Crystal Gustafson
Crystal Gustafson
December 16, 2016 - 3 min read

How To Avoid A Housing Nightmare

There are two types of travel nurses; those who can couch surf and those who can’t. In travel nursing, housing tends to be a big deal no matter which type you are. Whether you are taking company housing or setting up your own living arrangements, finding shelter that isn’t a dump can be challenging from a distance. For those of you who prefer to find your own place, not to worry, the internet and social networking sites have come to your rescue.

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Prior to starting your housing search, it is important to know the location of the hospital where you will be working. I don’t recommend being more than 10 miles away from your facility. It’s probably a good idea to understand the traffic patterns as well. If you have to take a major highway to work during rush hour, you may want to reconsider your housing location.


Research the various neighborhoods located within your city by visiting the local police department’s website to see local crime statistics, read the local online newspaper and look through a local real estate agent’s website for the safest neighborhoods. It’s also important to network prior to your assignment. Tell everyone and their mother, literally, where you will be traveling to via email, social media or just in conversation. It is amazing what information you can obtain just by asking. After you have done your research, it’s time to determine what kind of traveler you are.

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Check Online

If you are someone who is more particular about where you put your feet up, I would recommend contacting or These two companies list furnished apartments, condos and houses and work specifically with travel nurses so they understand the industry. There are great pictures and descriptions of the location and amenities as well as reviews. The benefit to choosing one of these websites versus using your company housing is that you will have a choice on where you stay.

Broaden Your Search

If you can’t find anything you like on these websites, then you can broaden your search by browsing through vacation rental sites such as airbnb,  homeaway,, or You will find fully furnished houses and apartments on these sites. The transfer of money is secure through the websites and there are usually plenty of reviews. The most important part of renting from these websites is to make sure you have a good property manager or owner who is responsive to your needs. You can contact them directly through the website with any of your questions before booking. You can also go as far as to Google their name to look for complaints.

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Low Cost Options

If you don’t want to pay the extra money to go through a booking website, or don’t mind sleeping on someone’s couch, you can always turn to Craigslist. As most of you may know, Craigslist can be sketchy and unreliable. I have personally used craigslist in the past and know of many travelers who use it, so I can say that it’s not all that bad. If you are that concerned about the property, you can always fly out in advance to check it out or have a friend or family member who lives in the area swing by for a visit. If you are not finding anything trustworthy on Craigslist, you can also contact a local real estate agent who may know of some locals who rent out places for short term contracts.

If contacting strangers or working with booking websites isn’t your thing, it may be wise to visit a travel nursing forum like or the Gypsy Nurse Facebook page to get recommendations from some of your fellow travelers on where to stay.

I personally found it easier and less stressful to have my company find my housing for me; I wasn’t overly concerned about making extra money and always had good experiences with company housing in the past. Finding your own housing takes some time to get used to. Reading reviews and having a good rapport with your leasing agent or property owner are very important. You may have one bad experience here and there but on the flipside, you won’t be in that housing situation forever.

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