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By August 23, 2013 2 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: How much will my housing stipend be?

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house on packs of banknotesAsk a Travel Nurse Question:

If you would rather find your own housing than have the agency arrange it for you, what should you expect for compensation for housing?

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:   

Unfortunately, neither I, nor anyone else, can answer this question for you. The reason being is because your housing subsidy can vary greatly depending on your assignment location. Additionally, there are other variables that can come into play that may afford you the opportunity to negotiate a higher stipend.

If you are going to arrange your own housing, your first step would probably be in investigating the going rates for rental units in the area. Then, see what number the travel company gives you for a stipend. Let’s say you were going to take an assignment in San Diego. Your research shows that most one-bedroom apartments in that location are renting at $1500 a month. Now you have a starting point for negotiations in your travel contract.

If your travel company tells you that they will give you a $1200 a month a stipend, then you obviously know you have some work to do in getting them up. Sometimes, it’s as easy as you just telling your recruiter that you cannot find anything under $1500 a month and would need that for a stipend. If they cannot accommodate that rate, then you have the option of declining the assignment or you can tell them that you would prefer that they arrange housing for you.

If your travel company does a lot of business in the area, it is possible that they have a deal with an apartment complex that will secure them the same apartments you may be looking at (for $1500 a month) for the $1200 a month they quoted you.

Now let’s say your travel company quotes you a monthly stipend of $1600. You might be inclined to think that is perfect because you will now make $100 a month over what you spend on housing. However, you do need to remember that most companies provide you furnished housing. So if you are just looking at ads for a st and ard one-bedroom apartment for $1500 a month, you need to remember that you will also need to rent furniture.

Another scenario might be that you are still quoted a stipend of $1600 a month, but you find a furnished housing accommodation for $1450 a month. You still have to remember that you may have to pay a substantial deposit to secure that housing (whereas with letting your travel company arrange your housing, they do that).

Honestly, there are so many variables that might come into play that you really just have to take a look at what you are offered versus what you would need in order to live in that location.

If you want to find your own housing, then feel free to do so. However, I always advise new travelers to let the travel company find their housing for them. It’s just too much to take on for a first travel assignment. After you have two or three assignments under your belt and know what goes into getting yourself settled in an assignment location, then you can start looking at ways to secure your own accommodations.

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: How much will my housing stipend be?"

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  1. Susannah

    says:

    Hello,
    I was wondering if you guys can give me an idea of what you need / expect in terms of housing. I’ve got an apartment in a historic duplex in Little Rock, and am thinking about marketing it to traveling nurses. What’s a good price for you guys? It’s a 2 BD 1BA home within 3 miles to all the major hospitals. Also, is air bnb the main channel for how you look for housing? I’ve been a co-host and housekeeper for several places (not my own) in Little Rock, and am familiar with how that whole thing works – but I really would like to stick to hosting 2-6 month visitors and not wrestle with the whole air bnb thing.

    Anyhow! I certainly do not want to rip anyone off when coming up with a price, and thought I’d start with the very people who I’d be hosting!

    Thanks very much for any thoughts on this.
    Susannah

  2. David says:

    Hey Susannah. I cannot tell you what to charge for your apartment. In simpliest terms, the market will dictate.

    For a starting point, check other apartments around the area, that are comparable to yours, list around that price and see if you have any interest. As a property owner myself, if I get 20 calls from potential renters, I am not charging enough. Obvioulsy, no calls means I’m likely priced high and should adjust accordingly.

    While there are some sites that are specific to travel nursing housing, most travelers simply use Craigslist. If you place an ad on CL with “Travel nurse housing” somewhere in the title, you should hit your target audience.

    There is no way to tell you what a travel nurse’s budget will be for housing since it varies depending on the company with which they are traveling.

    You will also want to be aware that travel nurses can be hesitant to rent any place that requires a large deposit against lease terms. Travel contracts can be cancelled, which often leaves the nurse without a job and the need to once again look for work elsewhere.

    While contract cancellations are not what I would call common, they do occur. It is for this reason that many nurses will not sign leases holding them, no matter the circumstances, to a set period of time. If you want to have a lease in place, as I traveler, I would not have an issue signing one if there was some stipulation that the lease would be dissolved if my contract were to be cancelled.

    I hope this helps.

    David
    david@travelnursesbible.com

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