Setting up a short term furnished rental for a travel nurse can be tricky if you haven’t worked in the field before. Many landlords struggle over what amenities to provide, how to price their space, and ultimately how to create an attractive listing for the average travel nurse coming to their area. Fortunately, it isn’t as tricky as it may seem! I am a travel nurse of two years and have stayed in a variety of different apartment settings--eight to be exact--and I drafted the help of some of my colleagues (thanks Nick and Kounty!) to help future landlords craft the dream space for traveling healthcare professionals.
The easiest way to make your rental shine is to have a bedroom that is to die for. The average person spends 6-10 hours a day sleeping, so keep that in mind when setting up your space. Travel nurses work incredibly long and grueling shifts, many times standing on their feet for hours on end without so much as a bathroom break. I personally have even had a 20 hour work day before and I can tell you the only cure for a day like that is to have a comfortable bed to take away those pains.
In my dream listing, I prefer either a queen or a king sized bed. If a listing is posted with a twin bed, I will not even consider renting that space. It is also crucial to make sure that you are providing a newer, quality mattress. I recently saw on a Facebook post that a travel nurse checked the tag on the mattress in the room she was renting and the mattress had been purchased in 1987. As you can imagine, this information did not go over well at all. If you cannot afford to purchase a brand new mattress at this time, consider investing in a high-quality mattress topper as a temporary alternative. Make sure to get one that is at least three inches to make it most effective.
Another thing to consider is many travel nurses may be sleeping during the day. I have been fortunate that I have always been a day shift nurse, however many travel nurse assignments are for night shift, so it is a good idea to always invest in black out curtains for bedrooms! If you are worried that your renter may hear some daytime noise, it might be a nice bonus to provide a speaker or white noise machine, but this certainly isn’t a requirement.
Some travelers may also be a little nervous about securing their personal items when they first arrive in your home, If you are simply renting out a room in your home, make sure that the bedroom door has a lock on it to ease traveler’s minds about the security of their personal items.
Two final items that are cheap but really help add to a space are a full length mirror and an alarm clock. I had my phone die on one of my assignments, and like the rest of the world, depend on my phone for my morning alarm. I had to rush out at 11 pm at night to buy an alarm clock until I could get my phone replaced because my rental did not have a digital alarm clock. The mirror is a little more frivolous item, but it is nice to have when we are getting ready for nights out and trying to coordinate every aspect of our outfits.
One of the trickiest aspects of a private rental to know how to furnish is the kitchen. Travel nurses want kitchens that have all the basic necessities because we often don’t have space in our cars for kitchen tools or small appliances . The term “fully stocked” kitchen can vary widely between rentals.
Because we are at each location for 13 weeks at a time, we can’t treat every meal like a vacation and most of us try to cook at home quite a bit.
Hosts should provide these 5 basic kitchen items in As a landlord, if you are listing a fully furnished kitchen, it is great if you provide these 5 basic items:
Two pots of different sizes
Two pans of different sizes
A baking sheet
One or two baking dishes
A full set of food storage containers (glass or plastic)
Travel nurses also appreciate the following kitchen utensils when on assignment:
A wine bottle opener
A set of knives (or one really good knife with a sharpener)
Measuring spoons and cups
I also love it when landlords provide at least five regular sized plates and bowls. I once stayed in an apartment that gave me two plates and two bowls and it felt like I was constantly doing dishes. The good news is we don’t need the fanciest items, so if you are just getting started a lot of these items can be found at stores like Dollar Tree or even secondhand at a thrift store.
If at all possible, it is a dream when I get to have a dishwasher in my space. My absolute favorite apartments have also come with a few bonus items such as aluminum foil, plastic bags, cling wrap, cleaning wipes, and trash bags which I happily replace before I leave, but this is certainly not a make or break. It is such a relief to have those things waiting and not have to worry about packing and transporting those items from place to place as that can rapidly start to take up a lot of room.
In the event that you are renting a room to a travel nurse, try to set aside dedicated cupboard and refrigerator space for your traveler to put their groceries, and also be up front with expectations such as dishwasher and trash takeout duties. I have found that navigating these tasks without set expectations can make it more awkward to share a space, so it is nice to know what each landlord prefers ahead of time.
Lastly, one of the most memorable places I stayed left me a few snacks to welcome me in after my long drive to my assignment. In February of 2019, I drove for thirty four hours from Indiana to Seattle in three days and when I arrived, Seattle was experiencing its biggest snowfall in decades and getting to a grocery store was nearly impossible. Thankfully, my hosts had provided enough food (granola bars, a gallon of milk, a box of cereal, some pieces of fruit, bagels, and cream cheese) to get me through the first couple of days until I was able to dig my car out of a snowbank and get to the store. This small act of kindness is something that I have never forgotten.
When furnishing a living room in a short term rental, you do not have to go above and beyond to make it comfortable and acceptable. As long as there is somewhere to sit, a TV, and a coffee table, I am perfectly satisfied. Some travel nurses feel that cable is a necessity but I tend to disagree. Since most of us have our own streaming subscriptions, if the TV has smart capabilities to log on to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or HBO, I am happy. I have lived in apartments where they provided me with a Netflix login, but as many people now have their own I find this an unnecessary expense for landlords. If you don't own a smart TV and don’t want to spend the money on a new one, there are many products out there including Roku and Amazon FireStick that have the capability of making your current TV work for these streaming services.
One thing every travel nurse uses on a regular basis is WiFi. I use Wifi every day whether it is logging onto social media to keep in touch with family, streaming Netflix and Hulu in my downtime, or browsing travel nurse agency websites trying to find my next job. Reliable high speed internet is essential.
The last item that I am always excited to see in my new home away from home is a printer. When credentialing for my next assignment, I’m always printing out different papers that I have to complete or get signed and it's just a blessing to not have to remember to do it on a work printer. While it is not a necessity, it is an amazing bonus to provide for travel nurses!
Other Travel Nurse Rental Essentials
The last room to consider when furnishing a short term rental is perhaps the easiest and cheapest to prepare: the bathroom. Make sure that you are providing adequate storage space for hygiene and beauty products. Many travel nurses prefer their own bathroom, so if the bathroom is shared, be up front and price the space accordingly. Finally, I get really excited when I have a bathroom with a working, clean tub. I’m a fan of bath bombs and sometimes after a long shift, a bubble bath and a glass of wine are what I need to set myself straight again.
There are a few additional odds and ends to consider when creating the perfect listing that will have any travel nurse hoping you have an opening. The first is a washer and dryer. In a perfect world, the laundry would be located in the unit we are renting, but most travel nurses will make do if there is laundry in the building somewhere. If you are living in a big city, free and secure parking is another must! Although some travel nurses arrive by plane and use Uber for the majority of their assignment, many of us drive everywhere we go and need a place to park our vehicles.
When pricing your rental, scour furnishedfinder.com, travelnursehousing.com, and other rental websites to see what landlords in your area are charging to keep yourself competitive. If you have a larger space like a three bedroom home, this may be harder to rent to single travelers. Consider renting it out by the bedroom and you may have more success. Finally, picture yourself living there as a tenant. Keep in mind as travel nurses we often only have a few suitcases or a small car worth of items. This will help you think of something you would need if you were living in this rental for a few months. If you tackle the majority of this list, your property should always be full.
Good luck and happy renting!
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