Introduction to Travel Nurse Housing
Picking up your life, packing up your coveted possessions, and having to narrow down (or recreate) your wardrobe can be difficult. On top of that, starting a brand-new job in an unexplored city can be scary on its own. You certainly don't need the additional stress that finding housing somewhere you know little to nothing about can cause.
To help you with the above concerns, we've created a quick guide to finding temporary housing when traveling as a nurse.
Travel Nurse Housing: Where to Begin
There’s a lot to consider and plenty of information to gather before making any real decisions. Things can sometimes move fairly quickly once you’ve applied to a job, so it’s helpful to do a bit of research beforehand so you don’t find yourself having to make a decision before you've put any thought into housing. The earlier you start looking, the more options you'll likely have when you make the big move.
First, Consider What's Most Important to You
- What's your budget? On a monthly basis, how much of your salary do you feel comfortable putting toward housing.
- Would you consider various types of accommodations? House, apartment, condo, sublet, Airbnb, etc.
- Do you want a roommate? A few? Or would you prefer to live alone?
- How far are you comfortable commuting and by what means? 10, 20, 45 minutes? Do you prefer a walking, taking public transportation, or will you have car?
- What are you willing to stretch your budget for? Are there certain amenities, comforts, or locations that you're willing to pay more for?
- Are there certain things that must be in walking distance for you? Do you want to be able to walk to a grocery store, gym, café?
- Will you need your accommodation to be furnished? To what extent? If unfurnished, are you willing to rent or purchase furniture, kitchenware, towels, etc.?
I can think of a few times where I was down to the wire to find housing and either ended up paying an arm and a leg for an apartment or found myself in a cabin with an outhouse for the bathroom! So having answers to these upfront can quickly help you narrow down a list of options and hone in on realistic options.
Most Important Factors
There’s no better barometer for quality than peer reviews! Most options provide the opportunity to read through reviews, whether it’s directly associated with the accommodation or through a third party. We can’t stress enough how important it is to rent from someone who has a track record of being dependable and reliable.
In a brand new place, the last thing you need is your housing falling through (especially if you don't want to spend six of your thirteen-week travel nursing contract simply getting comfortable in your temporary space).
Reviews can also be helpful for gleaning details about what others liked or disliked (because sometimes what they didn’t like truly wouldn’t be relevant to you!), the area, the living conditions, and what you can’t determine from pictures alone.
If you prefer to travel light, you’ll need something furnished that is stocked with linens, kitchenware, and additional necessities. Don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions to avoid showing up just to find out you’ll need to buy a shower curtain, plunger, and a sleeve of quarters every time you want to do your laundry.
This will be entirely up to you! Some people don’t mind a lengthier commute for more affordable or well-situated options. Others want to spend as little time possible commuting, while some want to diversify where they spend their time while they’re in one travel location.
You can also check out the street view on Google Maps and take a virtual walk around the neighborhood! Pop the address (of work or the accommodation) into Yelp and see what’s around.
Do you need a place that’s pet friendly? If so, is there an additional pet rent or a non-refundable pet deposit that is not included in the listing price? Does the place offer a short-term lease? What are the terms of the lease, and what happens if you must break the lease? What if your lease comes to an end but you’d like to extend? Can you have visitors? Is there a limit to how many visitors or the duration that they stay?
Make a list of questions to get clear answers on before you sign anything!
What to Keep in Mind When Looking at Temporary Housing Options
Some housing options request a security deposit or require you to pay the entire three months of rent up front. While you may be given a housing stipend, it may not be enough to cover your chosen living accommodations. So, it may be worth it to have some extra money in your pocket so your housing options are not limited (we recommend keeping roughly three months of current expenses -- rent, food, entertainment, etc. -- on hand).
You should also consider what is going on in the area around the time you're looking for housing. If it happens to be the middle of Mardi Gras during your New Orleans contract, consider a longer commute over that downtown apartment (unless you prefer the commotion).
Don't be afraid to reach out to the host! Often times, they offer a discount for people renting their vacation home for an extended period of time (which may be cheaper than extended stay hotels). It doesn’t hurt to ask. Besides, we have been drug screened, fingerprinted, and likely had a background check within the last few months. This can be a relief for some, knowing they have a nurse staying in their place.
Finally, be smart. If it sounds too good to be true, or seems a little sketchy. It probably is!
AirBnB, Vrbo, and TurnKey are all great options for any duration of time! They come fully furnished with everything you could possibly need and are complete with detailed pictures and reviews. You won’t have to worry about setting up internet or paying bills, since all of this is typically included in the price when you rent. FurnishedFinder also offers short-term housing options specifically for travelers.
Check local listings for apartments or condos that rent on a month-to-month basis. If you’ll be living somewhere near a university, students are typically looking for roommates or to sublease their apartments during certain times of the year.
Not all options are furnished, so if you find a great option that isn’t, inquire about whether they have a partner company for furniture rentals. The definition of “furnished” apartments can vary widely (which I’ve learned the hard way). They either come with the bare necessities or are completely decked out. Either way, you should think of it as you are paying to rent these items.
If you prefer to furnish your own place to save money, this is doable but takes some extra effort!
Thanks to marketplaces such as Facebook, Craigslist, Upcycle, and Letgo, you can get your place all set up for a reasonable price (and maybe help the environment in the meantime!).
There are also several great Facebook groups specifically for travelers. The majority of them are nurses looking for someone to take over their current lease, have a place of their own they want to rent out, or simply just need a roommate. These groups are a great way to connect fellow travel nurses who can make for some great housing options.
Other Housing Options to Consider
This can be really hit or miss. If you just so happen to find the right person, in the right place, at the right time, it might work in your favor.
Some travel nurses prefer extended stays. Most of the time, extended stays will offer a discount if you book with them for longer than 30 days! This isn’t always advertised, so be sure to inquire if you’re interested.
Have you considered a 5th wheel? There are quite a few travel nurses that travel in their RV’s and know all the ins and outs that come with it.
While we haven’t made it quite everywhere yet, we’re giving you the inside scoop on where we have via Trusted City Guides for the must-see, do, eat, and experience. (Here are our guides to Phoenix and Denver to get you started).
Make a bucket list before moving to each new location. Once you get to your destination, seek out locals who will give you the inside scoop on the real must-do’s. Soak up as much information as you can from your Uber drivers, new neighbors, or fellow nurses at orientation.
Facebook events are great! If you are looking for a particular event, whether it's hot yoga or the next beer festival in your area, check out the events tab on facebook.
Good luck out there, and happy house hunting!