Travel nursing can be a great adventure, but you need to make sure you’re prepared. On top of all the paperwork and preparation for travel nursing, here are a few questions that many new travel nurses may not think to ask. Hopefully these tips for new travel nurses will help you make the most of your upcoming travel nursing assignment!
The rule of thumb for references in travel nursing is that they should never be more than a year old. So, if you worked with a travel agency, supplied them with your references and other documents, but never went on an assignment with that agency, you could theoretically come back to them within the same year and be ready to be submitted to assignments. However, many nurses will tell you that it’s best to provide a reference from your two latest assignments (and we agree!). Recent references make you more attractive to facilities and boost your chances of getting the travel assignment you want. Make it a habit to get at least one reference from a supervisor for each assignment you complete.
We know that when you’re traveling you don’t want to stress about where your next meal will come from. Fast food is cheap and convenient, but it will take a toll on your health. With a nurse’s schedule, it can also be a challenge to research new recipes and get to the grocery store to get food. That’s why we (and other travelers) recommend meal kit services like Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, and Home Chef. These kits allow you to try a new recipe while staying in, taking the hassle out of meal planning and bringing high-quality ingredients right to your home. Many local grocery stores also sell meal kits in-store, making it easy to pick up all the ingredients you need in one place.
Commonly used apps for road trips include Google Maps, the reigning king of GPS navigation, as well as Waze, a navigation app that lets users report traffic problems in real time. Other popular travel resources include Furkot, a website that helps you plan your whole road trip by letting you set the dates for your trip, book hotels, and find interesting locations along the way. The iExit app, which tells you what’s coming up on highway exits, is also a popular choice for road trippers who want to make sure their road trip goes smoothly. Nurses also recommend Priceline, which specializes in getting traveler nurses lower rates through bidding on accommodations.
There are many ways you can save money on your assignment, while still exploring the awesome new location you’ve traveled to! Library cards are free almost everywhere, and provide you with endless entertainment, whether you’re renting books, DVDs, or just using the library computers. Library cards can also provide discounted or free admission to local attractions, including museums, parks, and other cultural institutions. Groupon is also a great choice for nurses looking to explore the local area since you can get great prices on excursions, events, and adventures. Also, meal planning and proper discipline on spending money on food will make a huge difference. If you know any friends or relatives living near your assignment, staying with them can also save you money on housing.
When looking for travel nursing housing, furnished apartments can be attractive because of the opportunity to live somewhere that’s already complete, but expect to spend significantly more than you would on an unfurnished apartment. Many nurses have used furnishedfinder.com to find fully furnished apartments for short-term assignments. This site also lets you know the proximity of your rental to local hospitals. Don’t count out unfurnished apartments — many nurses swear by their inflatable mattresses, which are easy to pack and save you money due to the ability to move into an unfurnished apartment without needing to acquire a traditional mattress. And Amazon now sells inflatable couches and chairs, which can be used to fill out an unfurnished living room. The choice is yours!