Travel Nurse Housing: Your Comprehensive Guide
So, you’re a travel nurse and just received your latest travel assignment. You’re excited to explore your new city and dive headfirst into your new gig, but first, you need to figure out where you’re going to live.
This is no easy feat! Because of the short-term nature of travel nursing assignments, it can be difficult to lock down housing that is in the right location, at the right price, and with the right level of flexibility to jive with your unique working arrangement. Finding a place to lay your head down after a long shift is one thing, but ensuring it’s a pleasant home that makes your experience in a new city a positive one is quite another hurdle entirely.
Fortunately, there are ways that you can make finding housing far easier. Whether you’re a nursing newbie or a seasoned veteran looking for a better way to rent, here is our guide to navigating travel nurse housing:
Types of travel nurse housing
One major benefit of the travel nursing profession is that your housing costs are covered by your employer. Score! However, the ways in which you can take advantage of this benefit do differ.
In general, there are two ways you can acquire housing after receiving your new travel nursing assignment:
- Agency-placed housing
- Stipend pay housing
Here, we’ll break down the differences between these two types of housing, what is included in each, and the benefits and drawbacks of each:
1. Agency-placed housing for travel nurses
Travel nurses can get their new home arranged for them by a staffing agency, meaning the heavy lifting of finding a home is placed on the professionals, not you. These corporate apartments will most often come fully furnished and with all the amenities you need to start your new life.
It is common for a staffing agency to have a long lease with the complex, which means the other healthcare professionals have lived in the space before you, and will fill your spot when you leave. In most cases, your agency will cover utilities costs such as heat, hot water, and gas. You may have to pay out of pocket for cable and internet, though this can vary.
One drawback to agency-placed housing is that it can be a bit of a gamble. While many agencies will give you a handful of options to choose from at the outset, you may not be guaranteed your first choice. Where you end up will ultimately depend on availability and cost. If you’re moving to a city that’s popular among travel nurses, availability for travelers can also be a challenge.
If you’re a first-time travel nurse, you may want to consider taking advantage of this type of housing. You’ll be able to spend your time and energy getting ready for your new job, instead of digging through Google in search of a place to live. You’ll also get a good idea of what criteria you want to use in your future assignments, when you’ll be better prepared to strike out on your own. Additionally, since other travelers will be using corporate housing, you’ll have a built-in community of people to socialize with nearby!
This option is also a good idea if you’re headed to a new location at the very last minute and need to find a place to live quickly.
2. Stipend pay for travel nurses
You can also find your own home and pay for it using a tax-free travel nurse housing stipend from your employer. The main benefit here is having more freedom to make your own arrangements and choose a place that works specifically for you.
The amount your stipend covers will vary depending on where you are working. In cities where the cost of living is high, you’ll receive a corresponding sum to cover your housing costs—alternatively, in less expensive cities, you may not receive as much money. The good news is that no matter what your monthly rent winds up being, your stipend stays the same—so, if you find a place that’s cheaper than your monthly allotment, you get to keep the difference. Not too shabby!
You will usually be paid out on a weekly or biweekly basis as part of your paycheck, so be sure you check with your employer ahead of time so that you’ll be able to cover your expenses. Most agencies will offer between $2,000 and $3,000 per month, depending on where you work.
Being able to choose your own place is an amazing perk, but it does come with a lot more work ahead of time to find housing that will suit your needs. Keep reading to learn more about different types of temporary housing and how to go about finding available spots.
Breaking down travel nurse housing options
Travel nurse housing can come in many forms, though there are a few key boxes your new home should check, including:
- Flexible lease terms
Here are some common types of housing to consider:
Hotels and motels
Some nurses opt to stay in a hotel or motel to have more independence. Staying in a hotel may help you feel like you’re on vacation because you’ll have access to hotel amenities, such as pools and fitness centers. You may also prefer staying in a motel room with a kitchenette so you can prepare some of your meals and reduce your food costs.
Hotels and motels are also common if you’re responding to a nursing shortage in a particular city that doesn’t have agency housing.
If you do opt for an extended stay in a hotel and are working a night shift, be sure that you have an arrangement with housekeeping so that they don’t bother you while you’re trying to get in some well-needed sleep.
Bed and breakfasts
Some bed and breakfast proprietors may welcome nurses who need short-term accommodations. You can choose to stay in a bed and breakfast if agency accommodations aren’t available and you want something a little more personal than a hotel or motel. Bed and breakfasts are typically family-run establishments in which a couple or family welcome guests into their home. Guests rent a room and receive breakfast in the mornings.
Bed and breakfast options may not be feasible if you’re working the night shift or are searching for housing during peak tourism months.
Travel nurses may also choose to live in a vacation rental such as Airbnb or VRBO long-term. These homes are typically outfitted with basic amenities, but you should confirm what you’ll need to bring with you ahead of time. You’ll also need to be sure that your rental is available for the months you’ll be in town, as long-term stays can be harder to nail down with more traditional vacation rental options.
Furnished apartments with short-term leases
Companies like Landing offer fully furnished apartments with flexible leases that make it easy to stay in town for the exact duration of your travel assignment. Each Landing is also outfitted with everything you need to start living in your brand-new home, from high-end furnishings and tableware to plush towels and toiletries.
While traditional apartments require you to sign a yearlong lease that can be difficult to wriggle out of, the Landing apartment subscription service offers flexible lease terms, with no lease break fees or subletters required.
Landing’s network includes furnished rentals in over 375 U.S. cities, which means that you’ll be able to stay within the network no matter where your next travel assignment brings you.
Travel nurses can also choose to rent a traditional apartment—but this can be risky. For one, if you become locked in a yearlong lease, you’ll have to find a subletter or pay a fee to get out of your contract. Additionally, most traditional apartments come unfurnished, so you’ll have to pay to outfit it furniture—and figure out a way to move that furniture to your next assignment.
If you do decide to rent a more traditional place, be up front with your landlord about your profession and see if there is any way to work out a specialized lease to match your circumstances.
As mentioned above, you can rent an apartment through your travel nurse agency. These apartments will typically come furnished, with common housewares and utilities included. This is a very straightforward way to acquire housing, as someone else will be doing the hard work of tracking down a place for you, but you will have little control over where you end up.
Questions to ask when finding travel nurse housing
To make sure your new living situation perfectly fits your needs, be sure to answer the following questions:
- Will I be able to live here for the duration of my assignment? Make sure that you will be able to stay in your new home for as long as you need, and that you won’t be kicked out early to accommodate other renters. It should go without saying that locking yourself into a half-year or a year-long lease should be a non-starter. Naturally, this can make it harder to find a spot that meets your budget and housing needs, since most housing relies on longer-term contracts.
- Is there a place to park my car? If you plan on bringing a car with you, make sure that your place has parking nearby, whether it’s onsite or on the street. Having a dedicated parking spot can also save you precious time circling the block if you’re returning home from the hospital at odd hours.
- Is my new place close enough to work? The last thing you want to do when headed to and from a long shift is sit in traffic trying to get across town. Make sure your new home is easy to access via a car or public transportation. Or, better yet, try to find someplace walkable so you don’t have to worry about paying to park at the hospital or finding parking at the end of the day.
- What appliances and furniture are included? You only have a set amount of space in your suitcase, so don’t waste it with frying pans! Make sure that your new home has everything you need for your daily activities.
- What amenities are included? Some apartments include top-tier amenities like pools and fitness centers, which can be a great way to blow off some steam after a long shift. This also means you’ll have a place to work out without having to commit to a gym membership in town.
- Will you feel safe in your new neighborhood? Do your research ahead of time to gauge the safety of your new home and see what other travel nurses have said about the area. Key fobs and gated communities are also a good sign that an apartment complex takes security seriously.
- How will I pay my rent? Different leasing companies have different ways of accepting rent payments. If you can find a company that lets you pay online, you won’t have to waste time and energy getting a check in the mail or taking out large sums of cash.
Why travel nurses love living with Landing
If you’re looking for housing in your new city, be sure to consider Landing, which has a network of fully furnished apartments throughout the U.S. and flexible lease terms that make it easy to move between travel nursing assignments.
But don’t just take our word for it! Megan Mueller, a travel nurse in Dallas, said she has had a great experience with Landing—and is planning on using it again when she takes her next assignment in Nashville.
“All I had to do was pack up my car with some clothes and a few other random items, and Landing had everything else—towels, dishwasher pods, a Keurig, you name it,” she said. “It has all the appliances I need for daily life, and my apartment also has a nice balcony, grill area, and a gym.”
This sentiment was echoed by Natalie Unger, a travel nurse out of Houston, Texas.
“Landing really included anything and everything I needed when I moved in (which meant I didn’t have to go to Target after driving for 10 hours!). It really made my life so much easier,” she said. “I would recommend Landing to anybody looking for short-term rentals and furnished places.”