Things You Need to Know About Being a Travel Nurse · The Gypsy Nurse

Be on the lookout for our Annual Best Agency Survey! Coming in October.

By Heather Downen

October 3, 2021



17 Things You Need to Know About Being a Travel Nurse

17 Things You Need to Know About Being a Travel Nurse

Travel Nursing isn’t for everyone.  Just like with any other job there are pros and cons to it. For that reason, a travel nurse of 8 years came up with these 17 things you need to know about being a travel nurse before you sign that contract.

17 things you need to know about being a travel nurse.

1. Yes, it will be hard getting your first job.

Because not all hospitals take first time travelers, the more requirements you have (location, shift, block schedule, time off) the harder it will be.

2. You may get a great hospital for your first job that is okay with you being green, asking questions, needing guidance.

But it’s unlikely. Most will give you little to no orientation, the hardest patient load, and then nitpick your care. Or if they do take you it will be a hot mess. Know your practice. That skills checklist you have to do? Be honest. And if you aren’t marking expert in most to all the boxes, get more experience.

3. Yes, we are serious that you should get two years in your specialty.

Yes, TWO years minimum. Are there people who do it? Yup. Would you want someone caring for your grandma who is a year nurse with no support system in place? Oh, and you can bet they will cancel you if you can’t keep up. Or if you need a lot of assistance.

4. We are at-will employees.

Because of this we can’t sue for cancelled contracts, housing issues, ect. We put up a lot of upfront money with no guarantee. It’s just part of travel. You want security, keep your staff job.

5. Are there jobs out there that are destination locations, paying $3k a week, and block scheduling?17 Things you Need to Know About Being a Travel Nurse

Yes, there is one. And it was filled 0.0000005 seconds after it posted by Janet who has been traveling for 22 years and has her travel game on lock down.

6. Have a savings.

You will hit a snag and not have a contract for a month, get cancelled, have that cheap housing fall thru, get sick/injured on contract. Nothing sucks more than being 3000 miles from family, broke, alone, and jobless.

7. They are paying us to work.

If you don’t, they will keep more of your money and you may get cancelled.

8. Be professional.

Yes, more professional than the staff nurses.

9. Mind your business.

They don’t want to know how you did it at your staff job. So, do it the way they want (within the parameters of patient safety). There is more than one way to skin a cat. As they say.

10. Be smart about safety when traveling.

You are alone in a new city. You are a prime target for all kinds of criminals.

11. No one can tell you if it’s better to fly and rent a car, drive to your destinations, or ship your car.

It’s what fits your time and budget.

12. Yes, it’s harder to travel with pets.

17 Things you Need to Know About Being a Travel Nurse
Charlie & Angel

Yes, housing is harder. Adding big, bully breeds, or multiple dogs makes it even harder. Is it doable? Yes, but it’s harder. It may limit your locations.


13. Yes there is a quarantine for dogs going to Hawaii.

It’s it doable? Yes. But it’s a huge pain, expensive, and stressful for your pet.

14. Recruiters

There are crooked recruiters. Yes, there are lazy recruiters.  There are crappy recruiters. Yes, you will work with a few before you figure it out. But there are great recruiters who will become your friends. Who will support you, listen to you lose your mind/whine/cry. When you find them, keep them. And tell all your friends.

15. Not every “good” recruiter is a good recruiter for every nurse.

Because of this you need to realize your needs and desires and find a recruiter who fits with you.

16. Travel nursing isn’t for everyone.

And that’s okay. You must be flexible, optimistic, and roll with the punches. Therefore, if that’s not you, stay home.

17. There will be nurse that disagree with these.

Saying well “I traveled after being a nurse for two weeks, have fifteen pit bulls and a horse and I found a job making $3k a week with block scheduling on day shift and housing for $50 a month. You can do it”. You can friend, but you are responsible for your license, bank account, and happiness. No one else.

So, before you sign that contract make sure you have not only read over these 17 things you need to know about being a travel nurse, but do your own research as well.

Want more information on travel nursing?

Check out our Travel Nurse Guide

Join The Gypsy Nurse Nation

Discover new travel nurse jobs, subscribe to customized job alerts and unlock unlimited resources for FREE.

Since just recently joining The Gypsy Nurse, I have had so many questions answered about the world of travel nursing. This has been an excellent resource!
—Meagan L. | Cath Lab