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Travel Physical Therapy Career Guide: Step 5 – Weighing your housing options

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The next thing you are going to want to think about in planning your travel therapy assignment is your housing options.

First off you need to decide if you are even going to need housing. If you have decided that you are going to work an assignment that is within an hour of your home then you can opt to receive a housing stipend instead of worrying about setting up housing. But if you are going to need housing you basically have two options.

1. Have the travel therapy company find you your housing
or
2. Take a housing stipend and find your own housing

Having the travel therapy company find you your housing has its pros and cons, but most of the better companies will provide it for you if you want it. One of the main benefits of having the travel therapy company find it for you is that it becomes one less thing you have to worry about. They also have the expertise, time, knowledge of the area and established relationships that may allow them to get discounts you may not be able to get on your own, so they may be able to find you better accommodations than you could on your own.

But on the flipside there is an element of unknown when someone else chooses where you are going to live for the next 3-6 months. Here are some key questions you should ask regarding housing if you go with the company provided housing to avoid surprises.

Who pays for?

  • Rent
  • Moving Expenses
  • Utilities (check if there is a monthly allowance and which ones are covered by the company, including cable and internet)
  • Deposit (if there is one)

Will the housing be?

  • Close to my hospital (check on your own using Google Maps)
  • An extended stay, apartment, duplex or  house
  • Located in a safe location
  • Private
  • Furnished with basics like a bed, chair, microwave, television, TV stand, washer & dryer, etc. (find out what you will need to bring if anything)
  • Equipped with things like plates, utensils, pots and pans, towels, etc. (again find out what you will need to bring)
  • Big or small (ask about the square footage so you are not surprised when you get there)
  • Central Air 

Can I bring?

  • My Spouse/Significant Other or Roommate
  • Pet

When can I?

  • Move in
  • Move out

Now if you decide instead to take a housing stipend and set up your own housing or stay with family or friends who live near your travel therapy assignment, you will receive a monthly stipend to cover your costs so if you enjoy spartan living or already have housing with a family member or friend you can really use this as an opportunity to make some extra money. If you have to set up own travel therapy housing it will require some leg work and a fairly big time commitment to set it up. But here are some tips to help you get started:

1.  If it’s too good to be true then it probably is.  Stay away from renting from individual owners.  It’s a better idea to go with a property management company that has to follow HUD rules and regulations.  Our experience with individual owners has been that some, not all, like to keep money from deposits to continue work or updates on their rentals. 

2. Make sure you ask about fees and deposits.  Normally anything named a fee, like a Pet Fee, or Administration Fee are non refundable.  Deposits are usually fully refundable if there are no damages.  Some places charge deposits but then automatically take money from that deposit for the clean at move out.  Therefore if you ask up front you will know exactly what to expect at move out. 

3. Always get pictures if possible.  If you have pictures of your unit before you move in, then you can make sure to take pictures at move out.  Therefore you are not charged for any damages that aren’t yours. 

4. Double check your lease.  Even after discussing on the phone the rent, lease term and other items the lease could come back differently.  Look over dates, rent amount, fees, day that rent is due, notice to vacate, utilities or any items included in the rent, and who is responsible for maintenance, yard care, and snow removal.   Knowing all these things up front will save you a lot of time when something goes wrong.

5. There are a lot of rental websites out there.  A couple favorites are Apartments.com, Apartment Guide.com, Rent.com, ForRent.com, and MyNewPlace.com.  In smaller towns Google Map the town and then search for apartments.  In smaller towns you may also have to reference the paper and chamber of commerce.  Once finding an apartment you can look up furniture companies online at Yahoo Yellow Pages.  Enter furniture rental and these are one of your best resources as far as quality and location of the apartments you are looking in to.  They live there and deliver furniture to these places so don’t hesitate to ask their opinion.



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About the Author

My name is Jeff Long. I’m the Marketing Manager at Medical Solutions. I am not a physical therapist (I have been a physical therapy patient plenty though) and am not a recruiter. I have worked at Medical Solutions for four years and think it is a great travel physical therapy company that has a lot to offer physical therapists and PTAs interested in a travel career. I do post travel physical therapy jobs from Medical Solutions on this site, and write about travel physical therapy, but you will not be recruited on this blog (unless you specifically inquire about traveling with Medical Solutions then I will forward your info to a Career Consultant). I understand that you are reading and/or commenting on this blog purely for informational purposes and I want you to enjoy that experience My job is to help you meet your career goals by sharing information, advice and the benefits of a travel therapy career with you.

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