Travel nursing can be an exciting opportunity to experience new places and acquire professional skills, but even the most seasoned traveler isn’t immune to homesickness. No matter how warm and cozy your short-term rental property may be, it can’t replace home. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to personalize your short-term rental and make it feel more like home so that you enjoy a better travel nurse experience.
Unpack and Get Organized
Settle in to your temporary home by fully unpacking and organizing your things. No one likes the feeling of living out of a suitcase and a 12 week contract gives you plenty of time to get used to your new surroundings. Don’t hesitate to fill up the dresser drawers, place your toiletries in the bathroom and even reorganize the kitchen items according to your liking. This will help make it feel less like you are living in someone else’s home and help you establish a new routine.
Also, don’t fall into the habit of throwing dirty clothes just anywhere and letting dirty dishes pile up. Many of us become a little more lax when it comes to cleaning when we are on the road, but remember that this property will be your home for several months. The last thing you want to see after a long shift at the hospital is a dirty room. Treat your temporary housing like your home and it will begin to feel that way.
Bring Your Own Linens
One of the main benefits of short-term, fully-furnished rentals is that you can travel lightly. You don’t have to worry about bringing furniture, kitchen essentials or shower curtains. However, if you have the room to pack some linens, bringing your own bedding from home can help you make your space more comforting, especially as you rest and recuperate after work. Whether it is a pillow, a favorite set of sheets or a snuggly blanket that you can curl up in while lounging on the couch, these familiar items can evoke a peaceful sense of home.
Engage in Some Home Cooking
The kitchen of your rental home should be fully stocked with all the essentials you need to prepare and eat a homemade meal. Instead of dining out every night, which can be tough on your wallet and your waistline, take advantage of the kitchen to prepare some of your favorite meals. The simple ritual of cooking and enjoying your favorite smells and flavors can be a comforting act that reminds you of home. Sharing a meal is also a good way to get to know your fellow travel nurses and colleagues, so don’t hesitate to invite some company.
Bring Your Cat or Dog
Nothing brings joy to your heart and a smile to your face like your cat or pup. One sure way to have built in purpose and companionship while you travel is by bringing along a pet. About ⅓ of travelers bring a pet on contract with them, so it is mostly accepted and quite common. Of course there may be some extra fees like a separate pet deposit, but traveling with your pet can really improve your spirits while you’re away from home. If you’re wondering how to search for pet friendly properties, visit Furnished Finder and use the filters to view pet-friendly travel nurse housing.
Add a Houseplant
Not only have houseplants been scientifically proven to reduce stress and improve your mood, the act of caring for something, even a simple plant, has a grounding effect that further supports mental health. Plants will also improve the air quality, help the property feel more personal and add a touch of color to a space that might otherwise seem rather plain. If you don’t have a green thumb, consider a small herb garden or a potted arrangement of succulents. These are low maintenance options that won’t die if you neglect them for a few days.
Do Some Decorating
While completely redecorating your temporary housing isn’t really an option, you can add favorite items, such as books, movies and personal photos, to shelves and tabletop surfaces. These small additions will add character and personalize the space while still allowing you to travel light. Another great decorating tip is to add mirrors to certain rooms (found very inexpensively at Walmart). These will make any space appear larger and they can be placed on the floor and leaned up against the wall so you don’t have to put holes in the walls. And let’s face it, even if we’re in scrubs, we still want to see how we’re looking before we dash out the door.
You may also want to consider investing in one or two small accent lamps. Most temporary housing will include plenty of lighting, but if you find your rental lacking in this department, a couple lamps can make all the difference. Overhead lighting tends to be harsh and make the space feel cold and sterile. Adding accent lamps will instantly provide soft light for a warmer, more inviting environment that feels more personal.
Incorporate Your Favorite Smells
Smell is a powerful sense that is strongly connected to certain places, memories and even moods. Bringing your favorite smells into your rental property can trigger parts of the brain that are linked to home and happy times. Bring along some candles, your usual laundry detergent and shampoo and any other familiar fragrances that will make your space smell and feel like home.
Get to Know Your New City
It might sound counterintuitive to say that getting out of the house will make your rental feel like home, but the more familiar you are with the neighborhood, the more you will feel like a part of the community. Say hi to your neighbors. Ask locals for recommendations when it comes to restaurants, coffee shops and other hangouts. Set out on foot and walk the neighborhood. Not only will this help you feel at home and make your travel experience more enriching, it will also help alleviate the stress of being in a new place. Exploring by yourself can be intimidating for some people, but you may also find that taking that first step is the hardest part. Once you have your feet wet, you will want to do and see more.
Temporary housing doesn’t have to feel cold and unfamiliar.
With a little planning, you can make any space feel more like home so that you enjoy a better, less stressful travel nurse experience. Don’t be afraid to bring some of your favorite items along to personalize your space. Even small details, like candles and a favorite blanket can make a big difference.
For help finding the perfect short-term, fully furnished rental, be sure to visit Furnished Finder and search their map, which features over 25,000 properties from across the country. Once you find the right short-term rental property in your next travel nurse assignment city, you can set to work using the tips mentioned above to personal it and experience a home away from home during your travels.
Furnished Finder is the largest online housing marketplace for travel nurses who take temporary positions across the US. With over 25,000 monthly furnished rental properties to choose from, they continue to expand their inventory and make housing easier and more affordable for traveling nurses nationwide. Download the app. Furnished Finder also owns travelnursehousing.com. www.furnishedfinder.com
We hope that you found these tips for making your short-term rental or housing helpful. For information on avoiding housing scams read our article: How Travel Nurses Can Avoid Housing Scams