Make Time for Travel Abroad as a Travel Nurse


Can you imagine a job where half the year you worked hard and then half the year you live in a place on your bucket list? I am sure you have a bucket list, if not make one.  Working as a travel nurse is that job that would give you this opportunity.  As a travel nurse, you have the flexibility to choose when you work and when you take time off.

Travel nurses have many benefits and opportunities.  What is your reason for working as a traveler?  Do travel for the money or maybe just to meet new and interesting people?  Some travel so they can get experience at some of the best hospitals in our country and abroad.  Many choose to travel for flexibility of scheduling and location. Travel nursing also gives you the freedom to do volunteer work as a healthcare professional if that is on your list.

What do you need to know if you consider traveling or volunteering abroad:

First things first:

Where do you want to travel abroad?  What is provided if you are volunteering?  What is your reason for traveling to this location?

I have a small bucket list of places I want to visit.  My places were chosen because I could afford to visit short term.  The place had to be budget-friendly and a place where the culture was of interest to me.    I choose short term places to visit since I prefer not to be away from my family long term.

If long term is something you choose you might consider Thailand, Puerto Rico, and Costa Rica.  Make sure your choices are traveler friendly and have all of the amenities such as Wi-Fi so you feel more comfortable away from home.

Making money and saving for a break in work:

  • First select contracts with a focus on making and saving money.
  • Look for the high paying contracts where the cost of living is lower.
  • Pick up overtime where possible
  • Midwest assignments are a great place to bank money.
  • Try sharing accommodations instead of a single apartment.

Planning for the break in work assignments:

In order to determine the money needed first research your desired location. All the information you would need to figure a budget is on the internet.  Use sites and guidebooks that provide information about daily travel costs in different countries.

Make a budget for living, transportation and food expenses.  If you are traveling for fun be sure to add about 15-20 % for entertainment.  Don’t cut yourself short it is better to have a little more for flexibility than not enough.  Make sure you have a savings account in case of an unexpected emergency.

Remember you also have to plan for your next assignment.  You will need money to get you to your next assignment and to pay your bills until you get your first paycheck.  Plan for living expenses and down payment for the next apartment.

Things to consider while traveling:

  • Insurance coverage abroad, make sure to have coverage for your needs
  • Travel insurance is good for lost luggage, flight cancelations, and some medical coverage.
  • Find out about your health coverage while not working and abroad does it cover your healthcare needs.
  • Does your Travel Nurse agency cover your healthcare insurance, do you need to buy COBRA while abroad?
  • When to start looking for your next assignment.
  • Make sure you travel with your phone and laptop so you can negotiate your next assignment and sign contracts.
  • You will need a SIM card from abroad to make calls to a recruiter and have phone interviews.
  • Make sure you’re in areas where you have access to Wi-Fi when you’re ready to find your next assignment.

By staying connected abroad you are able to get home and transition back into a travel assignment without a gap and long wait time.

Getting the next assignment:

Employers are always curious why there may be multiple month gaps in your work history.  As a travel nurse that is easily explained as one of the benefits of travel nursing.  The ability to work or take time off to travel and learn from other cultures is why you travel.  Employers also understand that nurses love to volunteer their time when possible to help those in need.   Of course, you want to use your experiences to your advantage in your resume or interview.  You are a well-rounded individual when you have the opportunity to learn from diverse cultures

Time to return home:

As a child, I always was sad to return home after a trip whether it long or short.  Likewise returning home after a break from traveling for other than work can be sad or maybe a relief to get back to your normal grind. No matter how much I love to travel for fun it does feel good to get back into a routine.   If you have other trips on your list then you will want to get back to work and earn money.

On the other hand, maybe you will have a longing to have the freedom of traveling abroad again. As a travel nurse, you are well aware of just how flexible the job is for someone who loves to travel for fun.  Keep in mind as you return to work that the next trip is only a few months away.

If you have been thinking about traveling abroad or moving to another country when your assignment ends keep these tips in mind.  Hopefully, these tips will help and inspire you to travel between assignments!

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Cheryl Roby, RN

Cheryl J. Roby is a Registered Nurse and retired US Army Reserve Nurse Major. She has more than 30 years of nursing experience and 26 years of military experience in the Army Nurse Corp. During her nursing career, she has traveled as part of her military experience visiting many of the 50 states and to South Korea. She was trained as an Army Medic during the Vietnam era and later as an OR tec. She went on to become a Licensed Practical Nurse and then completed her nursing training as a Registered Nurse. She was then commissioned as an officer in the Army Reserves. She appreciated the challenge of working in various specialties and expanding her clinical and professional skill sets. Her time in the Army Reserves and California National Guard gave her the opportunity to travel to most of the 50 states and work in other medical facilities. During her career, she had the opportunity to work in several specialties to include, OR, Occupational Health, Hospice, Sexual Assault Team, Forensic/ Correctional Nurse, Nurse Case Manager for developmental disabilities, Parish Nursing as well as a Nurse Entrepreneur.

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