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A New Way to Secure Short-Term Housing in Pandemic Times

Five and a half years into my travel therapy career and housing is still the most difficult and aggravating part of the whole process. At this point in time, physical therapy is physical therapy. Sure, I must learn my way around a new facility in addition to their policies and procedures. That all will come in a few days. But first, I have to get there. And I need live somewhere. Please someone rent me an apartment for 3 months!

When it comes to short-term housing, I thought I had done it all apart from the RV life. I have stayed in regular hotels without kitchens to extended stay hotels. I’ve stayed in Airbnb’s and apartments found on Furnished Finder. I have done short-term unfurnished leases and furnished places myself. I’ve even stayed in a park model RV at an RV park.

I have done assignments in rural areas, suburban areas, and urban metropolitan areas. Each area has its challenges with finding housing. Rural areas have less options in general. Urban metropolitan areas have plenty of options, but they are often expensive.

This assignment, I found myself in a rural area, about 45 minutes to an hour away from a suburban area with more housing options. While some do not mind commuting this far to work each day, I’d prefer to avoid it. In addition to my full-time travel assignment, I do per diem telehealth and two hours of commuting each day would interfere with my ability to see my telehealth patients.

As I am going through my list of resources including Airbnb, furnished finder, extended stay hotels,, etc, I find myself striking out. As I began researching the area more, it came to my attention that while there wasn’t much in the area, there was a university. The thought crossed my mind that maybe there were some off-campus housing options that might be available since some kids may not have returned to campus in the new virtual learning climate.

I utilized the campus housing department at the university to find a furnished off-campus apartment where some undergraduate and graduate students live. I reached out to the complex and quickly learned that they had a unit available and were more than happy to rent it to a healthcare traveler. While they typically required a guarantor, they would waive this for me as a working healthcare professional. They even allowed me to have my small dog in the apartment despite it being a pet free complex since I am not a student.

Like prior experiences with unfurnished leases, I had to set up the water and electric accounts, but two quick calls and that was taken care of. Internet was included in the price of rent, so I did not have to set up short-term internet which can be such a hassle. The apartment came furnished with a bed, dresser, couch, love seat, coffee table, end tables, and two bar stools. Everything else, in terms off housewares I had to provide. Luckily, I had two bins of kitchen, bathroom, and bedding essentials from prior housing arrangements that were sitting in storage!

If you have not investigated off campus housing as an option previously, I would definitely add it to your list of options for travel housing! First just check to see if there is a nearby college or university. From there, contact the housing department for leads and cross your fingers it works out!


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