Traveling nurses have a variety of housing options. Before you begin an assignment, determine where you’ll stay and how it will fit into your budget. Deciding what is most important to you like time, money, choosing your own living arrangements, or avoiding hassles, will simplify your decision. You might be able to end your assignment with more money in your pocket by choosing to receive a stipend and researching housing options on your own. This option will take some of your own energy and time.
Before you accept a travel assignment, be sure to review the details of your pay package with a trusted advisor. Your pay package will include a pay rate, housing stipend or company provided housing, and meals and incidentals stipend. Each city will be different as far as housing stipend allowances and short term housing options. Remember that in highly desirable and more expensive locations, such as Los Angeles, Hawaii, or Alaska, travel nurse assignments will enable you to enjoy a new city while earning a great salary, but just like everyone else, you could end up paying extra to live in these types of locations.
There are usually two options for housing for travel nurses:
- Company-provided housing.
This can be a smart option if you don’t know the area. Your staffing company will offer to connect you with a rental company, extended stay hotel or even a property they own and rent to their nurses. Generally in this situation, you may be paid a per diem stipend for food and miscellaneous expenses but not provided with a housing stipend. You will not have the option to spend less on housing and pocket the difference, but your housing needs will be taken care of. If you intend to return to that city for a different assignment, it would be beneficial to find other safe areas where you can stay and network with short-term rentals.
- Housing stipend.
If you know the city and know the best places to stay, this can be a smart option. You will be given a certain amount of money based on the cost of living for that area, but if you find housing options for less money, you are able to keep the difference. Many traveling nurses will find a housing option and split the cost with a colleague or choose to stay with family or friends in that city. You have the freedom to make those decisions with the housing stipend. The downside of this option is it can be difficult to find housing for a short time period and with little notice, unless you already know the area.
The decision to work as a traveling nurse can provide a great deal of excitement and career advancement. If you work an assignment where you have housing options, take some time to research which option will be the most beneficial to you in the long run.