Congrats traveler! You got a job as a travel nurse or travel therapist! Now you need to decide where you are going to live for the next three months. Finding short-term housing for a 13-week travel assignment can seem overwhelming.
Typically, for a travel assignment, you can do housing one of two ways:
1. Have your company handle housing. This means that you would receive less money weekly from your paycheck because some money would be allocated towards housing costs. Your company would decide where you live and booking your accommodations. However, you would have no upfront housing costs and would not have to sign a lease, run a credit check or find housing yourself.
2. Take a housing stipend (bigger weekly paycheck) and find housing yourself. While this is more work on your end, it offers greater flexibility to determine where you live. It also gives you the option to spend more or less on housing than your company would. Whether you are minimalistic or a luxury seeker, this options allows for more flexibility to find what you want.
If you chose to find your own housing you may be thinking, “Now what, where do I find an apartment for 3 months?” Here are some places and websites to find short-term housing. When using these methods, especially internet sites, I highly recommend to be very aware of scams and misrepresentations. When searching for an apartment in a new city, sometimes the best thing to do is rent a hotel room for the first week of your contract. That gives you time to view listings in person versus trying to book something online without ever seeing it.
Remember when you used to post an add on a bulletin board or in a newspaper to find a roommate or rent an apartment? Craigslist is a worldwide bulletin board of apartment ads and roommate searches. You can use Craigslist to find an apartment, sublet, or a shared place with roommates. It is a wealth of listings, just beware of scammers and use the advice given above to avoid being scammed.
Other Apartment Listing Websites:
Furnished Finders specializes in providing housing for travel nurses and traveling therapists at no fee to you. You start by submitting a request for Furnished Finders to match you with housing in your specified area. You can also search their data base for properties and reach out to hosts directly.
Airbnb is a website of people renting out their houses, apartments, rooms, tree houses, boats, you name it, to guests. This is a great place to find a short-term rental because the rooms rent like hotel rooms versus doing long term contracts. While some Airbnb owners prefer to rent out their places daily or weekly, others will rent monthly and may have a monthly rate. Unlike Craigslist and other search engines, hosts and properties on Airbnb are reviewed by renters and are shared with the listing. To find out if a host will do a monthly rate or three-month rate, it is best to message them and ask.
Contact local realtors/agents
Not every landlord is going to list their place online. Local agents and realtors may know rentals that are not listed online. Ask in advance about any broker or agent fees that you may have to pay and if they can be passed onto the owner of the property.
Long-Term Stay Hotels
There are hotels that cater to long-term travelers and offer studios and even one bedroom units with kitchenettes. Extended Stay America (save up to 40% with code MF8TT), Homewood Suites and several chains by Marriott all offer extended stay units. When booking a room, do not book a daily rate! Looks for long-term stay rates online or by calling the hotel manager directly to inquire about a long-term rate. There are many benefits to staying in a long-term stay hotel. Often they will accept pets, have daily or weekly housekeeping service and free breakfast, coffee and snacks. Sometimes they may have a gym. You may also be eligible to receive hotel chain points for your stays, if the hotel has a loyalty point program. You can then use these points to book free stays in the future.
The struggle is real to pay bills as a healthcare professional. I have found many therapists and nurses rent rooms to travelers, especially in places that get a constant flow of temporary staff. While living with a co-worker may not be your ideal, it is worth looking into. I have called managers, after accepting positions, to ask if anybody on staff rents to travelers.
Last but not least: Facebook! Facebook has been my #1 way to secure housing as a traveler. I use Facebook in two ways. First, I ask my direct network of friends if they have any connections to housing in [insert place that I am traveling too]. Given that I have a large network of friends and co-workers; this alone is usually enough for me to find something. However, if that does not work, I also turn to online forums for healthcare travelers to find housing. Groups such Travel Nurse Housing: The Gypsy Nurse and Travel Nursing: Rooms/Places for Rent have members that include landlords and travelers, so you can connect on both ends. The members of these forums are also familiar with the travel nursing industry, so there is a greater understanding from both ends.
Short-term housing can be a significant challenge as a healthcare traveler. If you select to take company sponsored housing, you may make less money than if you find your own place. However, finding your own place can be a difficult task. The internet has many helpful options for short-term housing. Utilize your network of co-workers, friends and peers to your advantage. Take a deep breath and relax while you do the search and decide on options.
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