Ask a Travel Nurse Question:
I am not getting a housing stipend but I do pay my own housing on travel assignments. My travel company referenced me to their contacts in the area and I had a terrible experience in Hawaii – got there on Thanksgiving, nothing was open and no place to go, only to find that the room I was set up in was infested with cockroaches literally crawling all over the place. The second housing I was referred to was not much better. Cockroaches too, and unsafe – outside door did not lock, doors were vented which allowed others to see into my tiny apartment, a lot of drinking and drugging on the premises. Finally I was rescued by one of the managers at the hospital who provided a clean and safe apartment. Do you have any suggestions for assuring that my housing will be clean, safe, and bug free? I want to continue travelling but this was a bad experience.
Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:
Probably one of the easiest ways to get good housing is to travel with a solid company. I don’t mean that to be a flip response. It’s just that when you travel with a good company, they will keep trying until it’s right.
Being with a good company certainly doesn’t mean things wont go wrong; I once arrived to a trashed apartment in SF. Even after my company paid to have it cleaned, the carpet still looked like hell. I asked the complex manager if it was up to his standards and he agreed it wasn’t. I contacted my travel company and they paid to have the entire apartment recarpeted; I stayed in one of the model apartments while this was being done. While it would have been much easier to have arrived at a clean apartment, the true measure of my company was in how they dealt with the situation.
I know it is hard to judge any company in the beginning, but after an assignment or two, little things should pop up that will show you how effectively they deal with problems and give you an overall feel for how they operate. If they can’t solve little issues to your satisfaction, then how do you think they will come through when something big happens? If you can’t trust your company, change ASAP.
Once you are with a good company, that can help ease your mind a bit when it comes to housing. I’m a person who has traveled for over fifteen years and have not completed a single assignment where my travel company has NOT provided my housing. However, I’m also never one to leave things to chance.
Ask your company where they plan to house you. Sometimes, they will have a few places that they normally use and will ask if you have a preference. With the access that we have today (Internet), there is no reason that we cannot find out a great deal of information on any given housing prior to arrival. If your company is housing you in an apartment, you can always go on apartments.com or rent.com and often find pictures and a listing of the amenities. You can also check out apartmentratings.com to see how the complex measures up. Google maps can let you see a street view of the area and there are also sites that give crime statistics for a given area. There is much you can find out with a little time spent on the net.
I have been to Hawaii three times now and my accommodations were very nice. I did have to move once because I stayed for ten months and my housing was not available for that full time.
If you are with a quality travel company, you should not have to stay in any infested apartment and if there are safety issues you raise, they should get you out immediately (my company once told me to go to whatever hotel I wanted for a week, and they would cover it, until they found me better housing). Otherwise, try to check out the place on the Internet before you arrive.
If you need any insight on some companies that rate pretty high with customer satisfaction, let me know. I have a group of recruiters I work with at some of the best companies where I usually refer many first-time travelers.
I hope this helps.