How to Afford Travel Nurse Housing in Expensive Cities

How to Afford Travel Nurse Housing in Expensive Cities

By Melissa Wirkus Hagstrom, contributor


One of the many benefits of choosing a career as a traveling nurse is the ability to live in a variety of different cities and states all throughout the United States. Travel nurses can spend a few weeks to months exploring one city after another. The options are nearly endless.

Another perk is that most reputable travel nurse agencies provide their nurses with free, quality housing that is close to the assignment facility. Although many nurses choose to take the free housing arranged by their agency, some prefer to select accommodations on their own and take the housing stipend in exchange.

Whichever path you decide to take, the experts at are here to provide you with some tips for managing your living expenses in high-cost cities.

4 tips to manage living expenses in high-cost areas

1. Find a roommate 

Splitting rent with a roommate is one of the best ways to save money on your housing costs. It can also make the travel nursing experience more enjoyable, especially if you find a fellow travel nurse to bunk up with! If you are having trouble finding a roommate, reach out to your recruiter and let him or her know you are on the hunt. Another good place to find a nurse roommate is on one of the many message boards for nurses that are found online (Facebook groups, NextDoor,, etc.). Simply post a message that you are looking for a roommate in a specific city and wait for the messages to flow in.

2. Consider a shared space 

Landlords and rental agencies have gotten creative with housing during the pandemic, and many rentals now offer a single room or “mother-in-law suite” that is attached to a house or basement. These non-traditional housing set-ups are much cheaper than renting a whole apartment, condo or house.

3. Move farther out from city center 

One of the usual guarantees of company-provided housing is that it is in a reasonable commute of your assignment facility, which is often in a downtown area. But one way to save money when you are finding your own housing is to go a bit farther out from the main city center. Rents are often a lot lower when you move to the outskirts of town. Just be sure to consider your commuting costs, as well.

4. Cut other living expenses 

Reducing other common expenses associated with day-to-day life can help ease the pain of moving to a high-cost city. For example, do you have subscriptions to multiple streaming services but rarely sit down to watch a show or movie? Consider canceling these first. Make a list of all of your other “nice to haves” that you could potentially eliminate – from daily coffee runs or other indulgences or spending habits that have a way of adding up.

While housing stipends will often take the cost of living in that city into consideration, the more you can do to control your expenses, the better.

What are the most expensive cities for rentals? recently published their 2021 list of The 50 Most Expensive Places to Rent an Apartment in America, based on their proprietary data of rental listings across the country, and the following cities ranked as their top 10:

1. Culver City, California

2. New York, New York 

3. Ventura, California

4. Hollywood, California

5. Playa Vista, California           

6. Weehawken, New Jersey

7. Brooklyn, New York

8. Boston, Massachusetts

9. Oakland, California

10. Alameda, California


If you are looking for travel nursing assignment in one of these popular-yet-expensive cities, you may want to consider the free travel nurse housing that is provided by your staffing agency, or use one of our cost-sharing ideas above.

Apply with to start working with a travel nurse recruiter at one of our partner agencies who can connect you with top jobs, travel nurse housing, licensing assistance and more.


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