Housing Considerations for Healthcare Travelers 

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Navigating New Horizons 

The life of healthcare travelers, including travel nurses, allied health professionals, and therapists, is the culmination of professional growth and personal exploration. One of the primary challenges travelers face is finding suitable housing that meets their needs, budget, and preferences. This blog post aims to guide healthcare travelers through the intricacies of housing considerations, ensuring a comfortable and safe stay during their assignments.  

Finding Your Housing

Resources, like Furnished Finder, Airbnb, and local real estate listings, can be invaluable when searching for your own housing. This allows you to select a place that matches your lifestyle, whether close to outdoor activities, public transportation, or social scenes. However, remember that this requires budgeting for rent, utilities, and possibly furniture rental.  

Budgeting for Housing

Understanding and managing your tax-exempt stipend is crucial. Your tax-exempt stipend is a sum of money designated by county and state that the GSA allows as tax-exempt. These are awarded to cover the costs of housing, meals, and incidentals while you are working away from your permanent tax home and duplicating living expenses. How you allocate this stipend can significantly affect your overall financial well-being during your assignment. Aim to find accommodations within your stipend budget to maximize your earnings.  

Am I eligible for stipends?

Any person traveling away from their claimed tax home for work and incurring costs that they would not normally incur if they were working at home is eligible for a certain amount of tax-exempt money for expenses such as lodging, meals, and incidentals. 

You are only eligible for tax-exempt stipends if you meet two of the three following criteria: 

  1. You maintain a job in the area of your claimed tax home and earn significant income. 
  2. You incur significant monthly expenses to maintain a dwelling that you use for lodging at your claimed tax home. i.e.: paying fair market value for rent on assignment as well as at your claimed tax home (duplicating your cost of living). 
  3. You frequently return to your claimed tax home and/or have lineal family members living at your claimed tax home. 

Still unsure if you are eligible for stipends? Reach out to a S1NGLEPOINT recruiter to learn more.  

Does FlexCare offer reimbursements?

At FlexCare, we can reimburse you for anything you need, such as license and certification fees, housing, travel expenses, etc. However, it's important to note that these reimbursements will reduce your weekly pay, as they are deducted from your initial "pot of money." 

Would you rather get the most money up front each week or have FlexCare allocate some of it as a reimbursement instead? 

Most other healthcare staffing agencies advertise their reimbursements as "free." However, before offering you your pay package, they deduct a portion of it to create a reimbursement fund that is used as a buffer for any reimbursements you may ask for later. In short, they allocate your money but call it a “reimbursement” or a “bonus.” 

Think about it: If an agency were to pay out of pocket for a $200 BLS of 5,000 healthcare travelers, they would spend $1 Million for BLS alone.  

Additional Housing Considerations

Location and Commute  

Location is another critical factor to consider. The ideal location often balances proximity to your assignment, access to necessities like groceries and pharmacies, and your personal lifestyle preferences. Consider the length and ease of your commute, especially if you're working odd hours or on-call shifts. Being close to work can save time and reduce stress, making your travel experience more enjoyable.  

Amenities and Lifestyle  

Amenities can significantly enhance your quality of life while on assignment. Look for accommodations that offer the conveniences you value, such as laundry facilities, a gym, or a pool. Additionally, consider the local community and what it has to offer. Exploring local parks, restaurants, and entertainment can enrich your travel experience and provide a much-needed balance to your work life.  

Safety and Security  

Safety should always be a priority when selecting housing. Research the neighborhood's safety ratings and talk to locals or other travelers who have worked there. Ensure your accommodation has adequate security features, such as secure entry systems and well-lit parking areas.  

Flexibility and Length of Stay  

Finally, consider the flexibility of your housing arrangement. Many healthcare travelers prefer short-term leases or month-to-month arrangements that align with their assignment lengths. This flexibility can be crucial if your assignment is extended or you decide to move on to a new location.  

Finding the proper housing as a healthcare traveler requires a balance of practical considerations and personal preferences. By thoroughly researching your options, budgeting wisely, and prioritizing your needs, you can find a living situation that supports your professional goals and enhances your travel experience. Remember, your housing situation can significantly impact your overall satisfaction with your travel assignment, so invest the time and effort to make it as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.  

Navigating the housing market as a healthcare traveler can be daunting. Still, with the right approach, it can also be an exciting opportunity to tailor your living situation to your unique needs and preferences. With careful planning and consideration, you can make your temporary home a sanctuary that enhances your travel adventure.  

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Team FlexCare

Since 2006, FlexCare Medical Staffing has become a nationwide leader in travel nursing, allied health, therapy, and LVN / LPN staffing services for top healthcare facilities. With office locations in Roseville, California and Charlotte, North Carolina, FlexCare is committed to creating a transparent environment that prioritizes clinician experience. As a result, industry authorities like BluePipes, Staffing Industry Analysts, and Travel Nursing Central continually recognize FlexCare as a top healthcare staffing company.