Securing the right housing is one of the key steps to set yourself up for success as a travel nurse.
Your home base in a new destination can greatly impact your overall experience. This quick-start guide will equip you to make informed housing decisions by exploring different options, navigating logistics, and spotlighting resources to find your ideal residence.
Agency-Provided Housing vs. Stipends
One of the first major choices is deciding between agency-provided housing or a housing stipend. Each approach has its own pros and cons.
Many travel nursing agencies have company housing available near the facilities they staff. Some key perks include:
- Convenience – The agency handles arranging all accommodations for you.
- Pre-Furnished – Company housing is fully furnished and equipped.
- Short Distance – Agency homes are often located close to your workplace.
- Networking – You may live near other travel nurses from your agency.
Potential downsides to weigh:
- Less Control – You can’t choose the exact location or amenities.
- Supply Constraints – Availability is not always guaranteed.
- Isolation – Agency housing may be removed from community hubs.
Alternatively, your contract may offer a housing stipend allowance instead of provided housing.
Benefits can include:
- Flexibility – You choose where you want to live.
- Autonomy – Select your preferred type of housing.
- Savings – Cook meals at home instead of eating out.
- Immersion – Live amongst the local community.
Things to keep in mind:
- Research Required – You handle finding and securing housing.
- Furnishing Needed – Stipends may not cover furniture and basics.
- Budgeting – You pay rent upfront instead of it being deducted.
Consider your needs and preferences when deciding which works best for you. Stipends allow more freedom, but company housing for travel nurses offers more support.
Navigating Short-Term Leases
Since travel nurse assignments are temporary, you’ll typically need to secure short-term leases. Here are some tips to make it successful:
- Clarify lease terms – Ensure there are no early termination fees if you complete your assignment early. Also understand if extensions are possible.
- Seek furnished apartments – Opting for a furnished rental can save you money and hassle with moving furniture each contract.
- Ask about amenity policies – Know what’s included (utilities, WiFi, parking, etc.) and any relevant fees.
- Inspect everything upon move-in – Document any existing damages or maintenance needs to avoid unfair charges when you move out.
- Read paperwork thoroughly – Look out for hidden costs or unfavorable policies. Don’t hesitate to negotiate.
- Build a rapport with leasing staff – Being friendly can pay off if you need flexibility or extensions.
With the right lease, you’ll be able to smoothly transition between assignments without rental headaches.
Furnished vs. Unfurnished Rentals
Another major housing decision is whether to opt for a fully furnished or unfurnished rental. Here’s an overview of the key differences:
- Move-in Ready – All furniture and essentials are included.
- Cost Savings – No need to purchase your own furniture and haul it between contracts.
- Convenience – Completely outfitted and equipped upon arrival.
- Less Control – Can’t pick exact furniture pieces and design.
- Additional Cost – Furnished units typically cost more in rent.
- Wear and Tear – Used furniture and amenities may be less nice.
- Affordability – Unfurnished units generally have cheaper rental rates.
- Customization – Choose your own furniture and decor.
- Amenities – Provides incentive to invest in your own quality pieces long-term.
- Added Expenses – You’ll have to budget for all furniture and appliances.
- Inconvenience – Transporting your belongings can become burdensome.
- Delayed Comfort – It takes time to make an empty unit feel like home.
Consider whether the ease of a furnished rental or the potential savings of an unfurnished one is more appealing to make the best decision for you.
Shared Housing Considerations
Some travel nurses opt to save substantially on housing costs by choosing shared accommodations. Here are some key considerations:
- Lower expenses by splitting the rent.
- Companionship and built-in social network in an unfamiliar place.
- Ability to split household tasks and errands.
- More amenities by pooling resources.
- Ensure compatibility before committing to avoid conflicts.
- Clearly communicate about noise, cleanliness, visitors, shared items, etc.
- Splitting bills equitably can get complicated.
- Navigating alone time and socializing takes compromise.
- Having an exit strategy if issues emerge with housemates.
Sharing housing for travel nurses can be rewarding but also requires effort to foster positive relationships with housemates. Make sure you clarify ground rules and expectations from the start.
Ensuring you select a safe, secure housing option is non-negotiable. Here are some vital safety steps:
- Thoroughly research neighborhoods and complexes before committing. High crime rates are an automatic dealbreaker.
- Drive or walk through the area at night to evaluate lighting, activity, isolation, and other safety factors.
- Connect with your agency and local nurses to gain insider perspectives on the safest options.
- Examine the property’s security measures like cameras, gates, and lighting. Avoid places with little oversight.
- Always keep your doors locked, invest in a doorstop, use curtains, and don’t advertise you’re a traveler.
- Consider a monitored security system, video doorbell, or other smart home devices for added peace of mind.
Don’t compromise when it comes to selecting a home base where you can feel completely safe and comfortable.
Digital Tools and Resources
Numerous online platforms exist to help you efficiently find furnished rentals, shared options, and travel nurse-friendly housing.
- Furnished Finder – Specializes in furnished housing for traveling nurses and clinicians. Listings include details like free utilities, walkability, and more.
- Airbnb – Beyond vacation rentals, the site offers monthly and extended stay options suitable for travel nurse contracts. Host ratings help you evaluate.
- Craigslist – Useful for finding shared apartments, rooms for rent, and short-term sublets posted by locals. Allows price negotiation.
- Travel Nurse Housing Facebook Groups – Join online communities dedicated specifically to travel nurse housing and roommate searches.
- Google Maps – Use Street View and the transit feature to get a feel for neighborhoods before visiting.
Online reviews can provide useful insights but take very negative or positive ones with caution. Look for consistent feedback patterns.
More than a Roof Over Your Head
Your housing sets the foundation for achieving personal and professional success as a travel nurse. Whether you value autonomy or convenience, affordability or amenities, rest assured the right option for your needs is out there. By knowing what to prioritize, you can turn every new dwelling into a comfortable home base for your next adventure!