The secret? Apartment-style hotels and being a consultant who is forced to travel all the time, even though I hate commuting.
This is a nomadic lifestyle that is taken up by many consultants, some sales folks and to a lesser extent, business executives.
WHAT? HOW CAN IT BE CHEAPER!?
You have to remember that in Canada, you can only lease by the YEAR. 12 months. Not weekly, not bi-weekly, not even monthly.
It’s a stupid but understandable rule, as landlords want their place rented out with as little hassle as possible (although they are missing out on people like me).
This is a question that crops up frequently because when most people think of a hotel, they’re thinking of a luxurious 4-star or 5-star hotel that has no kitchen and no amenities for regular, day-to-day living.
Much like this uber luxurious Fairmont Royal York in Toronto where Vancouver Housewives stay. I am not a Housewife, so I don’t have the kind of cash to splash out on something like this.
See, THOSE hotels, are expensive, at around $90 – $100 a night for a 3-star hotel, and upwards from that, and I don’t stay there, I stay in apartment hotels.
In fact, there are lots of these apartment hotels all across North America, not so much in Europe, but in the U.S. they’re everywhere, and they have the MOST chains of apartment hotels I’ve ever seen.
In Canada they have a few chains that deal in pseudo-apartment living for people like me (consultants) and salespeople who have to travel to see clients all the time.
Or even just for the regular family who wants a kitchen to cook in.
PROJECTS ARE GENERALLY NEVER IN THE SAME CITIES
Between choosing an apartment or living in a hotel, the ideal situation would be that I manage to snag a contract in a city, full-time for at least a year and I can lease an apartment.
In 100% of the times (so far) that I’ve leased an apartment full-time, there has NEVER been a project in my city.
I always end up having to commute 6 hours a week to another city, or worse, fly cross-country.
Luck is just not on my side for projects in my home city, so when I worked out the numbers, it is cheaper for me by almost $500 a month to live in a hotel rather than take an apartment, which is a big driving point as to why I turned into a minimalist.
(It’s a lot easier to shift every few months if you don’t have a lot of junk.)
SHOWING THE NUMBERS:
HOTEL & PARKING
I’d be paying for these costs anyway because most projects require me to be on-site 5 days a week. I usually travel up Monday, and leave by Friday afternoon, which means I pay for 4 nights at a hotel (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday).
I also end up paying most of these expenses out of my pocket, as I give an all-inclusive rate.
CAR & GAS
I don’t have a car (gave it to charity), so in this scenario, I’d rent one because a project in another city means taking the highway as it is not likely there is a train that goes there (plus I’d have to somehow get from the train station to the client site anyway, and I hate cabs).
If I had projects that required a car for a longer period of time (let’s say more than 5 months), I’d go out and buy another beater car for $2000 which would save me money in the long-run, although car insurance evens the playing field slightly ($300 a year in Quebec).
COST DIFFERENCE: ABOUT $500 A MONTH
Basically, I wouldn’t be keeping an empty apartment about 4 days of the week and being exhausted from traveling back and forth between cities.
OTHER BENEFITS TO HOTEL-LIVING
- I am REALLY close to projects. Like within a 10-minute commute at the worst
- I don’t need a car & all of its costs – I can take a bus, walk, or ride the subway
- You have a full-time person to take your packages/mail (bonus!)
- You can use the maid for cleaning if you want (I don’t bother because it’s weird to me & they use a lot of commercial cleaners with strong fragrances which make me nauseous)
- You get amenities like telephone and TV for “free” in the price
- Sometimes there’s a pool included, but public swimming pools creep me out
- There’s always a gym
- Sometime there’s an office area somewhere for free printing, copying and faxing (score!)
- Laundry is sometimes in the hotel room itself, rather than in the basement (rare)
OTHER DOWNSIDES TO HOTEL-LIVING
- Moving all the time sucks. I really hate packing, but I’d rather do this than commute every week.
- The place is sometimes awkwardly laid out and you’d never rent it as an apartment
- Sometimes you get rowdy groups of drunk college students in town to party
- You’re always away from family or friends for long periods of time
- Sometimes the hotels are in the middle of nowhere cities with nothing to do on weekends
- It can be awkward to constantly refuse to let the maid in
- Other people have access to your apartment (maids), although landlords have keys too
- People think it’s glamourous but it’s actually quite mundane and ordinary
I also like to sleep on my own bed, so since I sleep on a Japanese futon on the floor, I just pack it up and go with no hassle and move to my next ‘home’. It’s minimalist living at its best.
P.S. The quality of these 100% cotton, made in the U.S.A. Japanese futons are killer.
And that’s how I roll!
For now, anyway as I’m a DINK (Dual-Income No Kids).
This particular nomadic lifestyle (not to be confused with minimalist, as they are two separate ideas) will have to be adjusted or changed once kids come along.
We’d need to lease an apartment for at least a year or longer with kids, but this has worked out so well for us singletons.