As a travel nurse, you get the unique opportunity to travel the country and earn a steady income at the same time. It’s the ideal setup for novelty-lovers and adventure-seekers alike. Due to the nature of this profession, many people assume that it’s only for single people.
However, that’s far from the case—tons of travel nurses have families.
While travel nursing with a family has challenges, it also allows your family to explore the country together. Some travel nurses compare their lifestyle to an extended family vacation (with the added perk of having your housing and travel expenses covered).
If you’re wondering how to make travel nursing with a family work, keep reading. Below, we’ll offer solutions for many of the challenges you’ll face along the way.
Can You Be a Traveling Nurse With a Family?
Most travel healthcare agencies will have no problem with you bringing your family along. With that being said, some travel healthcare agencies are more accommodating than others.
To get the best results, you may want to look for a platform that matches you with a recruiter who has worked with families in the past. This way, they’ll know how to make your next assignment as smooth as possible for your family.
The Challenges of Being a Travel Nurse With a Family
Before you commit to travel nursing with a family, you should be aware of the challenges. These challenges vary, depending on your significant other’s occupation and whether or not you have kids.
The Challenges of Travel Nursing With Your Significant Other
Whether you’re married or in a long-term relationship, travel nursing can give you and your significant other the chance to bond as a couple as you traverse the country together.
The challenges you’ll face largely depend on your significant other’s work schedule. Before you decide to travel together, review these questions:
- Is your partner a traveling healthcare worker too?
- If not, do they have a flexible work schedule?
- Can they work remotely?
- Could you support both of you financially on your travel nurse salary?
How to Make it Work
Depending on your answers to these questions, there are many ways you can make travel nursing as a couple work:
- For travel healthcare couples – If you and your significant other are both travel healthcare workers, finding jobs in the same location can be tricky. You should tell both of your recruiters that you want to travel together in advance.
If you get the same work assignment, living together may impact your housing stipends, if you qualify for them. The IRS will only allow one of you to receive a housing stipend if you share the same house.
Some travel healthcare agencies may allow you both to split your stipends in half and receive the other half in a taxable wage. This way, you can divide the rent up more easily. Other agencies may require one person to take the housing stipend and the other person to replace their stipend with a taxable wage for an equivalent amount.
- For couples with different professions – If your significant other works in another field, the main challenge is finding a way for them to work as they travel with you. If they can work remotely, problem-solved. If not, find out if they’d be willing to look for a new remote position.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, 74% of companies say that they plan to permanently shift their employees to remote work.1 In turn, remote job options are more abundant than ever before.
If your significant other can’t work remotely, it may not be possible for them to join you on your travels full-time. However, you can always schedule trips to visit each other and keep up virtually while you’re apart.
- For one-income couples – Some travel nurse couples rely solely on the travel nurse’s income. In the meantime, the other person can take care of everything else, including shopping, cooking, and cleaning. If you have kids together, this can be a very useful arrangement.
The Challenges of Travel Nursing With Kids
If you have kids, there’s a whole new set of challenges you must overcome while travel nursing.
Here are some of the most important considerations for travel nursing with kids:
- Downsizing – It’s hard to move every 13 weeks when you have a ton of stuff. As an individual, you may be able to pare down your belongings without a problem. However, getting your kids to adopt the same minimalist mindset can be difficult.
If you plan on keeping your permanent residence back at home, you can leave a lot of their stuff there. If not, you may want to go through your stuff as a family and see what you can sell or donate. The less you leave behind, the less you’ll need to pay in storage fees.
- Packing – From strollers to high chairs to toys, children need a lot of stuff. It may be hard to fit everything into a few suitcases. As a result, you may need to rent out a U-haul for the trip. If you want a more cost-effective option, you can also attach a hitch to your car for a few hundred dollars.
- Location – As a single professional, the world is your oyster! However, when you have a family, some locations are better than others.
As you consider different work assignments, make sure you research the location’s crime rate, school district quality, and housing accommodations. A place like New York City, for example, may be too fast-paced and cramped for your family’s needs.
It’s also a good idea to choose work assignments in places where your extended family lives nearby. With loved ones in the area, you’ll have a lot more support and potential babysitters.
- Housing – Many travel nursing companies will let you live in company housing. However, their housing options may be better suited for single people. If you need multiple bedrooms, you should let your recruiter know well in advance.
If you aren’t satisfied with the company housing options, you can always use your housing stipend and look for family-friendly accommodations yourself.
- School – Schooling is one of the hardest challenges that comes with travel nursing with kids. If you want to keep your kids in public school, you can research the school districts near your new assignment. Once you find a high-quality school district, choose housing accommodations that will allow your kids to enroll at that school.
Switching schools frequently can be hard for some kids. As a result, you may want to consider homeschooling instead.
Despite some people’s preconceptions about homeschooling, homeschooled children tend to perform well—even outperform—compared to their public school counterparts. Their standardized test scores average in the 86th percentile.2 If you choose this schooling option, you’ll need to find someone who can homeschool your kids during the day, whether that’s your significant other or someone else.
- Childcare – Childcare is another crucial consideration for working parents. If your kids aren’t in school yet, they may need around-the-clock childcare. In this case, you can hire a babysitter, a nanny, or enroll your kids in a daycare program. Even if your kids are in school, you may still need to hire a babysitter to pick them up and watch them until you’re off work.
In certain cities, childcare can be very expensive. It may also be hard to find a babysitter you trust. If your significant other can work from home or quit working altogether, their support with childcare can make this challenge of travel nursing a lot easier and less expensive.
- Healthcare – As a nurse, you know how important healthcare is. Before you move to a new city, you may want to research some pediatricians in the area. If you’d prefer to keep your child’s home doctor, you can always schedule trips home for important appointments.
- Emotional resilience – Introducing your child to a travel lifestyle can be a wonderful gift. Some kids love exploring new places as they grow up. Other children have a hard time adjusting to new schools, neighborhoods, and communities so frequently.
You know your child better than anyone else, so only you can make the call on whether this lifestyle is right for them.
How to Maximize the Benefits of Travel Nursing with a Family
Once you’ve ironed out the details for your next travel nursing assignment, it’s time to get excited and start preparing for your adventure!
After all, travel nursing will allow your family to have experiences you’d never have otherwise. Make sure to maximize your days off together by planning fun excursions in your new location.
If you do it right, your family will fall in love with the lifestyle like many other travel nursing families have before you.
Host Healthcare: Family Travel Nursing Made Easier
While there are many challenges involved in travel nursing as a family, it can be well worth it. The experience of traveling the country with the ones you love is priceless. With the right planning and motivation, you can make travel nursing work for everyone involved.
As one of the leading travel healthcare companies, our recruiters can help your family find the accommodations you need to make your next assignment more comfortable and enjoyable. To become a Host Healthcare traveler, apply on our website today!
- Forbes. This Is the Future Of Remote Work In 2021. https://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinecastrillon/2021/12/27/this-is-the-future-of-remote-work-in-2021/
- The Washington Times. HOME-SCHOOLING: Outstanding results on national tests. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/aug/30/home-schooling-outstanding-results-national-tests/