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Choosing a travel nurse assignment entails a multitude of considerations such as location, facility, specialty, which agency to work for as well as the length and details of the contract.  These choices may be driven by many factors, such as your desire to explore a particular city, wanting to serve a specific population, or simply your longing for adventure.  Perhaps you are considering relocating to a new area and want to test the waters before making a permanent move.  Strangely, one of the most impactful decisions you will face has little to do with your actual work.  Yet it will affect you significantly on both a personal and financial level.  You need a place to stay.  This article will help you to make a selection that works for you.

One of the most immediate questions you will face is whether to secure your own housing or to have the agency provide it for you. Both options have pros and cons.  And it is crucial that you review your contract thoroughly and understand your liabilities in either case.  Unforeseen situations such as a medical emergency or cancellation of your contract by the facility may have financial repercussions for you. When deciding which path to take, it is vital to educate yourself in order to make an informed choice. This will help to avoid any unpleasant surprises if your assignment does not go as planned. 

 If you opt to make your own arrangements, you will receive a housing stipend which varies among travel nurse agencies.  Although a higher dollar amount may seem attractive, your wages may be lower to compensate for it.  In addition, your stipend may be taxable and it can be complicated to determine whether that applies to you.  It may be wise to consult a tax professional to address your specific situation. Depending on your housing selection, it is often possible to profit from the stipend.  For example, if you decide to rent a furnished room, you will certainly pocket more money than if you arrange to stay in a two-bedroom luxury apartment complete with a pool and fitness center.  The cost of furnishings and utilities must also be taken into account.  In some cases, you might find that your stipend does not cover your lodging expenses.

When deciding where to live, everyone has their own list of must haves as well as deal breakers. If you are traveling with a loved one or a pet, that would be a key consideration.  For some, a short commute might be a priority while for others having a washer and dryer might be essential.  Others may be excited to work in a city but prefer to live in the suburbs. There are many resources available for housing searches such as Airbnb and Apartment Finder  You might even prefer a furnished apartment. Extended stay hotels are also available.  Some travel nurses choose to stay in a hotel for a short while just to get a feel for their new destination before the start of their contract. You may decide to hire a realtor to assist you with your housing search. If you are fortunate enough to have a friend or family member living in the area, you may even be able to stay with them and retain the entire stipend.

Some travel nurses actually bring their home along with them by utilizing an RV. This arrangement would also enable you to collect the housing stipend.  Living in an RV can eliminate the question of where you will stay and can be taken to different assignments.  You do need to find a place to park it.  Parking options vary from campgrounds to public and private lands. Two helpful resources are HipCamp and Go RVing.   Traveling in an RV can give you ultimate control over your living situation while providing a sense of familiarity in a new place.  You can also decorate it as you wish.  Just remember to plan on how you will commute to work and back.  

If you elect agency housing, you will avoid any upfront expenses such as security deposits as well as possible early termination fees. Before signing your contract, it is essential to identify and communicate those must haves or deal breakers.  The agency will usually present you with several options. Possibilities may include apartments, houses or extended stay hotels. Many agencies obtain long term leases on properties which can then be occupied by multiple travel nurses over time.  Generally, furnishings will be provided and utility arrangements will be made for you.  It can certainly be a relief not to have to find your own accommodations particularly if travel nursing is new to you. Utilizing agency provided housing may also be the best choice in areas where housing is limited or very expensive.  It is, however, crucial to know what rights you have in the event that you find your assigned living space unacceptable.  

Determining where you will live during your travel assignment is one of the most personal and important decisions you will encounter.  It involves the beginning and end of every day, your sleep, and your time off.  You are seeking more than simply shelter, but also comfort and refuge.  Although choosing housing can seem overwhelming, you can avoid many pitfalls by educating yourself on several key topics.  First, make sure you understand your contract as it applies to housing.  Next, decide whether to take agency housing or find your own.  Finally, get to know the area as much as possible.  Even if your travel destination is far away, you can learn a lot by consulting the local chamber of commerce.  This resource can provide information on neighborhoods, things to do and what businesses and services are available.  Being well informed will enable you to find a place that you will be happy to call home, even if it is only temporary.  

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