When embarking on a new travel nursing position as a new or experienced travel nurse, the first thing you will likely be eager to tackle is finding ideal housing or living arrangements. Travel nurse housing can seem confusing on the surface—it’s a decision that can make or break your experience over the course of the job—and therefore should be well-researched before any decisions are made. We have a guide to free housing for travel nurse to help with research.
To help you understand the ins and outs of travel nurse housing, our experienced Travel Nurse Housing Department took the time to assemble answers to common travel nurse housing frequently asked questions. Whether you’re a new or experienced, your living arrangements and needs will be different for each position or assignment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Now, let’s dive into some frequently asked questions about travel nurse housing.
1. WHO PAYS FOR TRAVEL NURSE HOUSING?
When working with most travel nursing companies, there are typically two options nurses have when it comes to paying for housing. The first—and most popular—is to take a full housing stipend from the agency. The second option is agency-placed housing or company-provided housing.
The full housing stipend option, which is tax-free, requires you to actually book your own arrangements. Many travel nurses prefer this option since it typically lowers their taxable hourly rate. This does not mean that their pay rate is reduced, it’s the amount of taxes they will have to pay based on the number of tax-free stipends they receive.
The benefit of choosing to take the housing stipend is that, if you are able to secure housing at a price below the stipend they receive, then you may pocket and save the rest. It’s important to note that the dollar amount of your travel nurse housing stipend will vary greatly based on the location of your assignment and your specific contract. For example, larger cities most of the time offer higher stipends than smaller towns due to their higher cost of living.
For company-provided housing, your travel nursing agency should take care of all of the bookings for you and pay the housing costs directly—there’s less action required on your end, but you do not receive the tax-free housing stipend. Learn more about travel nursing pay.
2. AM I IN CHARGE OF SETTING UP MY OWN HOUSING?
The answer to this question varies depending on what agency you are working with and which living arrangement option you choose from the two aforementioned housing payment choices, stipend or travel nurse agency housing. At Health Carousel Travel Nursing, for example, our dedicated travel nurse housing department will work with you to find the best options for your needs and wishes. Our team spends countless hours researching and calling extended-stay hotels, Airbnb's, VRBOs, sites for travel nurses, and more options around your assigned medical facility to best narrow down the list. Remember, company-provided housing takes time to research, so make sure you tell your recruiter ahead of time if your considering it.
If you have chosen to receive a travel nurse housing stipend, an agency cannot actually book housing for you. However, HCTN does offer well-researched recommendations for living arrangements and the details you need to confidently do the booking yourself; this is an uncommon offering within the travel nursing industry. If you choose the agency-placed housing option, our team will take care of everything, including the actual booking of your accommodations.
3. WHAT IF I HAVE PETS OR AM TRAVELING WITH OTHERS (SPOUSE, SIGNIFICANT OTHER, CHILDREN, ETC.)?
One of the most common questions our travel nurse housing department receives is whether or not it is possible (or realistic) to travel with pets. We certainly understand that, for many people, a pet is like a family member, and living without them for an extended period could be rough for both parties. There are typically pet-friendly travel nurse lodging options available near medical facilities, but requiring this may limit your field when searching for accommodations. Be sure to discuss this need up front with one of our team members so we can incorporate that requirement into our research.
For nurses needing to accommodate children, spouses, or significant others, larger housing options are typically required. Check out our helpful blog, being a travel a nurse with a family, if you have more questions. This will most likely increase the cost of the housing and does again limit the scope of the search, but our team can certainly make well-researched recommendations or book housing that fit your needs.
4. WHEN SHOULD I BEGIN BOOKING HOUSING AND TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS?
When researching accommodations for your travel nursing assignment, including rental cars and flights, our travel nurse housing team recommends not waiting until the last minute to book. Be sure to take events in the area into account like sporting events, festivals, and even seasonal activities like skiing, spring break, etc., as this could raise prices in some areas. These travel nurse housing tips can save you time, money, and stress during your assignment.
Waiting too long to book could leave you in an unpleasant situation where you’re paying much more than expected or become stuck with accommodations far away from your assigned facility. Having housing close to your healthcare facility is especially important if you’re traveling to a location that has snow or inclement weather, where driving conditions are not ideal.
5. WHAT IF I WILL BE ON-CALL DURING MY ASSIGNMENT?
An important thing to consider when looking at travel nurse lodging is whether or not you will be on call during your assignment. If this is a possibility, you will likely need to be able to be at the hospital within 30 minutes, meaning the farthest you can likely live from the facility is 10 to 15 miles.
Be sure to raise this point when talking with a travel and housing coordinator or recruiter. If you find that housing is limited at your next assignment location, and have to take call, mention this to your recruiter. Sometimes they can arrange other housing options. Sometimes hospitals have on-call rooms, where you can relax or sleep.
6. How does housing for travel nurses work?
As we mentioned before, travel nurses have two options when it comes to travel nurse housing. Your entire pay package, including travel nursing salary and taxable hourly rate, will vary based on which option you choose and the housing stipends vary by assignment and location.
If you opt for travel nursing agency housing, you will not receive a housing stipend. However, you will still receive your other tax-free stipends in your travel nursing pay package, such as meal stipends or travel reimbursement. Remember, if you decide to use corporate housing, you will have a higher taxable wage or income. Sometimes travel nursing companies account for this and give your a higher taxable hourly rate. In some cases, the company-provided housing takes longer to find, depending on your needs. So make sure to discuss your needs with your travel nursing recruiter as soon as possible.
Many travel nurses prefer to take the housing stipend. They aren’t limited to corporate housing and can decide where they would like to stay that best fits their needs. Depending on the assignment you choose, remember that the average travel nurse housing stipend depends on the location of your assignment. Oftentimes, larger urban cities offer higher stipends than rural towns due to the higher cost of living. Many travel nurses find that their travel nurse housing stipends are more than enough to cover living expenses and can save the extra cash. Even if you choose to take the housing stipend, you will also still be entitled to the other tax-free nurse stipends.
7. How much should I spend on housing as a Travel Nurse?
Remember, there is no true average travel nurse housing stipend, as housing stipends vary greatly by assignment and location. However, how much you spend on housing is what you decide. Take this into account when reviewing your travel nurse lodging options and how much you should spend. It’s recommended that you review your entire travel nursing salary package, including your taxable hourly rate, before deciding your housing option and telling your recruiter. You may find that taking corporate housing gives you the highest paying taxable wage or vice versa.
8. Is renting to travel nurses a good idea?
The short answer is yes - many experienced travel nurses find that renting is a good idea. When you choose to rent, it’s easier to pick up a move after your assignment is completed. Unfortunately, finding ideal housing or living arrangements can be difficult at times, especially if you are looking to rent over a 13-week assignment.
Many apartment companies have minimum lease terms, which can make it hard for travel nurses to find housing. Most apartments don’t come fully furnished, so you’ll most likely also have to bring your own furniture. Instead of apartments, search for housing through Airbnb, VRBO, or even extended-stay hotels. Some extended-stay hotels offer discounted pricing if you stay for over two weeks or longer.
When renting, it’s also important to consider if you can extend your stay and what the notice period is. Your healthcare facility may give you the option of extending your travel nursing contract.
How Health Carousel Travel Nursing Can Help You
We are a top 10 travel nurse agency voted on by your peers with many resources to offer travel nurses. Our dedicated travel nurse housing department is here to provide you with expert recommendations and assistance throughout your entire process. Not only do we help you with housing, but we can help you land your dream job faster when you travel with us. Get submitted quickly to top travel nurse jobs and be first in line for an interview. Take control of your career today. If you have more questions about travel nursing, check out our travel nursing blog. Some of our travel nursing blog articles include nurse bag essentials, nursing resume tips, and more! Ready to start your travel nursing journey? Get started today in On Demand, our powerful web app, where you can apply for jobs in minutes. Start living and working on your own terms.
Have more questions?
If you have more specific questions on how travel nurses find housing, check out our travel and housing frequently asked questions. Our entire team is here to provide you with a full circle of support, 365 days a year. We're happy to chat about our travel nurse benefits that support your career and lifestyle or answer questions about living arrangements, the guaranteed hours clause, or travel nurse bag essentials, we are here to help!