When a travel nurse takes on a new assignment, they’re considering every aspect of their new position from their pay rate to where and how they’re to make their home in their new city or town. With all that goes into a pay and benefits package, housing is one of the most important aspects a travel nurse has to worry about. Some travel nurses bring their spouses or families along to their new destination, making housing details a top priority, but housing is equally important for solo nurses as well. For many nurses, knowing exactly what housing looks like, what it entails, and everything in between is needed before they sign a contract and take an assignment. With this in mind, you can be sure that travel nurse housing is an incredibly important part of the job that you have to think about as much as where you work and who you work for. To help you along in your housing journey, we’ve compiled 7 useful facts, tips, and lessons about travel nurse housing that you absolutely need to know.
You Need to Know These 8 Facts and Tips About Travel Nurse Housing
Searching for housing is both fun and frustrating, and looking for travel nurse housing is really no different. The process comes with many of the same headaches and triumphs, making it necessary to get all the help you can to make things just a little easier. Travel nurse housing is meant to be temporary, with travel nurses staying on an assignment anywhere from a few weeks or months to a full year. With this in mind, travel nurse housing becomes like a cross between a hotel and a dorm room – somewhere where many amenities are taken care of and some services are offered, but where you also have plenty of responsibility and agency. To make your time living in travel nurse housing as simple and enjoyable as possible, check out these 7 facts and tips about the whole process from start to finish. With them, you’ll get a clear picture of what travel nurse housing is like, how to live, and how to make the right decisions for a great housing placement.
1. Agency Placed Housing Might Be Better Than Stipend Pay Housing
Travel nurse housing usually comes down to two housing options: agency arranged housing and stipend pay housing. Agency arranged housing is set up by your travel nursing agency while stipend pay housing happens when the travel nurse is given a stipend to make their own housing arrangements. While stipend pay housing gives you much more flexibility and choice in where you decide to settle and live, agency arranged housing takes out much of the guesswork and headache of finding a viable place to live in your new city or town.
Agency placed housing is considered the better option because it takes one task off your hands and can help travel nurses feel less overwhelmed when starting a new assignment. What’s more, agency arranged housing still gives you some choice. The agency often offers you 2-3 housing options to choose from so you still get to find a home that works for you and your needs. It is important to note, however, that placements are most often options that are most convenient (and cheapest) for your agency. This is because the housing leases are usually short-term, the agency will rent you a furniture package, pay for your utilities, and even provide you with housewares like linens and dishes for an extra fee. One drawback of this option is that there isn’t much planning time – assignments are often made anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 days before your start date, which can be stressful for some. However, when you finally do get your assignment, you’re walking into a home that’s ready to be lived in.
2. But Stipend Pay Housing Has Its Perks
While agency arranged housing might be the better option for some travel nurses, some seasoned nurses may prefer to pick their own housing as they become more experienced in city and state-hopping. This option is best for those able to handle the extra hassle of searching for a place to live as well as those who desire a bit more flexibility in their assignments. One drawback of stipend pay housing is that the dollar amount will differ based on your job location and specific contract, which can make it hard to plan. The amount your agency quotes you reflects a monthly rate that is usually broken down and paid out to you on a weekly basis in your overall paycheck. If you want extras such as a washer and dryer, cable and internet (in some cases), and other luxuries, you will have to pay for those yourself.
The biggest obstacle of stipend pay housing may also be it’s biggest draw: searching for a home within your budget that works with your time frame. Luckily, you have tons of options to choose from when you begin your search. You can search online, find a directory with your agency, or look through Facebook Groups specifically for travel nurse housing. Stipend pay housing also means that you have plenty of time to get settled in because the 2-week or 2-day notice is no longer an aspect of the process, giving you the space to do things at your own pace.
3. You Might Dislike Your Housing But You Can Do Something About It
Now back to agency arranged housing: what if you don’t like what your agency has picked for you? Fortunately, you can do something about a housing assignment that you just can’t stand. If you find your new home is too small for your needs, in a bad neighborhood, has mold or an infestation, or otherwise not what you expected, you can contact your agency and let them know your concerns. In most cases, your agency will look into your concerns and fix the problem if they find it is truly unacceptable and the space unliveable.
4. You Should Always Digitally Document Move-In Day
When moving into your housing assignment, always document the process. Take pictures of any issues within the house – peeling paint, stains, rips and tears, holes, structural issues, and more. This gives you proof that certain things were that way when you moved in as well as allows you to request repairs and maintenance. If you move in and say nothing about a certain problem, chances are that the landlord may assume you did it yourself when you move out or finally complain about it.
5. Treat Your Housing Assignment Like a Hotel
Even though you’re going to be living in this home for up to a year, you must remember that someone else will likely use the space after you and that it is NOT yours. This means that you should treat the space like a home, within reason. Be careful if you have children or pets living with you, be clean, and be safe. You don’t want to have pay for damages or cause problems for your agency by treating the space like your own to use and abuse. Be smart and courteous!
6. Not All Travel Nurse Housing is Pet-Friendly, So Plan Accordingly
Many travel nurse housing options are pet-friendly, but many are not. If you have a pet that you need to have by you (like a support or service animal), make sure that you are vocal about this addition so that your agency and future landlord know what to expect. Chances are you will find a housing assignment that allows pets, but you should make a point to be as open possible about any special additions you might have coming to live with you.
7. Leave Your House the Way You Found It (Or Better)
This should go without saying, but when your assignment is over and you’re moving on to the next place, you want to leave your temporary home the way you found it or better. Clean up after yourself, take care of accidents when they occur, don’t change the interior or the furniture too much (and if you do, put it back to how it was before). Again, someone else is going to make this space their home, so you want to leave the space in the best condition you can once you leave it. This also makes your agency look good, makes you look good as a tenant, and shows consideration for others!
These 7 facts and tips should help make the process of finding and living in a travel nurse housing unit a bit simpler and easier to handle when the time comes. We hope that as you move from place to place, you’ll remember this list and apply what you’ve learned each time! Happy working!