I'll be spending a month out of town after school is out of session. I'm really looking forward to it, but I've run into one little hiccup. The family connection I'd planned to stay with rented out his condo and moved to the U.K., so I'm in search of alternate accommodations. I'm wary of hostels, since I need to put down roots for more than just a few days, and I'm also wary of hotels, because they aren't really set up for long-term accommodations and tend to cost a lot even when they are.
My discovery of something in between, called "apartment hotels" has really made the difference. These are set up for a long-term stay, with some including kitchens and looking almost like condos. The rates are a bargain if you stay for a solid month, or pay to stay for a solid month, sometimes as low as $60/night.
The other important discovery I've made is university dorm living. In the summers, most students have left their dorms to head home or travel or work somewhere other than the university's locale, so these areas are available for rent to travelers. One place I'm looking at has a rate of $38/night if you stay for a month in the summer.
I was concerned that without a couch to surf on, I'd end up in an exorbitant hotel far from the areas I'd planned to visit. But it looks like there really are affordable, apartment-style accommodations out there for travelers. And that's a big relief.