Travel Nurse Guide: Where to start travel nursing - The Gypsy Nurse


By The Gypsy Nurse Staff

August 8, 2018



Step #3: Where and When Are You Willing to Go

Where to Start Travel Nursing

The big question of where to start travel nursing. Some travelers are completely open to location and willing/able to go wherever there is a need. Others want a specific location for a variety of reasons. There is no right or wrong place to start travel nursing.

Know your Restrictions

If you have some restrictions on where and when you can go, you have a little planning to do.  I would advise you to be as open as possible as a brand new traveler. Being open to locations will make it easier to find your first contract.


Do you want to avoid extreme weather?  That would mean no Minnesota in the wintertime.  Many travel nurses will follow ‘summer’ and will not accept a wintry destination. On the flip side, others love winter sports and will choose locations that provide the maximum possibility of enjoying them.


Maybe you have a compact license and will only work where it’s accepted.  There are currently 24 states in the compact.  The NLC has a handy MAP to see which states are part of the compact.


Another consideration might be family.  Do you need/want to be close to your family?  Is your family traveling with you, and you need to start after your spouse retires, your children are out of school for the summer, etc.?  Perhaps you want to be within a day’s driving distance?


The type of hospital may also play a factor.  Will you work for a rural hospital?  How about a teaching facility?  Is Magnet status a factor?  Do you prefer a Level II Trauma hospital?


Perhaps you have an ailing family member and want to be close to a major airport if a family emergency arises.  Will you be unhappy if you’re in a small town and don’t have a major shopping mall?  Does small town living drive you to madness?  Cities make you dizzy and disoriented?  Only you know where you are comfortable.

Regardless of what your answers were to the above, I would encourage you to leave this as open as possible.  Some of my best experiences were those that I was dreading the most due to location or type of facility.

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