An increasing number of permanent staff nurses are making the switch to travel nursing—and for good reason. Travel nursing offers a plethora of opportunities and benefits. There’s the potential for better pay, a tax-free stipend, and gaining nursing experience by serving a myriad of patient populations in a variety of facilities. And those are just the job-related perks.
A travel nurse’s typical 13-week stint opens up many possibilities for spending free time, including experiencing a region’s unique attractions, finding local hidden gems, and maybe even checking off a bucket-list item or two.
One question that resonates for those considering a career change revolves around how to find temporary accommodations that are affordable, convenient, and livable. The good news is that there are many viable options for travel nurse housing that can meet the specific needs of the nurse.
AGENCY BOOKING VS. SETTING UP YOUR OWN ACCOMMODATIONS
Travel nurse housing accommodations are typically handled in one of two ways: either the agency arranges for and provides housing, or the travel nurse is given a stipend and is responsible for booking their own housing arrangements. Some travel nurses choose agency-arranged housing for their first few assignments, and then begin to book their own accommodations once they master the rhythms of travel nursing work. Many opt for the convenience of agency bookings throughout their careers, while some want to grab the bull by the horns and navigate the short-term housing market solo from the start.
There are advantages to each path. The primary benefit of agency-booked housing is that it’s zero hassle. The agency arranges for your living space, furniture, and utilities, and can even provide your dishes and bedding. Given that a travel nurse typically has only a few days or weeks between getting the assignment and the first day of work, relying on the agency for housing alleviates a last-minute scramble to put all of the puzzles pieces in place. In areas that have a housing crunch or an exorbitant cost of living, agencies may have existing relationships with property managers that ensure travel nurses have access to housing that meets their needs.
The DIY method of travel nurse housing has benefits that revolve around a single fact: a travel nurse can use their travel stipend in whatever way they see fit. If a travel nurse receives a monthly housing stipend and opts to rent a cheap room in someone’s home (think Airbnb), they can pocket any excess money. On the flip side, a travel nurse might need or want different accommodations than those provided by the agency. Perhaps travel nursing is a family endeavor and the nurse needs a two- or three-bedroom apartment for their spouse, kids, and pets. Or maybe they want to immerse themselves in the destination and live in a specific community or neighborhood. The bottom line that DIY booking provides options that agency-provided housing simply doesn’t.
For nurses choosing the second option outlined above, it’s important to note that some travel nursing agencies provide more assistance than others during your housing search. For example, Health Carousel Travel Nursing has a dedicated travel and housing team that can provide recommendations and all the critical information you need to book the accommodations that are right for you. Our state-specific recruiters are also local experts who can provide advice on what to do in the area during your assignment, helping nurses to get the most out of their travel nurse experience.
TRAVEL NURSE HOUSING OPTIONS: EXTENDED-STAY HOTELS AND MORE
Unless a travel nurse arranges for his or her own accommodations, they won’t know exactly what they’re going to get until they arrive. Typically, an agency will provide the travel nurse with available options, but there’s no guarantee that the first choice will be booked. Below are some common options that travel nurses may utilize during their assignments:
- Apartments: It’s common for agencies that regularly place travel nurses in certain cities to lease studio or one-bedroom apartments and rotate travel nurse tenants. It’s rare to co-house two travel nurses together, unless the travel nurses make such a request.
- Extended-stay hotels: A room in an extended stay hotel can offer the best of both worlds: the privacy of an apartment and the convenience of a hotel. They typically have fully-equipped kitchens, on-site laundry facilities, and lobby breakfast bars. Wi-Fi, premium television channels, and housekeeping service round out the amenities.
- Campus housing: Some hospitals and other medical facilities may own housing units for medical professionals working in the facility temporarily. An agency may use a hospital’s campus housing for travel nurse accommodations.
- Private homes: Agencies work with property owners though sites like Airbnb or FurnishedFinder to secure short-term furnished rentals. This is often a good option for travel nurses who are planning to bring families and pets.
Housing is one of many considerations when contemplating a career move from permanent staff nursing to travel nursing. Yet there is such a variety of agency-booked accommodations and DIY housing that virtually all travel nurses are able to find the right fit.