Travel Healthcare: Short-Term Housing vs. Van Life

travel healthcare

Travel Healthcare: Short-Term Housing vs. Van Life

One of the primary obstacles in the world of travel healthcare is finding suitable housing. Regardless of whether you are a travel nurse, travel dietitian, or other travel healthcare professional, housing is a core component to ensuring the safety, comfort, and security of your 13-week travel contract. 

In this article, we will look at the dichotomy between short-term housing and van life, the two most popular options for traveling healthcare personnel. By highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of each, we hope that you will be able to make an educated decision on your first or next housing choice for your contract. 

Using Short-Term Housing as a Travel Healthcare Professional

Short-term housing includes a variety of temporary accommodations, such as apartments and extended-stay hotels. It provides healthcare professionals with a more conventional and structured approach to housing during their assignments. Let’s take a look at two short-term housing options that you can choose from, before moving for your next travel contract. 

First and foremost, apartment rentals are a popular choice among healthcare professionals. This option often consists of fully furnished apartments offering home comforts, providing a private space with a kitchen, living area, and separate bedrooms. They are often available for lease on a month-to-month basis, making them a convenient option for travel healthcare assignments. 

To successfully find hotels, houses, or apartments, many traveling healthcare professionals use Furnished Finder, which contains a map of available short-term rentals at your target destination.

Furthermore, extended-stay hotels cater specifically to the needs of travelers on extended work assignments. These establishments provide hotel-like amenities, such as housekeeping, on-site laundry facilities, and sometimes even complimentary breakfast. The primary advantage is that healthcare professionals can enjoy a more hotel-like experience while maintaining the flexibility of paying daily, weekly, or monthly without the pressure of a lease.

Aside from these two avenues of short-term housing, a rising trend in the healthcare industry is the use of unused space throughout the hospital. Healthcare facilities with unused space and a high population of travel workers are turning parts of the hospital into very affordable, highly discounted residential options for travel workers. This offers an opportunity for a mutualistic relationship between both parties and may be something to look out for at your next contract facility. 

Advantages of Short-Term Housing

Short-term housing, whether in apartments or extended-stay hotels, offers healthcare professionals a comfortable, home-like environment. This can be particularly appealing for those who value a sense of familiarity and a comfortable space to unwind after long shifts. Additionally, this type of housing provides stability in terms of a fixed address and routine. Professionals can establish a daily routine and become part of the local community during their assignments, which can be beneficial for those who prefer structure in their lives.

Disadvantages of Short-Term Housing

Short-term housing can be more expensive compared to alternatives like van life. Renting apartments or staying in extended-stay hotels may strain the budget, especially in high-cost areas, and this is a critical factor for many healthcare professionals. Not only that, but it often comes with the trade-off of limited flexibility. Lease agreements, check-in and check-out times, and the need to secure new accommodations for each assignment can be cumbersome for healthcare professionals who are interested in a more frictionless experience.

Choosing Van Life as a Travel Healthcare Professional

Van life refers to a lifestyle choice where individuals, including healthcare professionals, live and travel in converted vans or recreational vehicles (RVs). These vehicles are equipped with the essentials for day-to-day living, such as sleeping quarters, a small kitchen, and often a bathroom. This style is living is often enjoyed by individuals who embrace mobility, independence, and the freedom to explore new places while making their vehicle their home.

Advantages of Van Life

Van life offers the ultimate freedom to explore new locations, whether they are near a hospital for your assignment or far-off destinations for personal adventures. You have the flexibility to change your scenery at a moment’s notice, allowing for a lifestyle rich in exploration. In addition, this option can be an economical choice as well. While there are initial costs associated with converting a van, it can be a cost-effective way to eliminate traditional housing expenses, especially when compared to short-term housing or traditional rentals.

Disadvantages of Van Life

Living in a van means sacrificing space and some amenities. While modern van conversions maximize the use of space, you may have to forego the comfort of a traditional home, with smaller living quarters and limited storage. The nomadic lifestyle of van life means less stability compared to traditional housing. The unpredictability of finding parking spots, dealing with weather, and adapting to various environments can be challenging for those who value routine and structure.

In addition, while it can be considered an advantageous economical choice in the long term, it comes with high startup costs, especially if you are looking to purchase an outfitted van or are looking to build your own. This will require you to have high liquidity to get started with either purchasing a vehicle or procuring the materials to create your own ride. 

In choosing van life as a travel healthcare professional, it’s essential to weigh these advantages and disadvantages to determine if they align with your goals and preferences. Van life can be a rewarding and adventurous way to experience your assignments, but it requires a certain degree of adaptability and comfort with a less conventional lifestyle.

Factors to Consider in Choosing the Right Option

The choice between short-term housing and van life should align with your personal preferences and lifestyle. Consider whether you value the comfort and structure of a traditional home, or if you are more inclined to embrace the freedom and adventure of life on the road.

Financial planning is crucial as well. Evaluate your budget and determine which housing option best fits your financial capacity. Short-term housing may offer comfort but can be costlier, while van life can be a more cost-effective choice when accounting for long-term variables such as how long you plan on being a travel worker and more.

The specific demands of your healthcare assignment play a vital role in your housing decision. As an example, if you are contracted in an urban city with a demanding schedule, short-term housing might provide the necessary stability. Additionally, the urban environment may be less accommodating for van lifers as there is limited space to begin with. 

Striking the right balance between adventure and comfort is key. Short-term housing offers comfort but may lack adventure, while van life offers an adventurous lifestyle but with potential comfort trade-offs. Consider your inclinations and how you can reach an equilibrium with these elements to suit your personal and professional goals. 

Enjoy Your Travel Healthcare Journey 

Short-term housing offers comfort and stability but can be expensive and less flexible. Van life provides mobility and cost-effectiveness but comes with limited space and amenities. Weighing these factors is essential in making an informed decision.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer to the housing question for travel healthcare professionals. Your choice should be based on your unique circumstances, goals, and preferences. It’s crucial to conduct thorough research and reflection before deciding.

Travel healthcare is a dynamic field with evolving housing options. New trends and innovative housing solutions continue to emerge, offering healthcare professionals more choices than ever before. Stay open to new possibilities and adapt your approach as the landscape changes. So, if neither option is your first choice, keep an eye out for innovations in the residential industry as you may never know what may come about. 

If you’re interested in exploring travel healthcare opportunities, don’t forget to visit the Novo Connections career page. It’s a valuable resource for finding travel healthcare assignments that suit your preferences and lifestyle.