Tips to Make Your Travel Nurse Housing More “Homey”

You have found yourself a new travel nurse assignment and you just arrived at your new “home”!  Yay!  Now to try and make it feel a little cozier and more comfortable since it’s where you will be coming “home” to after every shift.

Making your new travel nurse temporary housing feel welcoming is an essential part of your health and happiness while on assignment. Below are a couple of examples of easy and inexpensive tips to help guide you through decorating temporary housing (without breaking the bank!) and making it feel more like home.

Plants:

Flowers are an attractive and fun addition to your temporary home furnishings. Grab low-cost flowers from the grocery or some easy to care for green plants.  Plants and flowers can brighten any room!

Art:

Not many things are more depressing than dull, generic walls. Grab some inexpensive artwork from discount stores like TJ Maxx or Marshall’s to spruce up the walls a bit. Wall decals are an awesome (and cheap) way to decorate as well, and the best part is that they easily peel off when you’re done with them.

Candles and/or Diffusers:

The scent is known to trigger memories and feelings.  Whether that smell takes you to a place or reminds you of a person, we’ve all had that experience. If you burn certain candles at home, bring that scent to your new temporary home.  Different smells have different effects, and certain oils or incense can help make your home more inviting and calming!

Add some color:

Whether these colors are homelike themes or you want to go with a bright palette you’ve never tried before, color is a lively way of helping you forget that this home is temporary. If your housing is completely furnished, try buying a vibrant throw blanket to dress-up the couch or substituting the comforter with a crazy quilt. Making your home away from home colorful will help it feel much less boring and bland.

Pictures:

Bring some pictures of loved ones, animals, and family with you and put them up in your bedroom, on the refrigerator or buy some frames and hang them on the wall!  Nothing beats the comfort of a reminder you feel when looking at pictures of people you care about or places you have been!

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Travel Nurse Housing: Housing in RV

There are 3 travel nurse housing options to consider.

Travel Nurse Housing in RV

We’ve discussed the company provided travel nurse housing. If you haven’t read this, I suggest that you take a look at it and read over the tax implications. In addition, we’ve also discussed Securing your own travel nurse housing with a ‘stipend’. In this article, we are going to touch on Travel nurse housing in an RV.

The third option that many travel nurses choose, is to carry their home with them in the form of an RV. Using an RV Travel Nurse housing as an alternative has many advantages.

I’ll be brief on this because I’m not as well educated on RV living as I am with the previous two options. There are a lot of travel nurses that choose to take their homes with them and there are some distinct advantages to doing so.

Advantages

  • If you have a tax-home and are eligible for the tax-free perks, your travel nurse housing stipend can actually make both your lot rent payments as well as your RV payments. I have spoken to several travel nurses that have done that very thing.
  • You only have to go through the riggers of packing once. To many, this in itself is reason enough to go through the trials of RV ownership.
  • When you choose RV travel nurse housing and living in an RV park there are no outside chores to do. No lawn to cut. If the wind should blow down a tree or tree limb the park cleans up the mess. Oops, a dog got into the trash…park manager’s job. Essentially the only upkeep you must maintain is the home itself.
  • If you get tired of living in one spot or you just don’t like the neighbors you just crank up and move on.
  • Many of your RV expenses can be deducted on taxes.

Resources for RV living

If your planning to explore this option, I would advise you to reach out to the RV communities both in your local area as well as online and do as much research as possible beforehand. There is a multitude of resources for RV living.

  • Forums and Groups via Facebook, Yahoo, etc.
  • Campground Directories with Reviews
  • Personal Experience Blogs and Websites
  • RV specific Auto Clubs
  • A Travel Nurse on Assignment In An RV
  • Travel Nurse Housing in RV: Choosing the Right RV
  • Travel Nurse in an RV: Amenitiesimage 6180620 2948070 - Travel Nurse Housing: Housing in RV
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Travel Nurse Housing: Housing Stipend

There are 3 travel nurse housing options for travel nurses to consider:

Housing Stipend

Last week we discussed the company provided travel nurse housing. If you haven’t read this, I suggest that you take a look at it and read over the tax implications.

Today we are going to touch on obtaining your own travel nurse housing. There are multiple considerations when opting for a travel nurse housing stipend. If you have a valid tax-home, you can sometimes pocket a little extra cash by obtaining your own housing.

Many travel nurses choose to find their own housing simply because of the additional financial benefit. If the travel nurse housing stipend is more than the rent, the traveler can pocket the remainder! This is a huge benefit for finding your own travel nurse housing.

It’s important that you treat each assignment individually and assess housing availability and cost prior to determining if you are going to accept a travel nurse housing stipend instead of company-provided housing. There are some areas that finding housing that is furnished is difficult. In these situations, it’s likely better to take company housing. Make sure that you have options.

Online Resources for finding Travel Nurse Housing

  • The Gypsy Nurse Facebook Housing Group
  • The Gypsy Nurse Housing via Furnished Finder
  • Furnished Finder which has over 40,000 properties listed on their site
  • Online classifieds
  • Aggregate apartment rental sites
  • Individual apartment rental sites
  • Home rental sites like VRBO and Airbnb
  • Bed & Breakfasts
  • Roommate or house-sharing sites
  • Hotels (you can sometimes negotiate an acceptable rate with some good negotiation skills)

Things to consider when choosing the Travel Nurse housing stipend.

  • Does availability and price match what the stipend would be?
  • What is the minimum length of the lease? I recommend obtaining a month to month lease in case your contract is terminated early. However, these can be very difficult to find.
  • Do you want a private space or shared?
  • Do you need cable, internet, etc?
  • Will there be any deposits?
  • Is parking included?
  • What utilities are included? Furniture?
  • Calculate your anticipated cost with everything and make sure that your stipend will cover the costs.
  • Consider an unfurnished rental and furnish it yourself.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Obtaining your own Travel Nurse Housing

Advantages

  • You have full control over the location and type of travel nurse housing provided.
  • You may be able to find travel nurse housing that doesn’t cost the full ‘stipend’ and therefore, put a little additional money in your pocket.

Disadvantages

  • Travel Nurse Housing research can be very time-consuming.
  • The lease is in your name so there may be credit checks required from the accommodation.
  • If housing is limited in the area, you might actually get better housing by using the agency’s resources.
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Travel Nurse Housing: Agency Provided Housing

There are 3 travel nurse housing options to consider.
  • Agency Provided Travel Nurse Housing – Discussed Below
  • Securing your own travel nurse housing with a ‘stipend’
  • Travel in an RV

Travel Nurse Housing Tax Implications

It’s important to understand that no matter which housing option you opt for, you must have a valid tax-home in order to be able to obtain ‘free’ housing. If you do not have a tax-home, your housing costs should be taxed as income. Many agencies will not tell you this.

Agency Provided Travel Nurse Housing

With agency provided housing, the agency takes care of everything for you.  From deposits (excluding any pet deposits), utilities, and furnishing.  All you should have to do is show up. Your travel nurse housing should be ‘move-in ready’.  Sometimes the internet or cable TV is not included. You may have to arrange this on your own if you need/want it.  Ask the agency if this is included. Many Agencies provide housing in hotels, motels, and extended stay type properties. These can vary greatly.  It’s important to ask what type of housing, and where and do your research.

Additionally,  if you are taking company provided housing, it’s important to know what is actually included in the companies description of ‘furnished’. ‘Furnished’ can mean a wide variety of different things to different people. I discussed the importance of clarifying what is ‘furnished’ in a previous post so I won’t rehash it here.

Questions to Ask about your Travel Nurse Housing

In addition to knowing what is furnished in your company provided housing, here is a list of other questions about travel nurse housing that you might find helpful.

  • What type of property do you provide? Apartment. Hotel. Etc.
  • What amenities does the apartment/housing offer? Ie fitness center, pool, business center (fax, copy, print).
  • Is parking provided? Is there a fee? Will the company cover?
  • The time frame for move-in and move-out.  Most companies will give you a day or two on both ends of the contract.
  • Contact information for housing.
  • Microwave, TV, Vacuum, provided? (don’t assume that your housing will include these items)
  • Address of the housing?

To-Do Before You Move Into your Agency Provided Travel Nurse Housing

The following is a “To Do” list to help you ease into your agency provided travel nurse housing smoothly:

  • Obtain the address and contact information of the housing and call them yourself to confirm your arrival date and time.
  • Research the area prior to your move. Use the internet. There are a ton of internet resources to check on crime rates, locations, police blotters, etc. Use these resources and if you find any information that might be concerning to you, notify your recruiter and request a different housing assignment if appropriate.
  • On arrival at the location, drive around the neighborhood and assess the safety. Does it appear to be a safe neighborhood?
  • Obtain a copy of the lease.
  • Obtain the after-hours maintenance/emergency contact information. (Sometimes this is included in your lease)
  • If you travel with a pet; request a copy of the pet rules. (You may have to sign a pet waiver).
  • Make sure to do a pre-inspection of the apartment as soon as you arrive. I would suggest that you also take photos of any damages and make sure that the manager is made aware and it is noted on your lease.
  • Check that all windows and doors latch and lock securely.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Agency Provided Travel Nurse Housing

Advantages

  • You don’t have to spend countless hours trying to find adequate and affordable travel nurse housing.
  • Many times you are actually treated better by the apartment staff when going through a large company. (They want you happy so they can get long-term business).
  • You are not responsible for monthly payments.
  • If housing is limited in the area, you might actually get better housing by using the agency’s resources.

Disadvantages

  • You have little to no control over the location and type of travel nurse housing provided.

Please keep an eye out for the next part of this series on travel nurse housing.

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Collecting Per Diem Housing as a Travel Nurse

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Per Diem housing can be a tricky subject to understand. One question frequently asked regards taking an assignment close to your home town. You’ll be happy to know there is not a mileage rule when collecting Per Diem housing and other non-taxed stipends. However, you cannot merely commute from your permanent residence to the assignment everyday and still collect the stipend. The rule is you must stay overnight in the location to qualify. Got a question about travel nurse housing? Browse dozens of articles on travel nurse housing.

About the Author

Travel Nursing Blogs.com is full of over 2000 pages of advice and resources. There’s something for new travel nurses or pros.

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