Stay at the Tiny House Hotel!

Photo: Tammy Strobel/Flickr.Interested in staying somewhere a little unique the next time you travel to Portland, Oregon? Caravan, the Tiny House Hotel, might be just what you need. Opened just last month, the hotel consists of a series of tiny houses pulled up around a central socializing and eating area, accommodating guests in spaces that are, well, smaller than some hotel rooms! But don't let their size fool you, because they pack quite a punch.

Tiny houses have caught on in recent years as people think more about the environmental impact of their homes. When you build small, your home is naturally more efficient; it has a literally smaller footprint but you also save money on the costs of running your home. In regions with sometimes hostile climates, temperature control becomes less expensive; Portland heating and cooling contractors, for example, can keep Caravan's units comfortable for a fraction of the cost of a more traditional hotel.

Everything you'd want in your home is there in a tiny home, just in miniature. That includes cooking facilities, a regular-sized bed, storage, seating areas, and more, depending on the configuration of the home. Some tiny homes are small enough to be hauled around on a trailer bed, as is the case with Caravan, where the units were brought onto an empty lot by truck. Others are larger and have actual foundations.

Living in a tiny house does involve downscaling, and it can be a big lifestyle change. That's one reason the Caravan founders decided to establish their business, actually. They wanted to give people a chance to test-drive a tiny home for a night, or a few days, to see if it was a good choice for them. Visitors get an opportuntiy to live in a tiny home for real before they take the plunge and start building their own or hire a contractor to get going on a custom tiny home.

This hotel joins a long tradition of quirky hotels in the United States, but it happens to be the first tiny house hotel, which gives it a certain distinction. In coming years, we may be seeing more, especially if members of the public become big fans, and thanks to the mobility of the "rooms," Caravan can move wherever it needs to, expand to accommodate more guests in a snap, and set up temporarily at a different site to accommodate guests for festivals and other events.

That level of flexibility isn't just a great trait for a hotel. It can also be handy at home, so to speak, in the sense that your home can be wherever you need it to be, whenever you need it to be. Whether you want to check out Caravan for the novelty or experience tiny homes on your own to see if they're right for you, it's definitely worth a peek the next time you're in Portland!

Katie Marks writes for

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