Reasons to become a travel nurse

Nomad Health
September 5, 2023
Reading time:
5 min

Top reasons to become a travel nurse

Ever considered travel nursing, but still not sure if it’s for you?

Moving from a permanent position to the travel nurse lifestyle is a big change. Many nurses consider the option but don’t actually follow through. It can be a scary decision, but if you’re doing it for the right reasons it can be one of the best choices you’ve ever made in your career!

To help you decide if travel nursing is for you, we asked some of our nurses why they became travel nurses. Some nurses are only traveling temporarily and have plans to settle down eventually, but some have turned it into a lifestyle. Every nurse’s reason for becoming a travel nurse is different but for all, it was definitely a choice that changed their life. Without further ado, here are the top 5 reasons to be a travel nurse:

Getting paid to travel

By far the most popular reason for becoming a travel nurse is the opportunity to explore new places. There’s a reason why nurses don’t travel within the states that they live in. From California to the New York island, and from the redwood forest to the Gulf Stream waters, you can literally get paid to vacation and live in dream destinations.

Not sure where to have your adventures?

Here are the top 5 most popular travel nursing destinations

  • New York
  • Boston
  • Los Angeles
  • Chicago
  • San Francisco

Whether you just enjoy embracing your sense of adventure and meeting new people or you’re looking for a place to settle down and want to get a feel for what a location would be like, travel nursing can give you the best of both worlds. Usually travel nursing assignments are 13 weeks, which is the right amount of time to really get a feel for what living in a place might be like.

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Earn on average 16% more money as a travel nurse

Have a lot of student loans to pay off? Travel nursing on average tends to pay more than staff nurse positions. According to Glassdoor, the average staff nurse salary is about $65.6k while the average travel nurse salary is about $76.7k. It’s a great way to make some more money to put towards your loans. In fact, the average hourly rate for a registered nurse ranges from $23.09 - $41.03. Based on a 36-hour work week that’s $831.24 - $1,477.08 per week. On Nomad, the average salary for a travel nurse is over $50 per hour which equals over $1,800 a week based on a 36-hour work week.

Why do travel nurses make more? In most locations, medical employers are hiring travel nurses because they desperately need extra help. Often, they are hiring for underserved areas and extra compensation is provided to nurses to encourage them to come work in the area. This extra compensation cam come in the form of salary increase or sign-on bonuses and extra benefits on top of compensation. These can include things like travel and housing reimbursements or meal stipends.

Try out diverse practice settings

If you’re not sure what kind of healthcare facility would be best you to work in as a nurse, travel nursing is a great way to experience various different clinical environments. Below are some of the most common practice settings travel nurses at Nomad work in.


One of the most diverse settings you can explore. Hospitals vary in size, staffing levels, patient acuity and bed occupancy.

Medical offices

Usually a smaller setting with less bedside skills used but more technical skills needed. Smaller patient number.

Ambulatory care centers

Larger focus on facilitation of patient care service and providing support with decision-making and patient education

Community health centers

Provide primary health care services for the underserved, uninsured, working poor and the homeless

Urgent care centers

Faster more variable environment that is one of the fastest growing segments in healthcare

Every healthcare organization operates a little different and has a different culture. Through travel, you can gain experience with different protocols and test out different patient ratios to help figure out what you really like before you commit to a full-time role as a nurse. That can help inform your future career choices and help you find the perfect fit for you.

Change up your life in a positive way

Remember that feeling when you walked in on your first day at a new school? Moving to a new place brings that same feeling of chance and excitement - hopefully without the awkward braces or bad hair days.

Some travel nurses love traveling to experience the feeling of going somewhere new. They love seeing if they can keep up with the fast-paced lifestyle of travel nursing and what to always be experiencing something new. Travel has also been shown to be good for your mental health. Not only has it been shown to increase creativity and boost happiness and satisfaction, it’s also a chance to reinvent yourself in a completely new situation.

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Enjoy freedom to control your schedule

Lastly, travel nursing gives you an empowering freedom to decide your own schedule. Rather than being signed to a permanent nursing contract that lasts a few years, with travel nursing you only take assignments that 13 weeks on average. Travel nurses have the unique freedom to take unlimited time off between each job, and/or switch travel locations across the country multiple times a year.

Can you imagine setting your own schedule to work three months in New York City, followed by three months in Honolulu, three months in San Francisco, and finally three months in Orlando? This can absolutely be your reality as a travel nurse.

Often, many facilities are also very accomodating in terms of schedule. They are willing to negotiate a working schedule that you like to make sure you’re the happiest you can be at their facility. You can choose to work only days or nights if you prefer and take off weekends or certain weekdays depending on your preference.

On Nomad, there are a number of benefits Nomad Nurses are offered as listed in every job post:


Generous weekly stipends for housing and food expenses.


Up to $1000 reimbursement for travel to your assignment.


Major medical, dental and vision plans available from your first day of work.


Weekly deposits direct to your bank account.


Reimbursements for state licensing expenses for any job taken through Nomad in that state.

We hope this is helpful for you and can help show you that travel nursing is a chance that is worth taking. If you’re still unsure if travel nursing is for you and want to talk to someone, connect with one of our Nomad Navigators!

I am with Nomad and LOVE them...they really love feedback and are open to hearing what nurses need and want.
Terri N.
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Nomad Health
Nomad Health is transforming the way clinicians discover rewarding career opportunities through an easy-to-use platform with personalized job matches, industry-leading pay, and on-the-job support. Offering healthcare staffing technology backed by human support for the entire journey – from profile creation to assignment completion – Nomad Health removes every obstacle between clinicians and the patients they care for.

Published: Sep. 6, 2023
Modified: Sep. 5, 2023