Travel nurses move around a lot so for many their housing is a top priority when choosing assignments, while for others not as much. For example, a husband and wife traveling together may want to stay in places that are homey and comfortable. On the other hand, a single, younger person might not care as much about where they are sleeping so long as they’re paid well. So what are the available travel nurse housing options?
Travel Nurse Housing Options
In general, there are two travel nurse housing options: the first is stipend pay, in this option you are given a stipend and you make your own arrangements for housing, the second is agency placement, which is when the agency you are working with finds housing for you.
Neither option is necessarily better over the other, it is really more about personal preference. Some people prefer the stipend because it gives them more control, while others prefer the agency placement because then they don’t have to worry about setting anything up.
First Time as Travel Nurse
It is recommended however, if you are a first time travel nurse to use the agency placement. Your first assignment is going to be overwhelming enough as it is without adding more things to your to do list.
You have to make sure that you have filled out all the proper paperwork. Next, you will have to learn how the hospital your assignment is at does things. And you will also be adjusting to a new location, new people and possibly being away from family and friends.
Stipend for Housing
Due to different costs of living in different parts of the country the stipend amount is different in every location and with different contracts. You will typically be quoted a monthly rate, which will be paid to you on a weekly basis, in your paycheck. Choosing this option makes you solely responsible for picking out your own housing, booking it and paying for it, along with any expenses, like utilities.
Some travel nurses use their stipend to rent a vacation home. Usually these are fully furnished, they will include utilities and possibly Internet and cable. You will want to inquire to be sure that all the housewares are included. The nice part about going this route is all you need are your close and off you go.
Other travel nurses rent what would be considered a standard apartment/house and then they either bring their own furniture or rent furniture. While others travel via RV which could potentially save you quite a bit of money, because you arty have everything with you and all you need are the necessary hookups, for water and electricity.
Issues with Stipends
One of the issues with choosing to go with stipends is that you might receive $1500, however the housing you’re looking at costs $2000 per month. You will now have to dip into your paycheck to cover that other $500.
Another big issue is being able to find a place that will allow you to rent for just three months. Most places require first and last month’s rent and some type of deposit. Unless you have a pretty hefty savings account that might be difficult to do.
A third issue is the risk you take by going with the stipend option. There is a possibility of the assignment being canceled. You could be wrapping up an assignment in one location, already knowing where you’re going in three weeks so you set up housing for the next location. A few days before you wrap up the assignment you are on you get a phone call saying the other one has been canceled. You’ve already sent in the down payment and usually there are no refunds.
Agency Placement Housing
Of the two options this one is the most commonly chosen by travel nurses because it takes one more thing off their plates. When you’re moving around every 8 to 12 weeks making a bunch of phone calls to find housing can be a pain. The agency usually has housing options that will allow for short-term leases, furniture packages, they may even pay for utilities and can get you dishes and linens, etc. for minimal fee.
Issues with Agency Placement
The issue with agency placement is that your basically stuck with whatever they offer you. Although you will usually get two or three options they are going to be picking locations that are both available and the most inexpensive. So although you can make a request there is no guarantee that the agency will give you that housing assignment.
Housing options are an important part of any travel nurse’s package. It is important to know which option you prefer, stipend or agency placement, before you start negotiating with an agency. You will also need to know whether you’ll need furniture, housewares, etc. if this is your first travel nurse assignment it might be a good idea to go with agency placement. However, if you’ve been doing this a while you probably already know what’s important to you in terms of housing, pay, etc.