One of the biggest benefits to becoming a travel nurse is the opportunity to live in different parts of the country – but that’s assuming you’ll get to see different regions that you want to explore or that you want to make your temporary home. It’s not uncommon for travel nurses to even have a list of “must-haves” before they’ll choose a location: near a beach, near a ski-slope, or in warm climates. However, nurses may want to consider taking jobs in cities they have no desire to visit in order to gain certain benefits they’ll only get by taking travel jobs in undesirable locations:
Put money in the bank with a lower cost of living
As a travel nurse, you have many of your expenses covered, including potentially receiving a housing stipend. But, regardless of who’s paying, housing tends to eat up one third of monthly incomes, according to the Consumer Expenditure Survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That can make it difficult to put money aside for savings or other expenses. Accepting an assignment in a part of the country with a low cost of living can help you save money whether you’re receiving a travel stipend or you’re paying out-of-pocket. If you’re familiar with an area – and that’s precisely why you don’t like it – you can put that knowledge to work to find your next assignment. According to Housely, the top cities with the lowest rents include Wichita, Kansas, Tucson, Arizona, and Saint Louis, Missouri.
Earn more and take more time off
Due to the very nature of travel nursing, many hospitals are understandably reserved about allowing for time-off to travel nurses on assignment at their facility. Since many staff nurses actually take their vacations during November and December, some hospitals and staffing agencies will offer extra perks and bonuses to travel nurses willing to accept assignments over the holidays in many hard-to-fill locations. If you have your eye on taking a longer vacation during the warmer months, accepting a position in a less-than-ideal location during the winter for higher pay or bonuses can be a great way to add to your savings account.
If you’re one of those travel nurses taking back-to-back assignments without scheduling any vacation time, you may very well get burned out quickly. However, vacations or extended time off can get expensive fast. The average American spends approximately $2,000 on each vacation, according to a report by Travelex, featured in Travel Pulse.Travel nurses looking to take an extended vacation could quickly surpass that amount. Spending 13 weeks in a less-than-ideal location could be the income boost you need to take that extra time off in the summer.
The next time you’re talking with your recruiter, consider listing off the places you would hate to live. The benefits of spending 13 weeks in one of those locations could be substantial to you or your family.