The best option when you are relocating and need a place to stay for up to 3 months is to stay with family or friends if all possible. Unfortunately, this is not always an option, so here are some other ideas to make your transition to a new city or town smoother.
Look for Sublets/Temp Housing
The second best solution after family/friends, is to go on Craigslist and look under sublets/temp section for short-term housing. Often in larger markets, you can easily find a person wanting to sublet their roomshare or the rest of their lease on their apartment. These are usually the best deals because the sub-lessor is often desperate to unload their share or lease and will often offer rent reductions or security deposit concessions. If what is available does not seem to fit your schedule exactly, you could also look on Craigslist for rooms and apartments that are rented on a weekly, monthly, or other short-term lease basis. Usually weekly rentals will be most expensive and the three month lease option the least. However, no matter what, you will generally be paying a premium to lease for such a short time, usually between an extra $50-$100 a month. Try to look for places where most, if not all, utilities are included. This will make the hit seem a bit less hard on your wallet.
Consider Extended Stay Hotels
Extended stay hotels can be quite expensive, but you do not have to pay for utilities and most offer once a week maid service. Here is a small, but helpful list of extended stay hotel chains:
These hotels would be great choices as their rooms are more like studio apartments than hotel rooms, but these chains may not be available in your state. If that is the case, call around to local hotels and ask if they offer weekly and monthly rates.Sometimes independently owned hotels have better rates than the big chains, so it is worth your while even if these hotel chains are in your target area. Get out a piece of paper and a pencil and write down the name of the hotel chain on one side and the rates offered by the hotel on the other. After you have called about 3-5 different places you should get a good idea of what the going rate in the area is for a weekly or monthly stay. Make sure to ask if they offer discounts such as for motor clubs or preferred employers. A few hotels may require $100+ non-refundable cleaning deposits. Also make sure you ask if any deposits are required.
Look Into Off-Season Vacation Rentals
Another good option could be to check out vacation rentals if it is off-season. Often they will be rented out on month-to-month or other short-term leases during the off season for much less than during peak season. Occasionally, this could be cheaper than a hotel, so look into this if the area you are going to has a lot of vacation rentals. Check Craigslist to see what is available in your area.
Occasionally, there will be ads on Craigslist or ads found through Google for caretakers. These people are either allowed to live rent free or are paid to live in a home while the owner is on vacation or away on business. Usually, they are expected to keep up the house, collect the mail, take care of the pets if there are any, and perhaps help with the landscaping. This could be a very good deal for the lucky folks that come across them. Keep your eyes peeled for these offers.