Free Rent? The Ins and Outs of Travel Nurse Housing
When you take a travel nursing assignment, you can look forward to a great chance to burnish your professional skills, explore new cities and make new connections.
But where will you stay? And do travel nurses really get free housing? After all, rentals have become increasingly expensive, pricing some people out of the market.
Based on data gathered from rental listings across the country in February 2023, the Zumper National Rent Report found that the national median cost for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,492 per month. On the highest end of the scale, cities such as New York, San Francisco, Boston and Miami are averaging rental fees that are twice that much!
Fortunately, you can still afford to live where you want as a travel nurse.
How Much Do Travel Nurses Pay for Rent?
Some rookie travel nurses may be concerned about where they’ll live during their assignment, and how much it might cost them, but Michele S., a recruitment and placement specialist with Onward Healthcare, waves away that worry.
“Your travel nurse housing should be the least of your worries,” says Michele, explaining that Onward pays for housing for its travelers. The housing team can also take care of all the arrangements, if you prefer.
The choice is yours: you can opt for free, corporate-arranged housing, or you can secure your own housing and accept the generous travel nurse housing stipend. The actual amount of your stipend will vary, depending on the location and current rental market of your assignment.
Once you have booked your assignment and know your destination, you can start planning where you will live and which housing option fits you best.
Option #1: Request Agency-arranged Housing
Tell your recruiter that you’re interested in staying in a travel nurse housing complex during your assignment. Onward Healthcare offers this free housing option and pledges that your housing will be clean, safe, and located within a reasonable commute time of your healthcare facility. Most nurses who choose this option stay in a one-bedroom or studio apartment, but two-bedroom accommodations are available for an additional fee.
Be sure to let your recruiter know if you have any special requests, needs or plans, such as bringing along your pet or your family. Pet deposits and additional monthly fees may apply.
In some cases—depending on the length of your stay and the types of housing available in your assignment city—your agency may offer an extended-stay suites hotel or another housing option.
The corporate housing option tends to be the simplest, especially for new nurse travelers, since it gives you one less thing to worry about with your relocation. Your agency’s housing specialists will make the arrangements and pay the rent; all you’ll need to worry about is picking up the key and moving in!
Option #2: Find Your Own Travel Nurse Housing
If you prefer to use the travel nurse housing stipend and arrange your own accommodations, Michele shares these tips on finding the housing you need during your next assignment:
- Standard rentals. You can turn to rental services like com and Airbnb.com to look for rental housing in your area. According to Michele, FurnishedFinder has become a very popular option because it’s specifically geared toward travel nurses. You can filter your search results based on your budget and your move-in date, as well as the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need. You can even search for pet-friendly accommodations.
- Hotels and other options. Some travel nurses use hotels for short-term travel nursing assignments, or as a starting point for a longer assignment. The flexibility of a hotel can allow you time to check out the available apartments in the area if you weren’t able to arrange one in advance. While this can be a great option, Michele cautioned that it is easier to find your own housing in some cities than it is in others, so don’t just assume that it will work out when you get there. If you start out in a hotel and can’t find other housing, you may be still be able to switch to corporate housing for the remainder of your assignment. (Fun fact: Some travel nurses bring their housing with them in the form of a trailer or RV!)
- Ask for recommendations and roommate options. For each assignment, you can also put the word out among your new colleagues or your fellow travelers that you’re looking for housing. Ask if anyone in your area needs a short-term roommate or knows anyone with a house or apartment to rent. You might even meet someone during orientation with whom you can share housing, split the cost, and save some of your travel nurse housing stipend.
Avoid Common Pitfalls with DIY Housing
If you opt to secure your own housing arrangements, Michele advises against putting down a big deposit, sight unseen, especially if you’re communicating online. If the landlord or other rental contact insists on a large deposit, keep looking.
Whether going through Furnished Finder or another source on social media, she strongly suggests using Facetime or similar real-time video platform to connect with the landlord before booking any accommodations. That also allows you to do a virtual tour of the place. “It is highly encouraged to avoid being scammed,” she noted.
She also cautions that signing a lease can be risky, as well. For example, if you sign a lease and the apartment turns out to have problems, you may be stuck. Even if you are able to find other housing, you will probably remain on the hook for the terms of the lease. As with any contract, it is important to read it carefully.
If you make your own housing plans and they do fall through, be sure to notify your recruiter right away, says Michele. Your recruiter can usually arrange for you to stay in a hotel through Onward’s emergency housing program, until more permanent accommodations can be arranged.
Learn more about Onward’s travel nurse housing.
Onward Healthcare, an AMN Healthcare company, has thousands of exciting travel nursing jobs across the U.S., and our team of experts will guide you through every step of the process. Start your travel nursing adventure today!