Financial Challenges That Traveling Nurses Face and tips to avoid them

By Lidia Staron

May 22, 2019

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Financial Challenges that Traveling Nurses Face

The unique Financial challenges that Travel Nurses face, can add another layer of stress.

Being a travel nurse is certainly not easy, but it is very rewarding.

travel nurses financial challenges
Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash

Amidst the highly stressful environment, sleepless nights that you’re on duty, overtimes, and missed holidays with family – nursing is such a noble profession.

Unfortunately, despite all the demands of work, nurses don’t just feel overworked and over-stressed. They also feel underpaid, according to research.

Especially travel nurses.

Travel nursing may seem like a very exciting journey for some. The ability to work and travel at the same time – that’s a dream come true. The endless adventure. Meeting new people and making friends from various places. The freedom to live independently. Getting away from hospital politics. All these make travel nursing a great choice for many professional nurses. However, travel nursing can be a very demanding profession, leaving nurses very little time for life outside work and their family.

The challenges do not end there. Travel nurses often find themselves dealing with financial difficulties too.

Travel Expenses

Working in different states or cities is truly an adventure. But it could also mean a huge expense as travel nurses get to combine work and leisure. After all, travel nurses don’t get to stay at a particular place for too long, might as well explore it like a tourist.

Thus, one common challenge that travel nurses face is saving money consistently. Fortunately, the new technology allows travel nurses to set up an automatic savings account where part of their paycheck goes straight to their savings account. With a reduced paycheck, it can be difficult to juggle personal expenses sometimes. But instead of withdrawing cash from their savings, they can get financial assistance for travelers to cover those unexpected expenses.

Tax Problems

The first and major challenge faced by travel nurses is a complex tax situation. Since they are traveling for work, there are plenty of things to consider when filing taxes. One is establishing a tax home. This is important to be able to deduct travel expenses to other cities or states while protecting their untaxed income. Travel nurses also need to file taxes in every state they’ve worked. To stay organized and ensure that nothing is left behind, travel nurses need to be adept at keeping records, from their work contracts to their mileage log, and receipts to avoid issues with their return. There are a variety of unique tax situations for travel nurses.

Financial Priorities

While it’s true that not every nurse will have the same financial needs, there are some goals that remain true among all travel nurses. These include starting a family, buying a house, saving for retirement, or starting a business.  Earning and saving money is a major priority for many travel nurses. Unfortunately, it is easier said than done.

Setting financial priorities can be difficult. But by keeping a solid financial plan in place, travel nurses can achieve their financial goals despite the challenges that lie ahead. In addition to creating an automatic savings account, travel nurses can benefit from making small yet positive changes in the way they handle their finances. Minimizing their expenses by postponing major purchases and making the most from their employer’s financial programs are some examples.

Financial Management Tips for Travel Nurses

Most travel nurses make over $100K per year. That’s a lot but if they don’t get smart with their finances, they could end up having no savings by the time they retire.

Here are some financial management tips if you wish to become a travel nurse:

  • Find your own housing, this gives you the freedom to decide on how much you allocate for your accommodation. Some agencies will offer housing options but these could be pricier than what you can find. Compare and choose which one is more budget-friendly for you.
  • Work for a travel nurse agency with high pay and transparency. Every agency has its own salary structure. It is best to work with an agency that is very transparent about their offers and compensation rates. This eliminates the need for nurses to know whether the position is right for them.
  • Make a budget. And stick to it. Don’t spend more than what you earn. It’s the golden rule not only for travel nurses but for every other working professional. When making a budget, include certain factors like your income, monthly expense, and any debt you may have. Be smart with your purchases and expenses. If you can have something cheaper than what you originally plan to have, much better.
  • Build an emergency fund. You never know when you will have an urgent expense. it is better to be prepared.

Like any other lucrative profession, travel nursing comes with financial challenges too. The key is to be organized with your finances, create a plan, keep saving, and set financial priorities. Preparing for these problems should be your weapon against experiencing a major financial drawback.


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