By Aaron J. Moore, MSN, RN-BC, travel nurse expert
I get many questions about what to look forward to when it comes to the housing provided by most travel nurse companies. It can vary from location to location and you always want to double-check; don’t assume too much based on past assignments or what other travelers may tell you.
But if you choose the company-paid housing over the housing stipend, there are some basics that you can expect to find in your new digs. Other things may be negotiable.
Where your housing might be
Many travel companies have staff members whose only job is to locate and contract housing for travelers. Depending on your assignment location and your agency, there may be multiple places to choose from or just one.
Some locations seem to cater to travel nurses, like the apartment I had in San Diego, Calif., when it seemed like every traveler lived in the complex I did. I actually liked it because you got to know people quickly and could carpool to work.
Generally a travel nurse company will put its workers within a reasonable driving distance from work. However, this can be anywhere from right down the street to a 30-minute drive in traffic, so make sure your agency knows your preferences and how you plan on commuting. If you are planning on public transportation, for instance, make sure they don’t house you out in the suburbs. If you let them know in advance they can work with you to accommodate your needs.
When I traveled to New York I passed on the car allowance to be housed in the city instead of the suburbs. It was well worth it and in reality most people use public transit there. Public transit can be your friend in a new city.
What your lodging will likely include
Most travel nurse accommodations are private apartments with a single bedroom, or they might be a studio or loft-style housing in some areas. A few companies may ask you if you would like to share a two-bedroom unit with a roommate, but this should be negotiable. If you plan to bring along family or friends, you can also ask about larger accommodations that may be available at additional costs.
Agencies generally advertise that their housing is “furnished,” but make sure you know what that includes. In every apartment (or hotel) I stayed in I was provided with some basic furnishings and household items. I always had:
- A bed and dresser with drawers
- A couch and chair and some side tables
- I usually had a kitchen table and chairs, too, depending on the size of the apartment.
Some of my places came with your basic kitchen attire (pots, pans, and serving apparatus for four). But I learned to bring my own cooking stuff and then buy plates at the local thrift store and re-donate them before I left. If plates and such were there when I moved into my new place, I considered it a bonus! You normally need to bring your own bed and bath linens, as well.
If you are not sure what to expect, always check with your recruiter or housing representative. And don’t forget to ask about things like:
- Pets – many apartments allow them but some don’t, so make sure your agency knows upfront if you are bringing a pet with you
- Parking and storage
- Recreation facilities (some complexes have pools, gyms and more)
- Laundry facilities
- Nearby services, public transit, etc.