I recently published a 3-part Series on Travel Nurse Housing Options. The option that I am least familiar with is RV Travel. Travel Nursing in an RV isn’t my specialty (actually, I know nothing at all about it and won’t pretend to).
Karen is a solo-female traveler and has be a Travel Nurse since 2000. She has worked approximately 24 assignments in WA, OR, CA, NV and NM. Karen has traveled exclusively via RV since 2005. Karen works L&D and NICU II.
On Assignment in my RV
Karen B., RN
The RV lifestyle is a fabulous way for me to make some extra $$$ and to live in the comfort of my own things. I am a solo female Travel Nurse (in her 60’s) who has been traveling in her RV for the past 10 years. Prior to that, I took the housing my company provided and found that I had to haul half my house with me anyway. I like sharp knives, good pots and pans, coffee maker, towels, bedding, etc. Well you get the picture. I had a Chevy Tahoe at the time and it was always FULL of all the “must haves” I needed. I had a perfectly good RV parked at home but hadn’t really thought about using it for travel. It just seemed so much easier to take the housing provided.
Well after a couple of not so great housing mishaps, I decided to hit the road in my RV. It has been the perfect solution for me. There are advantages and disadvantages to this lifestyle. For me, the good outweighs the bad in a big way.
Lets talk about some of the advantages first.
I keep my motor-home packed with everything I need except my scrubs, electronics and food. So no more packing and unpacking. I travel with a small dog so I never have to pay a pet deposit. I take the company stipend which pays for my RV spot with money leftover for my motor-home expenses, monthly payment, insurance, gas fund, slush fund etc. RV spaces rent for different prices in different areas. Some spaces include everything and others require you to pay for electricity. Where I am now, I pay $500.00 a month which includes electric, cable, and wifi. Of course sewer and water are standard. Hooking up your RV when you get to your location is usually very easy. Plug in your electric, cable (if you have it) water, and connect your sewer hose and you are all set up. Sometimes you need to level your rig and that can be done either with jacks or special leveling blocks under the tires.
Independence is another huge advantage. IF my assignment is canceled by either the hospital, company, or myself, there are no huge paybacks. Most housing is secured for 3 months by companies and if your assignment ends for whatever reason, you are often liable for reimbursement to the company for the balance.
RV Parks can be difficult to find depending where your assignment is located. In the bigger, busier cities, it seems the RV parks are further out of town and can be very expensive. Not impossible to find, just depends how far you are willing to commute. Some RV parks do not take monthly residents although I haven’t really had a problem with that aspect. Some that do take monthly residents have a lot of undesirable people in them in my opinion so finding the right RV park can take some research. Most of it depends on how well-run the RV park is and if they have specific rules for monthly residents.
Another aspect is weather dependent. An RV is basically a “tin box” so you need to be prepared for very hot or very cold weather. Some RV’s are labeled “4 Season” and have Thermopane windows, heated bays where your water and connections are located, and extra insulation. I personally choose to remain in a milder climate during the winter, and away from the desert in the summer.
During time off I have a “beach house, mountain cabin, or a desert dwelling”. I can also spend time visiting areas along the way to or from my assignment that interest me for a few days. I have a “sticks and bricks” house so definitely have a tax home and am eligible for the tax free perks.
The interest on an RV loan is also deductible on your income tax as a second home which is another plus for me.
Gas prices tend to influence my choice of assignments. I am not going to drive across the USA for a 3 month assignment because the reimbursement doesn’t even begin to cover my costs. If the assignment is for 6 months, I might consider it. But who is going to take a 6 month assignment? Not me. I might stay somewhere for 6 months but I wouldn’t know that until I was there for awhile. So for me, if I wanted to go on assignment a long distance away, I would probably take the company housing.
There is maintenance on an RV just like on a home or automobile. I put some of my stipend away for those incidentals. And yes, I have had incidentals. The hot water heater and air conditioner needed repair but I had the money in my slush fund for the repair (so it does happen).
There are many types and styles of RV’s. Class A, B, B+, C, trailers, fifth wheels, van conversions, and campers. There are lots of websites out there to help you decide what would work for you and what you can afford.