Travel Nursing in an RV: Pros & Cons

travel nursing in RV: nurse sight seeing during assignment.

Travel nursing is the perfect career for nurses looking for an adventurous, on-the-go life. Travel nurses enjoy many advantages, including top pay, new experiences, and valuable learning opportunities. However, many nurses wonder what housing looks like as a traveler. There are many options. Some travel nurses live out of an RV during their assignments for the convenience and cost savings. In this article, we’ll look at this unique housing option for travel nurses.

Why Travel Nursing?

Now, you might be wondering why you should consider travel nursing. There are several reasons why nurses all over the country are leaving permanent jobs to explore traveling opportunities. Some of them include:

  • Higher pay
  • Ability to travel across America
  • Professional experience in various facilities
  • Travel nurse jobs in top healthcare facilities
  • Networking opportunities
  • Helping facilities in need

So, if you’re ready to take the next step in your career, consider becoming a traveling nurse.

Travel Nurse Housing Options

So, what’s the situation with travel nurse housing? This is a common question we get, as travel nurses typically take temporary assignments that are 13 weeks long. This often makes finding housing tricky, as most apartments require 12-month leases, and posting up in a hotel for that long can quickly become expensive.

There are two basic options for housing: free housing that we provide, or a housing stipend so you can find your own housing.

The agency-provided housing is pretty straightforward. We find a suitable apartment that is fully furnished and private for you to live in near your assignment. This is one of the most popular options because it’s convenient and completely risk-free in case your contract gets canceled.

However, many travel nurses want more control and freedom over their housing during assignments, which is why we offer housing stipends as an alternative to free housing. This way, you can use the stipend to choose any type of housing you want, such as a short-term apartment rental, hotel, vacation rental, or even living in an RV.

Travel Nursing in an RV

Living in an RV as a traveling nurse is a unique experience that some take advantage of. There are tons of different RVs out there. We’re not going to get into that in this article, but it’s important to note that there are many options that may work well for you, depending on your needs.

However, no matter how many amenities an RV comes with, RV living definitely comes with both pros and cons, and it’s not the right choice for everyone. Here are some things to consider before buying an RV for your travel nursing adventure:

Pros of Travel Nursing in an RV

Many nurses love the experience of traveling across the nation and taking travel nursing assignments in an RV. There are absolutely some advantages to this unconventional travel nurse housing option.

Take Your House with You on Your Travel Nursing Adventure

One great benefit of living in an RV as a traveling nurse is that you get to bring your home with you wherever you go. Many people find comfort in returning to familiar surroundings at the end of a long shift. Travel nursing is an exciting and rewarding lifestyle, but it also can be a little overwhelming with all the new experiences, so some people love having a space they know like the back of their hand like their RV.

travel nursing in an RV: nurse with her feet up inside her motorhome
Travel nursing in an RV can be a lot of fun and allows you to bring your "home" with you wherever you go.

Less Packing Involved with RV Life

Similarly, because you bring your house on wheels with you to travel nursing assignments, it means less packing and unpacking for you. Beyond making sure everything is secure, so it doesn’t slide around while driving, you don’t have to do much in the way of packing between assignments. The dishes stay in the cupboards, your scrubs stay in the drawers or closet space, and you don’t need to worry about either packing or buying new linens at each new place. This is another great benefit of choosing an RV as a traveling nurse.

It’s Often Cheaper for Travel Nursing Professionals

This isn’t the case for every assignment, but often living in an RV is cheaper than short-term housing near your assignment. The cool thing about this is that you can often keep living costs below the travel nurse housing stipend, which means more money right in your pocket to save for a rainy day or for something fun.

Have Somewhere to Stay When Exploring Between Travel Nursing Assignments

Many travel nursing professionals take time off in between assignments to be able to explore. Yet, agency-provided housing only lasts for the length of your assignment. If you decide to live the RV life, this is no problem for you. You can take a vacation and already have lodging sorted out.

Cons of RV Living for Travel Nurse Housing

Of course, living in an RV isn’t always so rosy, otherwise we’d all be doing it. There are some drawbacks you need to consider as well to determine if it’s right for you.

You’re On the Line for Maintenance, Repairs, and Depreciation

An RV is essentially a home on wheels. Much like owning a home and car, you’re responsible for anything that goes wrong. You need to perform the routine maintenance to keep the RV in good shape and handle repairs if things go wrong.

Also, while an RV can be a great investment for travel nursing professionals, keep in mind that this type of asset does depreciate over time. Unlike a home, which tends to appreciate, RVs typically depreciate almost immediately after driving them off the lot, which is another potential downside of RV ownership.

You Need to Find RV Parks or Campgrounds Near Your Travel Nursing Assignments

This one might not be too difficult depending on where you take travel nursing assignments. However, sometimes you may run into issues finding RV parks or campgrounds near your assignment. For instance, large, bustling cities often have few of these parks, which can make it difficult to find somewhere close to stay.

Also, some areas and some seasons make booking a spot for your RV more difficult. RV parks and campgrounds may be fully booked if it’s in a major vacation area or during prime vacation times like spring break.

Consider Your Commute

Another thing to think about is how you will commute to travel nurse jobs if you’re living in an RV. For some RVs, this is no problem, you simply detach the RV from your vehicle and use that to commute to work. However, drivable RVs may create some challenges for you, as they are frequently difficult to park and may not be allowed in the parking lot of the hospital for your assignment. So, you may need alternative transportation.

Usually Smaller than Agency-Provided Travel Nurse Housing

Also, keep in mind that RVs are typically smaller than your average apartment. While many modern RVs have everything from a shower to a small kitchen, you will almost always have less space than other housing options. For some this is okay, but for others living in small spaces can be difficult.

Tips for Travel Nursing in an RV

If the RV life sounds like the right fit for you, that’s great! We do have a few tips to help make the transition from agency travel nurse housing to RV living a little smoother.

One thing many people recommend is actually renting an RV for a long weekend as a test run. This helps you get a feel for what it will be like before you go out and purchase an RV. It also allows you to iron out any kinks before you take the plunge and start traveling in an RV to your travel nursing assignments.

We also recommend doing a little research and learning some basic skills that every RV-er needs to know. For example, how to hook up your RV to electric, water, and waste connections, or how to level out your RV on uneven ground. It’s also important to know how to drive or tow an RV so you’re confident during your travels. This will help you feel more prepared as these situations arise.

Begin your Travel Nursing Career Today with AHS NurseStat

If you’re ready to begin your journey as a travel nurse, our team at AHS NurseStat is here to help. We are a top travel nursing agency with years of experience connecting nursing professionals with ideal assignments all over the U.S. Our team gets to know you, your needs, and your goals to help you pursue your dream job. Browse available opportunities on our job board or reach out to our recruiters today to get started.

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