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Extended Stay Hotels vs. Short-Term Rentals: Is One Better?

If you’re between homes, traveling for work, or moving to a new city without a set living arrangement, you may need to look for temporary housing options. For many people, the most common options for temporary arrangements are extended stay hotels and short-term rental agreements. Not sure which of these is best for you? Consider these three factors when making your decision!

Do You Need More Flexibility?

Woman holding peace signs next to suitcase in street. Photo by Instagram user @amtourister

Photo via @amtourister

Sometimes, plans change. Whether it’s because your builder finished your custom-built home early or your work assignment concluded sooner than expected, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to end your temporary housing earlier than anticipated. If this is a possibility—or if you just want more flexibility—go with the extended stay hotel. This short-term housing option is intended for people to come and go more frequently, so you’ll have an easier time picking up and leaving.

Breaking a lease early with an apartment or rental home can be a hassle and may cost you more money. In rare cases, you might have an opportunity to get out of your lease by helping your landlord or rental management company fill the space for the remainder of the lease. But in general, if you go with the short-term rental agreement, be prepared to stay the full length of your lease to avoid any issues!

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What Amenities Do You Want?

One of the most difficult aspects of being between homes or needing to relocate for a short period of time is that you won’t have all of the luxuries and comforts you had at home. That’s why it’s important to keep the amenities you’ll need in mind when looking for a temporary housing option.


One of the upsides of an extended stay hotel is that it comes furnished, which means you don’t have to move all of your furniture. The downside is that the furnishings have been used by other individuals who have stayed in the same room, so you don’t have your own bed, couch, TV, or personal home items.

Depending on where you look, you may find options to rent a fully-furnished apartment or home. But in most cases, you’ll have an unfurnished apartment or home, which means you’ll have to bring your own furniture. For anyone traveling or living between homes for only a few weeks or months, moving everything in when you know you’ll just have to move everything out again probably isn’t ideal.

Cable, WiFi, & Other Utilities

Hands typing on Apple laptop with iPhone nearby. Photo by Instagram user @writersedit

Photo via @writersedit

The big advantage of an extended stay hotel is that most basic utilities (i.e., water, gas, electricity, trash) and even some luxury utilities like cable and internet access are included in the price of the room—unlike a short-term rental, which might require you to set up and pay for these utilities on your own.

There are some downsides to this, however. By staying in a hotel, you’re sharing WiFi with everyone else in the building, which can lead to slow download/upload speeds. Also, your cable is determined by the hotel, so you may not have all of the channels you’d normally enjoy with more premium packages.


Small apartment kitchen. Photo by Instagram user @mosaicaptco

Photo via @mosaicaptco

Finding a temporary housing option with a kitchen is most likely at the top of your list. Most extended stay hotels offer fully-equipped kitchens with utensils and dishes. Some hotels may even offer a grocery delivery service that can help save you time and energy by having what you need brought to your room. With hotels, you may also have access to complimentary breakfasts each morning.

Of course, apartments and homes come with kitchens, too. But the major difference between a rental and an extended stay hotel is that you need to bring your own utensils and dishes to the rental (unless it’s furnished with these items). When you come across short-term apartment leases that say they offer a kitchen, be sure to ask what’s included in the kitchen so that you know you have what you need.


Long-haired chihuahua in hotel bed. Photo by Instagram user @mousedogben

Photo via @mousedogben

Some extended stay hotels will allow pets, but there will be a few stipulations. They’ll ask that you disclose the animals you’re bringing, and, in many cases, they’ll restrict you to two pets with a certain size or weight limit. There may even be fees assessed that will cover any necessary cleaning. Be sure to check with the hotel regarding their pet policy before booking your temporary housing.

While you may not have the same luck finding a rental apartment or home that allows pets, you will have more room for your pets when you do find the right location. Since you’ll most likely have your own furniture in your rental home, your pet will feel more at home. Keep in mind that apartments and houses for rent have breed and weight restrictions, as well as pet deposits and monthly pet fees.

Which Option Is More Affordable for You?

Cost is a big factor when deciding between extended stay hotels and temporary rentals. Typically, hotels can be more affordable because they offer discounts for weekly or monthly stays; however, rentals can be more affordable if you plan to stay for six months or more. It’s hard to say exactly which is the “best option” because the cost depends on your city and its market, as well as how long you’ll be staying.

That said, don’t hesitate to search around for the best available rates for both extended stay hotels and short-term rental options from websites like Extended Stay America HotelsApartmentGuide.comShort Term Housing, and ForRent.com before settling on one.

Looking for more information on temporary housing? Check out these helpful guides:


If you’re in a temporary home due to traveling for work, building a home, moving, or another major life transition, self storage may come in handy. Find a storage unit near you today with Extra Space Storage!

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