As a traveling therapist, you have a variety of housing options. Deciding what is most important to you: time, money, choosing your own living arrangements, or avoiding hassles, will simplify your decision. Receiving a stipend, and researching housing options on your own, may enable you to end the assignment with more money in your pocket, however, this option also takes some time and energy of your own. Before you begin an assignment, you should figure out where you will be staying and how it will fit into your budget.
Before you accept a particular therapy assignment, be sure to review the details of your pay package with a trusted advisor. Your pay package will include a pay rate, housing stipend or company provided housing, and meals and incidentals stipend. Each city will be different as far as housing stipend allowances and short term housing options. Remember that in highly desirable and expensive locations, such as Los Angeles, CA, Hawaii, or Alaska, travel therapy assignments will enable you to enjoy a new city while earning a very good salary, but just like everyone else, you may end up paying extra to live in such an exotic location.
There are usually two options for housing in a travel therapy situation:
- Company provided housing.
This can be a smart option if you don’t know the area. Your company will offer to connect you with a rental company, extended stay hotel or even a property they own and rent to their therapists. Generally in this situation, you may be paid a per diem stipend for food and miscellaneous expenses but not provided with a housing stipend. You will not have the option to spend less on housing and pocket the difference, but your housing needs will be cared for nonetheless. If you intend to return to that city for a different assignment, it would be beneficial to find other safe areas where you can stay and network with short-term rentals.
- Housing stipend.
If you know the city and know the best places to stay, this can be a smart option. You will be given a certain amount of money based on the cost of living for that area, but if you find housing options for less money, you are able to keep the difference. Many traveling therapists will find a housing option and split the cost with a colleague or choose to stay with family or friends in that city. You have the freedom to make those decisions with the housing stipend. The downside of this option is it can be difficult to find housing for a short time period and with little notice, unless you already know the area.
The decision to work as a traveling therapist can provide a great deal of excitement and career advancement. If you work an assignment where you have housing options, plan on taking some time to research which option will be the most beneficial to you in the long run.