When a travel nurse is assigned a new contract, it’s typically pretty last minute, and finding housing quickly can be challenging. What is a travel nurse to do with a hot rental market and possible scams around every corner?
This article will look at all of the potential options a travel nurse has for finding a rental for their next assignment. Plus, it’ll provide practical tips for finding a budget-friendly option without getting scammed.
Option 1: Travel Nurse Housing Sites
Travel nurse housing websites, such as Transplant Housing and Furnished Finder, are the first ideal place for a travel nurse to start looking for a short-term rental. These sites are specifically designed to provide a one-stop shop for travel nurses seeking housing near their assignment.
Travel nurse housing sites often work directly with apartment complexes and property owners with furnished apartments and homes available for short-term rentals. Plus, they’re usually offered at discounted rates (compared to nightly stays).
The benefits of booking a short-term rental with Transplant Housing:
- Owners are vetted and pay a monthly or annual fee to offer their property to trusted healthcare professionals- it’s a win-win.
- Property owners are encouraged to make their space as move-in ready as possible, such as offering a price that includes utilities, furniture, and a well-stocked kitchen (appliances and utensils).
- Rental owners are also encouraged to be pet-friendly when possible since many nurses and other healthcare professionals travel with a pet.
- Ultimately, as a travel nurse, this option lets you get to decide what type of rental and location are best for your needs- and use your stipend accordingly (which, in many cases, can lead to extra cost savings and more money in your pocket for paying other associated bills).
The cons of booking a short term-rental property privately:
- You are at a higher risk of scams and lost money.
- Dealing with the stress of finding an appropriate location on short notice is not ideal for all individuals.
- Depending on the contract you sign and the property owner, you may lose a fee/deposit, a month of payment, or the entire contract payment if your assignment is suddenly canceled (relatively common).
Related read: 5 Ways to Avoid Short-Term Rental Scams
Option 2: Travel Nursing Agency Housing Department
Most travel nursing companies have a dedicated housing department that can help nurses find short-term rentals close to their assignment. Their staff is experienced in finding rentals for healthcare professionals, often at discounted rates. In fact, they have probably built a relationship with rental properties in each specific area where they offer assignments.
The benefits of letting your agency find you a rental:
- A travel nurse won’t have to spend any time searching (and likely feeling overwhelmed) by the rental search process. Just sign a contract and show up with your things- more or less.
- Rental properties are typically vetted, so there’s less chance of a scam. Plus, if it is a scam, the travel agency will be held responsible and lose funds, not you.
- If your contract is canceled last minute, you will typically not be held responsible for any lost funds.
The cons of letting your agency find a rental:
- You typically don’t have a choice over location, type, or rental- you’re placed in what’s available.
- You will not get a stipend, not allowing for cost savings if you find a rental that is less than the allotted amount.
- If there is nothing available, you may find yourself in less-than-ideal locations or a hotel for your entire stay. Not having a kitchen can be rough!
- In some instances, you may end up sharing a property with a roommate.
Option 3: Temporary Furnished Housing
Travel nurses can often find temporary furnished housing with other online rental companies that primarily cater to short-term vacations rather than monthly stays.
These sites include:
- Home Away
- Extended-stay Hotels (such as Residence) that often offer discounts for healthcare workers
- Facebook Marketplace (for short-term housing, sublets, etc.)
- Facebook groups dedicated to offering travel nurse housing
- Craigslist (yes, it’s still around)
- And other similar sites
The benefits of finding a rental through these sites:
- You will likely find something last-minute when you’ve looked at all your other options and still need something.
- Since many of these websites are catered to vacationers, you can expect a fully stocked living space.
- You can filter your search to look for specific amenities you’d like to have while on assignment (i.e., a pool, access to a beach, downtown, etc.).
The cons of using a vacation website:
- While some properties offer monthly discounts (you can always try to message them and ask for a discount), they are typically much more expensive than other options.
- For Facebook Marketplace or groups, you will need to be mindful of scams.
- Finding a pet-friendly rental will be more difficult if you travel with a furry friend.
Option 4: Traditional House Hunting
Some travel nurses will turn to traditional apartment searching in certain locations. Some cities may not have much for short-term rentals and will require some extra creativity to find something that is suitable.
In these instances, you must contact the property owner or management company and ask about the possibility of short-term renting. Some will be able to offer this to you for a steeper price- while others aren’t flexible. You’ll have to ask around.
Remember, this option will likely require you to find basic furniture and kitchen utensils and sign up for utilities such as water, electricity, and wifi- even for your short stay.
Option 5: Staying With Friends or Family
If you’re lucky enough to have friends or family in the city you will be working in, this can be a great way to save money while on assignment and make your temporary city feel like home.
The benefits of staying with family or friends:
- Get your full stipend and stay with someone you know for free or at a discounted price. (Or rest assured that rental money is going to someone you know.)
- No need to worry about furniture or kitchen items, as you will likely be provided with the necessary items for your stay (feel at home).
- You might even get a home-cooked meal and some good company throughout your assignment!
- You’ll have a live-in tour guide to explore the new area with (if they’re up for it).
The cons of staying with family or friends:
- Your living situation may feel cramped if they don’t have their own space to give you.
- Always tread carefully with friends and family; you don’t want them to feel taken advantage of.
- Some people can quickly get annoyed with housemates, make sure you do your part and be mindful of their space to prevent unnecessary drama.
How to Choose the Right Housing Option for You
In reality, you have quite a few options to choose from when it comes to finding housing for your travel nurse assignment. The best thing you can do is consider all of them and decide which one is the right fit for you.
Questions to ask yourself include:
- Do you value freedom of choice or ease and scam coverage more?
- Would you like all utilities to be included?
- Would you like it furnished and move-in ready?
- Do you mind staying in a hotel, if needed?
- Consider your budget based on the stipend you will be receiving.
- Would you be open to renting a room or finding roommates?
- If traveling with a pet, what choices are realistic for you?
- Would you like the potential to save extra money with DIY (not an agency) bookings?
- Would you be comfortable staying with a friend or family member?
- What are the best choices if you’re trying to maximize your income on assignment?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you should have a good idea of where to start.
In an Ideal World…
Overall, there is one clear best option from those listed above. Booking on a website dedicated to travel nurses takes much of the hassle out of finding a rental while giving you more freedom. It is the best of all worlds.
Just keep in mind websites like Transplant Housing are available in most larger cities but may not have as many options in smaller towns. Plus, you’ll still need to be aware of the occasional scammer.
Related read: How to Find the Right Furnished Rental
Other Tips for Finding Short-Term Housing
- Be extra mindful of scammers- beware of Craigslist.com and “too good to be true” offers – they usually are!
- Always check out potential landlords online and look for any red flags.
- Make sure you have a contract signed with clear parameters to prevent lost money.
- Talk to your travel agency about any concerns you have about housing.
- Be as creative as you’d like for housing- some travel nurses even bring a camper along to their assignment. You are limited to what is within your comfort level.
- Don’t forget to find a place you’ll be comfortable and enjoy during your stay!
Choose What Fit Your Needs
We all know that the best part of travel nursing is the freedom it provides; however, being able to find adequate housing quickly, without breaking the bank, can be difficult. Websites catering to travel nurses looking for short-term rentals are your best option.