By Guest Bloggers: Haylee James & Christy Isaac
In our previous blog, we suggested some things to do in order to streamline your search for the perfect temporary home while on your next travel nurse assignment. Equally if not more useful, is our list of things to avoid which in turn, can greatly enhance your chances of finding something perfect. And without further ado, here they are:
The DON’T List
- DON’T be afraid of Craigslist. One thing that will immediately give you peace of mind that you’re not dealing with the Craigslist Killer is to just pick up the phone and call the property. If there’s not a number listed, there is always an option to email or message the owner and ask for a phone number to speak with them. If they are refusing to share a phone number, you may want to avoid that property.
- DON’T always trust hotel websites to give you the correct information on their amenities or policies. A quick solution is to just give the hotel a call and ask them your questions directly. For instance, a hotel may list that they have microwaves and mini fridges at the property; while that may be true, the microwave could be a communal microwave in the lobby and the mini fridges may only be in select rooms that have different rates.
- DON’T forget to mention extra family members or friends that may be staying with you during your time there. Whether it’s an apartment or a hotel, some locations do have policies that raise the rent, the rate or the deposits for extra guests.
- DON’T trust all hotel/apartment reviews that you see online. If Google tells you that the property has a 1.5 star rating and you want to immediately run the other way screaming, take a breath and think it through first. Read into those reviews a little more; are they recent? Are they about the things that are important to you? For example, they could have terrible reviews about their pet policy but be a stand-up property otherwise. If you aren’t bringing pets and just made a snap judgment based solely on the star rating, then you may have just passed up a great community.
- DON’T settle for standard hotel rates! One hidden Easter egg that many travelers don’t know about is that most hotels offer a ‘Hospital Rate’. You may need to tell them the exact hospital you’re working at to get this rate (or they may even be able to file it under a ‘Government Rate’) but those will save you quite a bit if you are planning to stay only a few nights a week.
- DON’T do online research too early before your start date. The more time between the date you’re researching and the day you start, the more time there is for properties to be rented or on the flip side, more properties to be listed online. If you are wanting to view it in person first but you’re not getting there until the week before you start, gathering a list of options months before you’ll arrive will not be useful to your search.
BONUS – The Great Debate: AirBNB or VBRO?
- You will not get the address for the property until you put your first payment down and sign the lease agreement.
- Many of the properties are room shares, rather than a private property of your own. These listings will require a little bit more digging into the fine print listed to figure out whether or not you’ll be sharing a toothbrush holder with a stranger.
- You will not be able to talk to a property on the phone. AirBNB limits all communication and interaction to their website only. Even if the property messages you their number (or you message them yours), AirBNB blocks the numbers out.
- Now that AirBNB is becoming more popular, there are likely going to be more and more properties listed on this website.
- AirBNB charges third-party service fees on top of what the actual owner charges. Those service fees typically don’t look like much on a weekend getaway but for a three month stay, they rack up quite a bit. They could add up to hundreds of dollars on top of rent and deposits.
- Compared to AirBNB, VBRO has fewer options as a whole but has more private lodging rather than room shares.
- On VRBO, the phone number for the property owner is either already listed in the ad or you can message the owner through the website and request a phone number. VRBO will not block it out.
- VRBO also charges service fees. Their service fees drop as low as 5% of the total price, while AirBNB’s service fees only drop to 6% at the lowest.
- If you want to avoid service fees altogether, in our experience, owners working with VRBO are more willing to let you pay them directly without involving the site at all. On both sites, the owners get a portion of the rent you are paying them taken out by the company so if they haven’t signed a contract with them, they’re usually willing to work outside of the site.
If you have any other tips for locating housing, please let us know in the comments below. Safe travels to you!