Should You Drive or Fly to Your Next Travel Nursing Job?

Committing to a travel nursing assignment that’s on the other side of the country can be equally thrilling and stressful. After getting over the initial excitement of the opportunity, you have to decide how you’ll get there! For some, flying is the obvious choice, as it’s less time-consuming. Taking a road trip, however, is an option that comes with its own benefits as well. Not sure of the best option for you? Here’s a pros and cons list for both flying and driving to your next assignment:  

Flying As a Travel Nurse

Pros to Flying

  • A faster commute. Generally, choosing a flight over driving means saving travel time. If you want to arrive to your destination in a timely manner, flying can get you from point A to point B much quicker than a car, bus or train, especially if it’s a cross-country trip. 
  • An opportunity for a fresh start. Because you’re flying, you’ll be less inclined to pack up all of your things and bring the clutter you’ve been holding on to for years. Commuting in the air means packing less so you can have a fresh start in your assignment destination. 
  • Arriving well-rested. Flying takes zero effort on your part as a traveler. You just get to sit back, relax and even enjoy a couple of snacks and refreshments along the way. Driving to your destination means staying focused, alert and awake from the moment you start your journey until you arrive. 


Cons to Flying

  • Price. According to AAA, the current national average gas price is about $3.60 per gallon. In the long term, the amount you put in to get to your destination will cost much less than flying, as the average one-way cross-country flight is usually around $300 or more, as reported by 
  • Leaving belongings behind. If you’re not emotionally attached to your belongings, this isn’t a con. But if you are, flying might not be the best option for you. Unless you plan on shipping all of your items in a transferable pod – which can be a pricey venture – you can only pack a few bags worth of clothes and other personal items for your trip. 
  • Missing out on a beautiful road trip. If one of the reasons you got into travel nursing was for the adventure, flying means missing out on the chance to enjoy gorgeous sights and fun pit stops on a road trip. 


traveler with rolling suitcase

Driving As a Travel Nurse

Pros to Driving

  • Less expensive. In terms of how much you need to spend for driving compared to flying, the road trip is often cheaper. Your biggest expense will be fuel, but filling a tank of gas for a cross-country road trip is often less pricey than a one-way plane ticket.  
  • Bring your valuables. Flying often means leaving your belongings behind and starting completely fresh. Driving to your next assignment allows you to rent a moving truck or at the very least pack up your trunk with your valuables that wouldn’t have made it in a checked bag. 
  • Enjoy the adventure. Road trips are all about the adventure. If you choose to drive, you can take the scenic route and plan multiple stops along the trip. Visit A Travel Nurse’s Guide to a Safe and Stress-Free Road Trip for some essential tips,

Cons to Driving

  • Longer trip. Flying across the country will only take a few hours. Driving the same distance will likely take at least a full day. Likewise, making pit stops to rest will also take up some time. If you feel like spending this much time in the car isn’t efficient, you may want to reconsider this option. 
  • The exhausting option. Because you’ll spend so much of the day in the car, it could get very exhausting. This is especially true if you want to avoid stopping often and want to drive for extended periods of time. Make sure you’re still planning to stop and take breaks during your drive, especially if you don’t have a passenger accompanying you to split the drive. 

It’s no surprise that you love the opportunity for an adventure – that’s likely one of the reasons you chose this career path in the first place. At the end of the day, the route you choose should be based on personal preference and the amount of effort you’re willing to put into your commute. Dive deep into this pros and cons list to assess your best option.

Whether you’re a seasoned travel nurse seeking your next assignment or you’re ready to dive into the dynamic world of travel nursing for the first time, our comprehensive job search portal is your gateway to exciting positions across the country. Connect with us today and take the first step toward fulfilling your next travel nursing adventure!

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