So you’re moving on to the next assignment, or even beginning your first travel nursing job – congratulations! Now that you’ve got a new city in your sights, finding where you’re going to live can be one of the most exciting (and daunting) parts of the experience. There’s no one right way to find housing, as all the best travel nursing companies have different housing stipends and arrangements, and many travel nurses prefer to handle their own housing to save money. There is no one-size-fits all approach to travel nurse housing, but this article will give you the facts you need to help you navigate to your next crib.
You’re going to spend a lot of time at work on assignment, and (hopefully) a lot of time exploring the new city. But don’t forget about how much time you’ll also spend in your living space – having a situation you’re pleased with is vital to enjoying the whole experience of travel nursing jobs. That said, no matter where you are, bring along items that help to make the space feel like home, such as a few photo frames, a favorite throw blanket, or a candle scent that reminds you of your loved ones.
Now that you’ve got the basic touches of home, time to choose how you want to arrange your travel nurse housing.
Agency arranged travel nurse housing
Most travel nursing agencies have a housing coordinator that will locate and book housing for you, finding options with short-term lease agreements or utilizing long-term leases where travelers rotate in and out. Typically this can be as full-service as the traveler would like it to be – the agency can help you rent furniture and housewares if needed, and include utilities in your package.
Since there’s usually a time crunch between when the assignment is booked and when you start, agencies do their best to find 2-3 options to choose from, but it can come down to what is available and affordable at the time.
Pros of housing arranged by travel nursing agency
- One less thing on your to-do list before an assignment.
- You don’t need any money up-front for deposits.
Travel nurse housing stipend
Many travel nursing companies offer a housing stipend (within IRS guidelines) as part of your overall pay package. Something important to keep in mind when it comes to travel nurse housing is that the cost of living vastly differs across the country. The monthly amount your travel nurse recruiter quotes you for a housing stipend will reflect the pay package being offered by the facility and the cost of living for that area, and will be broken down and paid out on a weekly basis. If you opt for a housing stipend, it is completely your responsibility to find, reserve and pay for all housing expenses. There are many common approaches taken to find travel nurse housing:
- A vacation rental property. These typically come furnished and include all housewares, utilities and internet. Check out websites like Air BnB and VRBO to get started.
- Standard apartment or house for rent. In this scenario, you would bring or rent your own furniture and set up utilities.
- RV travel. There’s a large community of healthcare travelers who take on the U.S. by RV – it’s one of the least expensive ways to find housing (provided you have the cash to buy/maintain an RV), but you have to be okay with tight living quarters.
- Extended stay hotel. This is another popular option travelers use to accommodate their housing during an assignment. Many are pet-friendly, and provide fully-equipped kitchens, Wi-Fi and housekeeping services. Many agencies have discount codes for extended stay hotels, so be sure to ask!
Budgeting is the biggest factor when you take the housing stipend to locate your own housing. Many travel nurses get creative, and factor other bonuses (sign-on, loyalty, etc.) or reimbursements they receive into their overall housing budget and traveling nurse salary. Many seasoned travelers will take the housing stipend over the agency-arranged housing as they become more comfortable with all the other elements of travel nursing, and can take on this responsibility.
Pros of travel nurse housing stipend pay
- More control over the process, location and amenities you want.
- Make a little extra money off the housing stipend if you’re able to find housing under budget.
- Flexibility to arrive to your assignment extra early or stay longer after it ends (hello, site-seeing!).
Now what? Safety should be your first concern when it comes to housing, so if you’re finding your own living arrangements, use caution and discernment. Be up front with your expectations and questions about the housing process with your recruiter, and you’ll have an unforgettable experience living like a local everywhere you go.
Travel nursing agencies like Emerald have Employee Integration departments that offer help to travelers taking stipend by providing suggestions, or even helping to set up an Extended Stay. Recruiters are also a wealth of knowledge, and can provide you with a list of websites used by their other travelers to find great housing options.
If you’ve got questions about travel nurse housing, give us a call at 800-299-8132. Whether you travel with Emerald or not, we’re happy to tell you how it works and use our experience to answer your questions. Check out our job search, and we just might have the assignment you’re looking for!