How to Find Travel Nurse Housing

How to Find Travel Nurse Housing [ The Ultimate Guide ]

Finding your own travel nurse housing can seem daunting. There are tons of variables and options to consider. Moreover, travel nurse housing involves many unique circumstances that make it more complex than normal. In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know to find your own travel nurse housing like a pro!

First, this article assumes you already decided to find your own travel nurse housing instead of taking the company’s housing. If you have not considered all the risks and rewards involved with this decision, then please review our article on that topic here.

Also, this article does not cover issues related to you taking the company’s housing. Please review our Ultimate Guide to Travel Nurse Company Housing for everything you need to know about taking the company’s housing.

If you’re interested in learning everything you need to find your own travel nurse housing, then this is the article for you! First, we’ll cover some basic information about travel nurse housing reimbursements.

Next, we’ll cover some general issues you should consider when you secure your own travel nurse housing. Then, we’ll discuss everything you need to know about various housing options from the perspective of a travel nurse.

Finally, we’ll provide tons of resources to help you find your own travel nurse housing. We’ll also provide some information about each resource so you’ll know what to expect.

Table of Contents:

  • General Considerations for Finding Your Own Travel Nurse Housing
  • Travel Nurses and Housing Scams
  • Everything Travel Nurses Ought to Know About Extended Stays
  • Hotels and Motels
  • What About “Corporate Housing” for Travel Nurses?
  • Apartment Complexes and Home Rentals for Travel Nurses
  • How to Use Craigslist to Find Your Own Travel Nurse Housing
  • How to Search for Vacation Rentals as a Travel Nurse
  • How to Use Airbnb for Travel Nurse Housing
  • How to Use HomeAway and VRBO for Travel Nurse Housing
  • List of General Vacation Rental Services for Travel Nurses
  • Niche Services to Find Travel Nurse Housing

The Travel Nurse Housing Reimbursement

Travel nursing companies typically provide you with a tax-free reimbursement if you choose to find your own housing. We covered everything you need to know about the travel nurse housing reimbursement in another article. We strongly encourage you to review it.

Here, we just provide some basic points to remember. First, you must have a legitimate tax-home to qualify for tax-free reimbursements. If you do not, then you are an “itinerant worker”. All your income is taxable even if the agency pays it to you tax-free.

Second, the amount of the lodging reimbursement varies by location, assignment and company. And, all else equal, some companies pay higher lodging reimbursements than others.

However, this does not necessarily mean the overall pay packages are any different. For example, one company might offer lower reimbursements but a higher taxable wage while another offers higher reimbursements and a lower taxable wage. This is why it is so important for you to accurately compare pay packages.

Additionally, it’s important to note that most if not all travel nursing companies adhere to the same upper limits on tax-free lodging reimbursements. The General Services Administration of the Federal Government publishes these upper limits. The limits vary by location.

That said, most travel nurses recommend that you work with agencies that offer reimbursements on the high side. This is especially true when you find your own housing. The reason is that a higher percentage of your pay ends up being nontaxable. Therefore, you end up with higher net pay.

Finally, it’s important to note that lodging reimbursements are taxable if you do not actually incur an expense for lodging. For example, if you stay with friends or family for free while you’re on assignment, then the lodging reimbursement is taxable income.

General Considerations for Finding Your Own Travel Nurse Housing

Again, we encourage you to review our full article on travel nurse housing stipends here. However, now that we’ve covered the basics, we can take a look at the general issues you should consider when you find your own travel nurse housing.

Take Stock of What You Need from Your Travel Nurse Housing

First, you might want to make a list of your housing needs. This list should include items specific to housing as well as items specific to your lifestyle. Here is a just a small list of considerations:

  • Proximity to work
  • Appliances (washer/dryer, toaster, dishwasher, etc)
  • Walkability
  • Proximity to gym
  • Neighborhood safety and security
  • Parking

Essentially, this is a list that will inform your housing search. It will also help you make sure you have everything you need to maintain your lifestyle. Never assume that a housing option comes equipped with anything. Always ask to make sure and mark items off your checklist.

If you’re wondering what to pack and how to pack, then please review our article with packing tips and tools for travel nurses.

Travel Nurse Housing Length of Stay

The typical travel nursing contract is 13 weeks long, which is 3 months. Other common time-frames are 4, 6, 8 and 26 weeks.

These timeframes put travel nurses in a sort of housing limbo which can limit the housing options available to travel nurses. Many landlords and property managers simply will not work with the shorter time frames.

For example, many apartment complexes require a minimum lease of 6 months. Meanwhile, most people feel that 13 weeks is too long for hotels and motels.

Fortunately, the proliferation of housing marketplaces, like Airbnb, is making life easier for travel nurses in this regard. Moreover, there are some tips and tricks for hotels and motels that make them more appealing for travel nurses. We’ll discuss these topics below.

Short-term Lodging Taxes for Travel Nurse Housing

Travel nurses should also be aware of “short-term lodging taxes”. These taxes are most common with hotels and motels. However, you can also encounter them with vacation rentals and apartments.

It’s not that travel nurses are on the hook to remit these taxes. The property owner bears that responsibility. Instead, the reason it is so important to consider these taxes is that they’re avoidable or refundable in some cases. Therefore, there is an opportunity for you to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

States, counties and cities levy these taxes. Therefore, the rules and regulations vary greatly. For example, Alabama has a 5% lodging tax for all rentals where the stay is 180 days or less. By contrast, California has no state or sales tax on lodging. Instead, counties or cities tax rentals where the stay is 30 days or less.

Whether the taxes are refundable or avoidable varies by jurisdiction. For example, in some jurisdictions the taxes are refundable once you exceed the minimum stay. In other jurisdictions, you simply stop paying the tax when you’ve met the minimum requirements.

Again, short-term lodging taxes are not applicable for all properties. It’s also important to note that lease agreements may not mention short-term lodging taxes at all. Certain hotel receipts may not mention them either. Therefore, it’s important to ask the property manager in advance because you might be able to save some money!

Frequent Credit Checks

Most traditional landlords and property managers run a “hard credit check” before they agree to rent to anyone. Hard credit checks can lower your FICO credit score. This is particularly true if they happen frequently.

However, hard credit checks don’t affect your credit score all that much. Moreover, it’s questionable as to whether or not the frequency that travel nurses get credit checks will actually have much of an effect on their credit score.

That said, if you are concerned, then you can try to avoid them. For example, individual property owners run credit checks much less frequently than professional property managers. Vacation rentals, shared-spaces, hotels and motels hardly ever run credit checks. Therefore, you can focus on these properties as a way to avoid this issue.

Also, you can try to provide additional information to property owners in an effort to avoid hard credit checks. For example, you might try providing them with a copy of your contract to demonstrate income stability. Or, you can provide bank account statements if you’ve been able to save an impressive amount of money. These tactics won’t always work, but they’re worth a try if this issue is important to you.

It’s Difficult to Inspect Travel Nurse Housing

In most cases, you’ll be too far away to physically inspect prospective housing options. This presents a number of issues for you to be aware of.

First, you must be aware that property owners often display photos that make their properties appear more glamorous than they actually are. Additionally, it’s difficult to get a feel for the neighborhood when you can’t be present.

You can use Google Maps with Street View or Google Earth to get a better idea of how the property and neighborhood look and feel. Here are some free services that can help you get an idea of neighborhood safety and livability:

  • AreaVibes
  • WalkScore
  • City Protect

Uncertainty and Travel Nurse Housing

Uncertainty is another unique factor that travel nurses often contend with. Specifically, you will inevitably experience uncertainty about where you’re going to be next and when you’re going to be there.

Uncertainty can be an issue when It comes to your initial housing search. Contract start dates change sometimes. Sometimes, contracts get cancelled before they start.

The original Universal Job Application and Credential Management for travelers.

Uncertainty can also be problematic when it comes to transitioning from one contract to the next. This is because landlords typically want advance notice of when you’re leaving. They need time to rent the property in order to minimize their vacancy rates.

If you tell the landlord you’re going to stay and the hospital cancels your contract extension, then you could be on the hook for rental fees. If you tell the landlord you’re going to leave, but then your current hospital offers you a surprise contract extension, then you could be stuck with an unwanted move if someone else already rented your current property.

There’s no easy way around these issues. The best you can do is maintain excellent communication with all stakeholders.

Travel Nurses and Housing Scams

Given that travel nurses are often remote when they engage in their housing searches, they are slightly more susceptible to scams. This is because many housing scams hinge on “sight unseen” components. Essentially, the scammers advertise a fake property and try to get you to send them money for it.

Scammers typically perpetrate their scams on classified websites like Craigslist. However, scams can also exist on sites like Facebook and even on vacation rental sites like Airbnb.

In this section, we’ll discuss how to spot potential housing scams. We’ll also discuss how to avoid scams.

How to Spot Travel Nurse Housing Scams

Housing scammers typically try to mimic the behavior of real landlords or property managers. Therefore, it’s not always easy to spot a scam. However, there are several characteristics to watch out for.

Beware of Low Prices

First, watch out for properties with prices well below the market. Scammers often advertise prices that are hundreds of dollars below market to attract more attention.

Difficulty Connecting

Next, evaluate the telephone situation. You should be suspicious of the property manager in the following telephone related scenarios:

They can’t or won’t provide a telephone number

They provide a Google Voice number (You’ll know because you’ll hear Google’s advertising when you call the number IF the subscriber has not modified Google’s default settings.)

The area code does not match the area code of the property

Additionally, you should be leery of any property manager that can’t meet you in person. Of course, you are likely remote so you can’t meet them. However, if you get suspicious that you may be subject to a scam, then you can ask them to meet just to see what they say.

Fishy Behavior

Next, a high percentage of scams originate in foreign countries. Therefore, watch out for housing advertisements that have poor grammar. Also, watch for advertisements that use British spellings like labour instead of labor or realise instead of realize.

Also, watch out for sob stories and other emotional appeals. For example, a scammer might tell you that they’re in another country and they need the money to return home to tend to a sick relative.

Similarly, watch out for extreme urgency. All property managers want to rent their properties ASAP. However, you should be suspicious of those who utilize overtly pushy sales tactics.

You should also be mindful of the time that communications are coming through from the property owner. If you realize that the property owner routinely responds at 3am local time, then they maybe in a different country.

Finally, you should immediately stop communicating with anyone that asks you to wire money. Wire transfers are non-refundable and can’t be stopped once transmitted.

This goes for bank wires, Western Union, MoneyGram, Walmart’s money transfers, or any other type of wire transfer. It also goes for “Peer-to-Peer” payment apps like Zelle, Venmo and Cash App. In fact, these apps are specifically designed for sending money to people you know and trust.

2 Scenarios That are Particularly Difficult when You are Remote

There are two common housing scam tactics that are very difficult to deal with when you are remote. First, some scammers simply want your social security number, date of birth and bank account information. Rental property applications typically require all this information.

One common scam is when scammers require you to fill out a rental property application before viewing the property or meeting the property manager. If you are remote, then it’s very difficult to view the property and meet the owner in advance. Therefore, you will most likely need to complete the application prior to doing so.

Second, another common scam involves the scammer requesting money before you view the property. Again, if you’re remote, then you will most likely not be able to view the property before sending money.

Here again, you could request to view the property simply to test the property manager’s response. If they ask for money just to view the property, then you know it’s a scam.

How to Avoid Housing Scams as a Travel Nurse

Now that you know what to look for in order to avoid housing scams, you can greatly reduce your risk of getting trapped by them. However, there are countermeasures you can use to reduce your risk even further.

Secure Housing on Arrival

First, you can wait to secure your housing until you arrive at your destination. In this scenario, you stay in a hotel, motel or Airbnb when you first arrive. Then, you focus on finding your housing in the first few days after arrival.

Of course, you can make the process easier by researching the housing market and setting appointments in advance. While this approach is risky in other ways, it will help you avoid scams in nearly every case.

Verify the Property and the Landlord

Second, you can verify the validity of the property and the landlord. To begin, visit Google Maps and enter the property’s address. Next, use Street View to inspect the property and surrounding area. Alternatively, you can research the address on Zillow or Redfin. Make sure the pictures match those in the advertisement you’re responding to.

If all else fails, you can try using Google’s Reverse Image Search. This can possibly help you determine if the same images are being used for multiple different property listings. Simply enter the images from the advertisement into Image Search and view the results.

Next, research the landlord on Google and social media, especially LinkedIn. Always request a telephone call with the landlord. Even better, request facetime or a video conference. It’s even okay to ask for references like former tenants.

Finally, Furnished Finder offers a free Owner Verification Report. Simply visit this link, enter the property details and submit the request. They’ll email you with property owner information they retrieve from public records.

If the property is managed through a property management company, then investigate the company and the agent you’re communicating with. Make sure the agent’s phone number, address and email address match the Property Management Company’s website and Google listing. Call the property management office to verify that the agent you are speaking with is legit.

Utilize Most Vetted Resources

Third, you can utilize only the most reputable resources to find your travel nurse housing. Services like Airbnb, Furnished Finders, Apartment List and others like them typically vet property owners before allowing them to list. Additionally, they typically provide legitimate reviews from previous tenants.

Meanwhile, resources like Craigslist and Facebook are less secure. These platforms have very few preventive measures for scammers.

Finally, as we mentioned above, don’t ever wire money.

Now that we’ve covered most of the general information you need to know, we’ll take a look at the specific details of various housing options available to travel nurses.

Everything Travel Nurses Ought to Know About Extended Stays

Extended Stay” hotels are excellent housing options for travel nurses who find their own housing. Extended-stay hotels are defined by the fact that they have a kitchenette in every room. Of course, this is a huge advantage over traditional hotels.

Unfortunately, many properties that do not have kitchenettes still refer to themselves as Extended Stays. Therefore, you must always inquire if the room includes a kitchenette.

Also, you must inquire about the specific features of the kitchenette. Some rooms include ovens, full-size refrigerators and dishwashers while others do not.

To be safe, don’t assume that an extended-stay’s kitchen includes anything. Ask about everything that is important to you. That goes for coffee makers, toasters, microwaves and anything else.

Another advantage of extended-stays is that they do not require a lease. This means you avoid the risk of having to pay to cover a lease in case your contract gets cancelled. That’s a huge advantage over traditional apartments even when the apartment agrees to a month-to-month lease.

Additionally, extended-stays do not require a security deposit. Also, they do not require credit checks. Of course, they are fully furnished. They are almost always pet-friendly.

Moreover, the utilities are already setup for you and the cost is included in the price. Often times, they even include amenities like laundry service, house cleaning, gyms, swimming pools, free breakfast and more.

Here again, be sure to inquire with each property about things like WiFi, parking and other amenities. The offerings vary greatly from property to property. Never assume they include anything.

In any case, all of these advantages serve to reduce your financial risk. They also save you tons of time!

Where can Travel Nurses Find Extended-Stays

The great news is that there are about 40,000 extended stay properties in the U.S. alone. Extended Stay America is probably the most popular operator of extended-stay hotels among travel nurses. That’s because they typically offer the most amenities for the best price. For example, most Extended Stay America Hotels include ovens and a free grab-and-go breakfast.

However, there are tons of other extended-stay operators. Some of these operators have hundreds of properties across the country. Others operate a small number of properties in specific areas.

It can be difficult to find these properties, especially the smaller operators. Below is just a small list of options for you to consider:

  • Extended Stay America
  • Woodspring Suites
  • In Town Suites
  • Budget Suites of America
  • Candlewood Suites
  • Staybridge Suites
  • Metro Extended Stay (example of really small operator)
  • Studio 6
  • Homewood Suites
  • Hyatt House
  • HomeTowne Studios
  • Residence Inn
  • TownePlace Suites
  • Hawthorn Suites

Most extended-stays are located in decent areas but some are located in less desirable areas. Therefore, you should always research the area using the same tools we listed above.

Additionally, most extended-stays have internal room entry. This means that the door to your room is on the inside of the building. This adds an extra layer of security. Again, be sure to ask about this if it is important to you.

How Travel Nurses can Negotiate with Extended Stay Hotels

It’s important to note that the hotel industry defines an “extended stay” as a stay of 5 days or more. Of course, travel nurses will stay much longer than 5 days if they stay for the duration of their contract. This means you can, and should, negotiate a more favorable rate than the rate you will see on the property’s website.

Extended Stay Discount Codes

As a travel nurse, you may see discount codes for Extended Stay America and other properties floating around the travel nursing community and on deal websites like RetailMeNot. You are welcome use these codes.

However, we encourage you to contact the property directly and request to speak to the property manager. Or, if the property is a franchise, then request to speak with the property owner if possible.

You see, the discount codes are often part of a referral program. The person or business providing you with the referral code gets a referral bonus. You can join the referral program yourself using this link.

Contact the Property Directly

There is nothing wrong with this. However, it is a cost to the business. As a result, you can often get a much better deal by contacting the property manager directly.

You can even negotiate with multiple properties in order to achieve the best price. Doing this takes very little time and can save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars more than the coupon code depending on your length of stay.

To increase your bargaining power, tell them you’re a travel nurse and that there is a strong chance that you’ll be returning under similar circumstances in the future. If you stay at these properties enough, then you may get better discounts and even discounts on short term stays.

Also, it’s important to note that most hotel operators have rewards programs. You should definitely sign up for these programs when available. Just one long-term stay can add up to lots of rewards points!

Hotels and Motels

Standard hotels and motels are another option for travel nurses. However, we recommend using them only for short-term stays unless no other options are available.

Hotels and motels tend to be much more expensive. Moreover, they lack a kitchen so you end up spending much more money on food.

If you do choose to use them, then please note that many of the dynamics are similar to those we described for extended-stays. For example, you should negotiate rates on long-term stays.

Also, you should utilize rewards programs when available. In fact, if you use hotels regularly, then booking directly with the hotel using the rewards program almost always guarantees the best rate. That said, if you’re going to stay at a hotel for weeks, then contact the hotel directly to try and negotiate a special rate.

Of course, you are undoubtedly familiar with hotel search engines and discount sites like Kayak, Booking.com and Hotel Tonight. These sites and others like them are fine to use for short-term stays.

What About “Corporate Housing” for Travel Nurses?

Corporate housing” is another option people bandy about the travel nursing industry. Typically, corporate housing comes as fully furnished apartments or condominiums. Corporate housing companies typically manage and service the properties.

It sounds great: Fully-furnished, turn-key apartments and condos for travel nurses. However, corporate housing tends to be cost prohibitive. According to CoStar Group, Inc, the average rate for corporate housing in the United States is $150 per day. That’s $4,500 per month! Our recommendation is to stay away.

However, if you want to research corporate housing, then here is a list of websites for your consideration:

  • Corporate Housing by Owner
  • CorporateHousing.com
  • National Corporate Housing
  • Oakwood
  • AHI Corporate Housing
  • Hampton Corporate Suites
  • 2nd Address
  • Oasis Corporate Housing
  • Suite America

Apartment Complexes and Home Rentals for Travel Nurses

Renting an apartment or home directly with the property manager is at the other end of the spectrum from extended-stay hotels when it comes to travel nurse housing. Essentially, rentals tend to be the riskiest and most difficult options for travel nurses to work with.

To clarify, we are referring specifically to the act of renting an apartment or home directly with the operator, property manager or owner. We are not referring to sublets, vacation rentals or shared spaces.

The majority of rentals require lease terms of 6 months or longer. In fact, they define “short term” as 6 months. It’s very difficult to find rentals that accept 3-month leases. It’s even more difficult to find those that accept month-to-month leases.

As a result, these options tend to be the most difficult and time consuming for you to find. Moreover, depending on the lease terms, you will risk a minimum of 30 days’ worth of expenses should your contract get cancelled.

Of course, you’ll also have to furnish the rental in most cases. You can use furniture rental companies like Brook Furniture Rental or Aaron’s. However, these options tend to be quite expensive with prices starting at $450 per month to furnish a 1-bedroom apartment.

Instead, you could furnish the apartment yourself on the cheap. I worked with many travel nurses who used Craigslist to furnish entire apartments for less than the cost of one month of a furniture rental company. They traveled with an air mattress for the bed.

Finally, you’ll also need to secure all the utilities yourself. You may even need to secure a washer and dryer in some cases if those items are important to you.

How to find Apartment Complexes and Home Rentals for Travel Nurses

As we mentioned above, it’s very difficult to find rentals that accept month-to-month or 3-month leases. If you enter search-terms in Google like, “short term lease apartment”, you’ll get tons of results that seem to be exactly what you’re looking for.

Unfortunately, when you speak with an agent, you’ll find out that they do not accept anything less than 1 year or 6-month leases in the vast majority of cases. Moreover, the vast majority of apartment websites do not publish their lease terms or prices.

Therefore, the best you can do is call around and ask. Here are some websites that are primarily focused on aggregating information on apartment operators so you’ll have all their information in one location:

  • Apartment List
  • ForRent.com
  • Apartments.com
  • ArtmentHomeLiving.com
  • ApartmentFinder.com
  • ApartmentGuide.com
  • HotPads.com
  • Zillow.com
  • Trulia.com
  • ColdwellBanker

Here is a list of websites that focus primarily on home rentals or have a mix of home and apartment rentals:

  • Rent.com
  • Realtor.com
  • Homefinder.com
  • Homes.com
  • Zumper.com
  • RENTCafe.com
  • Rentals.com
  • Lovely
  • RentDigs

Are Apartment Complexes and Home Rentals Good Options for Travel Nurses?

At this point, you’re no doubt wondering why a travel nurse would choose to secure a traditional rental property. One way to look it is that you get good value relative to a hotel or corporate housing.

For example, I recently spoke with a travel nurse who spent $2,600 per month for a one-bedroom apartment in San Jose, California. I know this sounds like a lot, but San Jose, CA is one of the most expensive cities in the country. She estimated she was paying $2,850 per month including utilities.

That averages out to about $95 per day. Meanwhile, the published rates for Extended Stay America in the same area are $120 – $134 per day. You may be able to negotiate them down to $75 per day for your long-term stay.

That’s a difference of about $600 or 20%-30% more per month for the apartment versus the Extended Stay. You can expect a similar percentage difference in most major markets. And in some markets, you may be able to get this difference down to 15%.

Many people are fine paying 15%-30% more for a nice apartment versus an extended-stay hotel. Meanwhile, the apartment is much less expensive than corporate housing or a standard hotel. However, you still have the risk of being stuck with a lease in case your contract gets cancelled.

Leases Might be too Risky

All of that said, we recommend that travel nurses shy away from traditional rental properties. In most cases, it’s simply too much of a hassle and risk for you to deal with.

If you want a fully furnished apartment or home, then you’re better off working through a niche service or a vacation rental service. We discuss these options below.

Alternatively, you should consider accepting company housing if you really want a furnished apartment. In fact, if you’re working with one of the largest healthcare staffing companies, then there is a very good chance that they get volume discounts on the apartments they work with. Therefore, they can secure a traditional rental at a lower cost than you can.

Travel Nursing Couples and Rentals

It’s important to note that travel nursing couples face a unique set of circumstances that can make it worthwhile for them to secure traditional rental properties should they desire this option. Specifically, if both members of a traveling couple share housing from the same company, then the company is not supposed to give either of them a lodging stipend. Instead, they’ll add more money to your taxable rate or tax the stipend. That means both of you will lose out on the tax-advantage.

Additionally, couples can divide the labor and cost of securing the apartment. This decreases the hassle and cost for each person. It also reduces the risk exposure for each person should the contact get cancelled.

How to Use Craigslist to Find Your Own Travel Nurse Housing

Now that we’ve discussed the more traditional housing options, we can move on to some of the more creative options. These options include vacation rentals, shared spaces and sublets.

First, there are several ways you can use Craigslist for your travel nurse housing search. For starters, you can search through the advertisements in “rooms/shared”, “apts/housing”, “sublets/temporary” and “vacation rentals” under the “housing” section.

Second, you can place your own advertisements in the “rooms wanted” and “housing wanted” sections. We strongly recommend this approach.

Simply create a craigslist account and post an ad for the city/state that you are traveling to. For example, “Registered Nurse seeking accommodations for 13 weeks during a travel nursing assignment. Please respond via email with any options you may have.”

You’ll receive a lot of inquiries from people looking to rent out a room in their apartment or home. However, every once in a while, you’ll find a true gem. I worked with a nurse who secured the 1200 square foot, fully-equipped guest house for a 5500 square foot estate near West Hills, CA for $900 per month all-inclusive. I had another nurse sublet a posh condo in Sunnyvale, CA while the owner was traveling for 6 months in South America. It’s rare, but it’s possible.

While Craigslist has done a lot in recent years to prevent scams, you must still watch out for scams when you use the service. Please review the section above on how to avoid scams for more information.

Finally, it’s important to note that Craigslist recently launched a native iOS application. They have an Android app in beta.

Other Classified Websites for Travel Nurses

Ultimately, Craigslist is a classified-ad service. Here are four additional classified websites you can try:

  • Classifiedads.com
  • Oodle.com
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • ULoop.com

ULoop warrants special consideration. This is because ULoop is actually a marketplace geared toward college students. In fact, you need a .edu email address to join.

The reason we list it here is that ULoop has a robust housing section that is full of sublets, shared-spaces and furnished rentals. You can browse the listings without an account. Moreover, the vast majority of listings provide full contact information for the property manager.

If there is a university in the area of your assignment, then ULoop is worth a try. Simply search for the university from ULoop’s homepage and you’ll be taken to the classified ads for that university.

Using Vacation Rental and Shared-Space Websites like Airbnb for Travel Nurse Housing

Vacation rental and shared-space websites have become extremely popular in recent years. These options are great for travel nurses because they’re furnished and utilities are included.

In this section, we’ll discuss the general issues for travel nurses to consider when they use these services. Then, we’ll take a deeper look at the two most popular lodging marketplaces for travel nurses, Airbnb and VRBO. Finally, we’ll provide a list of vacation rental and shared-space websites for your convenience.

Travel nurses are Vacation Rental Power Users

Vacation rental hosts typically publish daily rates that fall between the rental market and the hotel market. That is, they’re not as cheap as renting, and they’re not quite as expensive as hotels.

However, it’s important for travel nurses to remember that they are power-users in the vacation rental market. Travel nurses will typically stay 13 to 26 weeks. Meanwhile, Airbnb’s average length of stay is 4.3 nights.

As power-users, travel nurses face unique circumstances. First, it’s more difficult for travel nurses to find housing on vacation rental sites. Many hosts are not open to long-term stays for one reason or another. Moreover, many properties are already booked for some portion of your desired stay.

Don’t let either scenario stop you from reaching out to hosts for properties that you’re interested in. Every once in a while, a host will cancel future reservations in favor of the long-term stay. Moreover, you’ll find that some property owners who seem averse to long-term stays will change their tune when they discover that you’re a travel nurse.

The best approach is to message any property owner that has a property that even appears to be a good fit. The rate of response will be low. However, this “spay and prey” approach will save you time.

Second, as a power user, you should disregard the published rates. Upon your connecting with a possible lead, you should always ask them if they can offer a special rate given the duration of your stay. We’ve seen travelers get more than 50% off the published rate.

How to Search for Vacation Rentals as a Travel Nurse

Next, it’s important to note that hosts typically do not post their properties on more than one of the major vacation rental sites. There is no information available as to whether or not they cross-post on smaller services.

For example, in 2014, HomeAway reported that only 6% of its listings could also be found on Airbnb. In 2019, AirDNA, a data analytics company, reported that 20% of the total number of listings on both Airbnb and HomeAway were listed on both sites.

Therefore, you should at least consider searching all the sites in order to find all the available options in your destination. Alternatively, you can search on vacation rental aggregators. These services aggregate listings from the various different vacation rental sites. Here is a list of the largest vacation rental aggregators we are currently aware of:

  • HomeToGo.com
  • Tripping.com
  • Holidu.com
  • Wimdu.com

Search First ask Questions Later

Next, we recommend that you search first and ask questions later. This will save you tons of time. There’s no point for you to spend hours researching the neighborhoods and other granular details of each property when there is a very good chance that the property could be too expensive or unavailable.

Instead, use the platforms’ search tools to organize and save the options you’re interested in. Then, send a canned message explaining your situation and inquiring if the property is a viable option. This way, you spend time researching only those properties that are amenable to your requirements.

General Problems with Vacation Rentals

Next, it’s important to remember that rental properties sometimes have problems. The fact that your stays will be long-term means your chance of experiencing problems increases.

Meanwhile, many property owners manage their own vacation rentals. Moreover, many of them are in remote locations. There is rarely an onsite apartment manager who can handle issues immediately.

Therefore, it’s important to make sure that you know how the host handles problems when they arise. First, inquire directly with the host about this issue. Also, read the reviews for mentions of problems and how the host handled them.

Vacation Rental Taxes for Travel Nurses

Travel nurses should also be mindful of short-term rental taxes. As we mentioned above, these taxes vary dramatically by state, county and city. That said, there are some general issues specific to vacation rental services for you to be aware of.

First, some locations have laws that require vacation rental websites to collect and remit short-term property taxes. In that case, you will see the taxes as a line item in the price on the website.

However, most locations do not yet have laws requiring rental sites to manage the taxes. In some cases, there are no taxes, so there is nothing to worry about. However, in other cases, the property owner is responsible for managing the taxes.

Watch Out For Surprise Tax Bills

Most vacation rental sites give their hosts the ability to add a tax amount in the system. If the host uses that service, then you will see the taxes as a line item in the price on the website.

However, some hosts may try to collect the taxes outside the website. They might send you a bill. According to the Airbnb representative we spoke with, Airbnb has a policy that requires hosts to include taxes in the property’s description if they plan to collect taxes outside the system. Therefore, you should always check for that detail in the description. And, if you ever have a problem with this, then you can contact Airbnb to remediate the issue.

Unfortunately, we do not know how other vacation rental sites handle this matter. Please inquire with the host if this is important to you.

With the general issues covered, we can take a look at the two vacation rental services travel nurses use the most, Airbnb and HomeAway/VRBO. While vacation rental services are similar to one another, there are differences that travelers should know about in order to get the most out of them.

How to Use Airbnb for Travel Nurse Housing

We’ll start with the most popular vacation rental site. Airbnb got its start with shared rentals. They eventually started listing entire properties. Now, reports indicate that two-thirds of the site’s listings are for entire properties.

Airbnb was originally focused on large urban areas like San Francisco and New York City. However, they now have a much wider reach. For example, a search for Omaha, Nebraska returned over 300 results.

That said, it’s probably still fair to say that Airbnb has more shared offerings and a larger stock of properties in urban areas than most other sites. Either way, they are definitely the largest with over 7 million properties worldwide.

Airbnb Long-Term Stay Policy

The great thing for travel nurses is that Airbnb has specific long-term stay policies and procedures. Airbnb defines long-term stays as stays of 28 days or more. Their long-term stay policy is automatically applied to all long-term reservations.

However, you can negotiate special considerations with the host. Airbnb recommends that you use their messaging system to communicate about special considerations. This way, they can help mediate any disputes that may arise.

When you make a long-term reservation, you will see the total price for the entire stay. However, Airbnb will charge you only for the first month at the time you book the reservation. Then, they will charge you each month from the reservation start-date until the end of the reservation.

Long-Term Stay Cancellation Policy

When it comes to cancellations, there are 3 distinct time periods that travel nurses should be aware of. First, if you need to cancel the reservation before the start date, then the cancellation policy requires that you pay for the first month of the reservation and the service fee.

Second, you are protected by Airbnb’s “Guest Refund Policy”. Essentially, you have up to 24 hours after checking in to report problems with the property that would cause you to want to cancel the reservation. You can learn about that by reviewing Airbnb’s Guest Refund Policy.

Finally, if you need to cancel the reservation during your stay, then you must pay for 30 days following the cancellation date or up to the end of the reservation, whichever is shorter. This essentially amounts to a 30-day notice. To cancel a reservation during your stay, you need to modify the reservation end date on Airbnb.

Negotiating Special Considerations with Hosts on Airbnb

With all this in mind, we can discuss some of the special considerations you might want to negotiate with your Airbnb host. First, you can try to negotiate a shorter notice period, 15 days instead of 30, for example. Airbnb will still charge you for 30 days, but the host can refund you.

If you’re short on cash, then you may be able to negotiate weekly payments. Unfortunately, we are not certain how this would work, but we have seen travel nurses who claim to have done it.

Next, you should evaluate the cleaning fees. Hosts control the cleaning fees. Therefore, you want to make sure that the host does not charge you more than is reasonable.

Finally, you may want to attempt to negotiate a non-refundable deposit in an effort to avoid various risks and charges. For example, offer the host a few hundred dollars to avoid any costs related to cancellation. We’re not huge fans of this idea, but many travel nurses use it.

How to Use HomeAway and VRBO for Travel Nurse Housing

Expedia owns HomeAway which owns many different vacation rental sites. VRBO and VacationRentals.com are the most popular.

Originally, HomeAway’s listings were predominantly in vacation destinations like Hawaii and Lake Tahoe. They have since expanded. HomeAway has over 2 million listings worldwide. It sounds much smaller than Airbnb, but HomeAway does not allow shared spaces. They are “committed to offering a whole home experience”.

How Travel Nurses Pay on HomeAway / VRBO

HomeAway’s policies and procedures for long-term stays are much different than Airbnb’s. In fact, HomeAway does not have a dedicated long-term stay policy. Instead, the same rules apply for all lengths of stay.

There are several important issues for travel nurses to consider. First, HomeAway provides hosts with three options for collecting payments. They can collect payments all at once, in two installments, or in three installments.

Hosts can also control what percentage of the total cost each payment is for. For example, the first payment could be for 20%, the second for 40% and the third for 40%.

However, HomeAway charges the guest for ALL applicable taxes and fees for the entire reservation on the first payment. That means the first payment could be substantially larger for travel nurses.

Most importantly, HoweAway requires guests to pay the full cost of the entire stay before the check-in date. Therefore, we strongly urge travel nurses to negotiate incremental bookings with their hosts. You should not pay for 13 weeks of rent in advance. There is simply too much risk involved.

How Can Travel Nurses Split Their Payments on HomeAway / VRBO

Start by asking the host if they will allow you to book the property in increments. The increments could be any number of weeks at time. However, we recommend that you not exceed 30 days.

For example, you might book the property for the first 30 days. Then, you book the next 30 days on some date that you and the host agree on. Each time you book, you will pay based on the payment plan and cancellation policy the host has selected. We discuss the cancellation policies below.

The host can manage the property’s availability using the instant-booking and block-scheduling features they have access to. This makes sure that the property does not get booked by someone else for the future dates that you plan to book it for.

Knowing how all of this works allows you to help the host figure it out if they don’t know how to do it already.

Now, it’s possible that the host is willing to give you an amazing deal if you book and pay for your entire stay all at once. If you choose this option, then we strongly encourage you to negotiate a 30-day notice. In this case, the host would allow you to provide a 30-day notice and give you a refund for any unused balance beyond the 30-day period.

However, you must know that the host could simply break the agreement and refuse to refund you. Again, this is why we recommend that you book in increments on HomeAway.

HomeAway / VRBO Cancellation Policy for Travel Nurses

In any case, you will be subject to HomeAway’s standard payment and cancellation policy. HomeAway’s standard cancellation policy lets hosts choose 1 of 4 payment/cancellation policies for their property.

This article will not cover each policy in detail. However, we urge you review the policies here. That said, we will cover some cancellation scenarios that travel nurses should be aware of.

Cancelling Before Your Stay Begins

If you have to cancel before your stay begins on HomeAway or VRBO, then you will be subject to whichever cancellation policy the host selects. The strictest policy calls for no refund at all. The most lenient policy calls for a full refund if you cancel the booking more than 14 days in advance, a 50% refund if you cancel 7 days in advance and no refund if you cancel within 7 days of the start.

Cancelling After Your Stay Begins

HomeAway makes it very difficult for you to cancel your stay after it begins. You can submit a cancellation request to the host via the HomeAway / VRBO platform. However, the host is under no obligation to accept it. And remember, you’ve already paid for the full cost of the entire stay.

Even if the host does accept your cancellation request, HomeAway does not take any action to refund you. Only the host can refund you. If disputes arise, then you can try to handle them with HomeAway’s assistance or through formal legal channels.

List of General Vacation Rental Services for Travel Nurses

As we mentioned above, there are many vacation-rental services that travel nurses might use to locate housing. Remember, the rules might be different from service to service. Therefore, it’s imperative to do your research and negotiate special considerations with the hosts.

Here is a list of general vacation-rental and share-rental services for travel nurses:

  • Airbnb
  • VRBO (a HomeAway brand)
  • HomeAway
  • VacationRentals.com (a HomeAway brand)
  • TripAdvisor
  • Flipkey (a TripAdvisor brand)
  • Housetrip (a TripAdvisor brand)
  • 9flats.com
  • Homestay.com
  • CouchSurfing
  • Roomster
  • Sublet.com
  • Choice Vacation Rentals
  • SpareRoom
  • CirTru
  • Tripz

Inclusive Niche Services to Find Travel Nurse Housing

As we mentioned above, length-of-stay is the biggest problem you will encounter when you find your own travel nurse housing. You will undoubtedly encounter friction related to length-of-stay on any of the general housing services we listed above.

Furniture and utilities are also problems when you find your own travel nurse housing. However, you only face these problems when you engage in a traditional rental agreement.

The great news is that there are a few housing services that cater specifically to travel healthcare professionals. Essentially, these services help you avoid problems with furniture and length-of-stay. We’ll take a look at these services next.

How to Use Furnished Finder for Travel Nurse Housing

Furnished Finder and their subsidiary website TravelNurseHousing.com specialize in stays of 30 days or more. Therefore, they’re in the sweet-spot that travel nurses need. Additionally, Furnished Finder lists only furnished properties. They list both shared spaces and full units.

Travel nurses can create a profile and search for housing options using Furnished Finder’s property map. When you find a property that matches your needs, you simply contact the host.

You can contact the host via Furnished Finder’s messaging system. Or, you can contact the host directly as most hosts provide their contact information in the listing.

Alternatively, you can submit a “Housing Request” on Furnished Finder. Essentially, you let Furnished Finder know what you’re looking for and they contact hosts with properties that match your needs. The host will contact you via Furnished Finder’s messaging system.

When you find a fit, you book the property directly with the host. Furnished Finder does not get involved with the transaction in any way which means there are no fees for travel nurses. However, Furnished Finder does vet the hosts and properties before listing them. This means there are safeguards to prevent scams.

Furnished Finder has over 25,000 listings on their site. We recommend using them for all of your housing searches. If you can’t find something there, then branch out to other options.

How to Use Transplant Housing for Travel Nurses

Transplant Housing is focused on meeting the needs of travel healthcare professionals. As such, hosts expect stays of 30 days to 6 months or more. Additionally, the site lists furnished properties of all types.

Overall, the website provides many of the same features as Furnished Finder. And, like Furnished Finder, the actual rental transaction takes place between the traveler and the host directly.

Transplant Housing has fewer listings than Furnished Finder. However, we highly recommend utilizing the service as they can simplify the search process immensely for travel healthcare professionals.

Facebook Groups for Travel Nurse Housing

There are a number of Facebook Groups devoted to travel nurse housing. Simply request to join and you will undoubtedly be added.

Property managers can list their properties using standard group posts. They can also post their properties in the “Files” section of the group. You can expect that property owners are open to a travel nurse’s ideal length-of-stay given that the groups are devoted to the topic.

Travel nurses can browse the listings and conduct searches using the search feature Facebook provides for groups. Travel nurses can also post housing requests themselves and wait for property owners to respond.

While you may have some luck with these groups, the reality is that they are subpar resources for several reasons. First, the search features are inadequate. Facebook limits the number of search results they display. Moreover, Facebook Groups lack the robust search filters necessary to help you hone in on your desired housing characteristics.

Second, there are no safeguards to prevent scams in Facebook Groups. Moreover, some of the groups are “public” which means anyone can see all group members’ posts. This isn’t a big deal on sites like Craigslist where your identity is anonymous. But Facebook requires you to use your real identity.

Here is a list of Facebook Groups devoted to travel nurse housing:

  • Travel Nursing: Places/Rooms For Rent
  • Traveling Nurse Housing
  • Travel Nurse Housing USA – Private & Shared Rooms, Apartments, Sublets
  • Travel Nurse Housing – The Gypsy Nurse
  • Travel Nurse Housing – Furnished Finder
  • Gypsy Soul Travel Nurse Housing Options
  • Nomadic Nursing – A Travel Nurse Housing Page
  • Travel Nurse Housing Rentals by Landlords
  • Travel Nurse Rooms for Rent
  • Housing the country, one hospital at a time!
  • TravelingNurseCorporateHousing.com

Despite the name, TravelingNurseCorporateHousing.com isn’t strictly devoted to travel healthcare professionals. The website is owned by a company called Corporate Housing By Owner.

The advantage of this service for travel healthcare professionals is that it should display only properties that are willing to accept month-to-month lease agreements. Moreover, most of the options are already furnished. Additionally, many of the options include the cost of utilities and have all the basic services, such as cable and internet, already set up.

However, we’re not certain if CHBO is still actively managing TravelNurseCorporateHousing.com. That said, there are properties listed there, so it’s worth a shot.

Conclusion

As you can see, you have many options to secure your own travel nurse housing. Your level of flexibility will be a big factor in determining the time and cost of securing your own housing. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. In every case, you need to make sure you cover all the bases so you’re not caught off guard with unexpected costs or responsibilities. We hope this article helps you avoid all the pitfalls and find the best options for you!