The Good, Bad, and Merry of Working Holidays as a Travel Nurse 987839088534212 [9:30 AM] Katie Iglewski

As the holiday season approaches, you might be considering taking time off during your travel nursing contract to enjoy time with your family. On the other hand, other travel nurses might be jumping at the opportunity to work a holiday. 

If you’re having trouble deciding which route to choose, know that neither option is right or wrong.

In this article, we’ll explain the basics of working holidays as a travel nurse and give you some pros and cons to consider before making your decision. 


Table of Contents



Do Travel Nurses Have To Work Holidays?

If a holiday falls within your contract’s start and end date, you will most likely be expected to work. However, there are a few methods that travel nurses can utilize to get their desired time off and fully enjoy the holidays with their loved ones — all it takes is a little bit of planning. 

If you are new to nursing or have only recently transitioned from being a staff nurse, you may not yet know how to take control of your schedule as a travel nurse.

Many travel nurses take advantage of contract scheduling methods that give them a few weeks off to recuperate between work assignments. While perfectly achieving this during the winter holidays may be a challenge, planning time to celebrate with your loved ones is possible. 

If you cannot schedule your contracts around the holidays, it’s also possible to request specific dates off before beginning a contract. This method can also be tricky but is possible if you maintain clear and consistent communication regarding your needs.

Looking for a recruiter that can help you with your holiday time off needs as a travel nurse? Contact Trusted Nurse Staffing today. 


Do Travel Nurses Receive Holiday Pay?

Whether or not a travel nurse receives holiday pay largely depends on the contract, agency, and the client facility they work with. Some contracts may offer holiday pay, while others may not.

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require overtime pay for work on weekends, holidays, or regular days of rest unless overtime is accumulated during these allotted times. 

For more information about established workweek, regular pay rate, premium pay rate, and recognized holidays, travel nurses should carefully review their contracts and discuss any questions with their recruiters.

If receiving premium pay is a priority for you while working holidays as a travel nurse, be sure to bring it up during your next negotiation before finalizing a new contract. 


Can You Request Holidays Off as a Travel Nurse?

Travel nursing contracts do not allow for time-off requests often, but securing a specific date to spend time with your loved ones is still possible. Some, but not all, hospitals are flexible with time-off requests during holidays due to increased staffing needs.

First, speak with your recruiter about your desired days off. Recruiters will typically include this request with your initial application. You should also be sure to mention any of these requests during your interview process. 

It is important to remember to maintain clear and consistent communication with your recruiter and the facility. All time off details should be included in your contract, and all parties must document agreements made outside the contract.


working holidays as a travel nurse


The Pros and Cons of Spending the Holidays Travel Nursing


Pros of Travel Nursing During the Holidays

Every experience in life is viewed differently depending on a person’s outlook. One travel nurse may dread missing out on making Thanksgiving dinner for the family, while another may be thankful for an excuse not to spend the holiday cooking. 

However, there are a few prevalent reasons for accepting a travel nurse contract during the holidays, including: 

  • More assignment options: There are several reasons why assignment opportunities open up as we reach the end of the year. Most notably, permanent hospital staff take their time off, and many travel nurses avoid accepting assignments during major holidays. More openings and less competition allow for a wider variety of options for travel nurses choosing to work.
  • Holiday vacation opportunities: More assignment options and less competition give travel nurses a greater chance at securing contracts at vacation hotspots during the holidays. 
  • Higher pay rates or better benefits: Some facilities offer overtime, premium holiday pay, or travel bonuses for travel nurses who work during major holidays. 

Are you looking to secure your dream contract during this holiday season? Contact Trusted Nurse Staffing to help secure better compensation, benefits, and support today.


working holidays as a trvale nurse


Cons of Travel Nursing During the Holidays

Even if you anticipate time off needs for holidays, traveling during this season brings new challenges. 

Following COVID-19, the estimates of holiday travel have been gradually climbing to pre-pandemic levels. In 2021, the United States Bureau of Transportation Statistics estimated that Americans made 15 billion trips between December 18, 2020, through January 3, 2021. 

With so much congestion across all forms of travel, it may be difficult to make it from your assignment to your home and back to your assignment in a smooth and timely manner. 

Travel nurses who choose to skip the headache of traveling during the holidays may struggle with feelings of loneliness and missing out on family traditions during their contracts. 


working holidays as a travel nurse


5 Things To Consider When Working Holidays as a Travel Nurse


#1: As a Travel Nurse You Have the Opportunity To Experience New Holiday Traditions

Working holidays as a travel nurse allows you to connect with people from all walks of life. You will meet new coworkers, patients, and friends with unique backgrounds who can teach you about their favorite holiday traditions and in turn, you can teach them about yours. 

Whether reminiscing or getting involved in a staff gift exchange, working during the holidays as a travel nurse presents the perfect opportunity to learn and grow with the people around you.


#2: Holidays Can be Less Lonely With Other Travel Nurses

Missing out on dinners, gift-giving, and other traditions with your family and friends while working an assignment as a travel nurse can be difficult. On the bright side, you’ll likely be surrounded by other travel nurses experiencing the same woes. 

Use this as an opportunity to connect with your coworkers. Communicate your mutual feelings and reminisce on your most treasured holiday memories to help each other through the season’s blues. You may even form lifelong friendships in the process.


#3: You May Want To Make Necessary Provisions For the Holiday Rush

Any healthcare worker knows that the hospital emergency room gets crowded from mid-December to early January thanks to house fires, falls, and heart attacks. 

At the same time, much of a facility’s permanent staff receives time off during holidays. This leads to an increased need for temporary staffing solutions. 

You may struggle more during this period due to increased patient volume and fewer available staff members who know the facility’s layout, equipment, procedures, and flow. This is a time that demands travel nurses to be on their toes and communicate with coworkers.


#4: Be Prepared to Possibly Float During a Holiday Shift

The permanent staff at your facility may be lacking due to requests for time off during December and early January. 

Floating nurses are often used to help with staff shortages during this time. Typically, travel nurses and other temporary staff are the first people asked to be floated sot’s best to be prepared and remain flexible. 


#5: As a Travel Nurse, You Have More Flexibility When It Comes to Your Work Schedule

One of the greatest benefits of working as a travel nurse is having greater control over scheduling and time-off needs. If you prefer not to work during important holidays, you can manage your contracts so that they end before the start of the holiday season. Once you’ve taken your desired time away from work, you can start the next contract. 

The one downside to this option is that it limits the quantity and quality of your assignment options. You may have trouble finding the perfect contracts to make this method work. In that case, consider negotiating for designated time off before finalizing a contract scheduled during the holiday season.

At Trusted Nurse Staffing, our recruiters are available 24/7 to answer all your travel nursing questions – from time-off requests to healthcare coverage.


working holidays as a travel nurse


5 Tips For Travel Nursing Over the Holidays


#1 Stay in Touch With Your Loved Ones

With today’s modern technology, connecting with loved ones is only a few clicks away. Taking the time to call, text, or video chat with your family and friends during key holidays can make all the difference in helping you get through treasured holidays as a travel nurse. 


#2 Celebrate With Family When You Return From Your Travel Assignment

As most hospital employees know, emergency room patients often influx during the holiday season. Because of this, there is a much higher demand for travel nurses during Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and other winter holidays. 

If your travel nurse assignments fall during these key holidays, but you still hope to uphold treasured celebrations and traditions with your loved ones, consider celebrating outside your allotted contract start and end dates. 

You can gather all your loved ones for a combined holiday celebration to ensure you still enjoy precious quality time. Have some turkey, exchange gifts, and pop some champagne — anything that brings you closer as a family.


#3 Make It a Point to Share Your Holiday Tradition With Other Travel Nurses

Due to the high demand for healthcare workers during the holiday season, many other travel nurses are likely working within the same facility. Your peers are probably feeling similar sadness over missing out on traditions and quality time with their loved ones. 

Working as a travel nurse during the holidays is a great chance to share your unique long or short-standing traditions with coworkers and learn about theirs. Take this opportunity to learn about new cultures and form bonds with your fellow travel nurses.


#4 Have Your Loved Ones Visit You at Your Temporary Home

Each new contract brings a new and exciting city to explore. With more assignment opportunities and less competition, you can land the assignment of your dreams by working holidays as a travel nurse.

Whether you choose an assignment near the beach, a beautiful hiking trail, or a bustling metropolitan area, your loved ones might jump at the opportunity to visit you for the holidays. They can enjoy the change of scenery while creating memories, upholding traditions, or creating new traditions with their favorite travel nurse.


#5 Plan Your Celebrations Around Your Work Schedule

One of the benefits of being a travel nurse is being able to take time off between each 13-week contract. Many nurses use this time to vacation, spend time at home with loved ones, or attend to personal obligations. If you’re hoping to remain free of work during an important holiday, try to arrange your contract dates to accommodate that day. 


Spend the Holidays Traveling and Nursing with Trusted Nurse Staffing

Since 2008, Trusted Nurse Staffing has been helping travel nurses find the assignments they love while receiving the benefits they deserve. 

Our award-winning services prioritize communication and exceptional commitment to service. From building resumes to negotiating holiday pay, we strive to support each of our travel nurses with 24/7 support from recruiters and our team. 

We also offer:

  • Sign-on bonuses
  • Stipends for travel, housing, and meals
  • Flexible contracts
  • Full or part-time work
  • Referral and completion bonuses
  • Healthcare benefits
  • 24/7 support from your recruiter and our team

Check out our search tool, Pronto, to find your dream job today. 


working holidays as a trvale nurse