Finding Housing as a Travel Nurse: Tips for Securing Safe and Comfortable Accommodations
As a travel nurse, you embark on an exciting adventure, exploring new places while providing essential healthcare services. However, a common problem that travel nurses run into is securing suitable housing in advance of their assignment.
Ensuring that you can find a safe, comfortable, and affordable place to stay while you are on contract can be a difficult task to complete. And, it is as equally important as finding a hospital that works well with your personality because coming home to a place that you love will help you to relax and destress.
But, look no further. In today’s blog, we will take a deep dive into the intricacies of securing safe and comfortable accommodations during your time as a travel nurse. We will provide you with our top tips to think about to make your housing process a smooth one.
Current Challenges of Finding Affordable Housing When Traveling
When it comes to understanding the current challenges that travel nurses face as they pursue their next adventure, there are three common things to think about when finding housing for your next temporary assignment.
First, one of the main issues in finding safe and secure temporary housing options is the challenge of availability. In today’s real estate and rental market, there are not a lot of short-term options available, as landlords, property owners, and management companies prefer long-term tenants.
When long-term tenants are favored, this makes it incredibly difficult for travel nurses to compete for housing, which is the second most pressing issue. Given that the housing market is limited in today’s economic client, travel nurses, consultants, and other nomadic professionals are competing with each other to vie for temporary accommodations against each other.
Lastly, with respect to the competitiveness of short-term housing, this limited market makes it even more difficult to find consistent and reliable options. Meaning, that the cost and quality of housing are likely to vary greatly. So, do not be surprised if you cannot find options that represent the average cost of living for your target area. Most housing availability is either going to be incredibly cheap or expensive.
Our Tips for Finding Your Next Accommodation
After learning about some of the common challenges that travel nurses face in today’s housing climate, next we will explore six recommended tips to help you prepare, search, and secure available housing options. So that you can ensure that you have a safe and comfortable place to come home to after a busy day.
Tip #1: Start Early and Plan Ahead
The first tip that we will discuss is the importance of starting your housing search early by planning ahead.
By beginning your search a few weeks to a month before assignment start date, you can save time and reduce stress down the line. You are free to search all different styles and options for housing that fit your personality and needs.
However, we recommend that you research all available options including houses, townhomes, and apartments as the market can be extremely competitive. Through sites like Redfin, Zillow, Apartments.com, and other online resources, you should be well-positioned to compare prices and gather information effectively.
In addition to leveraging online resources, we also advise you to start contacting housing providers early in the process. This will allow you to cultivate a relationship with them, ask any pressing questions that you may have, and trim down your list to make it easier to decide on a place to stay when it comes time.
Tip #2: Organize Your Budget
The next tip that we have for you is to build out your budget. It will be necessary to factor in your expected weekly income from your travel contract so that you have enough left over to cover living expenses, add to your savings, and pay for any other things that support your lifestyle.
Having a clear understanding of how much your total expenses will equal out to will allow you to determine how much of your budget can be allocated to your housing search. A common rule of thumb shared by many is the 50/30/20 rule. This means that 50% of your net income goes to needs, 30% goes to wants, and 20% goes to savings.
After developing your budget, you can use the resulting information to narrow down your housing search. Popular search sites allow you to set a pre-determined rent range when trying to find your next accommodation. So, operating with that feature in mind will help you to keep realistic expectations of what you can and can not afford.
Lastly, while rent may be the bulk of your living expenses, do not forget about any other ad hoc spending as well. This might include covering utilities such as sewage, trash, and electricity, or paying for parking and other included amenities. Forgetting to make sense of these extra costs can cause you to misalign your budget and leave for an unpleasant surprise down the road.
Tip #3: Learn About Your Target Living Area
As you engage in the research process for securing your next accommodation, another thing to keep in mind is leveraging review pages and forums from previous residents that have lived in and around the city.
Learning from previous tenants and residents of the town can enable you to learn more about the safety, comfort, and accessibility of housing options. One site that we recommend checking out is Niche.com, which is a popular site that details information about the neighborhoods, crime rates, weather, cost of living, and more.
Additionally, with respect to learning from previous travelers, it is not uncommon for fellow travel nurses to post their opinion and experience about living in a particular city online. So, performing a quick search that includes keywords related to travel nurse living can allow you to make an informed decision. Although it is necessary to keep in mind that every travel experience is unique, it is important to factor in both positive and negative reviews when determining overall sentiment.
Tip #4: Ensuring Safety and Security
One of the most important tips that we have to offer is regards valuing your safety and security in your next travel location. The safety and security of your housing should be at the top of your accommodation search as a travel nurse. So, to adequately ensure that you are living in an ideal manner there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, you want to make sure that for each prospective location you visit, you evaluate the safety features of the property, such as locks, smoke detectors, and emergency exits.
Second, you will want to do your due diligence in scouring several online databases that detail information about crime rates and neighborhood safety in the area. If your next hospital is located in an area that is known for elevated levels of suspicious activity, you may want to consider living in a suburb or city that requires a commute instead.
Lastly, ensure that you learn all about the housing providers you are thinking about leasing from. Reading feedback and reviews about their reputation and reliability can have a significant impact on your quality of life during the few weeks or months of your temporary contract.
Tip #5: Consider Your Commuting Distance
Our fifth tip that pertains to finding housing as a travel nurse concerns the general location of your assignment in proximity to where you intend to stay. Evaluating the commute and convenience from your home to work can have a marked effect on your overall quality of life during your contract.
We recommend that you try limiting your commute to a maximum of 20 minutes each way. Obviously, the lesser the better. Keeping your distance and time spent in the care to a minimum can not only improve your sanity, but also reduce transportation expenses and thus increase your budget.
But, while limiting your commuting time and distance can be a net benefit, make sure that you consider the accessibility to amenities such as grocery stores, gyms, restaurants, entertainment scenes, and more.
Of course, since you are living a nomadic lifestyle as a travel nurse, you are likely to bring your car, truck, or van with you. While this can help you to get from Point A to Point B, do not hesitate to consider public transportation options.
For example, if you happen to be moving to NYC for your next assignment, it might be more practical to walk or take the subway to the hospital. This is because cars are not the main form of commuter transportation unless you live outside the city.
Tip #6: Communicate with Your Travel Nurse Community
The last tip to think about when finding your next living accommodation is not to be afraid to connect with peers and other members of the travel nurse community.
Perhaps you have become close friends with other travel nurses during your assignment, or rather know of second and third-degree network connections that you could reach out to. Taking advantage of these relationships can allow you to seek recommendations and obtain insights on how to approach your housing search.
Comparing, contrasting, and collaborating with other like-minded individuals can be an incredible opportunity to share experiences together, formulate new outlooks on your career, and build new connections while you are at it.
Living with Comfort and Safety During Your Next Contract
After reading our tips, we hope that you have developed a better understanding of how to secure your next housing accommodation. Through careful planning, budgeting, and in-depth research, you should have no issues finding a safe, comfortable, and affordable housing option to live in while you work.
But, remember, while it is important to find a place that tends to your personality and needs, it is also imperative for you to consider your safety and security. At Novo Connections, we are here to partner with you to attain all of your travel goals, which includes answering any questions or concerns you may have about living as a travel nurse.
If you are interested in learning more, visit our site today and get connected with one of our recruiters that will match you with any of our open opportunities.
About: Novo Connections is a leading healthcare staffing agency that brings people together in search of rewarding healthcare career opportunities. We provide class-leading staffing services to healthcare facilities around the U.S.