Housing is an essential aspect of travel nursing, and it plays a massive role in the comfort level of your assignment. Most travel nurse agencies offer the choice between agency housing and a housing stipend to cover temporary lodging costs.

Choosing the stipend option allows you more freedom and flexibility regarding where you live. But it also puts you in charge of researching options and arranging short-term leases, utilities, furniture, etc.

Agency-Provided Housing

When travel nurses start a new assignment, their primary concern is usually how they will house themselves. Luckily, there are multiple options for housing while on a project. Travel nurses can choose between agency-provided housing, a stipend pay, or making their arrangements with short-term rentals.

Many travel nursing agencies provide their travelers with furnished apartment homes or extended-stay hotels. This option offers a safe and comfortable place to live without the stress of searching for housing, finding a deposit, or dealing with the landlord. Some agencies will even include utilities in their housing package! Other amenities offered in agency-provided accommodation are laundry facilities, kitchen appliances, and walkability to attractions.

Some travel nurses opt to take a stipend and then find their housing accommodations. This option allows them to select the perfect place that fits their budget and preferences. Whether they want a studio or 3-bedroom, or something pet-friendly or near the hospital, travel nurses can use websites and apps like Airbnb or Furnished Finder to make temporary housing arrangements.

The amount of a travel nurse housing stipend depends on region, facility, healthcare specialty, and demand. It is typically quoted as a weekly or monthly rate and is included in your paycheck with income taxes. This means that if you go with a stipend, you’ll have more control over your housing situation because the pay is based on the per diem rates of the location of your assignment.

Short-Term Rentals

For many travel nurses, renting a room in someone else’s home can be an excellent option for housing. It’s cheaper than agency-provided housing and allows them to avoid the hassle of furnishing a new apartment. However, it can also be risky. When dealing with private homeowners, especially those on sites like Facebook and Craigslist, travelers should always ask questions regarding pets, privacy, and the potential for scams.

While Airbnb offers a wide range of rentals, some travel nurses prefer the comforts of a full-sized home. These options are typically furnished and include kitchens, laundry facilities, and onsite parking. Some even offer free Wi-Fi, gyms, and continental grab-and-go breakfasts. Some travel nurses are willing to pay a little extra for this type of rental, but they must do their research first.

Landlords find travel nurses to be quality tenants, as they are reliable workers who usually have consistent employment and a stipend for housing. In addition, they only take up a little space and are likely to damage the property.

To attract these tenants, landlords should keep the rent below local market value and make sure it includes essential utilities. They should also consider installing security systems to give tenants peace of mind. This can go a long way in ensuring that their investment is protected.

Vacation Rentals

Whether you opt for agency-offered housing or take the housing stipend and find your place, you have plenty of options. It’s a good idea to understand both options’ tax implications and ensure your travel nurse job is located within an area with reasonable housing costs.

Many travel nurses use vacation rental websites like Airbnb or VRBO to find short-term rentals. These websites feature homes with more privacy than hotels and usually come with washers/dryers and kitchens.

However, it’s important to remember that a furnished rental can still cost you more than a hotel. You should always compare prices across sites and be wary of listings that seem too good to be true, as they most likely are.

Another option for travel nurses who want to take control of their housing situation is a serviced apartment operator such as Blueground. These apartments are explicitly marketed to travelers and have 30-50% lower rates than other serviced apartment operators. They also offer a dedicated guest app, maintenance support, and bill payment handling on demand. They are an excellent choice for travel nurses because of their flexible contracts that range from month to month.

Self-Supported Housing

Many travel nurses use their tax-free housing stipend (the M&E/housing allowance) and seek out their temporary lodgings. This gives the freedom of choosing accommodations based on personal preferences and budget while still receiving the same benefits as agency-provided housing.

Travel nurse stipends can be used for short-term rentals, extended-stay hotels/motels, and Airbnb rentals! Travel nurses can also live in group housing with other RNs, LPNs, and therapists on assignment. This allows for the cost of rent to be split in half, decreasing per-person expenses and increasing savings.

If seeking self-sponsored housing, travel nurses must be flexible and aware of current rental rates in their work area. It is also helpful to be familiar with the maximum reimbursement rate of their agency and calculate how much they will need for the duration of their contract.

Websites like Furnished Finder and Padmapper, allow travel nurses to input the city of their assignment and their maximum rental budget and search for available short-term accommodations. Other options include Facebook groups that connect travelers with fellow stipend-using nurse-owners in the local community. Additionally, adding security systems or cameras to a rental property can increase the likelihood of attracting travel nurses and decreasing costs for landlords.