Traveler Tips: Best Tools To Find Travel Nurse Housing
By Alex McCoy, Contributing Writer, Owner of Fit Travel Life
When I first started working as a traveler I was lucky enough to work in a couple of small towns where hotels and housing were cheap and I didn’t have to worry about things like commute time or neighborhood safety.
As we have moved back and forth across the country and lived in bigger cities such as Phoenix and Seattle, it became a little trickier to find housing that was affordable, reasonably close to work, and had all the basic necessities we wanted. While some of the “normal” travel nurse housing resources have worked out for us, I have found getting a little creative with how you find your housing can save you money and headaches.
Start with the basics.
Websites like Airbnb, Furnished Finder and VRBO can be easy ways to find short term housing. We have used Airbnb once and had a great experience. However, I typically find that their prices are a little more than I would like to spend. I usually start with these types of websites to get an idea of the market price for short term housing but haven’t found them to have the best deals.
When using websites like this my number one tip is to message owners directly to explain that you are a travel healthcare professional. Often times they will cut a deal on rent or make special allowances for pets if they realize you are a professional rather than someone just coming for vacation. However, if you are heading somewhere in high season (think Phoenix during Spring Training) most landlords will be less likely to knock their prices down for you since they can increase rates so much during those times.
Next, comb through Facebook travel nurse housing groups.
One of the reasons I really love the Facebook housing groups is because they are free to use and don’t come with any extra fees. In addition, most of the landlords are familiar with how travel nursing works and their leases, deposits, etc. will be created with our lifestyle in mind.
Keep in mind these ads are just a slight step above Craigslist so you still need to be careful in regards to safety and legitimacy. I always ask for a couple of references and try to connect with previous travelers who have lived in their property before.
Reach out to other travelers in the area.
In 2019 it is pretty common knowledge that most people spend a chunk of time online “creeping” and noticing what other people are up to. At any given time I can tell you a handful of people who are living in certain regions of the country and I am not above reaching out to these people directly to help find housing in a certain area.
In fact, many short term rentals thrive on word of mouth and are often set up for future rentals before their current tenant leaves. Whether a recruiter passes on the knowledge to their next traveler in the area or a previous coworker reaches out for help, many travelers are happy to pass along their housing finds to the next person coming to that direction. This is one of the many reasons that connecting with other travelers on your journey can be a helpful tool in your travel nurse adventures.
Search the city name with “furnished housing” on Google.
In both Phoenix and Seattle, I was able to find companies with names that simply combined a version of the city name and “suites” or “furnished apartments” that catered to short term tenants. Most of these rental companies actually own a wide variety of properties and can help you find something that fits your budget and preferences.
A side note: if you travel with pets some corporate housing may not explicitly say they allow pets but I have found that if you reach out directly they may bend the rules. Often, if you offer to pay an extra deposit they will be willing to allow a well-behaved animal. I also state up front that my pup is kenneled when we are gone and that helps as well.
Don’t stress—it always works out.
While finding housing in some cities may be a much bigger hassle than others, in the end, something always comes through. If you are really struggling I also recommend booking a hotel for the first week or so. This allows you to get on location and ask around to see if other staff or travelers have housing leads that may not be posted online. I have even seen ads posted in break rooms specifically geared toward travelers.
Finding housing has definitely caused me to feel a little crazy at times, and I have learned that the “ask and you shall receive” mindset is very helpful here. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help and speak with landlords directly to help you find exactly what you are looking for.
Regardless of your housing mishaps, embrace it as part of the crazy rollercoaster that travel nursing can be. Remember your “why” for getting started and the reasons you are excited about this particular location. The journey is a continual learning experience, and housing is something that will get easier and easier as you go along.
Alex McCoy currently works as a pediatric travel nurse. She has a passion for health and fitness, which led her to start Fit Travel Life in 2016. She travels with her husband, their cat, Autumn and their dog, Summer. She enjoys hiking, lifting weights, and trying the best local coffee and wine.
Want to share your own advice, thoughts or stories on Healthcare Traveler Today? Learn more about our Contributing Writers program.
- Agency Reviews
- Ask The Expert
- Continuing Education
- EMR Conversions
- First-Time Traveler
- For A Laugh
- Healthcare Roundup
- Hot Markets
- Industry Trends
- Market Data
- Nurse Contributor
- Take A Break
- Top 10
- Traveler Tips
- Weekly Polls
- Your Photos
- Your Stories