Ultimate Travel Nursing Guide for New Grads and Seasoned Nurses for 2024

Ultimate Travel Nursing Guide

Here is your Ultimate Travel Nursing Guide: New Grads and Seasoned Nurses.

Are you a newly graduated nurse or a seasoned healthcare professional looking for a change? If you have a passion for travel and adventure, travel nursing might be the perfect career path for you. Travel nursing offers the opportunity to work in a variety of healthcare settings across the country while exploring new destinations and cultures.

As a travel nurse, you’ll gain valuable skills, make lasting connections, and have the chance to make a difference in the lives of patients across the nation. But how do you get started? This ultimate guide to travel nursing for new grads and seasoned nurses will provide you with all the information you need to secure your first travel nursing assignments and launch your dream job.

What is Travel Nursing?

Travel nursing is a unique nursing career that involves registered nurses (RNs) taking temporary positions in healthcare facilities across different regions or countries. These certified travel nurses are hired on a contract basis to fill shortages in the healthcare system due to a high demand for healthcare professionals.

The term “travel nurse” might sound like a role that involves constantly moving from place to place, but it typically means that the nurse is stationed temporarily in different locations. These first travel nursing assignments often last between 8 to 26 weeks long, although some assignments may last longer or shorter.

The thrill and adventure of working in different locations, while providing vital medical services, offers travel nurses an unmatched experience that is both personally and professionally rewarding. The job typically provides exceptional pay and benefits and allows nurses to develop their skill sets through exposure to new challenges, making it an excellent career path for those seeking adventure and fulfillment.

Ultimate Travel Nursing Guide

Benefits of Travel Nursing

  • High Earning Potential

According to recent statistics, the average travel nurse pay package can range from $80,000 to upwards of $120,000 annually. As a travel nurse, you have the freedom to choose your first time travel nursing assignment and explore different areas of the country that you may have never had the chance to see before.

With high-income potential and the opportunity to travel and gain valuable experience in different healthcare settings, travel nursing is an enticing option for those looking to expand their horizons and advance their careers.

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High Earning Potential Source
  • Flexibility in Assignments

One of the greatest benefits of travel nursing is the flexibility in assignments. As a travel nurse, you get to choose the destination of your next assignment, allowing you to explore the country and experience new cultures. Whether you want to work in a bustling city or spend time in a more tranquil setting, the choice is yours.

What’s most fun about travel nursing is the opportunity to meet other travelers who share your passion for adventure. You can expect to work with a variety of healthcare professionals and patients, gaining valuable experience along the way. With so many assignments to fill across the country, the possibilities are endless for those seeking flexibility and excitement in their nursing career.

  • Diverse clinical experience

Diversity in clinical experience is a key aspect of the travel nursing career. With the ongoing nursing shortage, travel nurses are in high demand and have the opportunity to work in a variety of healthcare settings.

One of the benefits of travel nursing is the chance to gain experience in different regions of the country, working with patients from diverse backgrounds who have unique medical needs.

Professional growth

Professional growth is a major aspect of travel nursing. As a travel nurse, you have the opportunity to advance your career by taking on new challenges and gaining new experiences with each new travel assignment. Whether you’re interested in a new specialty or looking to increase your hourly rate, there are always available positions to suit your needs.

The world of travel nursing is vast, and you will meet many other seasoned travelers who can provide valuable insight and guidance as you continue to develop your skills. The key to maximizing your professional growth as a travel nurse is to remain proactive in your job search and actively seek out opportunities that align with your career goals. With diligence and patience, the opportunities for growth and development are endless.

  • Work-life balance

Travel nurses have the ability to create a work schedule that suits their lifestyle. The flexibility can lead to improved work-life balance, reduced burnout, and more time for self. I enjoyed my time in San Diego because the hospital where I worked was next to Balboa Park. I also enjoyed surfing at the beach in La Jolla.

  • Travel and housing benefits

Many travel nursing agencies offer housing stipends or provide their own furnished accommodations, making the process much smoother. In addition to the convenience of furnished housing, travel nursing positions present an opportunity to travel around the country while doing what you love – patient care.

With nursing shortages nationwide, many hospitals and healthcare facilities are willing to offer competitive compensation packages that include travel and housing options. If you’re expecting to start your career as a travel nurse, look forward to a fulfilling job with unique travel experiences and housing solutions.

Ultimate Travel Nursing Guide
  • Networking Opportunities

For many nurses, travel assignments are an exciting way to explore new places and gain valuable professional experience. But beyond the thrill of adventure, there are also numerous networking opportunities to take advantage of within the world of travel nursing.

As most travelers will tell you, meeting other nurses on the road can provide valuable connections and insights into the industry that you may not have access to otherwise. Additionally, working with multiple agencies can widen your network and provide unique perspectives on your travel nurse journey. So whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned traveler, take advantage of every chance to connect with others in the field – you never know where it may lead!

  • Resume Enhancement

Travel nursing experience looks impressive on a resume. Employers value the adaptability and diverse experiences that travel nurses bring to their organizations.

  • Tax Advantage

If you’re considering a career in travel nursing, you’ll want to know about the tax advantages available to you. One of the most significant benefits is being able to establish a tax home, which can drastically reduce what you owe come tax season. This is because many travelers are able to fill out Form 2106 and deduct a significant amount of their taxes that relate to their jobs.

However, there are a few things you need to know about this process, as well as tips on how to maximize your deductions. Tax advantages include tax free housing stipend and per diemallowances, which can lead to significant tax savings. Just remember, staying organized and keeping records of your expenses is also essential especially you will be traveling around. Use this tax app for easy filing tax each year.

  • Adventure and Exploration

Travel nursing allows nurses to explore new cities, states, and regions while pursuing careers. I am planning to take travel nurse assignments somewhere near a national park in Arizona or maybe Utah next contract. It would be cool to go hiking at the Narrows of the Zion. Or I could also go for a road trip between states. What would you do on your day off? Here are The 7 Best travel nurse assignments on the West Coast.

Ultimate Travel Nursing Guide
  • Cultural exposure

One of the benefits of travel nursing is the cultural exposure that comes with each new assignment location. Staffing agencies work with nurse managers to find assignments that match each nurse’s interests and experience.

A travel nurse might find themselves on a road trip from one end of the country to the other for their first job, or they might search for opportunities in a specific region or city. Along the way, they’ll encounter diverse patient populations, unusual customs, and unique cuisines. For those who are curious and adventurous, cultural exposure is one of the most rewarding aspects of travel nursing.

  • Strengthened Resilience

As a travel nurse myself, I’ll do a shameless plug for my profession and the amazing opportunity it provides to strengthen resilience. Moving from assignment to assignment in different cities, states, and even countries can be daunting, but it also challenges you to adapt and overcome obstacles.

The minimum number of assignments required to become a travel nurse is two, which means you have an opportunity to learn and grow at each one. One of the most important things to expect as a travel nurse is change. Whether it’s adapting to a new hospital system or meeting new colleagues, embracing change is key to developing resilience.

When you begin a new assignment, it can be overwhelming, but with each experience, you become more adept at navigating unfamiliar territory. Travel nursing also typically pays higher than traditional nursing jobs, making it a great option for those seeking both personal and professional growth.

  • Variety in work environment

Each travel nursing contract is different than your next travel assignment because of the variety in work environment. I remember my first travel nursing assignment in the D.C. area. Nurses there seemed to be so focused whereas my assignment in San Diego was more relaxed. The different variety of settings keeps the profession engaging which helps prevent burnout and compassion fatigue.

  • Contribution to Healthcare

Travel nurses play a vital role in addressing staffing shortages in nursing across the country. These specialized trained nurses hit the ground running, thanks to the staffing agencies that provide them with job opportunities in various healthcare settings across the country.

By meeting the needs of hospitals and healthcare facilities, travel nurses make a significant contribution to the industry. With at least one year of experience, these nurses can fill critical staffing gaps, providing specialized care to patients who need it most.

So if you’re ready to begin your journey as a travel nurse, get ready for an exciting ride filled with new experiences and the chance to make a difference in the lives of patients all around the country. And because of these, I am proud to be a nurse.

Disadvantages of Travel Nursing

  • Irregular Income

Travel nursing agencies make arrangements for nurses to work on temporary assignments in various healthcare facilities. While the nature of their work often guarantees them higher pay, the frequency and duration of assignments can be unpredictable, resulting in a variable pay package. Consequently, it can be challenging to budget and plan for the future when income is erratic. You might have to start a side hustle to balance your finaces.

  • Lack of job security

One of the biggest drawbacks of travel nursing is the lack of job security. With assignments that typically only last 13 weeks on average, travel nurses face uncertainty about what comes next. It becomes even more difficult when the nurse manager doesn’t offer the option to extend the contract or if the job requirement is no longer needed.

When travel nurses finish their assignments, they have to rely on other agencies to find their next one, which presents not only unknown working environments but variations in hourly rate and benefits. The constant potential for job loss can be a stressful and overwhelming burden for those in the travel nursing field.

Limited Benefits

One of the biggest disadvantages is the limited benefits provided by travel nursing agencies. Health insurance and medical benefits may not be as comprehensive as those offered at traditional nursing jobs. Furthermore, maintaining a nursing license in multiple states, as is required for travel nursing, can be a time-consuming and costly process.

This can be especially problematic for those who have earned a nursing degree, only to find that the employment opportunities available to them require them to constantly jump through hoops to maintain their licenses. While travel nursing can offer a unique and enriching experience, it is important to thoroughly weigh the pros and cons before committing to this career path.

  • Inconsistent Workload

Staffing agencies that specialize in travel nursing jobs may struggle to find consistent placements for their workers due to nursing shortages in certain areas.This can cause nurses to have to frequently adjust to new workplaces and job requirements, leading to burnout and frustration. Inconsistent workloads can also lead to financial uncertainty, as nurses may not always be guaranteed a steady income.

Ultimate Travel Nursing Guide
  • Last-minute shift changes

Last-minute shift changes can make it tough to maintain routine and personal life when shifts can be added or removed on short notice. Being organized and flexible is essential because last-minute changes can affect plans, both financially and personally.

Quick tips from other travel nurses could help with the adjustment, but ultimately, the burden falls on the nurse to adapt to the ever-changing work schedule. The nurse manager may also be a source of support during these challenging times, but last-minute shift changes remain a genuine threat to the work-life balance of travel nurses. Here are the must-have nursing apps that can help you manage your schedule better.

  • Travel and Relocation stress

As a travel nurse, you may find yourself constantly on the move, living out of suitcases and adjusting to new environments on a regular basis. This can be particularly overwhelming if you are doing it all on your own, without the support of family and friends at your destination. While staffing agencies and travel nursing agencies can offer some assistance, the reality is that the lifestyle of a gypsy nurse can be challenging at times.

That’s why it’s important for those who sign up for these types of jobs to understand the potential pitfalls and weigh them against the benefits, such as opportunities for networking, professional growth and a wider range of work experiences thanks to the compact state licensing system.

  • Ultimate Travel Nursing Guide


A major disadvantage of these jobs is the isolation that comes along with them. With most travel nursing contracts lasting at least one year, travel nurses can find themselves feeling alone in a new place without a support system.

While online communities and social media groups provide some form of connection, the lack of colleagues and consistent staffing age can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. It’s important for travel nurses to take steps to combat this disadvantage and prioritize their mental health while on the job.

  • Credentialing and licensing

Travel nurses work with a staffing agency that assists in finding job opportunities, but they must also ensure they meet the specific requirements of each state where they will work. This process can be time-consuming and frustrating for some travel nurses, who may need to obtain multiple licenses and certifications to work in different locations.

While the pay offered by a travel nursing agency can be great, the amount of time and effort required to undergo the credentialing and licensing process can be a significant drawback to pursuing this career path.

  • Job hunting

Job hunting for travel nursing jobs can be a significant disadvantage for those just starting out in the career. Finding your first travel assignment can be especially difficult, as staffing agencies often look for nurses with prior experience in travel nursing.

Additionally, competition for these jobs can be fierce, as many nurses are drawn to the opportunities for adventure and higher pay that come with travel nursing. However, with persistence and the right qualifications, the obstacles of job hunting in travel nursing can be overcome.

  • Benefits Eligibility

Unlike permanent nursing positions, travel nurses may not always qualify for the same level of benefits. Insurance coverage can also be spotty, leaving gaps that can be difficult to fill. In addition, travel nurses may experience difficulty when it comes to retirement planning, as their employment status may not allow for the same level of financial security as a permanent employee.

Housing can also be an issue, as travel nurses can often have difficulty finding affordable accommodations in the cities where they work. These disadvantages should be carefully weighed against the benefits before embarking on a career in travel nursing. I had a staffing agency on of my first travel nursing assignment that offered limited benefits with health insurance and no retirement plans. Though I earned a lot of money on that contract, it was very risky without having solid health insurance.

Ultimate Travel Nursing Guide


Choosing a travel nursing career can be a life-changing decision that leads to financial freedom and exciting new adventures. With the abundance of travel nursing jobs available, you have the flexibility to choose where and when you work, allowing you to explore new cities and meet new people. But it’s not just about the thrill of travel. With the high demand for travel nurses, you can also enjoy the financial stability that comes with higher pay rates and generous benefits.

And let’s not forget about the convenience of having housing provided for you during your assignments. So if you’re ready for a rewarding career that offers both personal and professional growth, take the leap and embark upon your journey as a travel nurse. The possibilities are endless, and the rewards are immeasurable.

If you are ready to sign up for your first assignment, Here are the top 10 Best travel nursing agencies.

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