Includes Relocation? Journeying to Your Travel Assignments
By Aaron Moore, MSN, BC-RN, travel nurse expert
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If you have ever taken the time to scroll through job openings around the country, you might have noticed that some jobs offer relocation and some specifically state, “No relocation available.” I have never had the opportunity to apply for one of those “high roller”-type jobs that offer a sweet relocation package, paid travel to the interview, or maybe even a car. I keep telling myself, “Someday,” but honestly, the small percentage of such jobs for nurses means the opportunity isn’t likely.
Luckily, I stumbled into travel nursing. It is one of the few employment opportunities that includes travel reimbursements and other relocation benefits, even if it is just a temporary relocation. And yes, there have been assignments when I felt like a high rolling VIP.
I’ll never forget my first assignment; my wife and I left Iowa to go all the way out to San Diego. We bought a new car specifically designed to hold all our stuff and headed out on the first of many awesome road trips. This was back in the early 2000s and gas wasn’t as much as it is today, but I was still worried about how I was going to pay for all the hotels, gas, and food to get us through this 1,600-plus mile journey.
My recruiter had spoken to me about travel reimbursements, but I didn’t really know what to expect along the way. I soon figured out a few things, and learned to be more prepared with each new job. Below are five top things I learned over the course of many travel assignments:
1. Bundle and save. I have learned over the years to book a hotel that covers food along with my comfy lodging. Most hotels offer some sort of breakfast, but do yourself a favor and book one with a great breakfast. You may even be able to take an extra granola bar for the road.
2. Be prepared. Most companies offer some sort of emergency coverage while you’re on the road, but it never hurts to have a backup plan such as AAA or something similar through your insurance. And make sure to mention your upcoming frequent travels to your insurance company, just in case.
3. Yes, you can go home first. Many times I would take two weeks off in-between assignments. I mean who doesn’t deserve a vacation from their dream job every three months? Anyway, I usually drove home and filed that as my end assignment travel. Then I would drive to my new assignment and file the paperwork for initial travel; check with your recruiter to see if this is available.
4. Gas mileage reimbursement is biased. Most companies reimburse a standard rate per mile, so if you’re driving that dually diesel truck cross country, don’t expect them to pay you more money compared to me and my economical Geo Metro!
5. Don’t worry, be happy. Overall, have fun! If I can pass along one thing to other nurses reading this, it would be to really enjoy your time traveling. And that goes for all of it. Traffic on the way may be stressful, as can getting lost, but don’t worry--just enjoy the ride!
The more you travel, the more you’ll know what to expect. This applies to so many things in travel nursing. But there is always a “wild card” out there, so make sure you keep up on company relocation policies that could change from one travel assignment to the next.
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