By Alex McCoy, Contributing Writer, Owner of Fit Travel Life
When I tell people I work in the travel nursing industry, the number one question I get asked is “What do you do for housing?”. Everyone seems to assume that I either live in a hotel most of the year or that I have to rent an empty apartment at a crazy high price.
I am here to assure you–neither of these things are true. The travel nurse rental market has a niche of its own, and with the rising interest in short-term, furnished rentals, many companies have stepped up to make sure you can find quality housing for your assignments without spending a fortune. Here are a few of my favorite places to find short-term housing.
Furnished Finder and its sister site–TravelNurseHousing.com focus solely on stays of 30 days or longer. And all of the landlords are encouraged to keep on-brand with the name of the site and provide furnishings as well. In addition, the sites are structured so that travelers don’t have to worry about calculating extra booking fees since landlords simply pay a listing fee upfront for the year.
Furnished Finder also provides a lot of education for both travel nurses and landlords, so most of the interactions you have on the site are with people who are well-versed in how renting to a travel nurse works.
Extended Stay America
Some travel nurses do prefer to go the hotel route, and Extended Stay America is perhaps the best bang for your buck if you decide to do so. They are pet friendly (for a fee) and offer basic housekeeping services along with basic necessities like toilet paper and paper towels.
If you choose to go this route, I suggest calling their booking line and having them walk you through the pet fees, payment schedule, and any other questions you may have. Most of the time you won’t have to pay a full thirteen weeks upfront, you just have to be prepared for monthly sums. In addition, some states actually allow the hotel to refund any taxes charged once you stay longer than thirty days, so be sure to ask about that as well.
Also–be sure to read reviews on each individual location before booking. Unfortunately, there may be a wide range of quality and location of each hotel, so you want to make sure you are picking one with decent reviews in a safe area.
When I first started working as a travel nurse, everyone swore by using AirBNB. All of the units are furnished, and there is a decent selection of private units with full kitchens, washers and dryers, etc.
The hardest part of using AirBNB is you have to go through their platform to book and pay. Plus, most landlords will be willing to negotiate their price down for a monthly rental, but if they don’t have the listing set up the right way they will have to make a special offer on the back end. It can be tricky to really anticipate the entire cost of your rental after fees and such by just browsing the options on the site.
If you do go this route–be sure to message the landlords directly and explain what you do and inquire about long-term rates. There may be some haggling here, but you may snag a really nice place for a great price! Also, be aware that AirBNB will block any phone number or emails sent on their messaging platform because they want you to book on their site.
Facebook Housing Groups
Along with housing search engine websites, there are a multitude of Facebook groups that exist solely for travel nurses to find housing. These groups are free to join, and for the most part, any landlord can post their property here without fees. The easiest way to find these is to search “Travel Nurse Housing” and select the “groups” tab. The largest that I am aware of are currently run by the Gypsy Nurse and Furnished Finder.
I usually reserve these groups for last-minute housing needs and post something like “Need X type of housing in Y city, 1/1-4/1, pet-friendly”. This can be helpful to bring the landlords to you. They can also be helpful for gauging prices in each area. Simply search the city where you are looking and get an idea of what housing costs run there.
The biggest downside to these groups is the fact that you will have to vet each landlord yourself. Start by asking for references from previous travelers, and you can also look up the property on public record to see if the owner listed lines up with the person chatting with you. Overall, finding housing in a group like this is a bit riskier, but I know a lot of travel nurses use this method regularly and have no issues.
The more experience you have with finding housing, the easier it will get. You can also opt to just do a good ‘ole fashioned Google search and call apartments in the area to see if they offer a furnished, short-term lease option. Some travel nurses will also do this and then rent furniture or sleep on air mattresses. As you go along, you will figure out what you really “need” in a short-term rental, and how much work you are willing to put in to save a few extra bucks. Pretty soon, finding housing will become a simple process because you have the resources and experience needed to make it quick and easy!
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.
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