Travel Nurse Housing: Provided Housing vs. Housing Stipend

Woman looking out window in travel nurse housing

If you’re considering making a career change and becoming a traveling nurse, you might wonder what travel nurse housing looks like. After all, where you rest your head at night can really make or break your experience. Fortunately, there are a ton of options so you can completely customize your housing to your needs. One of our recruiters can help you find exciting assignments and help you through the process if you’re just getting started. However, here’s a basic guide on different housing options for traveling nurses.

Travel Nurse Housing: What Are My Options?

Woman looking out window in travel nurse housing
Understand your travel nurse housing options to pick the most comfortable solutions for you during your assignment.

As you likely already know, traveling nurse assignments are typically short-term, with most lasting around 13 weeks. So, if you’re going to be a travel nurse across America, you will probably need short-term housing near each assignment. There are two basic options for travel nurse housing. The first is to live in agency provided housing. The second is to find your own housing and take the housing stipend provided in the assignment’s pay package.

Some traveling nurses prefer one over the other and always choose that option. Others switch between the two depending on the assignment, the area, and other factors. There are pros and cons to both agency housing and taking the housing stipend. Therefore, it’s completely up to you to decide which will be better for you. 

Pros and Cons of Agency Provided Travel Nurse Housing

With agency provided housing, our housing department finds short-term housing for you near your assignment. We provide private, furnished housing where you can make yourself at home during your assignments. We’ll take care of the leg work of finding the housing and paying the rent for you. 

Most traveling nurses choose this option for at least their first few assignments because it can help simplify the process. There’s no need to search for short-term housing or source the essentials like a bed and chairs. You also don’t need to locate the property, contact landlords, and negotiate a lease before you arrive for your assignment. We do all of that for you. Another benefit of agency housing is that you’re safeguarded against cancelled assignments if you choose this option. If your assignment gets cancelled, then you’re not on the hook for a lease. Therefore, many of our nurses choose agency housing because of the convenience and the safety net in case of assignment cancellation. 

However, many other nurses prefer a little more control over their accommodations during a job. While your recruiter may be able to send you a couple of options depending on the area and assignment, one of the drawbacks is that you generally have fewer options for agency housing compared to finding your own housing. In these cases, many nurses instead choose to take the stipend and find their own accommodations instead. 

Pros and Cons of Choosing the Travel Nurse Housing Stipend

Travel nurse housing stipends are like a monthly allowance for housing. The amount is based on the assignment, area, and other factors. It is typically paid out in your paychecks as an additional amount. It may also be tax-free depending on your situation. If you take the housing stipend, then you must find your own housing for your assignment. 

Taking the stipend instead of agency provided housing means you can essentially take any type of housing you want and just apply the money toward it. If you choose housing that is less than the stipend, then you can pocket the extra money. If you want housing that costs a little extra than the monthly stipend (like a beach front property with amazing views), then you have the freedom to do so. You can simply use the stipend and then make up the difference. So, there are plenty of options when you choose the stipend. 

However, this also means that you’re responsible for doing all the research, negotiating with the landlords, and setting up any leases, utilities, furniture, and other aspects of housing. Of course, some of our traveling nurses love taking care of this themselves, but others do find it to be a hassle. Also, if your assignment gets cancelled, then you will need to make the necessary arrangements. For example, that may mean backing out of the lease, cancelling your stay, or working with your recruiter to find another assignment close by. Basically, there’s less of a safety net in case of assignment cancellation which, while rare, can sometimes happen. 

Tips for Finding Housing For Your Travel Nurse Assignment

While you’re looking at different assignments, it’s a good idea to consider what housing will look like for you. Think about whether you want to choose agency housing or find your own with the stipend. It’s a good idea to really consider your needs for housing before you take an assignment. That way you can make the right choice for you, whether that’s the stipend or agency housing. With agency housing, we set the big things up for you so you’re ready to move in when you arrive. If you’re finding your own housing, it’s usually a more involved process. We do have a few tips for you if you choose this option.

Consider All Travel Nurse Housing Options

The first tip we have if you’re looking for your own housing for a traveling nurse assignment is to think about all your options and then choose one that you’re most comfortable with. For instance, housing can be hotels, vacation rentals, apartments, room rentals, RVs, corporate housing, or even staying with friends and family. Many traveling nurses find it’s good to look at all the options available. From there, you can refine your search based on your needs.

Do Your Research

We also recommend doing plenty of research when looking for housing. For example, you might want to research neighborhood crime rates and property reviews. Some other good information to look up might be how far your commute is from the property and fair rental prices for the area. You likely don’t have the inside scoop if you’re not a local, but research can go a long way when looking for housing for your next assignment.

Also, if a deal sounds too good to be true, then it usually is. There are plenty of scams out there, so keep this in mind as you search for housing. Be careful of short-term housing scams and do your due diligence to help avoid getting taken advantage of.  

Consider Everything You’ll Need

In addition, don’t forget you likely need more than just a roof over your head. Think of everything you will need to be comfortable. A bed, for example, is probably a good thing to consider during your search. Many traveling nurses choose furnished housing. Others rent or buy furniture when they get there. Some also simply pack up their furniture and bring it with them. In any case, think about how you’ll have all the basic comforts of home during your assignment.

Also consider utilities like water and power. Are they included in rent or do you need to set them up in your name? Do you need to be there to set up utilities? How difficult is it to shut off the utilities when you move? These are also things to think about when you look for housing.

You don’t want to be in a situation where you arrive and realize you don’t have your basic necessities. Furniture and utilities are just examples. You may want to make a list of all the essentials to make sure you have them covered before you move in. 

Start Your Dream Job Today with Our Medical Staffing Agency

As a leading medical staffing agency, we are here to help match you with your ideal job! At AHS NurseStat, we specialize in helping traveling nurses find amazing opportunities and travel across the country. Whether your goals are to gain additional experience, reach certain financial milestones, or check off bucket list destinations while being a traveling nurse, our recruiters are here to help you make your dreams come true. Contact us today to find jobs tailored to your needs!

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