By Sarah Wengert
Once you find a great recruiter and a travel nursing job that checks all your boxes, there’s still a lot to do and decide before orientation! One question we get all the time is: Should I fly or drive to my travel nurse assignment? It’s a really good question, but the answer will totally depend on your situation. Factors like your assignment location, traveling with pets and/or family members, and personal preferences should ultimately guide your decision.
Do Travel Nurses Fly or Drive?
Some travel nurses decide to drive to their travel nursing assignments and others choose to fly. So, either path you choose is completely fine — just fully consider your options, personal preferences, assignment location, family/pet situation, and any other factors that will lead you to the best choice for yourself. On average, more travelers tend to decide to drive to their travel nursing assignments than decide to fly, but again, you have the full freedom to choose whatever’s best for you!
Also, at Medical Solutions we offer travel stipend reimbursements to assist you with costs incurred traveling to and from your assignment, so you can largely take the transportation cost factor out of your decision and just focus on doing what’s best for you.
Let’s consider some of the factors that might sway your choice when it comes to answering that common and very important question: Should I fly or drive to my travel nurse assignment?
Driving to Travel Nursing Assignment Pros
Again, the decision to drive or fly to a travel nursing job depends on YOU. Here are some pros of driving to your travel nursing assignment:
- If you drive your own car to your assignment, then you’ll have your car with you to get around. This is where location comes in as a major factor. If your assignment is in small town Texas or anywhere more car-friendly, having a car will likely be a big bonus while on assignment. Think about how you’ll be able to access grocery stores, drug stores, banks, and other necessities, as well as make your commute. If you’ll need a car to get around your new location, driving your own car there can be a must. (However, see also below in where we consider the flipside of this: Being in a big city with great public transportation, where a car may not be necessary.)
- Driving to a travel nursing assignment lets you haul more of your belongings. Most people can’t fit 13 weeks’ worth of belongings into a carry on! You can fit more things in your car, and even attach a rented trailer to the back if you need a space extender. If you chose an unfurnished apartment driving could be key to bringing along everything you need. And in general, if you’re the type who likes to have all of your stuff at your fingertips, driving could be for you.
- Leave early and make it a scenic road trip! You could make it an empowering solo mission or even bring a friend along for company. A nice, fun road trip lets you bookend your assignments with some adventure and sightseeing. It’s a really festive way to kick things off!
- Speaking of company, driving lets you better accommodate your pets going on assignment with you. It’s much easier to manage the transportation of your animal companions in a car where you can take things at your own pace and where you’re the pilot. Make stops whenever you need to and control the environment to best suit your pet(s)!
Flying to Travel Nursing Assignment Pros
- Flying is faster. If time is a consideration, then an airplane ticket is surely the ticket for you! Not only is a flight the quickest way to get to your travel nurse assignment, it’s a little more no muss/no fuss. Some people just don’t care for road trips. Plus, every now and then, driving can mean a breakdown or flat tire, and no one wants to get stuck in the middle of nowhere or start a new assignment off with that negativity. Although flight cancellations do happen, they’re usually much easier to resolve and get on your way than if you have car trouble.
- Travel light — if you like! If you’re the type who likes the vibe of traveling light, flying is probably for you. Just check a bag or two, fill your carryon, and hop the flight all easy-breezy like. If you want to bring more stuff, you can always ship it, too. For those who selected fully furnished housing, this option is much easier since you just don’t need to bring as many things along.
- You often won’t want the burden of a car in bigger cities with effective public transportation. A lot of aspiring travelers ask: What do travel nurses do with their cars? And it’s a good question! In small towns, rural areas, and petite cities, having a car to get around can be essential. But in locations like NYC, San Francisco, or Chicago, for example, the difficulty of having to park and sometimes pay to store a vehicle, can be an expensive, unnecessary burden.
- When you fly you still get out of town for daytrips! Many larger cities where you wouldn’t want the burden of having your car along, have great inter-city trains and buses that will allow you to still take fun excursions on your days off. If that’s not possible, you can always rent a car for the weekend, use a ride share with a driver, or even drive your own with a service like zTrip. You can even fly and still have your car on assignment — some travelers choose to fly and then have their car shipped to their location.
Ultimately, whatever you choose have faith that it will all work out either way! And as you continue your travel nurse career you’ll only get better at knowing which choice to make for which assignment, location, and situation. In the meantime, if you’re still unsure what to do for your next assignment you can always ask your recruiter for their advice. They’ve seen many, many assignments unfold, and they are a really fantastic resource for you. Lean on them for help and advice!