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Travel Nursing by RV: Cost, Tips, and Resources

Travel Nursing by RV: Cost, Tips, and Resources

Many people are taking advantage of opportunities to work from the road. This allows them to see new and exciting places while still paying their bills. Nursing is a profession that has been and likely always will be in high demand since people are always getting sick or hurt. If you’re a nurse looking to experience more of the country, an RV travel nurse position might be perfect for you!

Today, we’re looking at everything you need to know about travel nursing in an RV. Let’s get started!

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Can You Live in an RV as a Travel Nurse?

One of the advantages of being a travel nurse is a bit of freedom when picking where you’ll live while working in an exciting area for a period of time. While many travel nurses do short-term rentals, living in an RV while travel nursing is becoming an incredibly popular option.

Most travel nurse assignments won’t blink an eye at an applicant who will be living in an RV during their contract. For many nurses, this helps ensure they have everything they need to live comfortably during their contract.

→ Wondering about expectations vs. reality? Here’s the Truth About Full-Time RV Living.

Travel Nurse RV Living Pros and Cons

Living in an RV while travel nursing can be very beneficial. You get to do a job you love and are passionate about while seeing parts of the country that otherwise might not have been possible for you to see.

Nurses typically work several consecutive days of long shifts but then have several days off to rest and relax. Many RV travel nurses will spend their days off from work exploring national, state, and local parks and other adventures. 

Travel nurse RV living allows the individual or family to bring more personal possessions on the adventure. Once their contract is up in a specific area, they can often choose to renew it to continue exploring or have another contract lined up in a different area for new adventures.

However, as exciting and adventurous as travel nurse RV living sounds, it’s not perfect.

RVs require regular repairs and maintenance to keep them running. Long shifts mean maintenance and other tasks will need to be done on days off from work.

Restocking food, cleaning, and doing laundry could be an all-day project and will eat up an entire day of potential adventures.

It’s also easy to underestimate how tiny an RV is inside; tiny living isn’t easy. Regulating the climate inside an RV is also challenging, so travel nurses may want to find contracts based on the weather.

Pro Tip: Planning to live in an RV in cold weather? Check out our Cold Weather RV Survival Guide.

Woman who does travel nursing in an RV talking to patient in emergency room
For traveling nurses, staying in an RV offers up the opportunity to explore the US on your time off.

How Much Does RV Living Cost vs. Other Housing?

Many travelers jump into RV living in hopes of saving money compared to other housing. However, that’s not always the case.

RV living can require you to rent a spot to park your RV. If you stay in an RV park, long-term stays can easily be approximately $800 a month, plus you’ll pay for your electric usage. 

In addition, you’ll need to consider the monthly payment for your RV, the vehicle to tow it, and having a generous amount of money on hand to cover maintenance or repairs.  However, you also will need a vehicle to tow your RV and fuel to keep it going. These expenses can quickly add up and make RV living very expensive.

To give you an idea, here is the cost breakdown of our real-life full-time RV living costs.

Living in a standard residential home provides more consistency and is often more convenient. Most modern homes have conveniences like washers and dryers, dishwashers, and much more space than living in an RV.

However, a residential home stays in one place and can’t go with you when you’re on an adventure.

If you find an exciting experience and want to stay in the area, you’ll need a hotel or other accommodation. Living in a home means not having to worry about managing your water usage or worrying about dumping your RV’s tanks.

Traveling nurse family sitting on bed in
For traveling nurses with families, an RV is a great way to give your loved ones a consistent living space while still traveling with ease.

Does An RV Qualify for a Travel Nurse Housing Stipend?

A travel nurse housing stipend is money given to a travel nurse to cover their housing expenses. There are very few restrictions when selecting housing, meaning RV life qualifies for housing.

Many travel nurses choose this method because it provides stability while traveling from one assignment to the next.

However, finding affordable or available long-term RV spots can be challenging, depending on the work location. An assignment likely won’t care about your housing arrangement as long as it’s not negatively affecting your job performance.

Bringing Your Family and Pets With You

Many travel nurses have families or pets they will want to bring along with them on their assignments. Travel nursing with a family in an RV is possible and an excellent way for families to spend time together and go on adventures.

Remote learning has gained popularity in recent years and is more readily available. So why not travel with your family while you work from the road?

Not all family members have two legs. Travel nursing in an RV with a dog or other pet is possible too. This is an excellent option for solo travelers who want to experience the country but want some company.

Since travel nurses work long hours, it can be tough for pets to spend that much time alone and in a tiny space. A bored pet often leads to naughty behavior and damage to objects. Some RV parks even have rules against leaving your pets unattended in your RV.

Pro Tip: If you’re going to bring your furry friend along on your travel nursing adventure, make sure to follow these 5 Rules for RVing with Pets.

Woman who does travel nursing in an RV caring for patients.
Travel nursing in an RV is a great way to enjoy time off from long shifts.

Best RVs for Travel Nurses

Travel nurses spend a tremendous amount of time on their feet working long, grueling shifts. They need a comfortable place to recharge at the end of the day.

Fifth wheels are one of the best RVs for travel nurses as they provide a generous amount of space and are practically a small condo on wheels. However, there’s not one RV that fits every situation for travel nurses.

The best RV for travel nurses traveling solo wouldn’t need to be nearly as big as a nurse traveling with her family. Solo travel nurses might find travel trailers or even smaller motorhomes to be great options.

But keep in mind that there has to be enough space for everything a traveling nurse needs to relax and recharge. 

Finding a Travel Nurse-Friendly RV Park

While many RVers flock to national and state parks to park their RVs, these aren’t typically options for travel nurses. Travel nurse RV parks are typically more resort-style campgrounds with full hookups, amenities, and long-term stay options.

Many RV parks set aside a certain amount of spots for long-term stays. They may even provide a discount to guests in essential positions like travel nurses and military personnel. Booking a multimonth-long stay is much cheaper than paying the daily rate. You will likely also pay for your electrical usage separately with such a stay.

Finding travel nurse RV parks doesn’t have to be complicated. As RVs become more popular for travel nurses, assignments often provide workers with a list of RV parks and campgrounds that are potential options.

An employer may partner with nearby RV parks and campgrounds to offer housing for their employees. However, you can also use popular apps like RV Trip Wizard to find locations, read reviews, and book statys.

Travel nurse cleaning interior of small RV.
For solo travel nurses, staying at a campground is a great way to find community.

Travel Nurse RV Tips

You can do a few things to make the most of living in an RV while traveling. Here are a few tips that we’ve heard from travel nurses. These tips have helped nurses to have a great experience doing what they love on the road.

Finding Community

Being a part of a community is important to help stay connected with other individuals. If not, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll feel lonely. Luckily, it’s not uncommon for several travel nurses to stay in the same RV park, especially if there’s a large hospital in the area.

We recommend joining a number of RV clubs. This can help you easily get to know people in an unfamiliar place. However, contracts starting and ending at various times can make it difficult to sustain long-term friendships. People are constantly coming and going in these positions.

It’s a good idea to also stay connected to your community back home. You want to maintain important relationships so things aren’t awkward when you’re done traveling.

Schedule times to video chat or start text threads to share pictures of your adventures. This can be helpful when you’re feeling homesick or lonely on the road.

Finding Work

When you’re looking to land a travel nurse job in your RV, one of the most important things is to have experience, skills, and a resume that shows it. Hiring managers are looking for qualified candidates that can jump into a new position with minimal training.

Once you’ve crafted a resume that showcases you, you’ll want to start sending it out to hospitals. Nurses are in high demand all over the country, so if you do some planning, you can find assignments near exciting destinations you’ve always wanted to explore.

Once you start sending out your resume, be ready to interview. Some of these positions can go very quickly, and hiring managers don’t wait for candidates to return phone calls. So if you see an unknown phone number, answer it. You don’t want to miss out on an exciting opportunity because you sent them to voicemail.

Don’t forget that you’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you. You don’t want to accept an assignment just because it gets offered to you. Not all positions will be the right fit, and it’s better to know that ahead of time. That way, you won’t put yourself and anyone traveling with you in a frustrating situation. 

Learn Your RV

You must know how to use your RV before jumping into travel nursing. Learning an RV can be challenging. You don’t want to get overwhelmed with having to simultaneously learn so much at work and home. Do yourself a favor and learn as much as possible about your RV. Learn how to care for it before hitting the road on your first assignment.

Taking your RV out on a few practice trips can help you learn how to hitch and unhitch, fill and empty your tanks, and set up camp correctly and efficiently. These things can be very challenging when you hit the road but get easier with experience.

Travel nurse making hospital bed
Enjoy a rewarding career while exploring the best that the country has to offer.

RV Travel Nursing YouTube Channels to Watch

Whether you’re considering RV travel nursing as an occupation or just interested in the lifestyle, YouTube can be a great resource. This helps you learn more about the lifestyle from the people doing it.

Many of these channels provide an honest look into the life of travel nurses, and they’ll often answer many of the questions viewers have about the lifestyle. It’s a great way to educate yourself and prepare for future adventures.

We’ve found some great channels you should subscribe to for RV travel nursing content.

TheTrueAdventure

One great channel is TheTrueAdventure. They travel in their 2022 Keystone Avalanche 390DS with their toddler and provide an inside look into the possible lifestyle while travel nursing.

They get to visit family, enjoy epic locations, and spend time together as a family. Go check out their adventures in places like Oklahoma City, Florida, Virginia, Nashville, and Washington DC.

Project RV: Living Lost

Project RV: Living Lost is another great channel we think is worth checking out. Thomas and Victoria sold most of their stuff to buy a truck and RV to hit the road with their two dogs.

They document their full-time RV life as Victoria works as a travel nurse. Thomas is a podcast producer, and the couple releases a new episode on their channel every Sunday. You’ll find videos documenting their adventures throughout the country, including Texas, Arizona, and many more.

Starting Full Time RV Living: Travel Nurse + Family. An Introduction!

Is Travel Nursing in an RV Worth It?

Travel nursing is an excellent way for people to experience the country while still doing an essential job they love. The job has tremendous benefits, including covering many expenses that make RV travel challenging.

Housing stipends have offset the increased costs of fuel, RV maintenance, and campsites. Changing job locations a few times a year can make it easy to travel with the seasons and stay in comfortable weather all year.

If you’re a nurse with a sense of adventure, it’s worth it. Many travel nurses fall in love with the lifestyle, embrace it, and bring their families and pets on the road.

Are you a traveling nurse who lives in an RV? Tell us about your experience in the comments!

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