Travel nurses enjoy the often-coveted opportunity of being able to travel and experience many different destinations around the country. It’s one of the biggest perks of being a healthcare traveler, along with the chance to earn very good money and possibly advance one’s career. Of course, that also means having to move frequently. Typically, those three-month assignments don’t align with a traditional lease of six months or a year that most properties tend to require.
Housing should be a big consideration for all travel nurses when making the decision to accept a new assignment, as it can not only make a difference when it comes to finances, but the overall experience.
When the agency you work with secures housing for you, you’ll be working directly with the company’s housing department, or a recruiter, to make it happen. Especially for first-time travel nurses, this can be the best way to go. You won’t have any worries when it comes to paying deposits, getting the utilities turned on, and you won’t have to spend hours and hours searching for the right place – one that will be willing to lease a property for the length of your assignment. If your assignment is cancelled, the expensive problem of having to end your lease early is eliminated too.
Most agencies have lots of connections in destinations that frequently have open nursing assignments, which makes it much easier to find suitable housing. New travel nurses especially will have more time to get all those documents in order that are required to start an assignment, by allowing the agency to figure out the housing piece of the puzzle. Although agency housing is often the best option, that doesn’t mean its without its downsides – while most agencies, depending on the location of the assignment, are able to provide a couple of different housing options to choose from, there are no guarantees, especially in remote areas where housing is limited. Chatting with your recruiter, voicing your requirements, likes and dislikes, can help ensure a good fit for all.
A housing stipend allows you to receive money for housing in your paycheck, with the amount depending on housing costs in the location, the hospital contract and other factors. This option means that you’ll need to find, secure and pay for everything that’s involved in renting a place to live during your assignment, including not only rent and deposits, but expenses like Internet, cable, utilities, etc.
This can be the ideal option for a travel nurse who has friends or family in the assignment location they can live with, or those who travel and live in an RV. Some travel nurses simply prefer the flexibility and control of choosing exactly where they want to live, as well as the chance to arrive earlier, allowing more time to settle in. The downside to stipend pay is that it can be rather difficult and time consuming to find a place willing to rent for just three-month periods. When a shorter-term lease is available, it often comes at a higher price – and, you’ll also have to pay any application fees as well as deposits and other related costs.
Fortunately, with travel nursing around for several decades now, there are more options than ever for finding a housing situation that works best for your circumstances. There are sites free to healthcare travelers that work directly with thousands of properties across the nation, connecting you with the owners who are willing to rent for shorter terms, sometimes as short as just 30 days. Transplant Housing is an excellent place to search for properties.
Note: If you’re a property owner interested in listing your home to advertise to the traveling healthcare community, you can do so for as little as $39, making it an ideal site for travel nurses and property owners to connect.
Travel nurses can also join forums and travel nurse groups on Facebook, such as Travel Nurse Housing Group, to connect with other nurses and potentially discover housing situations you may not have otherwise heard about.
Having a roommate can be a good or bad thing, depending on the roommate, and your feelings about the situation. You’ll find multiple roommate finder sites online to help you connect with the right one, like Roommates.com and SpareRoom which can be a great way to make your housing stipend stretch farther.
Corporate Housing Services
Corporate housing is typically the most expensive option, though it can be the most convenient, especially if you’re looking at a very short assignment. You’ll get the livability of an apartment or home that’s fully furnished, with the benefits of hotel amenities too. While rates are usually lower than what you’d pay to rent a hotel room by the day, they are often quite steep.
The Bottom Line
Doing your due diligence, meaning researching and reviewing all your options to come up with the best possible solution, will make your initial transition time much less stressful, while going a long way in ensuring a more positive experience throughout the assignment.