5 Things to Keep in Mind During Your Travel Nurse Housing Search
By Lee Soren, contributor
Although most agencies can arrange housing for travel nurses on assignment, some RNs prefer to accept a stipend and find their own places to stay. If you're searching for short-term travel nurse housing, here are five things to keep in mind.
1. How your stipend works and what that means for acquiring housing
Chances are, rental costs will be a primary consideration when it comes to housing, so before you begin your search, find out how much your stipend will be and when you'll receive it. Most agencies add a percentage of the stipend to your weekly paycheck rather than paying it upfront, and amounts can vary substantially by location, so what you received on your last assignment may be different than what you'll receive on your next assignment.
How your stipend is disbursed can impact your ability to pay for housing. Talk with you recruiter about any financial deposits needed before you secure your place. Other initial expenses can include fees or deposits for utility hookups, such as electricity, water and internet. Your recruiter will be able to assist you with all of this, so don’t be hesitant to ask.
2. The availability of short-term housing
Many nurses who opt for a stipend are shocked to learn how scarce short-term housing is in some regions. Travel nurse assignments average only 13 weeks, but rentals may require tenants to sign leases for a longer than that. If there are short-term housing options in the area, travel nurses may find themselves on long waiting lists.
Realtors who specialize in rental units can be great resources for travel nurses, particularly in urban areas where businesses regularly host temporary staff, contractors and visiting employees. Websites such as Furnished Finder can also help you find furnished, short-term housing.
3. The importance of location
If you're traveling to an unfamiliar town or city, location should be a major consideration in your housing search, and you should never commit to a rental without knowing exactly where it's located. Most importantly, make sure your temporary home is situated in a safe neighborhood and has convenient routes to work.
Websites such as AreaVibes let you see neighborhood crime statistics so you can choose your housing wisely, and a mapping app can show you all the available routes to your workplace. Many apps do account for traffic, so plot your route at the times of day you'll likely be commuting for an accurate idea of commute times.
Because most travel nurses secure their housing prior to arrival, make sure you see current pictures of any property you're considering. Reading reviews from current and former tenants prior to signing a lease is another great way to discover the highlights and lowlights of any housing complex.
4. Your personal housing needs
Consider your personal housing needs when searching for a place to stay. Most travel nurses require furnished housing, but you may have other needs that are unique to your situation. If you're traveling with pets, for example, you'll need a pet-friendly rental. If you're traveling with school-aged children, the local school district can be a big consideration.
Personal preferences may also factor into your decision. Some RNs want a ground-floor unit for convenience, and others prefer the security and privacy of an upper-level apartment, especially if they'll be living alone.
5. Alternatives to apartment rentals
When searching for housing, remember that there are alternatives to apartments. Some great prospects for temporary housing include:
- Friends and relatives. By rooming with loved ones, you can enjoy an extended visit while saving money.
- Extended-stay hotels. Some hotels offer extended stays for reasonable prices, and you can benefit from housekeeping services.
- Vacation rentals. If your assignment takes you to a prime vacation destination such as the seashore, take advantage of vacation rentals, especially in the off-season when prices drop. You may find inexpensive housing with a relaxing vacation vibe.
- Airbnb. Airbnb lets you find short-term housing that offers local flavor and hospitality.
- RVs. In regions that have camping facilities, renting an RV can be a unique approach to short-term housing.
Talk to your recruiter
If you're feeling unsure about travel nurse housing, don't hesitate to reach out to your agency. Staffing specialists often have experience with and knowledge about short-term housing options available near your assignment. They can also talk to you about the benefits and convenience of opting for company-arranged housing.
Explore available travel nurse assignments in destinations nationwide through American Mobile's job search.