Housing Guide for Healthcare Travelers
When looking for a new travel assignment, it’s important to understand how housing works and decide what options work best for your needs. When it comes to housing, there are several factors travelers need to consider such as budget, lifestyle, amenities needed, if it’s in a rural location, distance to the hospital and if traveling with pets. Here’s an overview of how healthcare travel housing works and resources to help you choose the best options for your needs.
Housing Stipend vs. Company Provided Housing
The housing stipend is tax-free travel pay to cover your duplicated housing expenses and it’s included in your weekly pay package. With the housing stipend, you handle your own housing from finding and booking a place to making the payments. Taking the housing stipend typically offers travelers more flexibility. Tip: if you find a housing option cheaper than your stipend, that’s extra tax-free savings!
Company-provided housing means the agency handles finding your housing for you from finding options in your desired area and budget, and making the payments. If you choose company-provided housing, you will not get the tax-free housing stipend.
Homesharing & Furnished Apartments
If you’re looking for more amenities than a hotel or Extended Stay can offer, such as a full kitchen, more living space or complex amenities, you may want to consider furnished rental options if available in your desired location.
Platforms and websites such as Airbnb, Furnished Finder and VRBO are great resources to find short-term furnished apartments or home rentals. These platforms allow homeowners or a third-party to rent out their homes, whether it be a guest room, apartment or entire place. Experienced travelers suggest reaching out to the hosts to let them know you’re a healthcare traveler and see payment options they have available (i.e. weekly, monthly) and try to negotiate a cheaper rate for staying longer than a typical vacationer. If someone asks you to pay the full amount upfront, beware! Make sure you’re covered in the lease terms or agreement in case your assignment gets cancelled. Click here to read more red flags to watch out for.
Hotels & Extended Stays
Hotels, motels and extended stays are more traditional lodging options with less amenities than renting a furnished apartment, but still offer comfortable options for travelers on the go. Extended stays or suite-style hotels may have small kitchenettes with a coffee maker or mini fridge, and may include regular cleaning services. Websites such as Hotel Engine and Travelers Haven offer travelers several discount options.
Healthcare Travel Discounts
Whether you’re booking an Airbnb or hotel room, let them know that you’re a healthcare professional traveling to help the area and ask if they offer any special discounts. When the COVID-19 pandemic began and travel nursing was brought to the limelight, there were record-number of housing providers and hotels offering greatly discounted rates for healthcare professionals. It’s likely these special healthcare traveler discounts are still available.
Resources to Find Housing
Healthcare Travel Discounts
There are also several Facebook Groups specifically for travelers seeking housing options. Here are few popular housing groups.
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You can search Facebook groups “travel nurse housing” + “city of your location.”