When embarking on a new travel nursing assignment, the first thing you will likely be eager to tackle is getting your housing arrangements in order. 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.
To help you understand the ins and outs of travel nurse housing, the travel and housing department at Health Carousel Travel Nursing took the time to assemble answers to five commonly-asked questions.
1. Who pays for travel nurse housing?
When working with most travel nursing agencies, there are typically two options nurses have when it comes to payment for housing. The first—and most popular—is to take a housing stipend from the agency. The second option is agency-placed housing.
The stipend option, which is tax-free, requires you to actually book your own arrangements. For many nurses, the benefit of this route is that, if they are able to secure housing at a price below the stipend they receive, they may pocket the rest. It’s important to note that the dollar amount of your stipend can vary greatly based on the location of your assignment and your specific contract.
For agency-placed housing, your travel nursing agency should take care of all of the booking 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. (Click here to 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 option you choose from the two aforementioned housing payment choices (stipend or agency-placed). At Health Carousel Travel Nursing, for example, our dedicated travel and 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, Airbnbs, VRBOs, and more options around your assigned medical facility to best narrow down the list.
If you have chosen to receive a housing stipend, an agency cannot actually book housing for you. However, HCTN does offer well-researched recommendations 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 and 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 housing options available near medical facilities, but requiring this may greatly 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. This will most likely increase the cost of the housing, and does again limit the scope of the search, but the team at HCTN 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), the travel and housing team at HCTN recommends not waiting until the last minute to book. Be sure to take events in the area into account (sporting events, festivals, and even seasonal activities like skiing, spring break, etc.), as this could raise prices in some areas. 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.
5. What if I will be on-call during my assignment?
An important thing to consider when looking at travel nurse housing 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.
Have more questions?
If you have specific questions about how travel nurse housing works with regards to your needs or circumstances, reach out to the team at Health Carousel Travel Nursing today. Our recruiters and dedicated travel and housing department can help you find the job and accommodations that best fit your life.