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The Travel Times: Location, Location, Location

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The Travel Times: Location, Location, Location

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Hello again, and welcome to another part of the Travel Times! Just to recap, we discussed making the decision to travel as well as the intricacies of finding an agency and recruiter. Now let’s talk about where to go, and where to stay while you’re there. 

Before deciding where to go, you need to know your why. As mentioned, everyone does travel nursing for different reasons. Your “why” is the biggest factor in determining where you take an assignment. I alternated assignments for three reasons: pay, location, and the hospital itself. 

Start by making a list. 

  1. Be honest about what you want. This will help you and your recruiter save time with selecting assignments. 
  2. Where do you want to go? This includes the state, hospital, and the specialty.
  3. What kind of experiences do you want to have? For instance, you can go to a rural hospital in a great location. You can work on a unit where you will be able to reinforce or expand your experience. You can decide to go to a place that pays well because that is your goal, and the hospital and location aren’t as important to you. Know what you are looking for with each assignment. Its ok to change it up!
  4. Where do you NOT want to go? This is just as helpful as knowing where you want to go and what experiences you want to have. 

Once you have found an assignment and signed a contract the next step is what I consider to be the most stressful part of travel nursing, finding housing. There are many options for short-term housing. I’ve used Airbnb, a travel nurse housing Facebook group, and my agency’s housing. Keep in mind that using the agency housing will reduce your weekly pay as you will no longer receive the housing stipend. For my first assignment, I took the company housing to simplify the transition to travel nursing. After that, I found housing to be cheaper than what I was given and was able to keep the rest of the money. This is the most common practice among travel nurses.

            Other things to consider in your search for housing include your commute, need for privacy, and whether you want to live in a house or apartment. If you are traveling with family or pets it can affect where you can stay. All of these play a role in your decision. Airbnb, an online rental company for lodging and housing was a great option for me. Many of Airbnb’s hosts are open to long-term rates if you decide to stay with them for the duration of your assignment which is typically 13 weeks. Be proactive in your search by messaging potential hosts. I used Facebook travel nurse housing group for one assignment as well and found it to be a great option as the owner hosted travel nurses who served as references for me. 

Here are a couple of do’s and don’ts when it comes to choosing housing. Always, take the time to look at the safety reports for the area you are considering. Zillow and other realty websites can do an overlay with crime rates, flood zones, and other important factors to consider. Never give a full down payment without inspecting the place. Some owners will ask for this; I would caution you against it as it can be a way to get scammed. Most people would rather continue looking for housing than be conned out of several hundred dollars. 

This by no means is a comprehensive list of dos and don’ts, or thoughts for choosing an assignment and housing. As you can see, housing is easy to find but difficult to choose. I urge you to do your research as you go through this process. It will help you as you make these decisions and start your exciting life as a travel nurse.

Current and former travel nurses, what would you add to this list?

Have more questions? Reach out to me on Instagram @sandyroorn!

Sandy Horace, BSN, RN

Sandy is a current DNP-AGACNP student at Jacksonville State University in Alabama. She has been a CVICU/SICU RN for 9 years, and traveled for three of those years. She loves deep thoughts on her Instagram posts, and is excited to merge her two loves of writing and nursing on this platform. You can find her on Instagram @sandyroorn.

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