Life Update: Why I’m Living In Hotels Full Time

Filed Under: Travel

Last September I shared how we (temporarily) left Miami and flew to Berlin, so I wanted to provide an update on our living situation, given that it has been several months.

Long story short we’re currently living in hotels — in this post I’ll talk about why we’re living in hotels, why I feel comfortable with this decision (in light of coronavirus), and why I’ve waited until now to share this.

Why we traveled to Germany in September 2020

To provide a bit of background, in September 2020 we gave up our apartment in Miami and flew to Berlin (I have dual citizenship). Why?

  • While my mom lives in Florida, she was in Germany for several months, and we wanted to be able to spend time with her; she had just finished recovering from 18 rounds of chemo and two surgeries after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2019, only for coronavirus to happen, so understandably she wanted to see family for the first time in years, and also spend time somewhere that she felt safer
  • Ford and I bought a home in Miami and were supposed to be a couple of months from closing, so the plan was to head to Germany for a few months, and then we would return and move straight into our new place
  • Ford has been obsessed with studying German since last summer, and he took language classes for the entire time we were in Germany

We were ultimately happy with our decision to spend some time in Germany — we could spend quality time with my mom, Ford hugely improved his German, and in general it got us thinking about the possibility of maybe living in Germany full time some day.

We hope to go back in the future (weather and coronavirus permitting), as Ford wants to again enroll in German classes (he has been taking classes remotely in the interim).

We had an incredible time with my mom in Germany

Why we left Germany in late 2020

Long story short, we decided to leave Germany in late November 2020. Why did we make that decision?

  • The place we bought in Miami was supposed to be ready to move into before the end of 2020 (that was already factoring in some significant delays), but due to the joys of new construction, we’re still not living there, and at this point it looks like it’s probably going to be another several months before we can move in
  • My mom also returned to the US as she continues to deal with her health situation, and we wanted to be closer to her
  • With Germany having gone into full lockdown and the reality of German winters, there just wasn’t much keeping us in Germany at that point
  • If we were going to stay longer we would have had to get Ford a visa; while that’s something we had planned to do, we decided against it given the complications and limited upside

Germany is pretty, but winters are kind of bleak

Why we’re living in hotels now

At that point we tried to decide our next move. The natural choice would have been to just try to temporarily rent a place in Miami, since that’s our “home.” However:

  • We’d really rather not be in Miami given the complete lack of restrictions in place
  • Because of the lack of restrictions and everything being open, Miami is way overcrowded, and finding anything decent wasn’t easy
  • We didn’t know how long it would be until our new place would be ready, and renting with an unknown end date isn’t exactly ideal

Then we looked at renting a place elsewhere, but we ran into the issues you’d expect — anywhere with warm weather and/or opportunities to be outdoors had very little inventory.

At that point I proposed to Ford (well, and Winston) the concept of moving into hotels, at least as a trial. I lived in hotels full time when I met Ford, and I loved it. While it might seem counterintuitive, I figured this might be a surprisingly decent idea:

  • This gave us a ton of flexibility in terms of our potential move-in date, and also gave us flexibility as the pandemic continued to evolve
  • I wasn’t sure if we’d actually feel comfortable living in hotels, but the beauty of this is that we could give it a try, and we could always change our course if it didn’t feel right
  • The economics made sense, given that World of Hyatt has had some phenomenal promotions; furthermore, I’m inching ever closer to lifetime World of Hyatt Globalist status (which has tangible benefits), so if I’m going to spend money to live somewhere, it might as well count towards that

“Dad are we lifetime Globalist yet, and can we go home?”

Why I’ve felt comfortable in hotels

I feel like nuance is often lost when it comes to discussions about coronavirus. That point was really driven home for me late last year when a Facebook friend posted a picture of his (indoor) Thanksgiving dinner table that must have had 20 people at it, with that “stay home, save lives” badge.

Similarly, I feel like there’s often a lack of a reasonable middle ground between the “don’t leave your house” extreme and the “I’m anti-mask and anti-vaccine and open everything up to 100%” extreme.

Since the initial lockdown about a year ago (which I fully supported) I’ve made my position pretty clear — I think coronavirus is extremely serious, I don’t want to get coronavirus, and most importantly, I don’t want other (more vulnerable) people to get coronavirus. So my approach has been as follows:

  • I wear masks when in public, even when it’s not mandated; it’s such a minor and easy thing to do, and it works
  • I avoid social and close physical interaction with others; in fairness, I’m an introvert, so that wasn’t much of a sacrifice for me 😉
  • I try to use common sense and not get myself into situations that make me uncomfortable, recognizing how most of the spread of coronavirus happens
  • We are extremely committed to not getting coronavirus; Ford and I haven’t tested positive (including for antibodies), and neither did anyone else in our family; fortunately everyone else is our family is vaccinated at this point

We’ve sought out hotels that are pet-friendly and have good suite upgrades

With that in mind, I’ve been quite happy with our decision to move into hotels. While I’ll talk more about the specific hotels we’ve stayed at in separate review posts, let me share a few general thoughts:

  • Most of the hotels we’ve stayed at have been extremely empty, so I feel much more comfortable there than the nearly fully occupied apartment building we lived in previously
  • Our destination & hotel choices have been more driven by where we can get a suite that provides a comfortable living situation and where we’ll feel safest, rather than where we actually want to be as “visitors”
  • For us a hotel is ultimately just another form of housing, and we’ve primarily ordered food via UberEats or Postmates
  • We’ve limited how much we’ve moved around; we typically stay at a hotel for several weeks, rather than several days
  • We do miss many comforts of home — Winston certainly misses having more space, I miss Ford’s recently acquired cooking skills, and there’s something nice about the consistency of having a home
  • That being said, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by my findings from all of this — I have a new favorite upscale hotel chain, I’ve fallen in love with a couple of cities I had never previously been in, and I have a new least favorite hotel in the world

Very empty hotels usually have very empty gyms!

Why I haven’t shared this until now

I’ve been living in hotels few a few months now, so why haven’t I explicitly written about it yet? There are a few reasons, to be honest.

First of all, I’d rather not get into more details publicly right now, but I haven’t felt comfortable sharing my location lately (or right now, for that matter). For the time being I’m writing about stuff after the fact. The joys of the internet…

Beyond that, though, the tone just hasn’t felt right. Suffice to say that it’s an awkward time to be a travel blogger. I feel comfortable with what we’ve done, and I personally wouldn’t discourage anyone from doing the same. However, I also recognize that:

  • Reviewing these kinds of experiences comes with some level of responsibility, since people ultimately read what they want to read; I don’t want to post a review of a place, only to encourage someone to go there without taking any precautions or using common sense
  • Frankly I think discussions around travel and coronavirus have been rather toxic, with some people wanting to label anyone who admits to leaving their home a “super spreader”

The good news is that I’m hoping we’re turning a corner here. Widespread vaccination is coming (at least in the US), and hopefully within a few months people can travel the way they want to without any sort of major restrictions, at least within the US. I look forward to sharing my experiences over the past few months, and hope you guys find them useful.

Bottom line

Due to a variety of factors — the most significant of which is a seriously delayed new home — we’ve been living in hotels for the past few months. Given our situation, this has turned out to be a good option for us, as we’ve felt extremely safe (given that hotels in places we’ve stayed have been mostly empty), the economics have made sense, and this has given us valuable flexibility.

I’ll be writing several hotel reviews over the coming days and weeks that highlight some of the places we’ve stayed, so stay tuned for those, because I have some new favorite hotels, and some new least favorite hotels.

  1. I’m very keen to hear about the sort of locations you’ve been in!

    Eating take-away every day and not cooking anything would drive me insane though.

  2. It sounds like you’ve been traveling responsibly and found a safe way to spend some time with your mom. I look forward to hearing about your travels. With work-from-home a more permanent option for us in the future, we hope to take our family on the road for at least the summer next year.

  3. OMAAT should do another online chat! Loved them during the early days of Covid. I have family in Europe – sister and her family in Germany with the kids. Brother in NYC. Dad going through chemo and had a two week spell in the hospital in January in Tampa FL. Tenants in one of my rental houses keep extending their lease due to problems of new construction. Flew for the first time in almost a year Saturday. Took a train (Amtrak) overnight in a sleeper on March 4th. (Apparently one way rental cars from Florida to North Carolina are near impossible). Parents are both vaccinated. Lots of spring projects at the house. Hopefully we are moving in the right direction.

  4. @ Jason — Given the circumstances, we’ve used this opportunity to try and be healthy. We always have breakfast included at hotels and try to pick something healthy(ish), we work out every day and have a protein bar or protein shake for lunch/as a snack, and then we usually order something via Postmates (nothing too exciting, think Chipotle, etc.). A home cooked meal sure would be nice, but it hasn’t been that bad when it comes to food, and we’ve managed to do it in a way that’s not too costly or unhealthy.

  5. @ Ryan — Agreed, loved the hotel, we spent several weeks there, and it made us fall in love with the Thompson brand.

  6. @ George — ” And there’s been zero incidents of major hospitalization,” except for the people who have been admitted with COVID and died. No biggie as long as you don’t get it.

  7. Ben – why the paranoia? Nobody cares where you live / are. And honestly, if they did, a digital footprint is neary impossible to erase. A committed person would find you rather quickly.
    Privacy died over 15 years ago.

    @George – I’m in in the panhandle as well. This is 98% white and overwhelmingly GOP territory. People have been getting sick, people have died. Covid Kamakazies for Trump will not acknowledge that, as it will go against their support of the former president’s belief system, and denial of basic science.
    There are plenty of us here that wear masks, to protect you. Clearly, your fellow Americans don’t matter to you.
    Glad that this type of intolerance for inconvenience didn’t exist in America during WWII, as we would ALL be speaking German.

  8. @ Zebraitis — I’ve been doing this for over 13 years and have had no problem sharing personal details or posting “live,” so I don’t think it’s paranoia. In this case I have a specific reason for concern…

  9. Nice update Lucky. Always like these posts that give us insight as to what is happening with you personally. Appreciate the openness and willingness to share (what you can). Have you been staying in Florida/the southeast? Or have been all over?

  10. Welcome back to the US! I feel most of my friends here in NYC have been able to at least get a vaccine appt (NYC Javits center opened up vaccine appts the other day for up to May 31st) so I do think everyone who wants to get a vaccine will be able to get it by early summer.
    I haven’t travelled at all since early November but am planning on doing so two weeks after being fully vaccinated (by end of May.)

  11. @ Matt — Thanks! 🙂 We have actually been trying to avoid Florida, other than to see family, and other than some commitments we’ve had in Miami. Will be revealing a lot more shortly, stay tuned!

  12. @Gene: you should probably read a bit more before you say things. Have you seen that a CDC study found that about 78% of people hospitalized for Covid were overweight or obese? In my household of 4, 3 got Covid. My symptoms were loss of smell for 12 hours and that is the only reason I got tested. My son and wife had zero symptoms. Our doctor said we don’t need vaccine for at least 90 days. It wasn’t pleasant to stay home for 10 days but that was about it. There is life out there.

  13. Living in hotels in nothing unusual, plent of people doing it while working away from homes or just full time, because they prefer it this way. With suite with kitchen you can do some cooking as well.

  14. I am curious if you took Winston with you to Germany, and if so – would you mind sharing the logistics of your pet flying overseas with you?

  15. Looking forward to hearing more about the properties you’ve been staying at. I’ve also been living in hotels for the last six months or so – and with an impending return to “real life” and reporting to an office every day I’m looking to make the most of hotel living over the next few months. Hopefully you publish those articles soon than later.

  16. @Hope_D – because people don’t actually follow the rules? Los Angeles has been in purple tier for the last several months, and yet the 405 as quite a bit of traffic. I doubt there are that many ‘essential workers’ here.

    I like your perspective on this, Lucky. You’re doing something that you consider maybe not advisable for everyone and self-aware enough to know that your career creates a conflict for best practices and guidance.

    I contrast that to VFTW, who has told readers that “planes are safe and just get on them people because HEPA” while taking no trips, doing no trip reports and (when I asked) blaming it because Singapore won’t let him in. I’m sure he was half-joking, but his actions show that he knows what the right thing is, but his incentive as a travel blogger is to keep the industry alive.

  17. Thanks for the update Ben! I’ve been following you since you were in university and it’s been fun to follow along. I agree with your stance on covid and the toxic convos / divide in travel. We went to Hawaii over the holidays and I think it was very safe with the testing, outdoor lifestyle, and other precautions in place. Certainly safer than home, and everyone was following the rules pretty much.

  18. I also like those life update posts, so thanks for letting us know 🙂 . The situation in Florida is so crazy, I’m glad you made the sensible choice to stay away for now.

    I’ve always found living in hotels a quite fascinating lifestyle. I’d love to see a post on the economics of it, maybe you’ll get to it when you post the reviews? Whenever I looked into it the cost of even a standard room in a nice-ish hotel seems to be disproportionately more expensive than a regular rent (unless you have millions of points to spend I guess).

    Either way definitely looking forward to the reviews, and hope you get to move into your new condo soon hah!

  19. @Hope_D – Much of the US never really locked down. Nightly curfews, highway checkpoints, harshly enforced travel bans and quarantines, no social gatherings whatsoever, no in-person commerce except absolute essentials – THAT would be a true lockdown. It didn’t work because it never happened. Too many Americans are allergic to sacrifice.

  20. Imagine being “George” and advocating for no restrictions because most people dying are overweight or old.

  21. @Ben: you missed the point. That says that if you are not overweight and eat healthy the chances you will be in a hospital because of Covid are very slim. BTW, I was in a webinar with several doctors that agreed the pandemic started in 1950 when most of the processed food started to be produced in the US. Cheap sources of fat, sugar and calories created the perfect scenario for a virus to do its job. I had Covid. I am fit and eat healthy. Lost my smell for 12 hours and that is about it. I know several other people like me that had the same. This country should focus in solving the cause of the 534K+ deaths which is obesity and morbidity. The virus just happened to take advantage of that.

  22. Actually, I take that back re: VFTW. 12 months in, he now does have one trip planned on points which he posted about recently. Hopefully we’ll see a trip report or something.

    I still think it was wrong of him to post about how safe planes are while not flying. And when I responded with my concerns, commenters tore me apart “you haven’t flown recently, you don’t know. Things are so different now!”

    Well, now I have. And everyone takes their masks off when it’s time to eat. That’s how it spreads, no matter how budget the food offerings are now.

  23. @lucky – Don’t know if your comfortable sharing, but in what part of town is your new home in? If not, then where was your old apartment? I may be moving to Miami for work. Just wondering to see what the good neighborhoods around MIA are 😉

  24. Great to hear what you’ve been up to! My husband and I have also been staying at hotels a lot more in the last 6 months than ever before. Part of it has been to avoid flying to places we might have otherwise just gone for the weekend and part has been to keep ourselves distracted from the lack of social activities by visiting new places and having a change of scenery. We’ve experienced some great places that we otherwise wouldn’t have thought to visit.

  25. Ben- always appreciate your blog and perspective, and simply can’t wait for some fun business/F class reviews, hopefully, in the very near future. The dam is bursting in the U.S., there’s no doubt- people will be on the move more and more (rightfully so)

  26. Ben, I always love reading your updates and have been reading OMAAT every day since 2014! (And I’m sure others have been reading even longer than that.) It’s exciting that you’re on the precipice of a new chapter with a new home in Miami.

    Do tell – what is your new favorite upscale hotel chain?

  27. @ JB — I used to live in Edgewater, and love the area, at least for the kind of lifestyle I live. It doesn’t get more central than that, as you’re 10-15 minutes away from just about every part of Miami, including the airport.

    Some people like Brickell because it feels like a city, and while that’s true, I couldn’t handle the traffic there. And of course some people love Miami Beach, but I don’t — I’m not a beach person, and it’s full of tourists. When I’m in Miami I cross the bridge maybe once every couple of weeks to go to dinner there, but that’s it.

    Welcome to Miami, if you decide to make the move!

  28. @Zebraitis

    Privacy is probably dead, as you say, but just because a committed person can also break in to your house pretty easily, doesn’t mean you should leave your front door unlocked.

  29. @ Santastico — I’m sorry, but you don’t realize how ridiculous that sounds? Let’s play along with your assumption that only overweight and obese people are at high risk… that’s still 75% of the population! So it’s fantastic that *your* family didn’t experience significant symptoms from coronavirus, but are you at all concerned that you spread it to others who were at greater risk, and were possibly hospitalized? Obviously we have a health problem in this country, but it impacts a majority of Americans, and saying “tough luck” isn’t the solution.

    For the record, I don’t disagree with parts of the second point. I agree we need to do more to encourage people to have healthy lifestyles. Telling people to sit on the couch for a year eating junk food and not leave their house isn’t healthy. I absolutely believe getting outdoors and exercising is important, yet we saw very little guidance in that regard.

    But there are many reasons people are overweight and/or obese (many outside of peoples’ control), and the concept of essentially punishing people and saying “too bad” is plain wrong.

  30. I always enjoy reading life update posts on your blog.
    Thank you for the latest one, please keep them coming!

  31. I hope you dont end up saying you loved Dallas even though you seem to have loved the Thompson Hotel there. It’s by far the most soulless, plastic, fake city I’ve ever lived int.

  32. @Santastico….good points. People that can control and address their obesity (some have a genetic disposition to it) should do that. People in general need to eat and to exercise in manners that support having a healthy immune systems. Why that hasn’t been better communicated is beyond me. The great Fauchino takes a crap load on vitamin D. He doesn’t publicize it, but he mentioned it months ago in an interview. There are informal studies that showed 80% of corona infections are with people that are lacking proper vitamin D levels. Not saying taking vitamin D is THE solution, but why isn’t promoting ways to improve one’s immune system being done simultaneously with other actions? Right now it’s wear a mask and social distance till when? What’s the benchmark going to be? Keep in mind vaccinations will not even be close to 100% of the population.

  33. I hope the US borders open up soon enough, so I will be able to escape the Lockdown in Germany. Florida is the place to be during Coronavirus.
    No mask mandates, no vaccine mandates no restrictions, this sounds perfect for me.

  34. @Ben, I find this post to be very respectful and conscious of the time. I’ll admit, I didn’t think your trip to Turkey last year was the best idea. But you have made a conscious effort to not glorify travel during this time, and I know that is difficult as a travel blogger.

    I contrast that with another travel blogger who has regularly posted about his travels, but has not be as open about whether he is complying with quarantine restrictions (or the fact that he got covid). I think that approach gave a misleading impression on the safety and logistics of travel.

    I hope you eventually feel comfortable sharing more about the security situation you are going through. Thats really unfortunate. No one should ever feel unsafe.

    One last point — as someone who has considered getting a pet, I would love a post on how Winston has been able to travel during this time, across borders and with the new rules regarding animals on planes. Thats something unrelated to Covid, and would be helpful to your readers.

  35. You’ve been able to focus on family and making good, responsible choices in the extremely difficult environment in which we have found ourselves for a year+ now. Compounded by your particular circumstances around the uncertainties around construction, really a sensible choice to live in a hotel. I don’t know how comfortable I’d feel without “my stuff”, always feeling in a state of flux. Looking forward to more updates from you and in time, opening up for travel for us all.

  36. Since June I have been basically doing the same. For me it’s about work as my field can’t rely on zoom meetings and it was either travel or fold. I now do around four weeks out and one week home. Unlike you though I am moving locations every 1-3 days. I basically just flipped my old days of flying from point to point to driving (when possible), and fitting in smaller meetings in between when I used to just not bother. It also allows me more flex to reroute for new meetings, head with ease into places and clients that were difficult to get to, and keep contained in my vehicle. Hotel stays are a mix of limited service properties like Courtyards, etc (which have been more practical for one night stays given the lack of any service at full) with every once a week or two doing a 2-3 night stay at FS, Mandarin, Park Hyatt or the like (when I can find good rates) for decent laundry and room service. Like you, my meals are almost 90% ordered through door dash. I’m not sure why people here think this is unhealthy as you order often from the very same places you used to go to when traveling. I find very healthy meals on most nights and have actually lost weight. You do get tired of plastic so I have been lately carrying a picnic set with plates, cutlery etc to use at night (another benefit of contained vehicle travel…pack whatever you want!)

    During this time I was always very careful and never got Covid. Though I often worried, especially being alone, if this would be the day. I am now though, as of last week, fully vaccinated as the DMV has had plenty of opportunities for everyone to get shots with last minute appts opening up to anyone at pharmacies, etc where they need to unload at the end of each day. While still very cautious, I do feel a much better sense of safety going forward.

    I’ve only taken three Intl trips since last June. It’s the thing I miss the most. But it will come back soon, I hope. While I don’t miss domestic flights, I do long for a nice First Class seat on JAL or Cathay to Asia.

    The takeaway for me in all of this is that I MUCH prefer my new lifestyle of driving around the U.S. instead of daily flights, rental cars, sitting in airports, and dealing with all the crowds and drama that comes with it. I will never go back to primarily flying domestic, only when I need to get somewhere quick (which I do now – just leave my vehicle in the city I’m at and grab a quick flight somewhere and back and then continue on) . I am actually far more productive doing this and feel MUCH better overall. This is how Covid has changed me for the future. And I love it. For me, now, hotel reward programs are becoming much more important and I doubt I will ever have highest tier airline status again after almost thirty years. It’s fine, I don’t miss domestic flights one single bit; the 4AM wake up calls, late night arrivals, dirty planes, angry passengers, surly employees, crowded terminals, and delays. Now it’s just me, my Lincoln Navigator, reliable full time high speed internet, and the open road to anywhere I want or need to be that moment.

  37. @ Max… my mistake. I have friends that have been in Belgium as US federal workers and are coming back due to COVID and related restrictions. Overlooked that non-citizens are not allowed.

  38. @Dan777…See me post reply just above your post. I cited I made a mistake. The US federal worker friends I noted (if that was what you were responding to) are American citizens. Just chill. It’s a travel blog post. No one was going to book a flight to the US based on my post.

  39. EC2

    Ahh I see it, Max’s post and your reply was not up when I posted. You were wrong, you admitted and explained why…. good on you but try not to be so defensive just because I was trying to correct misinformation….no need to tell me to chill! Be nice!

  40. @Ben: I am not disregarding all the deaths. All I am saying is that people like you and Ford don’t need to be caved in because of this virus. I tested positive, had no symptoms and I keep wearing masks and taking all precautions.

  41. I think you set the perfect tone here. We spent 6 months living in Airbnbs waiting for our new build to be finished. So many delays but unlike you we stuck to cities we know well not really wanting new adventures right now… I have always enjoy reading
    about your life on your blog.
    Thank you for the latest one, looking forward to hearing more.

  42. To all the folks who are claiming that only obese folk or those with pre-existing conditions are dying and so you cannot be bothered to take this virus seriously: you sound like heartless, selfish a*******. These people are humans – where is your empathy? What if something came around that only killed non-obese people? Would you still be blaming the victims of the virus for their deaths? You want to believe ANYTHING that doesn’t require a minor inconvenience to you…it is so typically American. Countries that have had true lockdowns – ones where people cannot leave their houses for anything except basic survival needs – have done exceptionally well at curbing the proliferation of the virus as compared to the States: Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam, South Korea…even China. These are countries where nearly everyone agreed: we are all in this together. But in the States, it’s every man and woman for themselves. It’s so cynical, selfish, and downright amoral (yet, how many of you running around, burning your masks and loving Trump are “Christians,” hmmm?). If we had actually listened to the science a year ago and made choices that considered everyone’s health and safety, we’d likely be living in the dream world that George N Romney and others have described…instead, because of the selfishness of those who have politicized this, we’ve lost nearly 530,000 people, not to mention the educations of our children, businesses, and our general wellbeing.

  43. Consider AirBnB?

    As for middle ground, too many people think their are acting safely when they are not, except wearing a flimsy mask. The CDC recommends against travel, even by the vaccinated. People should try acting safer than they currently are acting.

  44. Interesting. Previously, I would follow this blog for information on travel and now I find it a blog for your personal life. We both live in Miami and it’s funny how no one wears masks any longer. I think Covid FEAR is over. Although, I wear my mask now everywhere outdoors- and will continue to do so.
    The shot is now available to anyone with an internet connection in Florida.
    Good for you.
    Make those life changes and be safe- as always.

  45. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone, regardless of their personal risk of severe COVID complications, followed the CDC guidance about masks, large gatherings and social distancing so that we can all get our lives back to normal, sooner rather than later? It doesn’t matter that me and you are low risk or have had COVID as long as people continue to get the virus and die. We all participate in this effort together. No borders will open until we collectively, as Americans, take personal responsibility. This pandemic has brought out the best and the worst in people.

    Lucky, I commend you for your responsible decisions during the pandemic and hope you and your family stay safe from all threats, both from the virus and elsewhere. Looking forward to your future reviews.

  46. Ben – thank you so much for sharing this! It sounds like you have found a very reasonable and practical middle ground. Happy for you that you have found a way to live and find some joy in this very difficult time. Hope all is well with you and your family.

  47. @Lucky… Where do I go to join “Super Spreader R Us” (you must have a link for the membership)?!?!? At the height of COVID you needless travel to Turkey… Next you travel (return to Florida first) to Germany to be with your mommy (who also shouldn’t be needlessly traveling). Next travel around Germany staying in hotels. Next return home to Florida and then continue on your Super Spreader spree to the west coast while hopscotching the USA! How many underpaid hotel workers and Uber Eats drivers have you needlessly put at risk of contracting COVID because I am “woke Lucky” who takes precautions don’t you know!

  48. @EC2: Way before Covid I always took multivitamin, vitamin D, zinc, propolis and fish oil. I have been doing that for over 20 years. Last time I drank soda was probably 25 years ago. Last time I stepped in a McDonalds was 20 years ago. I work out 5 days per week. I live in a cold place where sun is not always present so you need to supplement what you don’t get for free from nature. The point that the pandemic in this country started many years ago and it is called processed food and morbidity is correct. That brought obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and Covid just found the perfect scenario to act.

  49. Sorry to hear about your mom. Make sure to cherish each phone call and visit because sadly one day they do come to an end. Hope she wins her battle. Stress is a killer on the immune system so dial back on worrying about what everyone else is NOT doing with covid and take care of yourself and family, some things are out of our hands. Looking forward to pics of Winston zooming around his new yard!

  50. @Lucky Interesting update… I stayed in UK hotels for the 2nd half of last year. I stayed all over England and Scotland visiting cities I hadn’t been to yet and revisiting favorite cities. I also got to know the countryside better while enjoying hikes and walks in open spaces. Hotel rates were lower than furnished rentals, and I was able to bank a bunch of points and nights at the brands I already had top status (Hilton and Marriott). Hotels were empty and appreciative of my business, and I always had excellent customer service and upgrades. Sure, the executive lounges were closed, but hotels made up for that in other ways.

  51. Sounds like you’ll be able to find a way to get vaccinated sooner than you think with the surplus here in the U.S.

    Heck why not go to Alaska, by working there you can get a vaccine – and they’re handing it out to all ages. And Michigan in a couple weeks.

  52. First off, nice to hear that Covid has had no impact on the inevitable delays that happen with new construction or remodel. Some things never change. I look forward to your reviews coming up, and hope whatever situation is causing the caution gets resolved positively and quickly!

  53. I, too, enjoy your ‘life’ updates. It’s always nice hearing how you and your family are doing. However, I have to say I’m concerned about the “specific reason” why you’ve had to delay your posts and hide where you’ve been.

    As always, stay safe (now more than ever, it seems).

  54. @Greg: not sure if anyone can go to those places or if you need to prove residency in those places. In Indiana, anyone over 50 can get a vaccine but you need to live there.

  55. Just want to say that I’m sorry to hear about what sounds like a specific case of harassment (rather than just toxic comments here.)

  56. If I could write off $200k in hyatt charges for lifetime globalist as a tax deduction, I would as well.

  57. Well put and stated Lucky. I wanted to do the exact same thing (travel responsibly 1-2 weeks a month) to some city I haven’t been to in a while or always wanted to visit. Finally convinced my partner to take the plunge last month to Tulum. However the excitement from that initial jaunt was short lived as he was called back into the office a week later limiting us from doing any more.

  58. Really appreciate and share your viewpoint on finding a happy (and sustainable) COVID medium. The COVID shaming (as youve said) has become just so so toxic!! I’m happy to hear that you, Ford (and Winston!) were able to responsibly make the most of this time.
    Can’t wait to read your reviews! My wanderlust is absolutely out of control right now.

  59. Hi Ben, Good move! I thought you were still living in Germany. Full time in hotels living sounds like a good move. We are very resticted in moving/living and so on due to Covid-19, They way you’re doing it right now gives some more freedom in movement. I wish I could aford it 😉

    should you want to taste Fords cooking again. you could move to hotels with kitchen in the room.

    Loking forward to read your reviews.

  60. Hi Lucky, I am so sorry you don’t feel safe to share your location and yes travelling right now has a lot of judgement. Kudos to you for travelling responsibly. Also to Max point – hotels in Germany have been closed for maybe 5 months now? Would not go to Florida but can see how these restrictions impact and you just need to get out…So be happy that you have this option. Travel in Europe is tricky right now with requirements changing almost every day so you wouldn’t know if your stay turned out illegal the next day. They would probably not kick you out but it could have been an issue for your ongoing stay. The service industry here is really hurting but the EU politicians only patting themselves on the back for getting the lowest price for covid vaccines (insert facepalm emoji).

  61. @Santastico: “All I am saying is that people like you and Ford don’t need to be caved in because of this virus.”

    And that, right there, is why we are where we are. The urge for YOU to minimize contact isn’t to keep YOU healthy; it’s too avoid compromising the health of everyone around you, especially when a significant percentage of the transmission has been from people who felt healthy. For some reason, a large percentage of the population doesn’t understand. I submit it’s likely because they don’t want to.

  62. Unfortunately, widespread vaccination is really only happening in a handful of countries. It’s going to be a long while before widespread (international) travel returns.

  63. @ Ralph4878 here here! I concur everything you said. The reason why covid is still lingering around is because selfish attitudes in large amount of Americans which seems quite prevalent and well illustrated on the comment section of this post. We had locked down and Covid is still everywhere you said? Maybe it’s because we didn’t really had a lockdown. A lockdown is Australian/ New Zealand type of lock down. That’s call a lockdown…Not some pretend lockdowns we have here in the States.

    @lucky look forward to your hotel reviews! I’m especially interested in reviews on hotels in Baja Calif. 😉

  64. @Chuck: I hope you are enjoying life in your basement. Just so you understand, leaving your cave if you are healthy, not obese and follow procedures like wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing and cleaning hands, etc…. you won’t transmit any viruses. First, because you start from not having the virus. However, if you are unfortunate (or fortunate in my case) to get the virus, you isolate for 10 days and then you won’t be spreading it any more. Thus, you can leave your cave, have a “normal” life and still not spread anything to anyone. BTW, when you say “compromising the health of everyone around you” those that will have their health compromised are the ones that should stay in their basement but many stupid Governors did not understand that. In my state, over 90% of the deaths happened in nursing homes.

  65. @Santastico, please continue to demonstrate your lack of understanding. Following procedures like wearing a mask, maintaining social distancing, and cleaning hands does NOT mean that you won’t transmit viruses. Those steps are appropriate to implement, but they DO NOT reduce your transmission rate to zero.

  66. @Chuck: Yes, let’s all move into our basements. Nobody on the streets. Let’s just cave in so we don’t transmit the virus. BTW, vaccines do not provide 100% efficacy. Does that mean that even after been vaccinated you will still be caved in? Go get a life. There is one out there. The only thing that is 100% guaranteed is that we will all going to die one day. Other than that, nothing is guaranteed.

  67. @Santastico, did I suggest that we move to our basements? No. Correct, vaccines are not 100% effective, and I haven’t said otherwise. You keep deflecting because you are unwilling or unable to address your apparent failure to understand. The notion of “I travel because I’m healthy and I’m willing to accept whatever risk there is for me” completely misses the entire point of the implementation of safety measures (ie, others, not you). It’s this defiant and fact-less mentality that has brought us where we are.

  68. I am very much looking forward to the reviews…especially least favorite and new favorite chain! Thanks for sharing.

  69. @Chuck: So what are you saying? We were told to wear no masks. Then 1 mask. Then 2 masks. Keep 6ft. Then 9ft. Now 3 ft away. I am sorry but even with those measures you still transmit the virus than it is up to those in high risk to cave in. My parents haven’t left their home in 1 year. Is that healthy? Hell no!!! I can see the deterioration in their physical and mental health. The lockdown really damaged them mentally and physically. FYI, I haven’t left my city in 1 year. No travel to anywhere. I haven’t been to a restaurant in 1 year. Now, don’t tell me I need to stay inside for 1 year until I get a vaccine because I can spread the virus. Yes, I am caution and took all the measures we were told to take and I still got the virus. How? I have no idea. BTW, I was told my my doctor that I won’t transmit anything after I isolated for 10 days and the chances I will get reinfected are close to none. You can disagree with me but the lockdown and long term mental effects is way worse than the virus itself.

  70. @Santastico, there is a lot to unpack there. First, do you understand why you were asked to not wear a mask in the early days? It was in an effort to ration the available PPE, not because health officials thought a mask would harm you more than help you and others. Second, do you understand that there is nothing magical about a 6-foot radius? A six-foot bubble is simply a compromise between infinity and 0 inches that most people can probably easily measure and implement. At six feet and wearing a mask, you still transmit crap from your lungs through your nose and mouth, and out through most masks. Third, there is absolutely a mental and psychological cost to be assessed. No one that I know is saying otherwise. What smart people are saying is that it takes an intelligent approach, perseverance, and patience to beat a pandemic, and every time we fail to do our best and act with the knowledge of our impact on society, the longer this thing will affect us.

  71. @Ben, thank you for so much for sharing! Keep up the good work. We can’t wait to read your reviews and experiences living in hotels and different cities. BTW, re: not sharing locations, I hope you don’t have a stalker or security issues. That would be just horrible! Sending you good vibes!

  72. The privilege in this post really speaks volumes. The ability to buy a house, hold dual citizenship, and continue traveling shows huge amount of freedom and money despite the harsh reality many are facing.

  73. What a sensible couple. If everyone was like you the pandemic would be long overw. Look forward to reading more about this experience!

  74. @Chuck: Now we are talking the same language. Yes, unless you are wearing a N95 all the crappy masks people buy on Etsy won’t work. It is a false sense of security but that is what people were told to do. Also, it blows my mind that people say one can safely wear a cloth mask and stay 6 INCHES apart on a plane just because it filters the air every 3 minutes. Oh, and it is OK to take your mask off to eat while seated. Are people that stupid? What has to happen to beat the pandemic is for stupid politicians to stop making rules based on nothing. This is not the place to discuss Covid but just take a look at the data or what many considered to be 2 major super spread events: George Floyd protests and riots in MN and Diego Maradona death in Argentina. Both events brought millions of people to the streets with no social distancing, masks protecting people’s chins and if you look after those events Covid cases went down. Explain that? Anyway, I still think that the consequences of staying locked at home will be much higher than the virus itself.

  75. @Eric

    The ability to travel “shows huge amounts of freedom and money despite the harsh reality many are facing”. Why are you even on this blog then?

  76. Thanks for sharing your insights Ben, and I hope your mom continues to improve.

    Since 2019, I’ve had to travel more than ever to care for my elderly p-rents: ewr-sea-san once or twice a month every month. Alaska ceased non-stops to san and sure, there are other airlines, but not for me. I always overnight at inexpensive sea airport hotels.

    In 2020, I had two Covid tests – one antibody in July and one nasal swab in December. Both neg. Two days ago, I received the Janssen shot because I can’t be in one place long enough to scedule the second shot.

    I’m overweight, travel a lot and have been in what’s considered high-risk environments often.

    I’m super careful during travel, so I believe it’s a combination of preventive caution, protocol following and luck that’s kept me from being infected.

  77. Ben, thank you so much for sharing your story and for all of the excellent work you do. I am so sorry to hear about your mom’s illness and glad she was able to visit with her family. Hope she is doing well right now. Also sorry to hear that you are facing safety issues, and glad that you are taking your own safety seriously. Please stay well.

  78. Unfortunately those countries that locked down to zero cases (New Zealand, Australia, etc) now have a very tough decision to make. The efficacy of the vaccines is such that a percentage of those vaccinated will still have covid. So they will still have to test and quarantine anyone coming from a country that has not reached zero cases. Australians are now living in a penal colony as they cannot leave except under very limited circumstances. Sure it would be nice to live normal for awhile but like New Zealander bicyclist I met in Mexico last October, I too would not want to be stuck. They may simply have to accept covid infections or remain imprisoned for years to come. I do not envy their leaders who have only the lesser of two evils as choices.

  79. Ben,
    How many nights at Hyatt do you plan on ending up with?
    Also How many different Hyatt brands have you stayed with out the 15 brands?
    Which ones are your favorites?

  80. Ben – Something I’ve been wondering. You don’t have a traditional 9 to 5 job where you have to show up somewhere. You can literally live anywhere you want, so long as you have a wifi connection and are semi-close to a major airport.

 So having said that, it just strikes me as odd that you would choose Miami to be your home city. To me, Miami is basically Vegas without the gambling and the beach, and I know Vegas isn’t your thing.

    Through the tone of your reviews, I can see that you tend to favor more rural and scenic places. So based on that, I would think that would extend to your home life as well. And Miami is anything but.

    Anyway, this is basically a long version of asking, why Miami?

  81. @T. Bringing a vaccinated and titer tested for rabies dog to Europe is easy if they are microchipped.

    You put them in a crate under the seat or in the front heated hold as live cargo on your flight and pick them up on landing.

  82. @lucky
    What’s your favorite Hyatt brand so far?
    Also how many different Hyatt brands have you stayed so far?

  83. Hotels are cheap, in some places. I just spent 4 months in arizona roving around. I saw everything from Hilton products for $55 night, to a Motel 6 for $170, to Westin resorts starting at $480.

    AZ was not on lockdown and had virus rates less than the ever beloved CA that was.

  84. @Ben

    If you can share your experience about the privacy thing I for one and I am sure others would love the insight into some of the problems online ‘celebrities’ can face, and can support you, and would be interesting to hear, and when you share things you might feel better.

  85. Thanks for sharing, Lucky. I think in particular your experience shows that there can be safe ways to continue on with life and travel, all while protecting yourself and vulnerable folks (like your mother). I think it’s a great example of responsible travel. The pandemic has made me think more about “slow travel” in general. Seems like something I’d never done before but will pursue in the future for both safety and the great experience of getting to know a place!

  86. Ben,
    Thanks for updating what is happening. A trip report of your getting from Germany back to USA would be educational. I see reports in NYTimes of yet another wave in Germany, and further unrest in a number of countries in Europe as case numbers rise again.

    It is good that you have decided to invest in a property in the USA. Prices there (and here in Australia ) are booming. So is the share market particularly for direct investors.

    Your strategy not to be infected is excellent. The long term effects of infection by this virus aren’t documented yet, as we aren’t long term yet.

    Living in a hotel has the possibility of a hefty tax deduction if it is considered that you need to rent that room as office space to do your work to gain your income.

    The replies to your articles still attract many arguments, and there is still the name calling and callousness. I’ve noticed a number of posters here trigger argument repeatedly. Perhaps you have noticed it also. I guess it is up to you how you deal with that, unless that’s the plan for the future…
    Disqus for example allows users to report targeted harassment and spam. The reply system used here doesn’t even allow a poster to remove their post if they are being harassed.

  87. I’ll be interested in the hotels you’ve chosen, price, and how you end up paying for them (points, cash, a combo…). Cost of renting a place vice hotel space. Hotel living has always fascinated me, I’m just curious how the economics works out.

  88. If I had known that it lasts so long, I would have moved to a hotel long time ago. Firstly, in your own apartment you spend an awful lot of time on housekeeping (including cooking), which is a complete waste of time, not to speak about abysmal quality of my home cooked meals. Of course, some might be able to hire a full time housekeeper or a chef, but I can’t … Secondly, the hassle with home office and internet access. Living in suburban Switzerland, internet is painfully slow (not enough for videoconferencing with zoom or teams) and breaks down frequently. Who would have thought that they impose home office? The telecom providers promise an improvement by 2025 … Finally, taxes … at least in the state I live, home office is not tax deductable, while hotels are.

    So my only hope is to get a vaccine later this year (yes, Switzerland is also slow in vaccinating, due to the incompliance of the producers with the contracts they signed – the vaccination centers set up by the government are ready but on idle).

  89. @ Joe — Funny you ask, because I just recently got another free night for hitting my tenth brand with the Brand Explorer promotion. I’m certainly behind by that metric compared to some others, as I haven’t done Miraval, Hyatt Ziva, Hyatt Zilara, Hyatt House, UrCove, Hyatt Residence Club, Destination, and Joie De Vivre. Favorite brands are Alila, Park Hyatt, and Thompson (okay, I guess I just gave away something there).

  90. @ Aaron — That’s a great question, and I have two parts to that answer.

    First of all, one thing I learned from living in hotels for so many years is that I can really be happy living anywhere, and that it’s more about your immediate surroundings than the city as such. I stay busy with work, going to the gym, etc., so the actual amount of time I spend outside of my “bubble” when at home is fairly limited.

    Why Miami? A variety of factors — in no particular order I love warm weather, we’re close to family, I can live in a nice area 10-15 minutes from the airport, Florida has no state income taxes, Miami is really scenic (in the sense that you can live somewhere with an amazing view), and it’s a cosmopolitan city with endless restaurants and other services.

    I love traveling to more rural places, and as much as I’d like to one day live somewhere more rural, I do always appreciate the conveniences of being in a major city, at least at this point in my life. Admittedly I seem a bit out of place in Miami, given that I don’t like the beach or clubbing, but it’s a city that has a lot to offer even for people like me.

  91. @ Joe — This year? Maybe I should see if I can make it to 365 elite nights with Hyatt? Seems like a fun goal… 😉

  92. Ben….When/if the covid disaster ever ends I recommend the Hyatt All inclusive properties in Cancun, and Los Cabo’s. Avoid the Rose Hall Jamaica properties which are awful.

  93. @lucky I’ll stay out of the COVID debate. Suffice it to say that I think you’re making good choices and exercising reasonable caution.

    I do want to say that I’m sorry that you have a hater/stalker that is making you feel unsafe about sharing your whereabouts. We could certainly do a better job as a society of treating each other with compassion. But that’s yet another conversation.

  94. @ lucky Sorry to hear that you’re having to go through whatever it is you’re dealing with. Consider a trip to Costa Rica? Just got back and the government has done a great job with social distancing, mask wearing protocols, providing handwashing stations, limiting car use by region and plenty of outdoor dining with great seafood. Easy to get the rapid PCR test for reentry to USA. Safe, lovely country with low infection rates and incredible biodiversity. Andaz Papagoya and a trip to Montreverde for coffee and chocolate (Hotel Belmar).

  95. What are the economics Lucky. Surely you don’t have a stash of points to make this viable long term (do you?)

    Any tips to keep this cost effective, especially if using points/miles aren’t an option.

    The free breakfast daily certainly offsets some out of pocket costs!

  96. @Ben, maybe I missed it will all the COVID comments, but what are the economics of living in a hotel full time? Sounds expensive, but maybe with membership, points, etc, it’s somewhat affordable? I know that’s relative, but wouldn’t an AirBnB accomplish a similar objective and possibly be cheaper? Appreciate your insights!

  97. Why are you scared that Gov. Ron DeSantis keep things open in Florida? It’s good for business and good for air travel!

  98. I enjoyed this post. It is always interesting to listen to your real life. I have stayed in hotels for the past couple months as a small travel blogger. I find them all empty too & feel safe. I usually only stay a couple times a month though. I stayed at the mega Hilton Atlanta in December, and it was desolate. I look forward to your future posts.

  99. @Eric You sound like you have a good heart. Thanks for reminding us how fortunate we are to have a home, and enough income that travel is feasible. Not everyone that follows @Ben can live as he does, but we enjoy learning how to get the most bang for our buck, and dreaming of a time when we can have our own unique experiences.

    @David, maybe @Eric is on here for the same reasons most of us are: dreaming of the next vacation and how to make the most of it; making the most of our work travels; getting a bargain. living vicariously. I think Eric’s comment might be more about the times we are in, those that have lost so much, maybe he has been personally impacted.

    Peace out.

  100. I love hotel suite with a kitchen or kitchenette, too bad many hotels only provide that on premium suites, and even with upgrade to them time to time, can’t rely on it.
    How’s your chance upgrade to suite with kitchen and have you (or Ford) tried cooking with them, Lucky?

  101. I agree with you on many points. While I’ve curtailed my travels during coronavirus, I have made a couple of trips to locales I’ve been before and I’ve adhered to all the guidelines so I know my partner and I have been safe during this timeframe.

    I’ve purposely scheduled seats on sparsely occupied flights and booked hotels that are 30% occupied with no housekeeping, only calls for towels, etc., has made me feel safer since I avoided most travelers compared to being in my hometown.

    Congratulations on the new place when you can move in and I agree that Florida is alarming.

  102. I’ll echo what some of the commentators have said – it would be interesting to read your thoughts on the economics of hotel living. I’ve been doing it for nine months now and I think I’ve saved a lot all things considered. And to help keep costs down, I’ll sometimes stay with friends/family. Now those are some *true* free night awards!

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