Are you a travel nurse and are getting ready for your first or next assignment?
Are you dreading the long drive awaiting you? It’s no secret, road trips can sometimes be tiring and boring.
If you are facing an upcoming drive to your next assignment, we have some great advice for you — so keep reading! In this article, you will learn …
- Pros and cons; and
… for driving to a new assignment.
Table of Contents
- Is Driving to a New Travel Nursing Assignment a Good Idea?
- 2 Pros of Driving to a New Assignment
- 2 Cons of Driving to a New Assignment
- Top 10 Tips for Driving to a New Assignment: Travel Nurse’s Road Trip
- Trusted Nurse Staffing Can Help You Find the Best Travel Nursing Assignments — Both Near and Far
Is Driving to a New Travel Nursing Assignment a Good Idea?
2 Pros of Driving to a New Assignment
Even if you aren’t a fan of road trips, there are valid reasons for driving to your next assignment.
So make your packing list, get your favorite audiobook and preferred playlist ready, and let’s take a look at two pros of driving to a new assignment.
#1: You Have Your Own Car
Do you have your own car? Great! You have the security of knowing that you have reliable transportation. You will not need public transportation.
Driving to your assignment with your car has several other benefits:
- First, it is rare for a contract to have a rental car stipend, so you’re saving money in the long run.
- You can fit more things in your car and even attach a rented trailer to the back.
- Why not leave early and make it a scenic road trip?
- You might bring a friend along for company.
- You will be able to better accommodate any pets that will be traveling with you.
- You will be able to use your car to sightsee in your new city.
#2: You Can Use Your Travel Stipend
To help cover costs associated with traveling to a new job assignment, most travel nursing companies offer a travel stipend.
Depending on how far you’re traveling, or depending on if you are taking a full-time or part-time position, your stipend may or may not pay the total amount. If not, be sure to keep records of:
- Your mileage
- Hotel costs; and
- Meal expenses during travel
These are deductible on your year-end taxes.
2 Cons of Driving to a New Assignment
There are also two cons of driving to a new assignment. Let’s take a look at them.
#1: You Have to Rent a Car
If you do not own a car but still want to drive to your assignment, you will have to rent a car.
There are some downsides to this:
- Your choices may be limited by the car rental agency’s vehicle availability.
- Your travel stipend might not cover the entire expense of renting a car — this will cause you to have an immediate out-of-pocket expense.
#2: You’re Adding Miles and Wear-and-Tear to Your Car
If you own a car and will be driving it to your assignment, you need to consider the wear and tear of your vehicle.
The wear and tear of a car is a gradual degradation or damage that occurs with use and time.
Some common car parts are significantly affected by wear and tear, but it depends on how and to what extent you use them.
Common car parts that are affected by wear and tear include:
- Brake pads
- Windshield wipers; and
- Headlight/taillight bulbs
Top 10 Tips for Driving to a New Assignment: Travel Nurse’s Road Trip
A road trip can be fun, but it can also be:
- Stressful; and
The following are ten tips and tools to make your nursing travel road trips safer and more enjoyable.
#1: Map it Out
There are a lot of travel websites and blog posts that suggest a “flexible itinerary” for road trips. According to them, this makes the trip more enjoyable.
However, there are some drawbacks to this:
- You may miss something you would like to see if you only knew it was there.
- Without knowing where you can rest or sleep next, you could get lost.
- Travel nurses often drive to their next assignment, so time is essential.
Therefore, map out your route in advance. Choose a mapping app, and don’t forget to take a paper map just in case.
#2: Plan Your Trip
Make it fun! If you’re going on a road trip, you might as well see the sights.
Check out the attractions along the way. If you are unsure of what sights to see, search the internet and ask family and friends who might have traveled to the same place.
There are also apps that will plan your trip for you. One to check out is Roadtrippers. With this app, you can enter where you want to start and begin your road trip, and the app will plan your trip for you.
#3: Decide Where You’ll Stay
Make sure you will know where you are spending the night. Do you have friends or family along the way who you can stay with?
If not, you have several options:
- For your road trip, truck stops are a great idea. In addition to having the lowest gas prices, they usually have restaurants, showers, and mini-stores attached.
Sleeping in your car is possible at a truck stop; nevertheless, many truck stops are connected to hotels and motels.
- Speaking of hotels and motels, many websites will price hotels and motels in the cities you’ll be traveling to and make it easy to book.
- If you are interested in renting your own place or even renting a room for the night, Airbnb is always a great search option.
#4: Decide Where You’ll Eat
Are there any unique restaurants you want to hit along the way?
If not, there are a couple of websites with some fun and off the beaten path suggestions:
- You might like TVFoodMaps.com and their app if you love watching cooking shows and dream about eating at the fantastic restaurants they feature. This site features restaurants that have been featured on TV shows.
- The RoadFood.com website can help you find restaurants that TV food shows haven’t yet discovered. More than 1,800 listings on the site are all independent restaurants.
#5: Get Your Vehicle Ready to Go
Now that you have your route planned, know the major attractions you want to see, and have meals and housing taken care of, it’s time to get your vehicle ready to go.
Preparing your car for a road trip involves giving it a thorough checkup. Your vehicle should be inspected by a professional or at least someone who knows what they’re doing.
The following are a few points to pay special attention to during your full inspection:
- Engines and brakes
- Wiper blades
- Wiper fluid; and
- Motor oil
#6: Consider Roadside Assistance
Roadside assistance is often viewed as a convenience by drivers. However, changing a tire or jumpstarting a battery is not something everyone can do on their own, and a mechanic or towing company can solve your problem with roadside assistance.
Roadside assistance is crucial in keeping you safe. For example, if your car breaks down at night on a busy highway, it’s not safe for you to get out and assess the situation. Roadside assistance can make your vehicle safer by setting up flares or cones.
Before beginning your road trip, especially if traveling alone, you may want to look into purchasing roadside assistance.
#7: Stay Safe
It is vital to take the necessary steps to remain safe when traveling.
Here are some things you can do to remain safe while traveling to your next assignment:
- Stash your valuables — Don’t take more than the cards you must have. Keep the cards you carry on you – in a hip pocket, a shoe, etc.
- Do not appear to be traveling alone — Never tell anyone you are by yourself.
- Pepper spray — Better safe than sorry; keep this within easy reach, such as on your keychain.
- Let one or more people know where you will be — No matter how old or young you are, it is essential to let someone know your plans and itinerary. This doesn’t make you any less cool or independent, it just makes you more secure.
- First aid kit — Keep a first aid kit in your car for those surprise cuts and bruises.
#8: Pack Plenty of Snacks
Take a cooler, pack plenty of water, and try to avoid fast food.
You will save money and eat healthier when you pack your own food. Even though you can find more healthy foods at gas stations these days, such as nuts and string cheese, most of the food you’ll find is probably not on any nutritionist’s list of recommended foods.
Packing your own foods lets you know every ingredient and support any dietary requirements.
If you pack nutritious food, you will eat the foods that increase …
- Energy; and
… which is essential when you are driving.
#9: Don’t Forget the Entertainment
Even if you love road trips, you have to admit — there are moments when boredom sets in.
Some ways you can avoid boredom while driving are:
#10: Keep Your Budget in Mind
It is important to map out potential costs before you embark on your journey.
Be sure to plan how much you can spend on:
- Lodging; and
Also, factor in an “emergency fund” for any car maintenance issues you might have.
Speaking of money, before leaving, it’s crucial to alert your bank and credit card companies so your accounts do not get frozen for suspicious activity. You do not want to be away from home without any way to make purchases.
Trusted Nurse Staffing Can Help You Find the Best Travel Nursing Assignments — Both Near and Far
Trusted Nurse Staffing is an agency you can trust to find you the right position.
We provide nurses and clinicians with a broad range of staffing opportunities, including:
- Local or travel assignments
- Permanent placement
- Temporary placement
- Per diem positions
Each step of the way, we strive to provide exceptional customer service and a personal experience. You’re more than a number to Trusted Nurse Staffing. Contact us today, and we will be happy to answer any questions you might have.