It can be quite intimidating trying to figure out where to live as a new travel nurse. For most, they opt for the company provided housing. Yes, all the work is done for you but there are advantages on finding your own. When you look for your own housing, you have the flexibility of choosing where to live (house vs. apartment, roommates vs. no roommates, living closer to the beach vs. living in the city) and if you find an apartment that is less than the monthly stipend they give you, then you get to keep the extra cash.
So where would one even start looking?
If you have any travel nursing friends, they are your best first resource, especially if they have traveled to the same city. They may know friends who rent out a room, apartment, or apartment complex for short-term periods. This is actually how I was able to find my first apartment as a travel nurse. I had never traveled to San Francisco and didn’t know anyone there, but my travel-nurse friend Kerry did, and she gave me the name of the apartment complex she stayed at. They even remembered her! The apartment was fully furnished, had its own gym and pool! It was also walking distance to Crissy Fields and if I wanted, I could run to the Golden Gate Bridge as a work out. It was a great first apartment.
Facebook travel nursing groups
Social media is great, especially when it comes to travel nursing. Facebook has a group called “Travel Nurse Housing.” People from all over the U.S. post their housing availabilities. Many times they are also fellow travel nurses. They rent out their home or apartment when traveling and they know that travel nurses will be reliable on paying rent and being respectful of their home. Travel nurse housing is where I found my 2nd apartment as a travel nurse. I put out a message on facebook for a housing need in a specific location with close proximity to the beach and that is exactly what I found. The beach is a big part of who I am and what makes me happy, so finding a place near the beach was very important to me. My place is 5 minutes walking distance to the beach and comes with everything I need to live comfortably.
AirBnB, VRBO (vacation rental by owner), Flip Key
Most people think airbnb, vrbo or flipkey are only intended for a short term stay but what people don’t know is that good business owners prefer to have a secured renter for a longer period of time. They are lucky if they have their place rented out a week or 2 out of a month. So if you show interest in a longer amount of time, it would be better for their business because it means a steady flow of income. However, do your research and compare prices. I have a friend that creates a spreadsheet of all the places she’s inquired about. She attaches that spreadsheet with her email to airbnb, vrbo or flipkey, to show the owners the comparable prices. She also explains her job situation and provides any other information they would require from her.
My friend Annie recently used VRBO and the landlord cut the nightly price in half since she was going to be staying for 3 months. The landlord also was nice enough not to charge her for a month when she traveled to Europe with her family.
As long as you communicate what your needs are, landlords will be accommodating. So don’t be afraid to reach out to landlords at airbnb, vrbo or flipkey.
Then there is the good ol’ Craigslist. The downside with Craigslist is that you would need to be in the location to check out the homes as sometimes the pictures are not reliable. It is also important to be aware of scams on craigslist. But again, make sure you do your research and, be patient!
With all this in mind, do not stress. Company housing is always available. If you do opt for other options, with some time and patience, you can find the housing that will fit all your needs. You will also be able to save extra cash to spend more on your travel activities.