SO- You’ve decided to take the tax-free housing stipend in your next contract, but you have no idea where to begin searching for a place to stay! Here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned as a recruiter, and in my own personal experience, to make the most out of your housing stipend.
Instead of a short-term lease, opt for rentals listed on Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, etc.
Short-term rentals can get EXPENSIVE. Not a lot of apartment complexes offer short-term leases, and a lot of times, if they do, monthly rent is higher, and they still require a security deposit – not to mention you’ll still need to think about paying utilities, wifi, rental furniture… it can get pricey! Instead, try renting from websites like Airbnb.com, VRBO, or HomeAway. These websites are available for home owners to list their unused space for rent, and the beauty of it is, they come fully furnished, with utilities & wifi included in the cost!
When you’re searching for your rental, plug in the dates of your assignment.
A lot of times on these websites, owners will offer a hefty discount if you are renting the space for 30+ days. Plugging in the dates of your assignment gives you a more accurate idea of the price per month, rather than looking at the cost per night.
Opt for a private room instead of the entire home.
Depending on your privacy preferences, or if you’re traveling alone, I always suggest to opt for a private room rental instead of the entire home. In my experience, renting a private room is great because you have a host that can tell you about all the local spots that a hotel concierge would leave out. The hosts are used to having guests, so they’ll be happy to leave you to your own space, or socialize with you depending on your preference. Be sure to check out their reviews and “about me” to get an idea of their hosting style before booking.
Message the host before clicking “book now”.
A lot of times, the host will be willing to negotiate a lower rate with you, beyond what the website auto calculates. It doesn’t hurt to message the host and see if they’re willing to be more flexible on the rate if you’re helping to fill a last-minute booking, or securing a place to stay for the next three months!
Ask your recruiter!
We’ve been in the travel industry for 22 years at PPR, and in that time, we’ve gathered a lot of leads on housing options for the areas where we staff. If you’re having trouble finding a place to stay, reach out to your recruiter and see if we have a lead on housing where past nurses have stayed that might not necessarily be listed online!
Live outside of city center!
If you’re working on assignment in a busy metropolitan area, think about staying in the suburbs while on assignment! You’ll want to make sure to look up the commute to work or if public transit is available before booking, but generally the farther away from city center, the more affordable housing you will be able to find.
ALWAYS read the reviews before booking.
The beauty of websites like Airbnb, HomeAway, etc. is the reviews that verified users have left for the properties listed. This will give you an idea of the experience you’ll have while staying in your rental. You want to make sure you feel comfortable and safe during your stay, so use this as a resource to get honest opinions beforehand. J
Live with another nurse!
Ask your recruiter if we have any other nurses staying in the same area during the length of your assignment that you could room with– splitting a rental 2 ways is a big money saver if you can find a roomie! Not to mention, you start off already having a friend on your travel adventure!
That’s it! Once you have your accommodation booked, the real adventure begins! Never be afraid to ask your recruiter for any additional advice – that’s what we’re here for.
By Kerry Galligan – Travel Nurse Recruiter