Whether you’re traveling for work, living in a hotel room between moves or experiencing an otherwise nomadic life, learning how to live in a hotel room long term can be surprisingly difficult.
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Trust me, I know.
In fact, as I write this article, I am sitting at my hotel room desk in the middle of nowhere while my husband is out working on a project here for his company.
We’ve been living here for almost five months now, and although it has been a fun change of scenery, the scenery certainly has not been all sunshine and rainbows.
Now that we have several months under our belt with a solid daily routine established, hopefully these hotel living hacks will make the transition a little easier for you!
Here’s how to live in a hotel long term without going crazy.
Basic Hotel Living Hacks (How To Live In A Hotel Long Term)
Keeping your hotel room organized is imperative for your sanity. Because the space is so small, you need to make sure that it stays extra tidy. Otherwise, you’ll feel even more cluttered and claustrophobic.
These easy hotel living hacks will help you stay organized without needing to constantly tidy up.
Stay Organized By Unpacking Your Suitcase
Immediately after you check in, unpack your suitcase and place your clothes into the hotel drawers. It’s important to do this right away because if you don’t, it’s likely that you’ll never unpack. It will take you less than two minutes.
Then, place your suitcase on a chair, in the closet or on a suitcase holder. Make it easily accessible and keep it unzipped. (You’ll see why in a moment.)
Repack Your Suitcase As You Wear Your Clothes (How To Live In A Hotel Long Term)
As you wear your clothes, roll your dirty clothes up (or fold — whichever packing method you prefer) and put them in your empty suitcase. By the end of the week, you will have a full suitcase of dirty clothes ready to wash (at home, the hotel or a nearby laundromat).
Because your suitcase is easily accessible and already unzipped, you will have no excuse but to fill it with your dirty laundry. Meanwhile, your hotel room will stay clean, totally rid of random socks and already-worn pants.
Pack 2 Week’s Worth Of Clothes Maximum
It’s important not to overpack even though you’ll be living in the hotel room long term.
If you will be returning home for the weekends, only pack one week’s worth of clothes at a time.
If you won’t have a home washing machine at your disposal, ask the hotel if they have a washing machine or locate the nearest laundromat. You do not want to fill the room with more clothes than necessary. And, visiting the laundromat will help get you out of the stuffy hotel room for a little while.
Keep Your Bathroom Organized (How To Live In A Hotel Long Term)
In addition to your hotel bedroom, it will also be essential to keep your hotel bathroom organized.
To do so, I recommend bringing a hanging toiletry bag. Hanging toiletry bags like this one have clear pockets so you never have to dig to find what you’re looking for. Plus, you can hang the bag in the closet, on the shower curtain rod or on a towel hook to keep your bathroom counters spotless.
If you don’t want a hanging toiletry bag, another hotel bathroom organization hack is to use the hotel room ironing board as extra counter space.
Make Your Bed Everyday
This hack is super basic, but it makes a huge difference.
Spend 60 seconds after you wake up to make your bed. Or, if you will be outside of the hotel room for the day, have housekeeping make the bed for you.
Like staying organized with your possessions, making your bed will declutter and make the small hotel room feel more spacious.
Bring A Retractable Power Strip
Unfortunately, hotel outlets are sometimes scarce. Bringing a power strip will eliminate this outlet issue, allowing you to charge all of your electronic devices at the same time.
This retractable power strip has a retractable cord, so it won’t take up as much space or get tangled in your suitcase.
Make Easy Meals
Furthermore, do not make your hotel living harder than it needs to be. Prepare easy meals that require minimal ingredients. Use the following hotel living food hacks to make meal time simple.
Hotel Living Food Hacks (How To Live In A Hotel Long Term)
Buy Groceries Once A Week And Eat Out When You Need To
Eating out every day can wear on both your energy and financial levels.
Even if you are working on the road and receive a per diem from your company, you will probably get sick of eating out every night in the long term.
I advise to buy one or two week’s worth of groceries at a time, depending on how much mini-fridge/cooler space you have. Then, eat out whenever your schedule requires it — or when you just need to get out of the hotel room.
Take Advantage Of The Complimentary Hotel Breakfast
If you’re hotel provides a complimentary hotel breakfast, take advantage of it!
Eat enough to keep you full until lunch, and don’t be afraid to steal paper plates, paper bowls, napkins, plastic utensils and/or plastic cups for the rest of the day’s meals.
Easy Hotel Living Meal Ideas
Again, the goal with long-term hotel food is to make meals easy. Here are some hotel living food and meal ideas that have rotated well for us over the past five months.
- Microwavable fettuccine alfredo
- Microwavable mac & cheese (the best pre-made mac & cheese is from the TV dinner section of the grocery store)
- Other microwavable meals (pulled pork is a crowd pleaser)
Weekly Hotel Room Grocery List
- Fresh fruit that are easy to wash (bananas, oranges, apples, etc.)
- Fresh vegetables that are easy to wash (baby carrots, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes, mini peppers, etc.)
- Bags of salad/lettuce (healthy food option that requires little prep and can be used for sandwiches)
- Bread and/or tortillas for wraps (tortillas pack and fold easier)
- Lunch meat
- Sandwich cheese slices
- Preferred sandwich condiments
- Peanut butter
- Packable snacks (crackers, chips, applesauce pouches, dried fruit, trail mix, cheese sticks, etc.)
- Microwavable dinners (TV dinners, instant pasta packets, instant mac & cheese, etc.)
- Different kinds of soups (another easy microwavable option)
- Paper plates
- Plastic utensils
- Plastic or paper cups
- Can opener
- One metal knife that is easy to wash
- Small cutting board
- Brita water filter pitcher (so you don’t have to drink metallic hotel faucet water everyday)
- Small dish soap bottle
- Anti-bacterial hand soap (so you don’t have to use the hotel bar soap every time you wash your hands)
- Napkins and/or paper towels
- Sandwich baggies
- A fun food item to look forward to (easy dessert, fun beverage, etc.)
If your hotel room does not have a microwave, stick with non-heated meals. Or, bring a flameless camp stove, griddle or crockpot.
If your hotel room does not have a fridge, bring a cooler and get ice from the hotel ice machine every night.
Move Your Body Daily (How To Live In A Hotel Long Term)
Moreover, apart from the hotel-living organizational and food tips, moving your body at least once a day will be essential to your sanity. If you only move from the hotel bed to the hotel desk and back to the hotel bed every single day, you will burn out fast.
The body movement could be as simple as a 20-minute walk outside or as rigorous as an intense hotel gym weight session. You could also bring a yoga mat (like this one) if you would prefer to work out alone inside your hotel room.
Just try to get the blood in your limbs flowing a little!
Explore Outside Of The Hotel On The Weekends
Likewise, get outside of the hotel room whenever you can. If you’re staying in a new city, it may be worth looking up tourist attractions near you to explore.
Pinterest and Google are my go-to resources for finding things to do in new cities. Even if you’re in the middle of nowhere, you may be surprised with a plethora of intriguing search results.
(Follow me on Pinterest for daily travel guides, tips and inspiration!)
Invest In Travel-Friendly Entertainment (How To Live In A Hotel Long Term)
Believe it or not, the outdoors (and random hotel TV shows) are not the only form of hotel room entertainment.
If you’re unfamiliar, the Nintendo Switch is essentially a portable video game system. It comes with two controllers, and can be hooked up to the TV screen with a basic HDMI cord. Additional controllers, as well as games, can be purchased wherever Nintendo Switches are sold.
When I say that the Nintendo Switch has completely revolutionized our boring hotel days, I’m not kidding.
Our favorite video game at the moment is Mario Kart — such a timeless game.
Similarly, bring a laptop so you can stream your favorite Netflix shows and movies, as well as travel-friendly games like playing cards, travel Apples to Apples, Monopoly Deal or other card games. Or, if you are an avid book reader (or would like to become a book reader), bring a book you’ve been meaning to read.
Pay For A Second Room If You Need To
Finally, if you’re starting to go crazy in your stuffed little hotel room, it may be worth it to pay for an extra room — especially if you have kids.
Ask the front desk if they have two joined or neighboring rooms available, and they should be able to easily switch you.
In the long run, your ability to avoid burnout is more important than the couple hundred extra dollars you’ll spend!
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