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The Ultimate Guide to Finding Housing As a Travel Nurse

The Ultimate Guide to Finding Housing as a Travel Nurse

If you’re new to travel nursing and curious to know how housing works, you’ve come to the right place! As a travel nurse, finding housing can be a daunting task. When considering assignments you’ll to think about your budget, the location of the hospital, and your lifestyle preferences.

Knowing what kind of accommodation you want makes it easier to start your search. Do you want your own place, or are you open to living with roommates?  Are you looking for an apartment, a house, or a condo? 

Black nurse standing outside hospital ward

In this article we’ll outline all the different options available to you when it comes to finding a place to stay. We’ll also give you tips on making the process as easy as possible as well as options for taking your nursing career abroad. So, whether you’re just starting your travel nursing career or looking for a change, read on for the best advice on finding housing as a travel nurse!

How do travel nurses get housing?

In the excitement leading up to a first or new travel gig, nurses might overlook one of the critical elements of the assignment—where to live. So what’s the first thing a travel RN needs to consider when nailing down where they’re going to live? Their recruiter.

Think about this for a sec. You’re an excited travel nurse ready to pack up and head to Eugene, or LA, or Dallas, and even more stoked to hear about the type of unit you’ll be working on. Your mind is filled with possibilities and all the new places you’ll get to experience. So, in addition to the contract details like rate of pay, shifts per week, etc., your recruiter should be looking for housing options. Not only that, but your recruiter should be presenting housing options for you each time they offer a contract.

woman typing on laptop

The bottom line is it boils down to a couple of options:

  • Option 1: let the agency find housing for you.
  • Option 2: take the stipend and figure out housing for yourself.

And that segues nicely into the next topic of what is a stipend.

How much do travel nurses get for housing?

If you’re on a tight budget, one of the best ways to save money is by finding a travel nursing agency that offers housing stipends. You may be wondering what a stipend is. In its simplest terms, a housing stipend is money that a staffing company gives to the travel nurse to cover housing costs. This is often also referred to as a “housing reimbursement.”

Many agencies will offer a certain amount of money per week or month to help cover the cost of your rent. This can be a great way to save money, especially if you’re planning on staying in one place for an extended period.

How much the travel nurse receives is a question that every travel RN should be asking their recruiter before signing the contract. The biggest reason is that the amount you get depends on several factors such as the time of year and your nursing location. For example, taking a gig in Florida during the winter months means housing is tight (think snowbirds) and more expensive. Hence the working RN may receive a higher stipend.

Speaking from the vantage point of a travel nurse and an agency owner, I can share that housing stipends have been in the range of $700 up to $5k per month. That’s why it’s so important to clarify that upfront in writing.

The top sites to find housing as a travel nurse?

Regardless of whether a travel nurse takes a stipend or opts to let the agency find housing, you still need to know where to look. Family may say scope Facebook. Friends may direct you to Craigslist. But traveling to new locales, new cities in new environments, I’d say, takes an extra level of vigilance and trust. After all, your safety should be the #1 concern of you and your recruiter.

Here are five top places to go searching for housing you can trust.

  1. FurnishedFinder.com. Arguably the #1 site to go to these days for travel nurses. Furnished Finder is used by well over one hundred companies and has served 1,000’s of travel RNs.

  2. Airbnb. A perennial favorite for the vast number of choices across the US. Airbnb isn’t just for families looking for a getaway; it’s now hugely popular with 13-week gig travel nurses and the travel nurse industry.

  3. VRBO. Vacation Rental By Owner, VRBO is another excellent alternative. Trusted and vetted housing options across the country. 

  4. Landing. With fully furnished units all over, Landing is the real deal. Plus, their “Peace of Mind” guarantee sets them apart and assures that the travel nurse is 100% satisfied, or they move you! 

  5. Friends and family. Take the stipend, and live with folks you already know, like, and trust. Staying with friends and fam is always an excellent option for some travel nurses.

Which places are in high demand for travel nurses? 

The options here are frankly endless. While some cities have more travel nurses than others, others have slightly less demand but higher pay. Then, of course, one must consider the specialty. There may be a high demand for ER nurses in Santa Fe, New Mexico, but a low need for traveling rehab nurses there. 

los angeles

So, in the spirit of not confusing you, my potential travel nurse neophyte, I’ll share the top five states that currently have a wicked high need for travel RNs regardless of the specialty.

  1. Alaska
  2. California
  3. Texas
  4. New York
  5. Florida

Year after year, these five states may swap places, but for the most part this is where the demand is the highest. Digging one level deeper, there are a few select cities within each state where traveling RNs are needed most.

In Alaska, for instance, Anchorage always has needs. California can count on the greater LA area and up north in the San Francisco Bay area. Texas fluctuates in the top five with traveler needs in San Antonio and Houston. And that brings us to numbers four and five. New York City never seems to run low on travel RN needs. In Florida, an experienced RN can find contracts in almost every major city at any given time.

As a reminder, these high-need, high-volume areas fluctuate depending on the season and also depending on specialty. Be sure to go into any potential contract armed with lots of current info and a great recruiter who has your back. 

The options for travel nursing abroad

Believe it or not, there is also a great need for U.S.-based nurses to travel and work abroad. For example, ocean liners, river cruise ships, and expeditionary vessels require medical personnel. Generally speaking, they’ll almost always need RNs while they’re underway. While some of these liners are right here in the U.S., there are lots (and I mean lots!) of vessels that are based all over the world.

And that brings us to yet another option for working as a nurse abroad—the government. If you are a licensed RN in the U.S., the U.S. Government has needs across the globe. These are usually in conjunction with military hospitals and/or federal facilities. For example, as I write this article, there are needs for OR (operating room) nurses at a facility in England.

All it takes is a little courage to want to leave the country for a while and know where to search for these types of travel gigs.

medical tourism concept airplane and stethoscope

But that’s not all there is. One final place to work abroad is through NGO or humanitarian missions. At any given time, you might turn on the news and see an economically developing nation or even an area in conflict. And what do they need in addition to monetary aid? Yep, you guessed it…healthcare. Several organizations have ongoing missions and a presence in countries in Europe, the Middle East, Central and South America, and almost everywhere in between. 

The final word on travel nurse housing

Whether you’re just starting out in your travel nursing career or looking for a change, I hope this article has your wheels turning. Finding travel nursing gigs and housing, both here and abroad, doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful. With some guidance and some insider tips, you’ll be on your way to securing the perfect assignment and home in no time.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start exploring the world of travel nursing!

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