There are a lot of housing choices when it comes to travel nursing. Do you take housing from your company? Do you find your housing? Is it an entire house or a room in a shared home? Do you travel in an RV? Do you have pets? Kids? Or are you like us and have both? As a traveling family, we feel like RV living is the best choice. We love having a consistent home, not having to pack/unpack our things every 3 months, and financially it saves us a ton of money. However, it does come with its challenges, and we’ve had to learn ways to navigate those as it comes.
It is always a really exciting time when we are ready to sign our next contract. Because we travel as a family in an RV, we have to take some extra steps before we can do that. As soon as we apply for a position, our search for an RV resort begins. Most of our research is preliminary, so we know if we can accept a position if we get an offer.
When we contact an RV resort, this is how it goes (and yes, they want all of this information):
“Dear, excellent RV resort of our choice,
We are a traveling nurse family in a 39ft Class A Motorhome that I have photos of attached to this email. We tow a 16ft flatbed trailer with one vehicle on it. We travel with our 2 kids (ages 7 and 9) and our 2 dogs (very friendly Vizslas). We are looking to take a nursing contract at (hospital name) from (date to date). We are writing to inquire about your availability and monthly rates.
Thank you so much for your time….”
This can get exhausting, especially if you are trying to go to a destination city anywhere near their peak season. For example, when traveling to Maine for the summer, almost every single RV resort was fully booked for the entire summer. Luckily the management team at the hospital had a place they highly recommended, and everything worked out well. Likely, you are not the first travel nurse to come to the area in an RV, and the hospital will most often have great ideas for you. But if there isn’t an available place, you have to let those offers go.
Not all RV parks are created equally.
Some parks are full of incredibly kind people that are very welcoming to travel nurses, and some are not. Most parks understand that nurses are thoroughly vetted and love having you there; some make you pay for and complete very lengthy background checks. Some parks fully welcome children and dogs, and some do not and might even have extra fees associated with them. Some parks have incredible amenities like big, working laundry facilities, recreational facilities like game rooms, gyms, playgrounds, pools, lakes, dog parks, nice open spaces, high-speed internet, security, and needed utilities included in your rate. Some parks don’t have any or many of these types of amenities. We have learned to ask a lot of questions, read reviews, and get a feel for the park before committing to it.
Aside from one, every RV park we have chosen has been very safe, fun, and welcoming. But this is an extremely important factor that plays a role in whether or not we can even accept a travel contract. We have to have a safe home for the family.
Living in the RV itself is not for everyone.
We have adapted well to our tiny living space. We gave our children the back bedroom. This may feel like a big sacrifice, but it is so nice to give them their own space for their own things and have a place where they can go to bed at night that isn’t in the middle of the living room. When anyone gets up early to work, the kids aren’t disturbed. When it’s bedtime, they can go to bed, and we don’t feel like we have to as well. We transform the living room every night into our bedroom suite, and it works for us. But that is the point; if you chose to live in an RV, you have to be open to tiny living and open to adapting it to what works best for you and your travel companions.
Let’s quickly talk about finances.
We bought a used motorhome (20 years used to be exact). We did this so we could have a modest car payment instead of a small mortgage. As travel nurses, we were able to pay this off quickly. Since we purchased an already depreciated vehicle, we will not lose much money on its value annually. So, we have a paid-off vehicle that will be worth something when we are finished. We have paid anywhere from $600-$1000 a month, including utilities, for a spot at an RV resort. This is a fraction of what we would pay for a furnished home/apartment that is large enough for the family and accepts pets. We’ve looked into this from time to time and are always blown away by the monthly rates. So overall, this makes sense for us on a financial level as well.
The best part about it though is that it is home.
Decorated and designed to our liking. When it’s time to go, we throw a few things in some cabinets, and we hit the road. When we get there, we pick up right where we left off. It keeps us warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and plenty comfortable on a day-to-day basis. We love the time we get to spend outdoors and immerse ourselves in the nature around us. We meet wonderful people in RV parks. Quite often, there are other traveling families moving their way through the country for a variety of reasons, and the kids get to socialize a lot. One time, we even got lucky enough to meet another traveling nurse family, and we were all instant friends.
Overall, RV living was the best choice for us. We couldn’t recommend it more, especially to any of you out there traveling as a family. Safe travels!
To follow Annie and her family’s travel nurse adventures click here to check out our travel nursing with family articles.
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