Once you’ve lined up a travel nursing job, your next question will probably be about where you’ll be living — and for good reason. You want a safe, comfortable place to recharge after a long shift, but you also want housing that’s affordable and won’t cut too much into your take-home pay. Here’s how travel nurse housing works and how to find the right place wherever you’re on assignment.
Finding travel nurse housing on your own
RNnetwork offers a travel nurse housing stipend if you decide to book a place on your own. While it may seem daunting at first, you have many resources to make the process easier. Before signing any papers, you may want to:
- Research your new city prior to your start date to see where you’d like to live
- Ask the hospital staff for housing recommendations
- Consider living in a hotel for the first week of your assignment to get a feel for the area
- Ask other travel nurses for their suggestions and advice
- Explore cost-saving options like staying with a friend or family members who live in the area
Once you have an idea of where you’d like to stay, the following resources can help you find housing:
- Vacation rental websites like Airbnb, FlipKey, or VRBO
- Rental property listing sites like Furnished Finder, Rentler, or Zumper
- The Gypsy Nurse’s travel nurse housing group on Facebook, which allows you to connect with other travelers and get housing recommendations for various cities
- The housing listings on Travel Nursing Central
Regardless of where you choose to stay beware of scams:
- Never wire any money
- If you are signing a lease, make sure it is short-term only
ICU nurse Bob Goldnetz says if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. His advice: “Don’t wire money without seeing a place; it may not exist. PayPal has a secure payment feature, look into it. Better to pay 3% than lose everything.”
Scoring discounts on hotels
If you’re comfortable staying at a hotel for a few months, you can take advantage of special rates.
- Visit ExtendedStayAmerica.com and book your stay at the RNnetwork corporate discount rate (ask your recruiter for the code)
- Check with RNnetwork’s housing department for any other special promotional codes being offered by Extended Stay America
- Sign up for the Extended Perks Program with Extended Stay America
- Create a free account at HotelEngine.com to save money on hotel chains that offer discounted rates
Choosing more creative housing options
Not really big on living in a hotel or staying in an apartment? You don’t have to! Here are a few ways RNnetwork nurses have chosen to make their home on the road.
As to why Brittany chose to travel and live in an RV, she says, “I have everything I need with me to be prepared for any adventure. It gives me more freedom to explore surrounding areas on my days off without really making any plans. I just hit the road and go.”
Home health nurse Audra Beldon and her husband travel to assignments with their fifth-wheel trailer and enjoy having a familiar place to call home. “We get to bring our cats with us. I get to come home. I can cook dinner. We have all the amenities of a house, so it’s nice,” she says.
Julie Stoddard, a dialysis nurse, travels with her husband and two young children. Living in their camper, she and her family are more comfortable in their own space. “You don’t have to worry about messing anything up — the kids don’t have to worry about spilling anything, because you’re always home,” she says.
If you want your home to be a bit more mobile, check out your options at the GoRVing.
Tiny house on wheels
Bryan and Bethany Flake and their family — three children and 13 pets — live in their 415-square-foot home on wheels while Bryan and Bethany take travel nursing jobs. They stay at RV parks and state or national parks when they can, and at other times they rent land with RV connections.
“The kids have seen more in the last three years than I have in the first almost-30 years of my life,” Bryan says. “When we were in Las Vegas, my daughter was learning about the Grand Canyon, so we just took her to the Grand Canyon.”
When Tina Stines’ husband, Doug, took sailing lessons, she booked travel assignments along the East Coast so they could live on their sailboat, Pieridae, while she was working.
“Living on the water — and on a sailboat to boot — has been a dream of ours for some time,” Tina says. “Doug has joined a sailboat racing team, and I have been able to race with them a few times.”
If you think travel nursing while living on the water is for you, check out DiscoverBoating for more information.
You don’t need to shell out for an expensive RV or a sailboat in order to make your own home on the road. Some travelers have chosen to live out of a van for maximum flexibility.
Bob Goldnetz spent many years as a travel nurse living in his Astro van, where he could store all of the outdoor equipment he needed for after-work adventures, from biking to surfing to winter sports.
“I’d much rather pull over to the side of the road where no one is and make an egg burrito and wake up to the sound of the waves and not the hotel,” says Bob about his decision to live out of his van.
Working with RNnetwork’s housing team
It may be easier to have someone else book housing for you, and RNnetwork’s housing team is happy to help. Here’s how the process works if you decline the stipend:
- Your housing coordinator will contact you within 48 hours of your assignment confirmation. They’ll ask if you will be traveling with anyone and if you have any special needs or preferences. RNnetwork provides private one-bedroom accommodations or hotel lodging.
- The housing coordinator will work to find the closest housing and review options with you
- Friday is the typical move-in day; your coordinator will send a housing confirmation with the address and other details prior to move in
The housing team is always available to take care of you if there is a housing emergency. If you aren’t able to reach the complex or property manager, call the RNnetwork emergency phone number and connect with the on-call coordinator.
Deciding which housing option is best for you
Jackie Finz, RNnetwork’s housing manager, recommends first-time travelers live in company-provided housing so they have less to worry about prior to and during their assignment.
“First-time travelers have a lot of documents to send in and are sometimes leaving families and homes. It’s a lot to look for, especially with short-term leases, and you have to pay a lot of money up front,” she says. “Families traveling with kids or pets or spouses may also have a harder time finding housing or have a lot of questions.”
When deciding whether to take the stipend or choose company-provided housing, it’s important to consider your full compensation package and whether you’re comfortable finding housing in an unfamiliar area.
“Sometimes travelers stay in a hotel for a couple of weeks and then switch to the stipend after finding their own housing,” Jackie says. “This is an option to help you get acclimated in the new area.”
No matter what you decide, RNnetwork’s housing team will take care of you.
“We’re here to help, regardless of whether you are taking the stipend or using RNnetwork-provided housing. We never want a nurse to be unhappy or want to leave a contract because of housing,” Jackie says. “We really go above and beyond to make sure nurses are getting a great experience.”
For more information on how travel nurse housing works, give us a call at 800.866.0407.
Article updated April 4, 2023.