When picturing travel nursing, you likely focused on the higher salary potential and a chance to explore new places. But experienced traveling nurses know the world of temporary contracts contains additional gems that make this profession incredibly worthwhile.
From free housing to retirement savings options, continuous learning to cultural immersion, travel nursing delivers secretly amazing benefits at every step.
Read on for some insights into all the lesser-known advantages and tremendous perks you can enjoy as a travel nurse.
Free or Subsidized Housing
One major financial perk many agencies provide is completely paid housing for the duration of your contracts.
Staffing agencies typically partner with rental companies to offer short-term corporate apartments specifically for their traveling nurses.
You’ll stay in these free, furnished homes that have everything you need – no security deposit or utility bills required.
Having comfortable lodging arranged in your destination city makes arriving and settling in smooth and stress-free.
Some agencies give housing stipends instead, offering $1,000-$2,000+ per month to find your own place – and about 80% of travel nurses choose this option. If you prefer selecting a neighborhood or amenities on your own, pocketing the difference can become a nice bonus.
Either way, capitalize on this huge money saver that also alleviates the headaches of finding last-minute housing.
Comprehensive Health Insurance
Maintaining healthcare coverage is essential, especially when working in hospitals. Many agencies provide superb medical, dental, vision, disability, and life insurance plans at low or no cost for their travel nurses. For family plans, they cover a large portion of premiums.
Some even reimburse gym memberships up to $25 a month or so to promote fitness. Additionally, retirement saving plans, referral bonuses, loyalty programs, and mileage reimbursements may be offered too.
Vetting all monetary benefits is key when comparing agencies. When it’s offered, healthcare coverage is a major financial perk for travel nurses.
License and Certification Costs Covered
Keeping licenses current in multiple states isn’t cheap, often exceeding $300 per state.
However, agencies typically reimburse or directly pay for you to obtain and renew nursing licenses and certifications wherever you’re placed.
They want you ready to work immediately with all the credentials needed for that location. Any classes, training, or exams required for you to practice at top levels are facilitated. Continuing education is hugely valued.
This support makes maintaining licenses and expanding your nursing skills through ongoing learning hassle-free and rewarding.
Generous Relocation Allowances
Hopping between states and hospitals every few months isn’t easy logistically. That’s why agencies provide generous relocation allowances to smooth your transitions between contracts.
You can be reimbursed for travel expenses like gas, airfare, hotel stays, luggage fees, tolls, mileage, and car rentals to get to your new assignment.
Once settled, you can claim allowances for food, laundry, shipping belongings, and obtaining new licenses too.
Let your agency handle the logistics so you simply focus on your next exciting placement!
Financial support eases the headaches.
401K Matching Opportunities
To help with retirement savings, some agencies provide 401K plans and match your contributions up to certain amounts – often 50% to 100% matched.
Even if no official retirement plan is offered, you can establish self-directed retirement funds like IRAs. Travel nursing allows you to invest aggressively thanks to amplified earnings.
Take advantage of this huge benefit to optimize savings for your future. The key is prioritizing retirement contributions with every paycheck.
Abundant Time Off Policies
One perk to verify is how much paid time off (PTO) agencies provide between contracts.
Ideally, you want 3-5 weeks off to prevent burnout. Top agencies offer at least 21 PTO days per year.
Some let you roll over unused days off and accrue more over multiple contracts. Don’t accept agencies offering only 1-2 weeks between assignments – it’s insufficient.
Sufficient PTO ensures you fully recharge mentally and physically between hospital placements.
Continuous Learning Opportunities
With every new contract, you gain exposure to different patient populations, technologies, treatments, workflows, and healthcare administration models. This diversity accelerates your clinical knowledge exponentially.
Your adaptability and nursing expertise expand rapidly working in diverse settings coast to coast. Learning never stagnates as a travel nurse.
Many agencies also invest in your continuous education by covering tuition for advancing certifications and skills. Take them up on paid learning opportunities.
Broadened Professional Network
Traveling for work allows you to connect with exponentially more healthcare professionals – from bedside nurses to specialist physicians and prominent researchers.
These connections become invaluable for mentorship, future job prospects, and elevating your reputation once you settle down. Having contacts across hospitals nationwide can really expand your possibilities long-term.
Flexibility to Explore New Places
Of course, a major perk is getting to live in great cities across the U.S. for 3-6 months at a time.
While contracts revolve around hospital needs, you often have a say in your next desired destination.
You can experience America’s beaches, mountains, cuisine, and culture while getting paid.
Travel nursing fulfills your wanderlust.
Bonuses and Incentives
Given staffing challenges, many agencies offer bonuses on top of your base pay. You may earn an extra $500 – $5,000+ for signing difficult contacts or referring other nurses.
High demand exists for specialties like ICU, ED, OR, Labor and Delivery, and more. Leverage your skills to maximize incentives.
Being on the road for work allows you to deduct certain travel expenses like mileage, meals, and lodging with proper documentation and limitations.
Consult a tax professional to utilize deductions, write-offs, and programs that minimize your tax liability as a travel nurse.
Cultural Immersion and Growth
Interacting with diverse patient populations gives you immense cultural competency. You gain perspective on the health challenges various communities face. Patients’ stories teach empathy.
This exposure positively impacts you as a nurse and person. Travel nursing doesn’t just expand your clinical skills – it stretches your worldview.
FAQs About Travel Nurse Benefits
What benefits do travel nurse agencies typically offer?
Common benefits include 401K matching, health/dental/vision insurance, generous PTO, bonuses, reimbursements for licensing and relocation, and free housing or stipends.
How can I maximize financial benefits?
Take advantage of all monetary benefits offered. Contribute enough to get your agency’s full 401K match, optimize tax deductions, earn bonuses for referrals/incentives, and find housing below your stipend rate if provided.
What if I have a family – will benefits cover them?
Many insurance policies allow you to enroll dependents for discounted premiums. Consider contracts in areas offering activities/support for your family. Discuss needs with recruiters.
Is continuing education really a priority for agencies?
Yes, investing in nurses’ ongoing learning is mutually beneficial. Enhanced skills make you more marketable. Confirm details of learning benefits during the interview process.
How much PTO should I request between contracts?
Ideally, have at least 3 weeks off to prevent fatigue. If your agency provides less, build in additional leave days between contracts or clarify expectations before accepting.
At its core, travel nursing promises adventure, meaningful work, and financial advantages.
But looking closer, you unlock an abundance of additional perks that enhance your life immensely.
From forming connections nationwide to immersing in new cultures, travel nursing’s hidden benefits open your mind and heart as much as your career possibilities.
Embrace every facet of this journey to witness your world expand in incredible ways.