2 items out that you would get in a storage locker.

  26. I’m looking forward to see how this works out Ben. Sheraton Catania does look nice but I’m always a little leery of hotels that show no pictures of the rooms. Good luck Ben

  27. Sell your furniture, storage isn’t worth it, ship anything of sentimental value to your parents, otherwise just sell it. IKEA and craigslist will still be there when you move back into an apartment.

    My top tip for in room dining when I’m sick of other options is a little smoked fish, cheese, salad and bread and maybe a whole foods boxed salad.

    As for the hit list if I had the ability to spend for an extended period anywhere I would pick Shanghai, Hong Kong or an inland chinese city, (mainly because I’m learning mandarin right now and would love to improve), Seoul or a Japanese city. I was surprised not to see Hong Kong on your list. I know you like it and I imagine it would be different to be there for an extended period.

  28. damn this autofill, I think safari changed ever so slightly and I keep filling in my full name,

    @lucky, i’d appreciate if you trimmed my full name out again.

    Thanks

  29. Hey Lucky –

    I booked a stay at the Intercontinental in Atlanta using IHG Family & Friend rate and was wondering if they will honor my Ambassador status in respect to upgrades, etc. based on the rate I used to book the stay.

    Thanks!

  30. you suck! 😉 i am soon to launch my own blog, focused on actually living in hotel. you what i need- competition with a massive installed base!

    i’ve lived i hotels full time for almost 3 years. status is critical for many reasons- particularly for food in certain regions. your haul from the breakfast buffet will go up exponentially from what it is now!

    i’d share more, but you’ll just have to read my blog! 😉 welcome to the club…

  31. Hey Ben,

    I just wanted to say good luck! Sounds like you have quite the adventure ahead of you and no doubt, we’re all excited for you and all excited to hear all about it.

    I still chuckled when I saw the video someone made a while back when the OD deal was coming to an end, and one of the subtitle was something like, “Maybe I’ll meet lucky…in one of the lounges”. That was fun and funny.

    Anyway, best of luck!

  32. I stayed 1 week at W Montreal and was provided with a micro-wave. Other hotels could perhaps provide you with a mini-fridge.

  33. Good luck! Sounds like this will lead to hotel reviews for not very common places (don’t think you’ve done Sicily).

    I agree that hotel-hopping is inconvenient… Unless they are very close to each other and there’s a promo going.

    P.S. Are you temporarily re-branding the blog as “One Hotel at a Time”? 😉

  34. Because I have a small addiction to this blog I am going to do my part and make a donation to the homeless fund 🙂

    I travel to India frequently and have loads of points with Taj Hotels Innercircle program. Taj Mansingh New Delhi or Taj Palace Mumbai? Send me your dates for India and I will redeem points on your behalf.

    I live vicariously through you. So thanks! I hope you either arrive into or depart from India on the SQ A380 Suite. I just booked my first trip in a SQ Suite (SIN-JFK) by combining Amex Starwood points with tips and tricks from this blog. November can’t come fast enough.

  35. I lived in youth hostels and pensions for 9 months. Would not trade the experience for anything. I didn’t upgrade to the kind of hotels you stay in now until I was twice your age. Know you will have a great time. Don’t fret, you go around once. This is such a great time of your life to do something like this. Most people don’t have the guts to take the risk to even consider it, much less do it. Enjoy!

  36. @ Tara — As far as I know they technically don’t have to honor benefits on Friends & Family rates, though in practice still may.

  37. As someone who’s been living in hotels full time for eight months, I can totally sympathize with last minute nerves. (I like to refer to myself as voluntarily homeless – but then I feel guilty for being glib about a serious social problem.)

    I ended up going through culture shock similar to what I’ve experienced when I moved overseas in the past. First was the elation/freedom when I made the decision not to renew my lease. Then, the nerves and second guessing leading up to the official date. (side note: I got rid of all of my furnishings and am very glad that I did.) Then a honeymoon period where I loved everything about the lifestyle – never having to clean! – suite upgrades! – room service! Then a period where I hated everything about it – pet peeves! always hustling for the next cheap but decent booking! the hassle of laundry!

    It took almost six months, but I finally settled into my new normal. It’s not super! amazing! ZOMG PERFECT! But, it’s not horrible! stressful! TERRIBLE! either. It allows me to live luxurious lifestyle and gives me the kind of freedom that I’m craving at this point in my life. When it stops being right for me, I’ll do something different.

    I think the hardest part for me was to give myself permission to feel however I felt about it at the moment. And not to stress too much. After all, what’s the worst case scenario? I decide I’m not happy and rent a new apartment – not exactly doomsday.

  38. You can always use the hot water from the coffee maker for instant oatmeal. I live at the office right now (yay 13 hour days) and my work snacks include almonds, chocolate, dried fruit, beef jerky, and instant oatmeal, and chopped veggies. I also make kale chips at home and bring them in, but since you don’t have an oven that would be difficult.

  39. Add up how much your furniture would cost to replace with new furniture, less what you could get by selling it on eBay. Compare that with the price of storing it for a year. If it’s mostly IKEA (as you implied earlier), plus a W bed, I’m thinking you’ll come out ahead by selling it.

  40. Hi Ben, Have you thought about doing any of you hotel stays in the US at Kimpton properties?

  41. Since I just sort of ranted in my comment above, I thought I ought to add some tips. I’m living out of a carry-on bag (domestic, not international sized) and laptop bag, so space is at a premium.

    For snacking/food/etc, I always have a few goodies stashed in my bag:
    ~Bags of Microwaveable Popcorn
    ~Peanuts/Almonds/Walnuts
    ~Chocolate Bar (emergency chocolate is a must!)
    ~Granola Bars
    ~Apples/Oranges

    Random Items I’ve Found Useful:
    (and now have a permanent place in my bag)
    ~TSA Compliant Corkscrew
    ~Collapsible Water Bottle
    ~Zip Lock Bags (variety of sizes)
    ~New Balance Minimus Sneakers
    ~Pack of cards
    ~Binder Clips (defeats my gap in the blinds lets in early morning sunlight pet peeve)
    ~Simple Sewing Kit
    ~Ear Plugs

    And the two things that I would never leave home without:

    1) Pashmina – This has been incredibly versatile. Need a scarf? Pashmina! Blanket? Pashmina! Makeshift towel? Pashmina! Don’t want to sit on a dirty seat? Pashmina! Seriously have used this SO many times for SO many things. I’m not sure if there is an equivalent item out there for men (if you are concerned about gender norms) – but if there is GET IT NOW!

    2) Rick Steve’s Collapsible Bag. This is just like a re-usable grocery bag but slightly lager. It folds into itself for easy packing. When unfolded it zips closed. It’s my grocery bag, (clean) laundry bag, leave things in a hotel for a few days to lighten my load bag, and hauling around bag when I’ve acquired (short-term) things that don’t fit in my carry-on.

  42. Looks amazing and I’d extremely jealous. We are heading to Tokyo for the Japando in a couple of days and I’m dreading coming back already and I haven’t even left yet. If you make it to Vegas for a few days a steak is on me.

  43. You should create a poll on how long you will make it staying in hotels. My guess is short term if you do hotel hopping. Longer if you use extended stay properties. Also the success of this type of endeavor really depends on the person. I don’t sleep well in strange environments. After weeks of staying in different hotels I become physically exhausted due to not being well rested. Some people can sleep anywhere at anytime. One size doesn’t fit all.

    I like the idea. Give it a go. See what happens.

  44. Good luck Ben! This is exciting for me as staying at hotels especially the ones you do is fun and now you are going to do full time so it means more and more reviews! Travel light as heavy bags are a nuisance for some one on the move. About snacking all of the stuff you mentioned is available at the breakfast buffet of almost every hotel, you can just pick up some stuff to take it back to the room for consuming later!!

    As your travel plans include Mauritius, the resort to stay there is the St. Regis Mauritius which opened in end 2012. The reviews available online are very positive and I have booked there for my summer trip in May. Will contribute my 2 cents after my stay there. The Westin is opening shortly as well so you could split up the nights between the 2. Most of the resorts in Mauritius are aged hence would be a good idea to stay at these SPG properties. Plus you can fly into Mauritius in the Emirates A380 First Class Suites which I am sure will be an added incentive to visit the island!

  45. Lucky, it’s quite doable actually. I 2006, I lived out of a suitcase in combination of hotels, extended stay motels and weekly sublets of shared space. Then, in 2012 for several weeks at a time between Marriott hotels on weekdays (for work) and weekends traveling or visiting friends/family (much like your case, my close friends live in other cities). Washed clothes by hand in hotel bathtubs, went to nearest dry cleaner (wherever I was) or at a friends house in their washer/dryer.
    If anything, you’ll probably get sick of wearing the same set of clothes again & again or miss your stuff. That’s about it.

    Btw, hotel living in India will be amazing. Cost of service is ridiculously cheap so save your points for more expensive destinations and spend $ in India. If you understand the expat life in HK… it will be a similar experience.

  46. Ben, after you hit all your status levels on the various chains, I would love to hear you experiment with Priceline and other OTA (such as hoteltonight) for last minute emergency bookings and discuss your views on them with us. Good luck!

  47. Have traveled for work a lot in the past, mostly long stays of 2-3 months each location. You need to address the food situation quickly and on the cheap. I always ask for mini fridge – every hotel I have ever visited have some available. I won’t suggest you tell them you need it for your insulin, just ask nicely. If you are a longer term guest they will do almost anything to accommodate. If not get a cheap ice chest in each location and give it away when you leave. Coffee maker suitable for some hot water but just buy a travel hot water pot. Bonavita .5 liter stainless one is great. Also a small crock pot works great for some simple in room cooking and for $15 to $20 on Amazon it’s cheap. I toyed with an electric skillet but ended up dropping the idea due to that type cooking. Pack your own utensils, knife and plastic cutting board in a checked bag. Get paper plates or throw away ones.

    I used to UPS ship my cooking kit location to location on the cheap, might not be practical for some of your locations but worth a thought. I would rather pay $25 to ship a box than lug another bag to the airport and potentially pay a $25 bag fee.

  48. Fiji – Since AAdvantage partners, it’s easy to travel on Fiji Airways (to Nadi) without paying. As for hotels – try the Club InterContinental Suite, which AusBT promoted.
    Iceland – Unless you travel by Icelandair (which doesn’t have an alliance and therefore is hard to book without cash), there aren’t many places to go. However a decent choice of airlines fly there too.
    India – Since Air India will join Star Alliance by June, you have an extra choice – especially on the 787. I have seen quite good reviews on Air India 787 business class.
    Mauritius – Although Air Mauritius doesn’t have an alliance, you can easily travel in using EgyptAir or Emirates etc.
    New Zealand – Of course, many airlines fly to Auckland, and I’ve reviewed this route too on my own blog. You can try Rotorua from North Island, in which you can pay for some really good hotels (like I did), or cash in miles for some that aren’t as luxurious but still good.
    Oman – Oman Air will work, as their business class fares are pretty cheap – but many other airlines fly in too.
    South Africa – You can try South African Airlines, which has flat bed business class seats and good economy seats, but again, there are many airlines that fly mostly to Johannesburg.
    Stockholm – Many different airlines fly there including Air China, which you can try in First Class (if I’m not mistaken they fly the 777-300ER).

  49. Hey Ben, what a journey and experience! Now, someone mentioned about extended stay hotels. Why not book a hotel where it has ‘residence’ building as part of the hotel (e.g. Conrad BKK, IC SGN, I think St. Regis in BKK also have this). That way, you’d also have a proper kitchen and a fridge.

    Anyway, I’ve stayed in and out of hotels in BKK for about 3-4 months back in 2007-2008. It was lots of fun, lots of points were gained through great promotions with hotel hopping, but it was certainly exhausting after 10 or so hopping.

    Good luck and I am looking forward to hearing about it!

  50. Lucky, I stay at Aloft, Westin and Le Meridien full time. Try going with whole fruits, nuts (as Eliza shared) and cereal. Milk can still last awhile even if you don’t have a full size fridge. If you live in a relatively cheap city with convenience stores just around the corner (i.e. Taipei, anywhere in China, Manila, etc) you won’t have to worry about food. Except for Aloft, the other hotels I stay at full time offer executive lounges and that solves most of my food problems.

    For clothing, sometimes I hand wash and hang them up to dry. I never carry my sneakers with me, I just borrow New Balance sneakers whenever I stay at a Westin. It might be a problem if you are going to try out different hotels and exercise/workout way more than me.

    Either way, this is going to be an exciting experience for you. Good luck and enjoy!

  51. Have been staying in hotels full time since 2004… That is home !! Drop me an email should you want to know more details.

  52. Lucky – where in the Middle East will you be in May? I’m planning to be in UAE and probably Jordan for the week of 19 May, would be great to catch up if the stars align.

  53. Your destination list sounds really interesting, can’t wait to read about (except to Mauritius, I didn’t find there that cool).
    I have nothing to do with it, but my guess is that you won’t live long term in hotels but you also won’t be back to Seattle or Florida. You will find somewhere interesting in the US during your hotels stays and stick there for a while. Maybe we can have a poll about what we think your future living will be. 🙂

  54. You are so weird!!! hahahahahaha 3 kinds of shoes….haha When your talk first started about living out of a carry all, it didn’t seem like it was going to lead to that necessity. hahaha I don’t think you will be living out of a carry all. hahaha I don’t need 3 kinds of shoes, and I wouldn’t live out of a carry all….but you could do it comfortably for a couple days.
    And with the furniture…!!!!!!damn…. I told you and other people told you. Just sell it! Way better stuff than what you have can be bought when you have a place to put it. Trust me! Plus you travel all over, so if you see something cool, you can get it. The main thing is that it takes time to get things sold on craigslist. Clean the items up. Take really good pictures that make the items look good, and list them on craigslist right now. You will be happy you did. You don’t need furniture. It is just going to be a pain from beginning to end, and it will be a curse when you are not using it, because you will be paying whatever the storage is every month. Even if you paid $100, and you will probably be paying more…after one year you will have paid $1,200. You could get way better stuff with that money. The other benefits to selling the furniture is that you get money, it will make the move way easier because it will be out the door before move out day, and you won’t have to pay to move it to storage or move it out of storage. Also, don’t tell the people on craigslist that you are moving or that you need it out by a certain date.
    You think you will need a case of water when you get to a hotel? Whyyy? What is wrong with the water from the tap? Actually, water from plastic bottles is high in estrogen and bad stuff you don’t want to ingest. Maybe you should get one of those portable filter bottles.
    I actually like declining house keeping, because I like stuff to just be like I left it. You need some good people to crash with. It sometimes is like so much fun, especially for you.
    All those places you mentioned sound like good places to me. Intercontinental hotels are nice. The Biebs stays at the 57th street one in NYC. And you use the hotel coffee makers…but you won’t drink water from the tap? haha I would never use one of those gross coffee makers.
    There is this funny guy from that show about tough jobs..(he’s in a Ford commercial too.) and he was talking about hotel living and he said the first thing he does is take the phone, the tv remote and he threw them on the bed spread, and then bundled them all together and threw them against the wall! hahahaha You stay in better places, but I still wouldn’t touch that stuff.
    I think all these places you are going to are going to have awesome food places around and food themselves, so that is a weird concern. It is weird how pittely your diet is when you are not feasting in first class airliners!!! haha You must really like that! You should get into Popeye’s. They have really good chicken. Actually..I have developed a real addiction to Burger King. The salads are really good. I like the apple cider dressing. This one Burger King I really like has a couch and comfortable chairs and a TV with CNN on, and perfectly dialed in coke machine, and I just chill and hang out. The Burger King near NorthWestern University is like party central. Here is a BK Lounge tio from a pro: Get the bacon cheeseburger and add onions, tomato x2 and lettuce, and it is like a whopper jr. but cheaper and with bacon. hahahaha

  55. I am only half way through the comments…and I just want to say…you have so many cooooolllllllll people that read your blog.
    Ed # 34 had some good tips. #42 DigDoug!!! and #43!!! smittytab
    Nice…..

  56. If we stay in a room without a refrigerator, I use the ice bucket as a small cooler and if it’s clean/with a liner I use the trash container filled with ice refilled on a daily basis….

  57. Peanut butter and jelly, jam or honey are great staple foods that don’t need refrigeration. Of course you can’t get peanut butter in mnay parts of the world.

    In Europe, you can practically live off the cheese, sausage and bread. Particularly if there is a farmers’ market nearby (as is the case in many European cities – but if there isn’t, a supermarket will have all this), you can pick up just enough of these staples to last for a couple of days without refrigeration – and throw in some veggies and fruit while you’re at it. I *always* do this on trips to Europe, as it saves a lot of money over restaurants and the quality of the cheese, sausage and bread tends to be far better in Europe than here in the US. (Veggies and fruits tend not to be as good in supermarkets, but can be fantastic from farmers’ markets.)

  58. Forgot to add: one thing that’s very useful to have when eating from markets (rather than restaurants) is a good pocket knife. (Might have to put it in checked baggage, though!) Keeping it clean can be a bit of a problem, so grab a small bottle of detergent and a brush or scrubber at your first stop.

  59. @ Trevor — Still finalizing that. I know it’ll be the Middle East, just don’t know where yet. Will post once I know more, and maybe our paths will cross.

  60. “Yogurt (I have to stay cultured somehow, after all!)”

    This is why your blog is so fun to read!

  61. A)I feel ignorant. Out of your travel ambitions, I have never heard of Mauritius or Oman. Thanks, I will look them both up!

    B)I created a coupon code “lucky5” for 5% off anything at http://www.berkeywaterhawaii.com

    You could get a Go Berkey, a 1-quart stainless steel unit that is only 2 pound and easy to travel with.

    I cringed when you wrote about getting bottled water. Purifying it yourself is just 2 cents a gallon with the most powerful filter on earth.

    You can get your mom a Big Berkey or Berkey Light for her birthday.

  62. This is the first time I’m reading your blog and let me say I’m super excited about your trip! You will be just fine and if not, you can always come back home early. 🙂

    I will finish my Master’s degree in 1-2 years and I have been planning exactly the same kind of trip as you have, right after my graduation. I’m also quite an introvert person so I’ll be even more eager to follow how your life settles with the constantly changing environment.

  63. Look forward to following this part of your journey. For hotels, I’d request that they empty the minibar(save money and go out to find local wines, bars, etc). Hotels will empty minibar if requested as some folks can’t have alchohol. I usually travel with Trader Joe’s snacks – cashews, dried fruits, etc. as well as swedish fish, power bars, chocolate (a must!) and Justin’s packets of almond butter. Bring a good recycled bag for shopping in markets along the way.
    I also recommend brings US medicines/over the counter stuff as it isn’t always easily had overseas (different names or require doctor prescription)

  64. very fascinated by your experiment. i’ll be in a similar situation soon. living in singapore, but will be moving to paris for two months, then somewhere undetermined for two months, then back to paris and then somewhere else undetermined in december.

    as a veteran traveler that’s (unfortunately) new to the points game, i really like your blog’s point of view. if i’m ever in the same area i’d enjoy meeting up with you.

    my tips: it’s been mentioned, but the room minibar fridge is definitely big enough for things like milk and a few items. take out the non-free, nonperishable things to clear some space.

    don’t get a metal water container; the flatpack refillable plastic water bottles are great. i have a leatherman tool for a knife and wine corkscrew, but you have to check it. i’ve heard of people cooking with a pan on an upside down iron, but judging from your diet i’d say you shouldn’t try that.

    i think i probably have a lot more junk than you (lufthansa ducks don’t count as junk), so i’m getting rid of nearly everything and taking a carry-on and a big check-in bag. i think that’s a good strategy if you’re moving around less than twice a week; more than that would likely get burdensome, in which case i would stick with just the carry-on.

    good luck and i’ll be keeping tabs on your experience!

  65. Was it the wettest March ever in Seattle that made you want to no longer stay in Seattle? Summer months will be so gorgeous though…!!
    Well, good luck anyways!

  66. A $20 hot plate a $5 pot is a life saver when living in hotels. Always unplug it when you leave the room, but otherwise no biggie. Much healthier than living off microwaved processed meals! I did it for 7 months in Hawaii, and it worked great.

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