6 TIPS FOR STARTING A TRAVEL NURSING ASSIGNMENT BEFORE SECURING HOUSING
One of the most challenging parts of travel nursing for many new and experienced nurses is securing quality housing before starting a new assignment. Ideally, we’d always recommend to our travel nurses to leverage our Housing Department, to find housing, before they depart for their next location. However, in some cases, travel nurses may not be able to find a place to live until after their assignment has begun.
This situation can create a lot of stress, and it’s definitely not ideal. To help, we’ve put together some travel nursing housing tips to ease any anxiety surrounding this situation and help you figure out what you can do to find a place to live.
What Happens When Your Assignment Starts Before You Have Housing Set Up?
While finding housing as a travel nurse before you leave for your next travel nursing assignment is best, it’s possible for these things to not always go as planned. The idea may sound daunting: your suitcase is packed, and you hit the road, but when you arrive at your destination, you have nowhere to stay.
First of all, take a deep breath. Try not to panic. It may seem like an overwhelming and frightening situation, but you are definitely not the first travel nurse to experience it. Additionally, there are many short-term solutions to explore so you at least have a roof over your head and a bed to sleep in.
The first step you should take is to find a place to temporarily live until you’re able to land something more permanent.
6 Tips for Travel Nurses Without Housing
Not having a place to stay is far from being a best-case scenario, but there are ways to find a solution—even if it’s temporary. Some travel nurses even wait to find housing until they reach their next location to explore the area and see where they would be comfortable living.
Take these tips into consideration if you find yourself without a home when starting your next travel nursing assignment.
1. Contact Your Staffing Agency
Most importantly, consider finding housing through your travel nursing agency. Typically, we’d recommend you start here, as most agencies that handle housing, already have partnerships and steep discounts at hotels chains across the country. Not to mention a database full of options in any city they are staffing in. If you find yourself in a situation where your travel nursing assignment has begun, and you don’t have a place to live, you should ensure your recruiter is aware as soon as possible, or not even let it get to that point, if you can help it. Agencies are here to help, so you can focus on the work, not the other logistics. Bluntly, It’s what they do. That’s the true value of a great agency, helping you with all of the other stuff involved with accepting an assignment out of state.
2. Stay at a Hotel Temporarily
Extended stay hotels are a great option for traveling nurses because they offer long-term stays of usually 30 days or more for a discounted rate. If you’re planning on staying at a hotel short-term until you find housing that’s more ideal for you, you may be able to negotiate a deal directly with the manager to get the best price.
With lower nightly fees, extended stay hotels are ideal for those looking for temporary housing, or they can be used as a housing solution for the entirety of your assignment. Extended stay hotels also offer many amenities included with your nightly rate, such as:
- Free breakfast and dinners served a few nights a week
- Housekeeping, cleaning, and fresh linens
- Personal kitchenettes in each room
- Free wi-fi
- Fitness centers
- Swimming pool and hot tub
Unlike renting an apartment, extended stay hotels are (sometimes) more flexible if you need to cancel part of your booking, like if you find another place to stay part of the way into your assignment (Eg, after 28 nights, they can refund). This is why many opt for this travel nursing housing option. Or again, lean on us to help you with all of these details.
3. Check Vacation Rentals
Sites like VRBO, Airbnb or even more common in the industry, Furnished Finder, can be valuable resources for finding short-term housing. There are many vacation rental options for bedrooms, square footage, and location. You can decide what size is best for you, as well as where in town you’d like to live.
The only downside to vacation rentals is it may be hard to find one that’s willing to host you for an entire 13-week travel nursing assignment. Most rentals are booked online ahead of time. Therefore, vacation rentals are great short-term solutions to consider as you search for more permanent housing elsewhere.
4. Beware of Offers that Are Too Good to Be True
When panic hits, you may be tempted to believe the first seemingly great housing listing at the perfect price. But be aware; many offers that sound too good to be true usually are.
Unfortunately, many travel nurses in the past have been tricked into what appears to be an amazing deal when it’s not, especially when utilizing Craigslist. We generally recommend not using sites like these since many offers are scams or illegitimate.
While there can be legitimate housing options for travel nurses on Craigslist, always do as much research as possible and be extremely careful. You’ll want to ensure the housing listing and pricing are accurate to avoid being scammed or put in danger. For that reason, we’d typically say avoid this option is in your best interest, or at the very least visit the property before giving any payment, to avoid being scammed.
5. Find a Roommate or Live with Friends or Family
Some travel nurses may choose their next assignment location closer to family members or friends. One of the many benefits of travel nursing is taking advantage of time with people you may not normally see. If you are working nearby where they live, you may even consider living with them temporarily until you find other housing—or even permanently for the entirety of your assignment.
You can also choose to live with a roommate, such as another fellow traveler. This is a great way to keep your living costs down and make new friends, while also being around someone who understands your work. You can talk with your recruiter to see if they have any recommendations for other travel nurses looking for a place to stay, or try asking around at work. You may even find someone who already has a place and is looking for a roommate for themselves.
While living with family or roommates means you won’t have your own place, it offers many great perks. Not only do you have someone to spend quality time with or even explore where you’re living, but you also save a lot of money.
6. Start Looking for a Place to Stay More Long-Term
Once you land somewhere to live temporarily, you’ll want to start looking for a place to stay long-term as soon as possible. Try using the network of people you know at work, or talk with your recruiter, to figure out a more permanent living scenario. Other resources, like Facebook groups, are great places to find information about places to rent or even find roommates.
You may even decide to stay in your temporary living scenario if it’s ideal enough for you. Some travel nurses choose to stay in extended stay hotels or with friends and family during the entirety of their assignment rather than seeking out somewhere else.
If your travel nursing agency doesn’t offer agency-placed housing, they typically pay you a stipend to cover living expenses. Before you leave for a travel nursing assignment, it’s best to understand the housing benefits offered by your agency so you can find the most ideal living situation for you.
…and again, leverage your agency’s Housing Department. It’s literally what they are there for. And they have all the legwork of options, costs/ discounts and availability for most cities already done. Or will gladly do it for you.
How OneStaff Medical Can Help You
Travel nursing agencies like OneStaff Medical are here for all travel nurses who find themselves without housing on arrival to their new assignment. OneStaff offers private housing for all travel nurses if they choose to stay in the options provided, or stipend payments for nurses who prefer to find housing accommodations on their own. Either way, we can help streamline your options and offer suggestions.
Our travel nursing staffing agency is very flexible when it comes to housing accommodations, and we want each nurse involved in the decision to ensure they are satisfied. To learn more information or start your career as a travel nurse, contact us today at 877-783-1483.