Being a first-time traveler can be a daunting undertaking.

Everything from a new hospital, new colleagues, being away from home, and all the other unknowns of travel nursing makes for a scary career move. That’s why taking a ‘local’ travel contract may be what’s needed.

You see, a common misconception in the travel nurse industry is that you’re supposed to go to a whole new state or pack up and move cross country. The fact is, it’s just not true. You can still reap most, if not all, of the travel benefits and not have to stray too far from your current home.

It’s called ‘local travel,’ and yes, it’s a thing.

By becoming a local traveler, you can save a lot of anxiety and angst over packing your place up to move. Not only that, you’d save some dough on moving fees, flights, gas, and the time it might have taken to drive across the state or the country.

And sure, it is possible that the tax deductions or housing stipends may be affected, so I highly recommend always using a tax pro to help in this area.

So how does an RN actually get into a local travel contract?

How I became a ‘local travel’ nurse

It wasn’t fear of moving or the cost of travel that compelled me; it was family.

The first time I did ‘local travel,’ it was simply fueled by my wife’s being in grad school, and my kids were both young 3rd and 5th graders. While I was itching to actually test the nomadic nursing life, my real life simply wouldn’t allow it. That’s when a travel nurse recruiter suggested I stay right there near home but take a travel contract. 

She called it ‘local travel,’ and I was intrigued.

To keep it simple, all that I did was sign a 13-week contract, in my specialty, at a facility in the next town. It was about 63 miles away, so about a one-hour drive to and fro. I did three 12-hour shifts, and even though I lived near there, I was considered a ‘traveler.’ It was one of the best moves for me to make at that point in my life.

An unintended effect was that I kept my current job but switched to PRN while under contract.

The agency offered to house me in the next town, but I opted for a housing stipend instead and chose to drive. Of course, I always recommend checking with a tax expert on the nuances of this. Besides the housing stipend, this specific contract offered a completion bonus as well.

The bottom line is that local travel was just what I needed to wet my whistle and get me into the travel lifestyle, all without being too far from my residence.

If you’re thinking about getting a local travel nursing job in your home state, there are several advantages and disadvantages to doing so.

Pros of local travel assignments

  • You’ll likely receive perks including a housing stipend, possible even completion bonuses, which add to your bottom line
  • Keep your day job (or go PRN) and still reap the travel benefits
  • You won’t need to fuss with packing and actually moving
  • You’ll likely be super close to home
  • Being close to family and not missing important events is a HUGE plus
  • Your circle of friends and colleagues will not be disrupted

Cons of local travel assignments

  • You won’t actually get to travel the way a traditional traveler does
  • Put differently, you’re simply working a gig with a longer commute if you don’t live near the travel facility
  • If you choose to establish a place to live near the facility, then you need to keep up with TWO residences
  • The travel experience just isn’t quite the same. It feels different.

The above pros and cons were directly from my experiences as a local traveler. I’m sure there are several more, but that would be up to you to discover.

Many RNs gravitate towards this option because it lets them dip their toes in without taking a full-on plunge. And honestly speaking, before doing any type of travel contract, it’s always important to figure out exactly why you want to travel.

Is it for the experiences? The fun and excitement? The money? There are no right or wrong answers, only your answers.

The final word

If you’re thinking about getting a local travel nursing job in your home city or state, there are several advantages and disadvantages to doing so.

The pros of local travel assignments may outweigh the cons for many RNs who want to be closer to their family and friends without taking on the expense or hassle of moving.

Do your research, figure out what’s important to you and make the best decision for you.

To learn more about the travel nursing opportunity and cities across the country, visit Bestica Healthcare and start planning your next assignment today.


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