How to Find Low-Cost Extended-Stay Hotels and Motels
Weekly hotels—sometimes referred to as extended-stay hotels or apartment hotels—might be the answer to your housing situation if you're new to an area, you're only moving there temporarily, you have low income and can't afford your own apartment, or if you have an eviction dogging your credit and your apartment applications are constantly being denied.
You might be tempted to hit the roommate section on Craigslist, but what you need to know is that it can be awkward and unsafe living with someone that you do not really know. You can also forget about crashing at a friend or family member’s house because you can very quickly wear out your welcome—you do not want to cramp someone else’s style.
You'll have your privacy if you live in a weekly hotel. You will not be a burden to anyone, and there is nothing better than having your “own place” to crash after a long day at work.
How to Find Cheap Weekly Motels Near You
To save you time and effort, I've compiled a list of weekly motels and hotels that usually offer affordable rates and decent lodging:
- Budget Suites
- Candlewood Suites
- Crestwood Suites
- Crossland Studios
- Homestead Studios
- Metro Extended Stay
- Savannah Suites
- Studio 6
- Studio Plus
- Suburban Lodges
- Sun Suites
- Value Place
There are weekly hotels in the seediest locations that will run you only $99 to $120 a week, and then there are gorgeous extended-stay hotels that will cost you between $325 to $425 a week.
However, hotel quality and rates can vary from location to location. A quick Google search of "extended-stay hotels near me" will turn up a map of your location with nearby extended-stay hotels. Of course, you can also use travel sites like Travelocity or Booking.com.
Things to Consider Before Staying at a Weekly Hotel
There is somewhat of a trick to finding weekly housing. You will need to find an extended-stay hotel that is maintained well enough so that you will want to stay but affordable enough so that you actually can stay.
Just as almost anything else in life, the more money you pay, the more quality you'll get.
1. Safety (neighborhood, security)
Do your research. Check to see if the area around the hotel is walkable—especially if you don't have your own car and need to get groceries, go to work/school, etc. Also see how secure the hotel is. Does it have a history of break-ins or other criminal activity? Cheap motels and hotels are often situated in sketchy areas, so although the cheap rate may be attractive, consider your safety the number one priority.
Cheap hotels may not have the best hygiene and health standards. Problems like bed bugs, roaches, mold, and dirty furniture are not only off-putting, they can also lead to a number of health problems. Spend some time reading reviews from past tenants. If possible, go check out the place to see if it is tolerable.
3. Convenience (near restaurants, shopping, etc.)
Whatever your reason for staying at an extended-stay hotel, convenience is usually a big factor. You may want to look for a place that is closest to your work, grocery stores, or any other place that you plan on visiting frequently. This is especially important if you don't have access to a car. Being able to walk to the places you need to go can save you a lot of money on commute.
Some contracts include free breakfast, housekeeping, free parking, and access to facilities like the fitness center and swimming pool. Consider whether any of these are a necessity—or something that you're willing to spend a little extra on. Read the fine print thoroughly before booking a stay to avoid any surprise fees.
Pros and Cons of Weekly Hotels
No credit checks
Low move-in costs
Internet can be slow
Utilities are included
TV channel selections are limited
Amenities (fitness center, pool, etc.)
Decorating is also limited
May reflect badly on your credit
5 Reasons You May Need an Extended-Stay Hotel?
1. You're New to the Area
Being a long way from home, it can take awhile before you really get to know the area. Which neighborhoods are the safest? Which areas are most convenient (e.g. for commute to work, shopping, school etc.)? Rather than rushing to any decisions, staying in a weekly hotel can give you time to plan out the best possible living situation for you.
2. You Only Need to Move Temporarily
You may be a business traveler who is temporarily relocating for work, or you're just scoping out a new area to see if you like it. Your stay may not be long enough to find an apartment to lease or a house to rent, and it may not be short enough to book a hotel. Extended-stay hotels offer a flexible and cost-effective solution for people who only need to move somewhere temporarily.
3. You Can't Afford Expensive Moving Costs
Moving into an apartment can be expensive. Even if you can find affordable housing, you still might have to find the funds to pay for the up-front costs, like a high security deposit, the first month’s rent, and non-refundable application and administration fees—don’t you just love that whole “administration fee” nonsense that many apartment complexes charge?
4. You Have an Eviction on Your Credit History
Not having all of the cash up front is a hurdle in itself. But there can be an even bigger one: Many people do not know that it can be extremely difficult to get approved for an apartment if you have an eviction on your credit history.
Evictions stay on your credit history for seven years, and any time another apartment complex pulls your application, they will be able to see that negative mark.
Most complexes will flat out refuse to rent to you because, as far as they are concerned, you did not pay your rent to a previous landlord, so there is a high risk that you might do the same thing to them.
Even if you've learned your lesson after being evicted—and you swear you'll never let it happen to you again—unfortunately, you now have bad credit. You'll just have to roll with the punches.
Luckily, there are housing alternatives for people with an eviction on their credit, including looking for an affordable extended-stay hotels and motels that charge weekly or monthly.
5. You Have a Criminal History
Another reason you may not be able to get an apartment is if you have a criminal background. Many apartment complexes will check your criminal history. If you have a negative mark against you, the complex might refuse to rent to you.
We all know that the justice system is supposed to rehabilitate those who have committed a crime, but most of us also know that the justice system’s rehabilitation process does not work that well. You cannot really blame an apartment complex for refusing to rent to you if you have a criminal background, but you still need to be able to find safe and decent housing.
If you live in an extended-stay hotel, you are technically considered to be homeless in many states. Therefore, you might be able to qualify for low income assistance programs that can give you financial assistance to move into your own apartment if you can find one.
Good luck to you.