By October 8, 2014 2 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: Should I take agency housing or find my own in Hawaii?


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Ask a Travel Nurse: Should I take agency housing or find my own in Hawaii?

I’ve been traveling for two years now and have always found my own housing, but coming up in January I’m planning to take the plunge and head to Hawaii, so I was thinking I’d like to eliminate some stress and just have my agency h and le my housing for this assignment. Do you think this would be smart? Or will this unpack my pay too much and not be worth it?

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

I’m sorry, but this is simply not a question that I can answer for you. Let me explain.

In 19 years, I have never taken an assignment where I arranged my own housing. This is for precisely the reason that you mentioned, it is just too stressful. But that is actually not the reason for not being able to answer your question.

The reason I cannot answer your question is that I have no idea what dollar amount we would be talking about, nor do I have any idea if this dollar amount would equate with the amount of stress relief it provides. Again, I always think it is worth it to have someone else find the unit, arrange the lease, pay the deposit, take care of issues should they arise, and about 20 other things that I would have to deal with on my own should I not have my company’s housing department to do it for me.

Even if I were to know the dollar amount, what might be worth a pay cut to me, might not be worth it to you.

Find out the dollar amounts, research how hard it is finding housing on the isl and where you are headed, and then maybe hit the travel nursing forums and see what others have to say about finding housing in Hawaii. The three times I have gone, I have always had company housing and no complaints.

Sorry I could not answer you more directly, but this is personal decision once you have all the information. Good luck!


Posted in: Ask a Travel Nurse

About the Author:

Hello everyone. I’m a travel nurse originally from Ohio who graduated in 1993 from Mount Carmel School of Nursing in Columbus. I completed a critical care fellowship at Riverside Methodist Hospital in 1994 and started traveling in that specialty a year later. My first travel assignment was in Maui and since that time I have completed close to 40 different contracts in various states with multiple travel companies. I am the author of Travel Nurse’s Bible (A Guide to Everything on Travel Nursing), in addition to my writings here and in the pages of Travel Nursing publications such as Healthcare Traveler Magazine and American Nurse Today. I am presently on assignment in Phoenix, AZ and travel anywhere from six to eleven months of the year.

2 Comments on "Ask a Travel Nurse: Should I take agency housing or find my own in Hawaii?"

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  1. Leslie


    I want to respond to the article above on the question “Should I take company housing or find my own housing?” and will you please forward it to the author? Thank you.

    I was a travel RN for 5 years, taking a break for the last 2 to take a full time job in Hawaii, in a different area of nursing (I went from ED to Hospice), and have some knowledge on this subject. I lived on the Big Island of Hawaii, Hilo side particularly and I can tell you that you will MAKE money if you find your own housing and end up with a MUCH nicer spot than your company will find for you. For some of my contracts I took the stipend, because I was overwhelmed with the options (D.C., NYC). But for most of my travel assignments I found my own housing, using the stipend and ALWAYS made money on the company. I used craigslist, browsed the area listings under “sublet” for 2-3 weeks before my arrival and even posted my own add with a title “Travel RN seeking sublet” and I ALWAYS ended up with more beautiful options than I could even deal with. Trust me, its worth it. Ask your recruiter what the housing stipend is for the area, then take a quick look on craigslist and see for yourself if its worth it. The options of subletting gorgeous apartments/homes while people were out on holiday, or because they had a studio was super easy and a more enjoyable experience for me. Your company housing will be nice, but mainly apartment/condo complexes and generic home furnishings from the local rent-a center. The homes you sublet will have a completely different feel, I assure you. I had several jealous travel buddies when comparing my own found housing compared to their company provided set up. In Hawaii, its all about tourism too, so you will find a sweet spot to sublet I can almost guarantee it.
    Enjoy your trip to the islands, its an amazing place!!


  2. David says:

    Thank you for your response Leslie and I do appreciate different opinion as it always allows travelers the opportunity to see other perspectives.

    However, I also have the responsibility of painting a true picture of ALL the situations which could occur during a travel assignment.

    Things of which you do not speak are: Did you have to sign a lease? Were you able to get out of the lease should you have a contract cancellation? Have you ever had a contract cancelled? Did you claim the extra money you made from your stipend on your taxes as you should? What would happen if you wanted to extend your assignment and the sublet was already booked for the next 13 weeks?

    There are many variables in the world of travel nursing and I know MANY travelers who do just as you. But there are risks in taking a travel stipend and it is not something I recommend for a first-time traveler (too many other things on which to focus).

    Once you understand the risks/rewards of taking a stipend and finding your own housing, it is a way for you to earn extra money (keeping in mind the tax implications). However, for me, I preferred not to have to worry about what would happen if I wanted to stay longer, a cancelled contract and having to pay out a lease, or a landlord that could potentially raise the rent mid-contact (something that HAS happened to a traveler finding their own housing and NOT having a lease).

    There are certainly two schools of thought here. I just want to make sure everyone understands both sides of each (company housing vs. stipend) and does not take a stipend just for the lure of seemingly easy money.


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