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Top Travel Nursing Destinations & What To Know

There is little doubt that travel nursing is both an exciting and rewarding career path. It affords individuals the ability to travel to new locations while working in a high-demand field with competitive compensation packages. However, not all destinations are created equal when it comes to travel nursing. Certain cities and facilities offer much more attractive options than others. Knowing where to look and what to expect is crucial for nurses interested in traveling.

Popular travel nursing destinations can vary greatly depending on a variety of factors. Some of the most popular locations for travel nursing include major cities across the United States such as New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. These locations tend to offer higher salaries due to increased demand for nursing services. Additionally, many travel nursing opportunities can be found in locations with high demand for healthcare services, such as rural communities, remote locations and cities with a high population density.

Before embarking on a travel nursing assignment, it is essential to understand the hiring process, contracts, licensing requirements and housing options. Careful planning and research can help ensure a positive experience and a successful assignment. In summary, the demand for travel nurses is rapidly growing, and it is important to know what to consider when selecting potential destinations for your next assignment.


California is a popular destination for travel nurses due to its high demand for healthcare professionals and abundance of job opportunities. Travel nurses can find work in a variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, and long-term care facilities.

When considering travel nursing in California, it is important to note that the state requires a California nursing license. The application process for a California license can be lengthy, so it is recommended to start the process well in advance.

what to know about travel nursing

In terms of salary, California travel nurses can expect to earn higher wages than in many other states due to the high cost of living. However, it is important to keep in mind that the cost of housing and other living expenses may also be higher.

California offers a wide range of attractions and activities for travel nurses to enjoy during their time off. From the beaches of Southern California to the wine country in the north, there is always something to explore in this diverse and beautiful state.

Overall, travel nursing in California can be a rewarding and lucrative experience for those who are willing to navigate the licensing process and adjust to the high cost of living.


Hawaii is a popular destination for travel nurses due to its tropical climate and beautiful scenery. There are several hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout the islands that offer travel nursing positions. It’s important to note that Hawaii requires travel nurses to have an active nursing license in the state and a minimum of one year of recent acute care experience.

The cost of living in Hawaii is higher than that of most mainland states, so it’s essential to negotiate a fair compensation package that reflects this. Housing can also be expensive, so many travel nurses choose to share housing or find accommodations outside of traditional short-term rental options.

Hawaii offers a unique cultural experience, with a blend of Polynesian, Asian, and Western influences. It’s essential to be respectful of the local culture and traditions, including the importance of family and community.

There are many outdoor activities to enjoy in Hawaii, including hiking, surfing, snorkeling, and exploring the many state and national parks. It’s also worth noting that the state is prone to natural disasters, including hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions, so it’s essential to have a plan in place in case of an emergency.

Overall, Hawaii offers travel nurses a unique and exciting opportunity to work in a beautiful location while experiencing a rich and diverse culture.


Alaska, also called the Last Frontier, is a unique destination for travel nurses. Here are a few things to know about travel nursing in Alaska:

what to know about travel nursing

1. Licensure: Alaska is a compact state, which means if you have a multi-state license, you can work there without obtaining additional licensure.

2. Climate: Alaska has a colder climate, and it can have long winters. It’s crucial to bring warm clothes if you plan to work there.

3. Culture: Alaska’s culture is diverse, and it includes indigenous communities, which are essential to the state’s identity. Education on the culture, customs, and history of Alaska’s native communities is crucial to respectful nursing practices.

4. Healthcare Facilities: Alaska has many small communities, and access to healthcare services can be challenging in remote areas. Consider this aspect when choosing a placement location.

5. Outdoor Activities: Alaska has a vast outdoor playground. There are ample opportunities for travel nurses to participate in activities such as hiking, skiing, and fishing.

Overall, Alaska is a unique and exciting destination for travel nurses. A sense of adventure, adaptability, and cultural sensitivity are crucial for a successful assignment in the land of the midnight sun.


Texas is a popular state for travel nurses due to its large number of healthcare facilities and diverse patient population. The state offers a range of job opportunities from smaller rural hospitals to larger urban medical centers.

Travel nurses should be aware of the varying climates across Texas, with hot and humid summers and mild winters in the eastern and coastal regions while the western regions experience colder winters and hotter summers.

Licensing for travel nurses in Texas is processed through the Texas Board of Nursing and takes approximately 4-6 weeks to obtain. The state is also part of the Enhanced Nurse Licensure Compact, allowing nurses with compact licenses to practice in Texas without obtaining an additional license.

As a large state, Texas offers many opportunities for exploration and sightseeing during time off. Popular attractions include the Alamo, Big Bend National Park, and the Riverwalk in San Antonio.

Overall, Texas is a great location for travel nurses looking for job opportunities, diverse patient populations, and the chance to explore a unique state.

New York

New York is a bustling city and a popular destination for travel nurses. There are many healthcare facilities in New York, ranging from small clinics to large hospitals, that offer travel nursing positions. The state of New York also has a high demand for nurses due to its large population and high number of tourists.

To work as a travel nurse in New York, you must be licensed to practice nursing in the state. The process for obtaining a New York nursing license can take several weeks, so it is important to apply for licensure well in advance of any job opportunities.

what to know about travel nursing

In terms of cost of living, New York City is one of the most expensive cities in the world. However, travel nurses are typically offered housing stipends or provided with furnished housing, which can help offset the high cost of living.

New York is famous for its food, culture, and entertainment, with endless options for dining and exploring the city. As a travel nurse, you may have the opportunity to work at one of many prestigious healthcare institutions or hospitals in New York, such as Mount Sinai Hospital or New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

Licensing Requirements Vary

Licensing requirements vary widely in the field of travel nursing. It is essential to understand the specific licensing requirements for each state in which a travel nurse may practice. Many states require nurses to hold an active license in the state where they are practicing while others have a compact licensure agreement that allows a nurse to practice in multiple states with only one license.

To obtain a nursing license, nurses must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN) and meet specific educational requirements. Some states may require additional exams or certifications to practice as a travel nurse within their borders.

It is crucial to ensure that all licensing requirements are met before accepting a travel nursing assignment. Employers will typically verify licensure before offering employment, and failure to hold an active and valid nursing license can lead to termination of the assignment.

Nurses should also be aware of any continuing education requirements or renewals needed to maintain their nursing licenses in each state. By maintaining a current and valid nursing license, travel nurses can ensure job security, maintain eligibility for state licensing, and provide safe, quality care to their patients.

Housing Options Can Be Limited

When considering travel nursing, it is important to be aware that housing options can be limited. This is because travel nurses typically have short-term assignments, ranging from a few weeks to a few months, and finding temporary housing can be challenging in some areas.

One option that many travel nurses choose is to stay in extended stay hotels or corporate apartments. These can provide a comfortable and furnished living space, but can also be more expensive than traditional housing options.

Another option is to look for short-term rentals through websites such as Airbnb or Craigslist. While these can be more affordable, it is important to thoroughly research the rental and landlord before making any agreements.

Travel nurses can also explore the possibility of finding a roommate or sharing housing with other healthcare professionals. This can often provide a more affordable housing option, as well as the opportunity to connect with others in the field.

Ultimately, it is crucial for travel nurses to plan ahead and carefully research their housing options in each new location. This can ensure a comfortable and safe living situation during their time on assignment.

High Demand For Specialties

As a travel nurse, it is important to be aware of the high demand for specialties in the healthcare industry. The demand for specialty nurses has increased significantly due to various factors, including the aging population, the increased prevalence of chronic diseases, and advancements in medical technology.

Specialty nurses are in high demand, and travel nurses who possess these skills and certifications are highly sought after by healthcare facilities across the country. Some of the most in-demand specialties include critical care, emergency room, labor and delivery, and oncology nursing.

Being a specialty travel nurse requires a certain level of expertise, and it may be necessary to obtain specialized certifications or training to be considered for these positions. It is important to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in your specialty area, and to be familiar with the latest treatments and technologies.

Travel nurses who possess specialized skills and training can expect to earn higher salaries, as well as gain valuable experience in their field. If you are a travel nurse with a specialty, be sure to highlight your expertise on your resume and during interviews with potential employers. By doing so, you can increase your chances of landing high-paying assignments in your area of expertise.

Contract Length Can Vary

Contract length can vary greatly in travel nursing. Assignments can range from as short as four weeks to as long as a year. Most contracts are for 13 weeks, which gives nurses a chance to get familiar with their new workplace and location without being committed for too long.

Shorter contracts can be beneficial for those who want to travel more frequently or who are looking for flexibility in their work schedules. Meanwhile, longer contracts can provide stability and the opportunity to get more deeply involved in the community.

It is important for travel nurses to carefully consider contract length before signing on to an assignment. Most travel nursing agencies require nurses to fulfill their entire contract, so nurses should be confident in their decision before accepting an assignment.

Nurses should also be aware of any potential opportunities to extend their contract if they are enjoying their assignment and want to stay longer. On the other hand, if they are unhappy with their assignment, they may be able to negotiate an early termination or request a transfer to a new location.

what to know about travel nursing

Overall, contract length is an important factor to consider when exploring travel nursing opportunities. Nurses should weigh the benefits and drawbacks of differing contract lengths to find an assignment that best aligns with their personal and professional goals.

Salary And Benefits Vary

When it comes to travel nursing, it’s essential to understand that salary and benefits can vary significantly from one assignment to another. Several factors can influence how much a nurse can earn, including the specialty, location, and demand for nurses in that area. Some locations may offer higher pay rates to attract more nurses, while others may have a lower cost of living and therefore lower compensation packages. In addition to salary, nurses may also receive benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and bonuses.

Travel nurses can also negotiate their pay and benefits, particularly if they have specialized skills or experience. Some may choose to work with multiple travel nursing agencies to find the best compensation package for their needs. It’s crucial for nurses to research pay rates and benefits ahead of time to understand what they can expect from a travel nursing job.

It is essential to note that salary and benefits should not be the only factors considered when choosing a travel nursing assignment. Other considerations, such as the location of the facility, the type of facility, the patient population, and the work environment, can also impact a nurse’s overall satisfaction with the job. Nurses should carefully evaluate all aspects of an assignment before accepting it to ensure that it meets their personal and professional goals.

Additional Comments

In conclusion, travel nursing can be a rewarding and exciting career choice for those who enjoy traveling and caring for patients. It allows nurses to explore different parts of the country while also gaining valuable experience in various healthcare settings. However, it is important for travel nurses to be aware of the unique challenges and considerations that come with this profession. Before embarking on a travel nursing assignment, nurses should thoroughly research the staffing agency, contract details, and potential destinations. They should also be prepared to adapt to different workplace cultures and establish strong communication with their colleagues.

In terms of logistics, travel nurses should be aware of the various requirements for licensure and certification in each state they plan to work in. They should also budget for housing, transportation, and other expenses that may not be covered by their agency. It is also important to maintain a healthy work-life balance and prioritize self-care during travel assignments, as the demands of the job can be intense.

what to know about travel nursing

Overall, travel nursing can be a fulfilling career choice that offers opportunities for personal and professional growth. However, it is important for nurses to approach it with a realistic understanding of the challenges and be prepared to adapt to new environments. With the right preparation, travel nursing can be a rewarding way to broaden a nurse’s horizons and care for patients across the country.

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