For many travel nurses and therapists, theirs is a career that constantly keeps them on the go. From traveling to and from assignments, deciding when to extend and when to find someplace new, and making the most of discovering each new city along the way, the life of traveling healthcare professionals can get pretty hectic. Making the most of each assignment is important, but just as important is not forgetting to plan some down time into your busy travel schedule. Let’s look at a few reasons why it is important to plan time off between assignments.
Tax Implications. Seeing that w-2’s are starting to fill up mailboxes around the country, discussing how tax rules impact your life as a travel nurse or therapist is a good reason to lead off the discussion. In the past, we have covered the tax implications of your career as a travel nurse in this space. One of the most important tax questions is the differentiation between your tax home and your permanent residence. Your tax home is the place where you are earning the majority of your income. If you are using the tax benefits of maintaining two residences, then it is important to ensure you have sufficient time off throughout the year to meet the Internal Revenue Service’s definition of a temporary assignment. In short, a temporary assignment cannot last more than 12 months. Note: If you have additional questions about these specific regulations, please see a tax professional.
Take Time to Settle In. Starting a new assignment can be stressful for many travelers. Traveling to a new city and an unfamiliar facility can be intimidating. Whenever possible, travelers should build in sufficient lead time into an assignment to have an opportunity to spend time exploring your surroundings before jumping right into work. Treat it like a vacation and see the sights, find the best grocery stores, map out the best route to work, and learn about all of the fun excursions you will be able to enjoy on your days off. Making the most of the freedom you have as a travel nurse or therapist is the surest way to ensure a successful assignment and alleviate some of the stress of settling into a new location for the next 13-weeks.
Do Some Reconnaissance. One under-utilized aspect of traveling for a living is taking the time to do some recon in potential travel cities. In between assignments, plan a weekend getaway to a city that you are considering for a future assignment. Spending a few days as an actual tourist can help you decide if you are ready to spend 3 to 6 months there as a “working tourist.” Do a winery tour, have a nice meal at a local restaurant, and spend some time checking out the vibe and getting a sense of the type of community the location has to offer.
Practice Makes Perfect. Maybe you are one of those people that never want to slow down between assignments. Ok, we get it, you have been blessed with energy to burn. If this is you, keep in mind that it is still healthy to take time for yourself and recharge your work batteries. One way you can put your travel expertise to the test is to take some time between assignments and go on a big trip. Take a cruise, go to Europe, find someplace tropical, you have earned it and getting away can set you up for your next several assignments once you are back in the States.
What is your favorite thing to do between assignments? Have you ever scouted out potential travel cities? Share your experiences in the comment section below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.