Housing for travel nurses is a frequently occurring issue they face in this line of work. With a non-travel-oriented profession, house-hunting is a one-time activity. In travel nursing, however, the search for living arrangements starts anew with each assignment.
Looking for suitable housing can be a stressful process; even if you are doing it in a familiar city. Your job as a travel nurse would take you to places you’ve never been to before. In which case, the search for good living arrangements would get even more daunting.
In this article, we will tell you about the available options, tips, precautions, and important things to consider when searching for adequate housing for travel nurses.
What’s the ideal housing for travel nurses?
If you’re a travel nurse, you will need short-term accommodations. Naturally, you wouldn’t expect to get home-like comforts on your assignments. Still, there is no reason for you to suffer through sub-standard, dilapidated, over-priced, or poorly equipped living arrangements just because it’s a temporary deal.
Ideal housing for travel nurses would be pre-furnished, located close to work, and be in a non-problematic neighborhood. It should have working facilities like running water, internet, cellular coverage, and temperature control. While these facilities are abundantly available in the cities; in remote areas, they can be scarce.
Travel nurse housing options
Travel nurse recruitment agencies also provide assistance to RNs looking for housing. They can either provide you a house, or they can pay you to arrange your housing. Your agency may provide one or both options.
1. Your agency provides you a house
Many popular travel nurse agencies have contracts with hotels, lodgings, and estate agents to provide accommodation to their employees. The nurse doesn’t have much of a say in the matter — they will have to stay at the housing provided by their employer.
The biggest advantage of this type of arrangement is that it saves you the house-hunting hassle. With your living arrangements already taken care of, all you have to do is pack your stuff and arrive. For new travel nurses, this kind of arrangement can be useful.
As said before, you don’t have much of a choice with such an arrangement. No matter what the agency picks for you, that will be your home for the duration of your assignment.
Obviously, in this arrangement, you don’t get your housing stipend. This is a significant chunk of your earning as a traveling nurse. Such allowances are what make travel nursing a lucrative profession.
2. Your agency pays you a housing stipend
This option is easier for the agency as well as the travel nurse. The agency adds a housing allowance to your salary, and you get to pick where to stay.
If you find living arrangements for cheap, then the extra money goes straight into your pocket. In this arrangement, you can pick a place convenient for you rather than the agency.
You should also note that this housing stipend is tax-free. The stipend is one of the primary reasons travel nurses ultimately make more money despite having a lower salary than a staff nurse.
If you don’t need the extra money and find the house-hunting frustrating, this option is not for you. There is always a possibility to get scammed if you’re not careful. This kind of routine takes some getting used to, but it gets easier eventually.
The housing stipend is for the travel nurse to spend as they like. Therefore, more travel nurses consider this option over agency-provided housing. With that choice in your hand, you get a variety of housing options in front of you. You can pick whichever suits you best.
Finding ideal housing for travel nurses
If you do pick the option to arrange your own housing during your travels, the question arises: how to find a place to stay?
Travel nurses get sent to cities they have never been to. Finding ideal housing in such locations can be challenging. However, having friends or relatives in those areas can solve your housing problems too. Also, there are plenty of helpful websites, blogs, and Facebook groups that can be of great use. Consider joining Facebook groups and websites about travel nursing for free expert guidance.
Housing for travel nurses – Useful resources
Let’s look at some handy resources you can use to arrange for your own housing on the road.
Ok, this might sound expensive. Hotels usually charge on a day-to-day basis. The charges might rack up more than what any travel nursing agency can offer.
However, there are hotels where you can rent a room on a monthly basis. These extended-stay hotel rooms may not be as lavish as regular hotel rooms, but they can be a viable option for a travel nurse in a big city. Websites like extendedstayamerica and TripAdvisor can be used to search for the best hoteling packages for the city you’re assigned to.
If you like a place a lot but the rent is out of your range, you can always get a roommate to share the expenses with you. This is especially useful in cities like New York, where space is scarce and rent is high.
Travel rental services
Famous applications and websites that holiday travelers use to find the best deals on lodgings can be useful for travel nurses as well. While professional landlords can be somewhat difficult to deal with, renters on these apps are often more flexible.
Family and friends
Well, this is where your luck comes into play. If you have the fortune to be assigned to a place where you have a friend or family member living, your housing worries are all but gone. Depending on how your terms are with them, you either stay for free or pay just a fraction of the rent. Moreover, you stay more comfortable with someone you know.
Make sure to return the favor by paying some rent, doing house chores, or by helping them out in your free time. And try to make your stay as less intrusive as you can.
Get an RV
A perfect option if you are in the travel nursing profession for the long haul, or if you are travel nursing with family. Getting a mobile home may seem like a crazy idea, but it is worth every penny. This saves you a huge chunk of your housing stipend. You skip over all the legalities and hassles of renting a property. You can check out our article on the subject and learn to make RV travel nursing work for you.
Housing for travel nurses—Scams and red flags
This is where you have to be careful – travel nurses looking for housing in an unfamiliar city can be easy pickings for scammers. But with certain precautions, this risk can be reduced, if not eliminated.
As a travel nurse, you are likely to make housing arrangements before embarking on your assignment. This means you cannot personally visit the property you want to rent. Scammers often take advantage of this handicap to swindle you out of your deposit money.
You can avoid falling prey to such con artists if you remember these vital tips:
Check, re-check, and double check
You may see through many scams with a little online research. Some scams require more investigation, but they can still be busted. When it comes to matters of money, always consult multiple sources.
Facebook travel nursing groups and travel nursing blogs can prove useful if you want affirmation about the authenticity of a rental deal.
Don’t get greedy
Travel nurses often get starry-eyed about a deal that will save them a good chunk of their housing stipend. More often than not, they jump on such opportunities with little research, ignoring the red flags.
Scammers often price their fake properties lower than market rates to bait such eager travel nurses. You should understand that if a property is priced too low for its market value, it’s likely a scam. This brings us to our next advice.
Research the local market
Property value varies from place to place. It is important to know how much a rental property goes for in its area before considering it. Price research not only saves you from potential frauds, they also give you pointers for negotiating the rent with prospective landlords.
Beware of those who want money first
If you are renting your property to someone, you will run some checks on your prospective tenant and take multiple elements into consideration. A fraudulent landlord would instead be only interested in one thing: money.
These scammers may ask you to pay a fee before checking the property. Or they may push you into making a deposit as soon as possible. Which brings us to our next tip.
Don’t give in to pressure
Fraudulent landlords will often try to push or press you into making a deposit. They may cite time shortage or threaten you with cancellation. They’d tell you the offer is expiring if you don’t hurry and after that, the rent would increase. All these are common tricks of con artists. They know travel nurses are short on time, and they exploit that.
You should understand that you need a house, and the landlord needs a tenant. Don’t get desperate and impatient when pressured by the landlord–they are not going anywhere.
Consider renting a hotel room for the first few days of your assignment. This way you can conduct your research and visit rental sites calmly and weigh your options carefully before making up your mind.
Pay only after you’re satisfied
After you’re done background checking the landlord, visiting the property personally, researching the market, and agreeing on your rent; only then should you pay. Trust your gut. Don’t pay if anything appears shady. Hand over the money after all your doubts have cleared.
Housing for travel nurses – Final words
For travel nurses looking for housing on their own, the process may look stressful. However, getting comfortable with constant changes is something you learn along the way.
You may think the road is full of pitfalls and con-men trying to rip you off. In an unfamiliar territory, it is difficult to find someone you can trust. This is where your travel nursing agency comes in.
Your agency can help you understand the lay of the land, making it easier for you to navigate. A good travel nursing agency would never throw their nurses to the wolves.
Your travel nursing agency is responsible for your comfortable stay during your assignment. That is why Originnurses makes sure that your housing stipend is adequate enough to ensure suitable living arrangements. Find out how much by reaching out to us here.