Finding Housing

For many travel nurses, they let their agency provide their housing. And that's great. In fact, that's a main standard of a good agency. Oftentimes, going through the agency for lodging will get you better prices at extended stay hotels and the like. But for some of us travelers who are trying to save a bit more of their paycheck, we choose a little bit more difficult of a route but (in my opinion) so much more rewarding.
In any contract that would've provided housing, if you choose to opt out they will provide a stipend equivalent to what they would've spent on you in lodging and their labor. So if you're willing to go to some extra effort, you can save up to $1000 per month. Which is totally worth it in my opinion. Other benefits include
-getting to know the community better
-making friends along the way
-oftentimes those you meet will love to point out the best local places (food, sights, activities)
-gets you confident driving around to places other than hospital (or wherever your job is)
So how to go about searching?
With the internet there are obviously more channels than I can name or even think of. But here's my favorite as well most effective method....Craigslist.
*Now first priority when using Craigslist is obviously to keep you private information far away. And there's many tips and tricks you can find for doing just that. Make sure to not write private addresses, try to use just your first name until things progress, etc.
To look for housing in the area you can go about this two ways: offensively and defensively. Meaning you can either scower the local craigslist for people you might have a place for you OR you can write your own post and let them come to you. The first time I tried it I was very nervous about putting anything on there. There are many nightmare stories out there. But if you make sure to be smart about what you post and how you communicate you should be peachy keen. I can only speak from my own experience. By using craigslist after searching it for weeks, my first post drew in 5 interested people in the first day! Which means, guess what, you can be picky! If you're a single lady, I'd stay away from the single men offering a room. In my opinion, the safest options are living with a family (in the basement or a spare room) or alone in a rental in a safe neighborhood. If you're curious about the safety of the neighborhood, just give the local police office a call and they'll be happy to give their opinions. Or you can check out several websites that offer similar info. 
So here in Tally, I tried out my craigslist plan and narrowed my list to about 10 people the first week. I stayed in an extended stay hotel for the first week, during my job's orientation. I went to visit the homes after work to get an idea about safety, placement, traffic, etc. By doing this, I already felt I had people I could ask questions (like, where's the closest tennis court?). I could check out some of their churches. And locate some of the hidden local restaurants. I also got invited to watch an Ironman competition and live on a wildlife preserve. There are some really sweet people out there, willing to open up their homes. 
Finally, I made a decision to live with a girl very similar to myself. And in such an adorable home too :) She has my love of pinterest and dark wood flooring! So for the nurses out there, if you have any questions please comment below. For my friends, thanks for the prayers. I found a wonderful home and roommate!

I'm close to work and surrounded by forest

my purple room

she even wrote me a welcome letter (i can tell she loves pinterest)

my first very own bathroom, all to myself :)

and even a huge closet, way too big for me