When you take a new traveling nurse assignment you’ll have a decision to make about your housing — do you stay in the provided free furnished housing or accept a housing stipend or subsidy provided by the company? Housing can make or break your overall travel experience. Even if you spend the majority of your time exploring a new city, you’ll still be spending a good amount of time each day in your temporary housing.
For your first one or two assignments it may be best to take the company-provided housing, at least until you get the hang of traveling for work. It can be overwhelming to spend a lot of time on searching and be no closer to finding a suitable property. On the other hand, by taking the monthly stipend you have more control over where you stay and may even be able to pocket a bit of extra money to cover recreational activities. So which is better?
When you take housing provided by the travel nurse agency the assignment is often made within two weeks to two days prior to your move. This may be stressful for your move. When you take a monthly stipend, you have the opportunity to begin looking for your housing immediately and make your plans as soon as you find something that meets your needs.
Taking the subsidy will mean a different amount of money for each assignment and location. If you have family or friends in the area who are willing to accommodate you during your travel nursing assignment, the travel subsidy may be your best option. However, if you’re going to be working in an area where housing options are in short supply, using the assigned housing may be less stressful and cover more of your expenses.
Typically your stipend will be prorated by the week and added into your salary. This means you won’t receive the first payment until you receive your first paycheck, which could be two weeks after you move. Also, keep in mind if your assignment is 3.5 months long, as you’ll be expected to pay four months rent. In this case, taking the company housing assignment may be a fiscally better option.
A housing stipend may or may not be tax free, depending upon how far you’re traveling from your home base. Discuss this with your recruiter and a tax professional as this can also be a great perk.
Short-term housing may only be available for six months where you’ll be working as a traveling nurse. If you take the stipend, try to find a place that includes utilities with the rent or you’ll have to deal with getting them set up and turned on and off, along with any deposits required.
Company-provided housing makes the move easier and less stressful, and there may be more housing options available, especially if you’re moving to a small area. If you’ll be working in a larger city with a higher cost of living, company provided housing may give you greater options as they have more buying power and can get better housing at a lower cost.
However, taking a stipend gives you greater control over where you live, and extra time to move in and check out your new home. However, one of the biggest risks of renting your own place is if your assignment is canceled, and then you’re responsible for any extra fees associated with canceling the housing rental.
Whether you choose to use company-provided housing as a traveling nurse, or take the monthly stipend and search for your own housing is a personal choice you must make based on your own lifestyle and comfort level. In some cases, your decision may be based on the city where you’ll be traveling.
At Amare Medical Staffing, we’ll help you make these decisions and offer you the best options for your travel plans. Contact us today to begin your travel adventure!