It has now been just over a week since moving to Philadelphia, PA. This charming city is proving to be all that it’s hyped up to be during the spring time. Despite the blossoming trees and radiant sun, this move to Philly has been one of the most complicated thus far. The process and logistics of this transition was challenging my morals and beliefs, to say the least.

Prior to this, we had the best possible Airbnb experience and now count those hosts as friends that we will keep in touch with and visit every time we go back to that city. Our move to Philly was very rocky, through no fault of Airbnb – but not all hosts are created equal. Therefore, I have devised a few tips to recognize a red flag when searching for housing for your travel assignment or even an accommodation for a long weekend in a new city.

1. Be absolute and clear. And no I’m not talking about Vodka, although I felt like I needed a big swig of it after dealing with this apartment host. Obviously, hindsight is 20/20 but I now know that it is crucial to be extremely clear when discussing living arrangements. The best way to go about this is to be upfront and extremely concise and clear with what is needed of the host and what they can expect from you in return. This way there are no surprises or room for error upon arrival.

2. Don’t compromise necessities. This one really hit home for me on this past move. When initially speaking with the host of the apartment I didn’t realize until afterwards that I was compromising almost everything that is important to me. My usual necessities for a place as a travel nurse include plenty of storage closets, empty kitchen cabinets (as I travel with all my kitchen items so I need the space), a CLEAN place, and I most recently have added to my list, no previous cat owners in home. Now, that last one is saying a lot as I have always been and still am a cat lover. Unfortunately, if a cat owner is not able to clean up after themselves it is highly unlikely they are going to clean up after their pet. From here on out I refuse to take the risk of living in an irresponsible pet owners home. It’s not worth it to compromise your comfort when living and working in a place for 3 months minimum. When reserving your accommodation be certain it has everything that is crucial to making you feel at ease. You deserve to feel at home when away from home.

3. Do your research. This is one thing we did get right – due to hours spend on google street view and personal recommendations from family and friends. If you have never been to the area where you are traveling to (which is the case for most of us travel nurses) I highly recommend doing your homework on where to live/stay. There are tons of helpful websites out there to show you crime rates in neighborhoods and where all the trendy restaurants and bars are located. Check out Trulia for their crime layer map of neighborhood trends. Thrillist always has incredible recommendations for restaurants and bars that will be near your new spot.

4. Too good to be true. If the host seems to be a “yes man” it may come across as a perfect scenario. Everything you are asking is fitting into your ideal living situation, but unfortunately, there are indivuals out in the world that will say whatever you want to hear just to get you to commit and then last minute will retract all their previous offers. I had to find this out the hard way but at least it was I was able to take back control of the situation once I realized who I was dealing with.

Now that all the dust has settled after the moving process, I am forever grateful that I can take this incident and utilize the information in a beneficial regard for future endeavors in finding and dealing with challenging housing situations. These are the moments that make this journey so rewarding.

“Life is a journey that must be traveled no matter how bad the roads or accommodations.”

– Oliver Goldsmith