Whether you pass off the housing search to your medical staffing company or take the research into your own hands for your traveling assignment, you need to know where you're laying your head at night. Finding temporary housing as a medical traveler can get stressful without the right info or resources to navigate. We've broken down the main travel housing concerns, so you can find your temporary home with ease.
Understanding Your Traveler Housing Options
Budgeting for your housing plans
Ideally, everyone would be able to find inexpensive housing with all the perks and amenities they want. But life is life, it all has a price, and everything is checks and balances. Your best option is to create a realistic budget and go forth in your search. Stipend housing is a good choice if you’re looking to have more control over where you stay and what you spend. Tax free stipends for travelers can really help in the cost of living for your traveling medical career. Fusion Medical Staffing has recommended hotel sites and extended stay companies with negotiated rates to keep costs down too. When you become a traveler, you get discounted codes to use at places like Travelers Haven, Hotel Engine, Woodspring, Extended Stay America, Choice Hotels, IHG, and Wyndham Hotels.
Bridging the gap between temporary housing and traditional housing
When you’re on your travel assignment, you want to make your temporary home as comfortable as possible. Extended stay hotels are heavily utilized by travel nurses and traveling medical professionals as a bridge between temporary and traditional housing. Some travelers like the perks hotels provide—like breakfast, housekeeping services, and fitness centers. Also, a lot of these hotels have kitchens, which can save money on food and can feel more like “home” to you. Travelers can receive pre-negotiated rates for extended stay type of hotels too. Check out HotelEngine to find short stays in between contracts and to help pull your housing plans together.
Financial tips to help you find your perfect temporary home
Beware of “too good to be true” offers
Make sure the images aren’t doctored up or boasting an incredible asset for cheap (Um, free infinity pool plus a top-of-the line espresso machine? No possible way.) Also, match the price to the amenities and images. If the offer looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Avoid the catfish
Scammers are abound! Never send or wire money. Check out our post So You’ve Been Catfished By Temporary Housing to learn more about how you can avoid the scam life when looking for temporary housing.
Look into your landlord
When talking with potential landlords online or over the phone, get their credentials. Read their ratings online, check with the Better Business Bureau, and don’t be afraid to ask them straight up for references. Remember to use your intuition and if something feels “off”—walk away.
Is furnished housing worth it?
Furnished housing can be a lifesaver when you’re looking at a short-term place for one assignment. Why would you want to sit in a lawn chair in an empty apartment, surrounded by echoing walls? On the other hand, why buy furniture for something temporary? Furnished housing is pretty much the norm for medical travelers on assignment these days. Corporate housing options are also a good go-to, since they specialize in the types of housing you’re looking for and vacation rental sites. Some great options for those are Airbnb, VRBO, HomeAway, FlipKey and CHBO.
Depending on what type of housing you find, you may need a bed. Furnished travel nurse housing or a hotel will have you all set up and ready, but what about a short-term apartment lease? Or what if you’re feeling skeptical about sleeping on someone else’s mattress? To avoid snoozing on the floor, invest in a good quality air mattress with a pump. Some of them are very fancy and withstand the durability test of not even having a bedframe. Head to Amazon and grab this one. Or if you need a top-rated air mattress from a more detailed list, check out this Buyers Guide from The Sleep Judge.
The challenge of finding pet friendly housing
Pets are like family, so naturally you want to bring your furry travel buddy. Pet friendly housing for travelers is a top request among traveling medical professionals, but just like renting a year-round, permanent home, there can sometimes be restrictions on your canine or feline pal. A lot of housing search sites will have a “pet-friendly” filter to search by and have housing with pets in mind, like Abodo, Bring Fido, MyApartmentMap, My New Place, and People With Pets. Additionally, there are some steps you can take to ensure you lock down your pet friendly housing:
Contact available resources
Use the above list or contact the city’s humane society or animal care agency to see if they can provide a list of housing communities that allow pets. Any personal connections to real estate agents, rental agents, or resident managers can help too.
Gathering a letter of reference from a current or past landlord, proof of a dog training class, and veterinarian documentation stating that your pet is up-to-date on medical care.
Address the underlying issues
If there is a no-pets policy, ask if it was due to a negative experience and try to understand where the landlord is coming from. If you can get a little more info as to why pets aren’t allowed, it may help you make a more positive case for them to make an exception.
Don’t jump at the first housing opportunity
Just because they allow pets doesn't mean it's right for you and your furry friend. Ask yourself how you can make your pet more comfortable in their new environment. Is there a park or walking path nearby for your dog to play? Plenty of sunlight and lookout points for your kitty? Do you have a good resource for pet sitting, should you need it? Our pets deserve the same amenities and sense of home as we do, so any extra steps you can take to ensure their comfort will help them adjust easier.
Getting your housing deposit back at the end
Read your lease
Your lease should outline how soon you need to give notice, and you can ask the landlord to give you an exact date at the time of move in, just to be sure there is no discrepancy. This ensures you don’t “break your lease” through improper notice. Some leases will have a page of itemized costs listed to replace items or make repairs, including items like light bulb replacements, batteries for smoke detectors, drip pans for stoves, stain removal, general hourly cleaning, steam carpet cleaning, etc. Use this as a checklist during your last week in the unit.
Fill out the inspection checklist
Fill out your lease’s move-in checklist and turn it in within a few days of moving in. Report any issues that need to be addressed and schedule a time with maintenance to resolve them. If there are items that are not handled after you have reported them, make sure to take pictures of them, so the landlord can’t claim you caused the damage and stick you with the cost at move-out. Make a copy of the checklist and photos to keep for yourself too.
Organize, clean and repair the property
Spend a little time putting your housing back into move-in condition, including wall patching holes, paint touch up, appliance cleaning, and general cleaning.
Request a final walkthrough
Ask the landlord to schedule a walkthrough of the unit, after you have done your repairs and cleaning, but at least a day or two before you move out. If the landlord is unable to meet in person, or if pandemic restrictions don’t allow for in-person meet ups, request a list of any damages or charges, so that you have the opportunity to fix them and leave the property looking marvelous.
Take photos of the property the day of your move out
Document the superb condition that you left the property. After you have removed all of your personal belongings, take photos of each room and email them to the manager the same day you move out, so you have the date of correspondence and proof of the condition of the property. This way you aren’t hit with the bill for someone else’s stay.
Leave the keys in the right place
Once you’re out of the apartment and ready to hit the road on your way to your next assignment, stop by the leasing office to drop your keys off and leave a forwarding address where you would like to have the deposit mailed. Be sure to get the person’s name that you leave your keys with. Do not leave the keys in the property unless the landlord tells you to; it could result in the leasing office taking additional rent out of your deposit.
Know when you’re getting your deposit back
Your landlord has between 14-60 days (depending on the state) to mail out your deposit. Private owners can sometimes take twice as long if they aren’t used to state policies. If it’s been over 60 days and you still haven’t gotten your deposit or the statement, follow up with a phone call, then follow up with an email (outline the facts: how much the landlord owes you, photos you took on your way out, etc.) Also cite the states security deposit law, this way you can track your correspondence until they get you the information you need. If you get your deposit back but there are unexpected or unjustifiable deductions, it is your right to ask for pictures and invoices or receipts for the repairs. If they do any major repairs such as replacing the flooring, check to make sure that they depreciate the cost of the replacement.
Making RV travel an option
Living in a cute home on wheels can save money on housing costs and can be a great way to explore new places at the drop of a hat. Plus, you don’t need to worry about living in someone else’s space during a pandemic. Imagine waking up every day (or maybe every few weeks) to new scenery outside your window! Small space living encourages you to get outside and explore, rather than sitting inside and lounging all the time. RV life isn’t for everybody, and there is maintenance to consider when springing for the traveler home life instead of your standard brick-and-mortar rental. Check out our two posts about How To Get Your RV Ready For Travel and How To Winterize Your RV to learn more about RV upkeep and seasonal maintenance.
You have a lot of decisions ahead of you after accepting a new assignment, including housing logistics. One of the biggest questions medical staffing companies get are how do travel nurses find housing. It can really make or break your medical travel experience over the next 13 weeks, so use all the resources available to you and be diligent about the type of housing that works for you.