As a travel nurse who had always owned an RV and loved camping, there was never a question as to whether I would choose company-provided housing or travel in my camper on an assignment. In fact, it’s one of the motivating reasons I became a registered nurse in the first place. For other nurses though, it’s not such an easy decision. So what are the pros and cons of travel nursing in an RV? Keep reading to find out.
Some Background on Myself as a Travel Nurse
My husband and I have created a lifestyle that revolves around family, being together, success, and freedom. What does this look like in real life? Our kids are homeschooled, we operated a seasonal tree-service, and I worked as a per diem nurse and an IT analyst locally in between travel nursing assignments. Long before I became a travel nurse, we owned campers and took them out for long vacations. As it turned out, before I took my first assignment as a travel nurse in another state, we had recently traded a Jeep Wrangler for a fully-self contained class A RV (trade of a lifetime if you ask me).
Because it was never once a thought for me to pursue travel nursing without my family, there was never a second thought to traveling together to Florida for the winter as a family for my first travel nursing assignment. It worked well for us, but there are definitely pros and cons to this type of travel nursing, which I will discuss in greater detail.
The Pros of Living in an RV during a Travel Nursing Assignment
It’s all about the Benjamins, baby!
It can be very expensive to rent an apartment, especially if you are taking a travel nursing assignment in a highly-populated area. There are also all kinds of fees you don’t think about, such as deposits, pet fees, short-term rental charges, utilities, etc. All of these extras certainly add up quickly, and they don’t go towards any long-term investments. Conversely, when you are investing money into your RV, it’s all going towards something that you will continue to use.
If you are able to get a killer deal on an RV or RV-like home, you are going to bank some serious cash during a travel nursing assignment. Right now, there are so many used campers and motorhomes on the market at affordable prices, the investment will pay for itself probably half-way into your first assignment. All that housing stipend money goes straight to the bank. The only thing you have to consider is the price it costs to stay at a campground with the amenities you need. Watch for promotions as many RV parks offer insane discounts when you buy a couple of weeks or a month at a time.
The space you live in is always yours.
When you are living out of your RV, no matter what, you will always have a furnished living space that is yours. You will know where everything is placed. You know all the tricks and solutions for living in your own space. If you happen to be a healthcare germaphobe (which many travel nurses are for obvious reasons after working around C-Diff and MRSA for years), you can have the peace of mind knowing that all the germs you are living in are your own!
Comfort for pets and family.
If you plan on bringing along a pet or family member with you to your travel nursing assignment, if you travel in an RV, the transitional phase is much easier. Your family member or pet will have a space they are already accustomed to and it makes the process of getting into a routine much easier. It’s important to figure out a way to keep the space cool for a pet if they will be left alone while you work.
You can change your mind at the drop of a hat and relocate.
When you travel as a nurse in an RV, you will quickly discover that there are a lot more RV parks than you ever would have imagined. If you find yourself staying at a campground that’s less than ideal, you have the freedom to head on to the next park which will probably be nicer and might even offer more amenities.
You spend more time in the outdoors.
When you live in a mobile environment, naturally, you will have more opportunities to spend time outdoors. Every day, it will be easy for you to get good sunlight and most campsites will already have a picnic table ready for you to enjoy the outdoor space.
The Cons of Living in an RV on a Travel Nursing Assignment
You don’t move into a place unique to the city your assignment is in.
One of the big perks of taking the agency provided housing for a travel nursing assignment is moving into a place that’s very unique to the city. You also get a better feel for a city when you’re living among other residents in a central area. When you’re living in an RV, it’s easy to feel like you’re just passing by the city, rather than really living in it.
Everything you need is carried with you.
Walking into a furnished apartment and only bringing with you your basic clothes, laptop, and a yoga mat is rather freeing. Setting up in an apartment only takes maybe half a day. Packing up your RV is a different story. You have to account for each and every thing that you’re going to need during your assignment.
Your bathroom situation might be a little “iffy”.
While a lot of RVs come equipped with a shower, toilet, and even a bathtub, this is not always the case. Even if your camper has those things, they are often small and limiting. It’s important to note that most RV resorts are going to have very accommodating shower and bathroom facilities, however, there are some factors that could complicate the practicality of such amenities, such as the distance from your campsite and how crowded the campgrounds are.
If you break down, it’s on you.
Any time you compared the pros and cons of renting vs owning, you are going to run into this issue. If you are renting an apartment and something happens, like the pipes freeze up, the landlord will be in charge of taking care of it. But if you are living in your RV and the plumbing or the transmission or something else goes bad, you better have the available funds to take care of it pronto.
The Bottom Line
When you decide to embark on the adventure of travel nursing, all these personal decisions need to be made based on what’s best for you and what makes you the happiest. No matter what option you choose, you are going to have frustrating moments, such as dealing with a crabby neighbor in an apartment complex or fixing your RV while you’re broke down on your way to an assignment. Either way, if you have chosen the decision best for you, all those hard times will be worth it in the end!
Are you ready to start searching for travel nursing assignments? Give us a call today at 208-378-1338.