TRAVEL NURSE INSIGHTS | SHOULD I CHOOSE AGENCY-PROVIDED HOUSING OR THE HOUSING STIPEND?
One of the many benefits of becoming a traveling nurse is the housing options available to you. Your travel nursing agency will want to make sure your next assignment goes as smooth as possible. Our goal here at OneStaff Medical is to do everything in our power, to allow you to go on assignments…”your own way” (which includes choosing housing in any way you prefer, and simply being here to offer our insights if that’s all you need and want).
The housing option that’s right for you can depend on many factors, including where you want to live and what type of housing you prefer. Before deciding on one option over the other, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of each.
What Are Your Housing Options as a Travel Nurse?
Although it may not seem like it, several housing options are available for traveling nurses. It can be difficult for many nurses to find housing they are satisfied with; in fact, poor housing can often be a dealbreaker for certain nurses, and they may decide not to take an assignment because of it.
Agency-provided housing can be an easy way to obtain lodging in a short amount of time, since all the grunt work of finding the housing is done for you. On the other hand, some travel nurses may want more options regarding their living situation. This gives them the flexibility to choose what type of place they choose to live. Either way, our Housing Department is here to offer any insight we can, and to help you decide what works best for you. It’s one perk of working with any great agency. One less thing for you to worry about.
Whether you opt for a furnished apartment or home, or you decide to bring your RV along with you, the housing possibilities are endless.
Agency-provided lodging is the first option that travel nurses can consider when finding housing for their next assignment. In this scenario, your travel nursing agency will provide housing for you. This can be a great option for travel nurses who want to avoid the hassle of digging through options of finding their own housing. Our Housing department has already done all the leg work, and often, we have ongoing partnerships (AKA discounts) in place for those places!
If you're interested in pursuing agency-provided lodging, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, not all agencies offer this option. You'll need to check with your specific agency to see if they provide agency-provided lodging.
If they do provide lodging, they usually offer a few different options. Extended stay hotels are the most common arrangements provided by an agency, while others may use traditional motels or hotels. Some agencies may be flexible in letting you choose what you prefer, while others may only offer one or two options. Keep in mind, your housing options will also be subject to the current availability of the accommodations the agency provides.
Finally, you’ll want to make sure you have a comfortable place to stay and that you are satisfied with the housing arrangement that’s provided to you. Agency-provided lodging is not for everyone, so it's important to make sure it's a good fit for you before committing to what they offer. Most agencies have vetted out locations and will try to place you in a safe neighborhood close to your work facility. Again, the theme there is those Housing gurus doing their leg work to help streamline this process for you. Other options are always the well-known, and industry-respected, Furnished Finder. Or perhaps other longer-term rental options you’d need to vet out on your own.
Keep in mind, too, that some agencies will adjust your pay based on housing prices. If the cost of your living arrangement exceeds the company’s budget, they may reduce your pay to cover any additional costs.
Either way, agency-placed lodging can be both an affordable and hassle-free housing option for your next travel nursing assignment. You’ll want to evaluate all housing options provided by your agency on a case-by-case basis before committing to anything. It’s also wise to do your research and ask your agency plenty of questions to ensure your living arrangements will be up to par.
Nurses new to traveling may be wondering how a housing stipend works and the advantages of choosing your own living arrangements over ones that are agency-provided. One of the greatest advantages of using a housing stipend is having the flexibility to pick where you want to live, since your agency will give you a weekly stipend to use towards housing rather than assigning living arrangements to you.
If you prefer a more traditional living arrangement, there are plenty of furnished apartments and homes available for rent. These rentals typically come with all the furniture and appliances you need, so you don’t have to worry about furnishing the place yourself. Renting an apartment or home can be a bit more expensive than other living options, but it can be worth it if you want a more permanent place to call home.
There are also several extended-stay hotels and motels that offer discounts to travel nurses (we’d suggest having your recruiter reach out to our Housing Department to secure the rate codes for the chains we partner with! They may have negotiated rate for hotels in the area). These accommodations can be a great option if you need a place to stay for a short period of time. However, they may not have all the amenities that you need, so be sure to check before you book your stay.
Another BIG BONUS of working with OneStaff, is that we also provide all of our travelers a one-year AAA membership, upon onboarding for their first assignment. Sure, that helps on the road trip to your assignment, should you get a flat, BUT did you know that AAA also offers hotel discounts? (as well as entertainment, gas and rental cars) They sure do! Now, this hotel discount may not be available to use until you’ve done an assignment with us and have the perk, but if you are a returning OneStaff traveler, and prefer booking your own stays, always check out the AAA hotel discounts resource (here).
More info on OneStaff’s TravelOSM (AAA benefits), and how they can be of huge value in many ways while your travel nursing, can also be found here.
Finally, RV living is a popular option for many travel nurses. It allows you the freedom to move around as you please, and most RVs come equipped with all the amenities you need, including kitchens and bathrooms. RV living can feel a little different than other housing options, and you’ll have to find a place to park it during your assignment. Still, it can be well worth it if you enjoy the outdoors and the flexibility it provides.
Many travel nursing agencies will offer housing stipends to help offset the cost of finding housing. However, it can still be difficult to find affordable and convenient housing, especially if it’s in a location you’ve never been to before. Additionally, if you fail to secure housing before your travel nursing assignment begins, it can be incredibly stressful.
Here are some tips to consider when using a housing stipend:
- Start Your Search Early: The sooner you start looking for housing, the better. This will give you more time to find an affordable option that meets your needs.
- Look for Furnished Apartments: Many apartments that cater to travelers will offer furniture and other amenities at an additional cost. This can help you save money on your overall housing expenses.
- Compare Prices: Don't just accept the first place you find. Use your housing stipend to compare prices and find the most affordable option.
- Ask About Discounts: Many apartments and hotels offer discounts for travel nurses. Be sure to ask about any available discounts when you're making your reservation.
- Check Reviews: When you're looking for housing, it's important to read reviews from other travelers. This can help you avoid places with poor conditions or bad customer service.
How Do You Know Which Option Is Right for You?
There are many considerations to make when deciding which housing option is right for you as a travel nurse. It can be a tough decision, but ultimately, it boils down to what will make you the most comfortable and allow you to do your job to the best of your abilities. Below are some factors to keep in mind that will help you choose the best housing option for your needs.
One of the biggest concerns for many travel nurses is cost. You’ll want to consider all costs associated with each housing option before making a decision. This may include rental rates, utilities, internet, phone, television, and other incidentals.
The location of your housing is also an important consideration. You’ll want to make sure you are close to the hospital where you will be working as well as any other places you need to be on a regular basis. You also want to make sure the neighborhood is safe.
Furnished or Unfurnished
Another important consideration is whether you want your housing to be furnished or unfurnished. If you choose furnished housing, you will need to make sure that it comes with all the essentials, such as a bed, couch, television, and table. You will also want to make sure the furniture is in good condition and appropriate for the climate. If you choose unfurnished housing, you will need to bring your own furniture and household items with you, which can be a large added expense if you need to pay to have large pieces moved frequently.
Family and Pets
Some travel nurses may decide to bring family members or pets along with them on their assignments. If this is the case, you’ll want to make sure that your housing option provides enough room for a spouse or kids and is also pet-friendly.
Many travel nursing agencies will offer certain accommodations if you wish to bring family or pets along. Keep in mind, though, that your agency-based housing expenses may be higher if you have other family members or furry friends joining you.
Another important consideration is the length of the lease. Most furnished housing options will require a longer lease than unfurnished options. This is because landlords are taking on more risk by renting to someone who may only be in town for a few months. Make sure you are comfortable with the lease terms before making a decision.
Finally, you will also want to consider the amenities that are available at your housing selection. This includes features like a gym, pool, laundry facilities, and parking. You will want to make sure that the housing option has all the amenities you need in order to be comfortable.
Making the decision about which housing option is right for you as a travel nurse can be tough. However, if you keep the above factors in mind and do a little planning, you can find the perfect place to call home while you're on the road.
If you need additional information about housing options, or you’re looking to become a travel nurse for the first time, contact OneStaff Medical at 877-783-1483 or browse our current job openings.