So Little Time So Many Options – A Guide To Finding Housing As A Travel Nurse
You just got an assignment to work in a far flung city across the country. You are extremely excited to travel, see a new area, and meet amazing people. The only problem? You have 3 weeks before you need to start, have never been there before, and have nowhere to live! Not to worry, I’m here to help you along the way and give you some tips and recommendations on how to find housing and accommodation.
When it comes to housing as a travel nurse you have two options.
Option 1 – Let your agency deal with all of your housing for you.
Option 2 – Find your own housing.
Now one might think that option one might be best. You wouldn’t need to stress about finding a place, getting furniture, paying a lease or anything. However, I strongly advocate for option 2 – finding your own housing. This gives you much more control over the situation and greatly improves the chances that you will be more fully satisfied with your accommodations. And one of the biggest benefits is that you get to pocket an extra money from that housing stipend if you don’t use it all on your housing, whereas your agency would be the one pocketing it had you chosen option 1.
The internet and nursing forums are littered with horror stories of nurses who chose to allow their agency to arrange housing for them. Everything from being told that you would have a furnished apartment and arriving to find only an old mattress on the floor, a cheap circular table and a fold out chair. Or being told you had a private apartment and arriving to discover you have three roommates and a newborn baby to deal with. Not cool!
With a little leg work and possibly a small amount of stress you can rest assured that your living arrangements will be exactly the way you want them when you arrive, by arranging your housing on your own. There are a couple things to consider first when planning this out.
What standard of living is necessary for you to enjoy your time in this new location? Would you be ok renting a furnished room in someone else’s home? Or do you want your own private apartment? Do you want to be right in the middle of the city / town or are you ok being further from the action? These are things to consider because depending on what you want, the cost is going to go up or down.
Craigslist – While some people may be leery of craigslist, in many areas it is an excellent resource for finding housing. I have had a couple great experiences with craigslist. And it provides you with many different options and criteria. If you just want to rent a room in a house with roommates, there is an option for that! Want a full house or apartment of your own? There is an option for that! I have had several great experiences with craigslist both choosing to have roommates and my own place.
With craigslist there are a couple things you should look out for however. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t fall for any deals offering an amazing place for dirt cheap, it’s a scam. Also, never send money or bank information to anyone before seeing the place. Again, there are some scams on Craigslist advertising fake apartments in real locations fishing for people who will send a down payment without seeing it. Assuming the listing is real, you still want to see it before paying because you want to make sure it is up to the standards portrayed in the listing.
Google – What would we do without google? If you decide you want your own apartment, search for apartment complexes that are leasing in your desired area. These will often be more expensive than what you would find on craigslist but often come with more amenities and a higher quality newer living area. When contacting these apartment complexes be sure to ask for the best possible deal or if they have any special deals right now. A friend of mine recently got a great deal on a furnished 2 bedroom apartment because they were in the process of making changes to it. By taking it as is she got a great furnished apartment at a discounted price.
Rent-A-Center – If you decide you rent an apartment from an apartment building or community, you may not be able to get a fully furnished one depending upon your budget. Rent-A-Center offers some great deals on furniture and electronics which you can rent on either a weekly or monthly basis.
House Sitting – This is a new opportunity that I only recently discovered and that I will be exploring the possibilities with my next assignment. House sitting is a process where you live in someone’s home rent free while they are away possibly on vacation or business. In exchange for living their rent free, you care for their loving pet, plants, pool and yard or any combination of the above. I really like the idea of this as I have wanted to get a dog for quite a while now. But have felt that traveling so often would not be fair on my canine companion. So caring for someone else’s while I travel the world would be a great alternative!
Hotels – If you are trying to save the greatest amount of money while on your travel assignments and are ok with living very simply, an extended stay hotel is an option you may consider. You can often get a good deal with an extended stay hotel telling them you will be there for 3 months. However, this is living VERY simply. While they will provide Wi-Fi and cable your likely to have extremely sparse furnishings and minimal room. Don’t expect more than a bed, maybe a sitting chair, a small desk, an old TV and a half kitchen.
Walk Score – Walk Score is a great resource to see what is around the different locations you are considering living. It will tell you how close the location is to local restaurants, coffee shops, grocery stores, schools, parks, and more. Then it gives the location an overall score. The higher the score the more of these facilities and amenities are within easy walking distance.
I hope this information and these resources have brought your stress levels down a bit when trying to figure out where you are going to live on your upcoming Travel Nursing contract, and please feel free to ask any questions you might have below!