Every airline is a little different. Smaller regional airlines have out stations, where you can fly your trip and be home every night. This is great if you have a family, but on the down side you might have to move your family to BFE. At the majors it is pretty much the major hubs, were it is your choice to live at your domocile or commute. Every pilot is different, but I have to admit a great deal do commute and live where ever they like. Anyway, back to your question. The trips vary from 1 day to more common 3 and 4 day trips. Now here is that all important part issue called "Seniority" your Date of Hire will dictate your quality of life, by that I mean the aircraft you fly, they domocile you get, and off course the schedule you are awarded after you bid on it each month. There are many factors to consider when you bid on all the formentioned, but these are your individual choices. I can honestly say you will not be in a hotel for 2 weeks before returning home, the only pilots I know that have that kind of schedule are flying heavy 747 for ATLAS AIR or Polar Air Cargo, etc.. But again, I'm giving you my persepective and there are many my friend..Good luck you are going to love this job!
I'm a new guy at SWA. I live in SAT and fly out of BWI, so I'm a commuter. I usually have to fly to BWI the day prior, but I can make it home on the last day. If you live in domicile, you can spend more nights at home. Here are the number of nights away from home for me so far this year:
Jan - 19 (PMs, so I had to go up early and come home day after)
Feb - 13
Mar - 15
Apr - 15
KLJ - I'm a poolie waiting for a training date, living in SAT; would be interested in your take on the BWI commute abd SWA life in general. My email is email@example.com if u have some time to respond.