So you’ve taken on your first (or fiftieth) travel nursing assignment and it’s time to lock down housing. Depending on the location and whether or not you decide to take the agency provided housing, this part of the process can result in headaches for many nurses. Whether it’s difficulty finding a short-term lease, figuring out what your best options are, or making sure you’ll be safe and comfortable in your temporary home, travel nurses have a lot to deal with when it comes to figuring out their housing.
Below are seven tips that will make the entire process simpler – and sometimes more lucrative – than you thought possible.
1. Establish Your Priorities
When deciding on housing, it’s important for travel nurses to decide what their priorities are for a specific assignment. If you’re taking an assignment simply to work and maximize your take home pay, it’s best to find the most economical housing possible, allowing you to pocket the extra funds from your housing stipend. If your goal is instead to get the most out of the location and use the assignment as a vacation opportunity, you may want to find housing that is in a trendier neighborhood in order to get the most out of your assignment.
2. Weigh the Stipend vs Company Housing
Depending on the location and the agency you are working with, there will be occasions when the agency provided housing will be nicer than you could afford on the stipend or just a better deal financially. In other instances, the stipend could allow you to find a better deal on a rental in a neighborhood you prefer than what would be offered by the agency. Make sure to research the short-term rental market in the location where you will be working in order to best decide whether the stipend or agency housing will be the best bet for you.
3. Establish Relationships with Extended Stay Hotels
One of the easiest ways to solve the short-term housing dilemma is by using extended stay hotels. These hotels come fully furnished, offer cleaning services, and are all inclusive. Many offer additional perks, such as fitness centers and even the occasional meal, providing you with convenience and peace of mind for the duration of your assignment.
4. Utilize Traveler Specific Housing Sites
If you decide to take the stipend to rent an apartment over the agency supplied housing, there are a variety of resources you can tap into in order to secure short-term rentals. Sites like The Gypsy Nurse and Furnished Finder can help you find furnished housing options tailored for travelers like you in a variety of cities throughout the U.S.
5. Research Loyalty Programs
If you’re planning to have a long career as a travel nurse and enjoy staying in hotels, it would be a great idea to find chains you prefer and join their loyalty programs. Many of the larger chains offer them and they can provide you with everything from discounts and freebies to upgrades. Others let you rack up points that you can then use for travel, shopping, or even dining.
6. Tap Into Your Network
If you’re comfortable renting a room instead of a full apartment, your personal and professional network can provide you with plenty of savings on housing. Reach out to family and friends who live or own property in the city you’ll be traveling to and you might find that they’re happy to rent you a room in their home for the duration of your assignment. Additionally, sites like the Travel Nursing Housing Facebook group allow you to connect with other Travel Nurses who would be interested in sharing a unit or renting out their home.
7. Ask for an Inventory Checklist
If you decide to rent a fully furnished apartment, make sure to ask the landlord for an inventory checklist. The checklist should list everything that is included in the rental (from furniture to cutlery) and can help you avoid getting charged for missing items that weren’t provided in the first place. Make sure to go through and confirm that everything listed is there, and the condition it is in, in order to make sure you aren’t charged for an item that went missing or was damaged by a previous tenant.
Key Take Aways:
- Decide whether or not you will take the agency supplied housing, based on your priorities and preferences for each assignment.
- Utilize traveler specific sites, your personal network, and any available hotel rewards programs to make finding housing simple and cost effective.
- Make sure to cover your bases if you rent or are provided with a furnished apartment by requiring a full inventory of provided items.