Finding travel nurse housing can be a daunting process, especially as a new travel nurse. In fact, I’d argue it’s one of the more difficult things about being a travel nurse. The thought of living with a stranger, not knowing whether or not you’re in a safe area, and sending a large sum of money to someone without ever meeting them can be nerve-wracking. And the truth is, it doesn’t get easier the more you do it.
But the good news is that there are great travel nurse housing resources out there suited to each individuals needs. And lately, it seems that more and more companies have stepped up to the plate to ensure that travel nurses stay safe and don’t get scammed.
Below you’ll find my favorite companies to use for housing for travel nurses, each bringing something unique to the travel nurse arena.
Before reading further, don’t miss: How Much of Your Travel Nurse Housing Stipend Should You Spend on Rent?
The Best Housing Options for Travel Nurses
Things to Consider Before Searching for Travel Nurse Housing
Before starting your search for housing, I suggest writing down what you ideally want to spend on housing, and the maximum amount you’d be okay with spending. I want you to write it down so that you’re not tempted to go above your maximum spend amount. Based on where you’re traveling to, you need to consider cost of living ahead of time as your rent in San Francisco, California will be significantly more expensive than if you were to rent in Omaha, Nebraska. It’s also important to keep in mind that housing will probably be more expensive than you’re expecting because of the fact that it’s a short-term rental and comes fully furnished.
To help guide your decision on what you’re comfortable spending on housing, you’ll need to not only consider your weekly living stipend, but the overall amount of money you’re bringing home each month. Some travel nurses don’t like to spend over their monthly living stipend (you figure this out by multiplying your weekly living stipend by 4). However, what worked for me was spending around what I made in one weeks time as my living stipends wouldn’t cover rent in the expensive cities I was traveling to. For example, if my weekly paycheck was $2,000, I tried to find housing that was around $2,000.
It’s also important to note that sometimes paying extra for peace of mind is worth the price in the end. Meaning, you might consider paying more for a space that you know is safe, secure, has a flexible cancelation policy, good reviews, etc. Before paying less for a space that doesn’t come with those things.
Lastly, know that you’re never going to be without housing. If you can’t find somewhere to live on your own, you can always take company housing. I don’t generally suggest this as a large portion of your paycheck gets taken away and it’s generally cheaper to find housing on your own. But it’s always an option for a backup plan.
The Best Housing Options for Travel Nurses
Airbnb is always a safe bet when it comes to finding housing as a travel nurse. While there are downsides – mainly hefty service fees and more expensive living accommodation – there’s generally a sense of comfort when booking with Airbnb.
When you’re using Airbnb as a travel nurse, some listings don’t account for “long-term rentals” which normally means that there’s a discount given after a certain amount of days stayed. Because of this, I always reach out to the host before booking to see if there’s any wiggle room on the price.
As far as the hefty service fee, there are times (when the listing has a ton of great reviews) that I will connect with the host off of the Airbnb platform and ask if we can ditch the middle man (Airbnb) so that I can save some money on the service fee. I’ve had some hosts gladly oblige and some hosts decline. Know that if you do this, Airbnb won’t have your back if something were to go wrong. That’s why I only do it if a particular listing has tons of great reviews because it seems that the host is more trustworthy.
Also, when you’re booking through Airbnb make sure to read the cancelation policy. All units have different cancelation policies and it’s important to bring this up with your landlord in the case that your contract was to get canceled.
Lastly, if you aren’t comfortable cutting Airbnb out as the middle man and want the security blanket that the platform brings, make sure that all communication is going through Airbnb and not text. If something were to go wrong, Airbnb can access your conversation if you use their platform, but they can’t access your conversation if you use text.
One of my favorite ways to search for housing is through Facebook Groups. This way you can easily see who else has lived in the house and get an honest review. I typically find the search bar in the Facebook group and search for the city I’m moving to. There should be housing options that pop up and then you can message the owner. The good thing about using Facebook groups is that you know the host is targeting travel nurses, which generally means that they are more flexible and understanding. Beware, however, if you are one of the first people in a new rental. Talk about expectations upfront and what they should expect from a traveling healthcare professional.
Renting a property that you find on Facebook does have a downside though. Landlords typically require a deposit before moving in and because you don’t know if this person is reliable (especially if it’s a new rental), it can be scary to send a large deposit to a stranger. It’s usually hard to get out of this and that is why I prefer to move in somewhere where another travel nurse has previously been. You can always reach out to the landlord and ask if anyone else has lived there in the past and contact that person directly.
Furnished Finder is a resource targeted towards “travel nurses and other traveling professionals”, where all living arrangements come fully furnished. Furnished Finder is a great resource because it’s free to use and there are housing options available in every state. Not only can you find an apartment or house to rent, but you can also search for long term hotel rentals as well.
One of the main things that I like about Furnished Finder is that the people who are renting on the platform know that the audience is made up of traveling healthcare professionals. For that reason, people seem to be a little bit more flexible and understand the needs of travelers. Unlike Airbnb, Furnished Finder doesn’t inflate the cost or charge booking fees. Plus they have a handy stipend calculator to use when searching for affordable housing.
Specific to travel nursing in Seattle, Motif Seattle is a 4-star hotel in the heart of downtown Seattle. The reason I suggest Motif Seattle is not only because of the location – you’re only a 10-minute walk to Pike Place Market and within walking distance of tons of other incredible Seattle attractions; plus you’re within 10-minutes of some of the main hospitals in Seattle like Harborview, Virginia Mason, Swedish First Hill, and UW Medicine. But aside from the location, staying at Motif comes with tons of perks. There’s a weekly cleaning service that cleans your room and changes your linens for free, you’re allowed to have pets with you, there’s a 24/7 fitness center in the hotel, you’re tax exempt after staying for 30-nights, and a plethora of other perks and amenities that you can find here.
Because Motif Seattle is a hotel, you may be hesitant to book a long-term rental, but they’ve really changed their market and target audience when the pandemic hit in 2020. When you stay at Motif they treat you like family, celebrating holidays and big occasions with you. Plus every room comes equipped with a mini refrigerator and a microwave upon request. For me, it’s the peace of mind knowing that you’re being well looked after knowing that you’re in a safe and fun location.
Prices vary depending on what room you choose and other ways you plan to customize your stay. To contact a concierge and learn more about the extended stay program at Motif Seattle email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 206-971-8024.
The 48 Dots
When I learned about The 48 Dots I was incredibly excited as this company is not only shaking up home sharing, but it’s a great and affordable option for travel nurses. The premise behind The 48 Dots is that it allows members to swap homes, which is perfect for nurses who want to travel cost effectively, knowing their home will be cared for as well. Here’s how The 48 Dots Works…
- You sign up and list your home, then…
- You can exchange homes with someone at the same time (which is completely free), or…
- You can stay in any two homes before you have to share your home by either swapping at different times or just staying at another member’s home. This option is $150 for an entire year. (For more information on rules of stay, check out this page.)
There’s also an exciting new roll out coming where you can pay a monthly membership fee without sharing your home at all, which will be invite only to start. As you see, The 48 Dots is an affordable option for finding furnished housing as a travel nurse, with properties in most states and rapidly growing. Aside from affordability, The 48 Dots does their due diligence to ensure that you’re staying in a safe place, performing background checks on everyone listing their homes. They also provide protection if something goes wrong!
Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is a great way to find travel nurse housing! Before I use any of the above resources, I first ask my travel nurse friends if they have any housing leads in the city I’m moving to. I will ask travelers on my floor and I will text every travel nurse that I know. I feel much more comfortable staying somewhere a friend has stayed than staying somewhere I know nothing about. If you’re new to travel nursing, I’d recommend reaching out to a more seasoned travel nurse and asking if they have any recommendations for the city that you’re moving to.
Travel Nurse Housing Resources (I Wouldn’t Recommend)
The next resources that I mention, I don’t utilize or trust due to personal reasons or stories I’ve heard from other travel nurses. I am sure that these sites have some trustworthy people on them, but I would personally never utilize them nor recommend them as housing options for travel nurses.
I’ve never utilized Craigslist, but many travel nurses that I speak with that have used Craigslist, have gotten scammed. For instance, one of my friends found what seemed to be a nice apartment in a good location in Seattle. She contacted the landlord who she communicated with via Facebook. Before renting, she did her due diligence and drove by the house that the landlord was advertising on Craigslist to make sure that it was real. Once she saw the house she sent a deposit to the landlord. Once he got the deposit he completely disappeared and she never heard from him again. It turned out that his Facebook was fake and the rental property wasn’t for rent after all. In fact, it was quite the opposite, with other people living in the home who were clueless that their property was being listed on Craigslist.
While I trust VRBO when using it as a vacation rental, I don’t find that it’s a good resource for travel nurses unless you’re traveling with a group of people. VRBO rentals are typically more expensive and less flexible. They don’t rent with the goal to rent long-term and instead listed properties are more for short-term rentals.
Another company I wouldn’t recommend using for rental properties is Zillow. I happened to be scammed on Zillow and lost $4,600 (read about it here). The reason I don’t like Zillow is because they take no accountability for what happens on their site. When I raised concern over my rental property being a scam they told me that I would need to hire a lawyer to contact them because they wouldn’t talk to me alone. I don’t support or agree with businesses that don’t have the interest of people who use their business at heart.
So, while finding housing as a travel nurse can seem like a long, drawn out, and difficult process; there are incredible companies out there who are making it easier each day. I hope that this post gave you helpful resources and tips on how to find housing, things to avoid, and ways to figure out how much to spend on housing. If you know of any good housing resources that I missed, I encourage you to let me know in a comment below!
You’ve made living arrangements… but what about packing? Read my guide on How NOT to Pack For Your First Travel Nurse Assignment