Happy Saturday everyone! I’m just sitting at home, watching the Bachelor, and waiting for this crazy winter storm to maybe sort of hit? Although we did have a fun time getting our car up a hill in a parking lot last night, I have yet to see anything worthy of this freak out yet:
Anyway, I will say it’s been a productive weekend so far. I worked out yesterday and did some back squat and toes to bar work, which should also help with pull up improvement! And we have already tried TWO of the KC Restaurant Week menus. Le Fou Frog and Brown & Loe were both BOMB.
Okay, so on to the actual point of this post! I am approaching my 1 year anniversary of travel nursing. Which seems a little crazy, but it has seriously flown by. Even traveling just around the state, it has been so interesting to see the different ways each hospital is run, to meet new people, and to learn something new with each assignment. Travel nursing was sort of a knee-jerk decision for me, which is unusual, but I do not regret that decision for a second.
That being said, there are definitely a lot of people who are terrified to take the leap. I have had lots of people message me asking about how to get started, so I wanted to do a little post with some information I think is the most important to consider before getting started.
Tip 1: Reach out to people you already know who work as travel nurses
- I started by talking to the travelers working at my permanent job. There are lots of tips and tricks of the trade, and everyone has different preferences in recruiter style, pay packages, housing options. There isn’t necessarily a wrong way to do things, but by talking to lots of different travelers you can put different opinions together and feel out what works best for you. I would also suggest getting the names of recommended recruiters from different people and compare pay packages at different jobs to see if you are getting taken advantage of. Typically, pay rates for a certain job should be about the same no matter which company you go through, so if one pay package is significantly lower, someone may be trying to take advantage of you as a “newbie”.
Tip 2: Pick and choose which recruiters to give your information to.
- One of the first thing I did when I was considering traveling was to sign up on several travel company websites. The problem with this is you end up getting tons of cold calls, emails, and texts from random recruiters trying to “sell” you an assignment. Recruiters quality can vary a lot, so I would not recommend just listening to any recruiter who happens to call first, or who throws out the biggest numbers. Also, if you don’t want to field random phone calls for (essentially) forever, do not give your number out unless you are really interested in that particular company.
Tip 3: Research tax implications
- Let’s face it, some travel companies are just in it for the money, and a recruiter may tell you inaccurate information about what you can and cannot receive tax free. While one of the best ways to make money in travel nursing is to utilize your stipends in the smartest way possible, it is also important to follow IRS guidelines in order to correctly follow the rules that go along with tax free money.
- This site has a lot of free information directly from a tax professional.
- The actual IRS code explains the legal rules regarding a “tax home”, but in general it is a good rule of thumb to make sure you’re paying rent or a house payment at home and traveling an hour or so to work each day.
- GSA rates are important to know as well: AKA how much money the government says you should be allocated for housing. You often won’t get the maximum amount available, but you should get close!
Tip 4: Decide if you want to travel for money or location
- Often times, the best money isn’t in the best locations. Florida and Colorado are some hot spots to travel to, but often do not pay the best. Similarly, it may be smarter to travel somewhere less exciting if you have family or friends you can stay with and save money on housing costs while you are there. Coming from someone who hasn’t traveled to the most “exciting” locations, I will say I still 100% recommend traveling. You get to meet new people, see new places. You don’t get wrapped up in work drama. And you will likely make 50-100% more than your income at a permanent job.
Tip 5: Just go for it!
- This sounds so corny, I know. But forreal, I came home mad at my job one day, picked up the phone, said “Go” to my recruiter, and never looked back. 24 hours after that, I had my first job, and 3 weeks later I hit the road! I did take the safeguard of staying PRN, but after my first assignment, I let that go as well. This is a hard career to understand until you’re part of it, but I honestly think I’ll have a hard time ever going back to a regular job now. My income has increased, I get to dictate my vacation time, and my work-related stress is minimal. Thanks to travel nursing, we put over $17,000 towards debt last year, and took a couple awesome trips.
I’m so glad I took the leap to change my life a year ago, it was definitely the best angry decision I have ever made 😉 Feel free to message or email me if you have any questions, or tips of your own! I have recruiters for 4 different companies I have personally worked with as well, if you’d like any direct contacts 🙂
With love and dream chasing,