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Travel nursing can be a lucrative way to earn high-pay in a relatively short time, and Fastaff nurses enjoy the financial and personal freedoms that their assignments provide. Although the money may be rolling into your bank, there are costs associated with travel that can quickly dip into the paycheck you earn at the end of your assignment. To ensure you save the most money while still living life on your terms, we asked our resident Travel and Housing expert, Chad, to shed some light on clever yet simple ways you can save money getting to your next assignment.
This tip starts the chain reaction of either spending or saving your hard-earned money. When you pack light, you can often avoid excess baggage fees or shipping costs. Keep a list of your travel essentials and those ‘just-in-case’ items. Chances are, you’ll be on assignment for more than a month so keep track of what you really need and what you can live without.
Once you have your list, create an organized storage area of the items you travel with. Utilize storage bins and labels to be on top of your organization game. When you pack your suitcase to head off to your next assignment, you can thank yourself for being organized beforehand – this will also save you valuable time that you could be spending doing something else productive.
Avoid this unnecessary expense by arriving at the airport prepared and in-the-know of what your suitcase contains. Have an accurate estimate ready beforehand of how much your luggage weighs. This is where packing light and packing what you truly need come into play. Certain airlines, like Southwest Airlines, will allow you to travel with two checked bags (up to 50 lbs. each) included in the cost of your ticket. Be wary of items that will end up costing you more. Items like golf clubs can often run high extra baggage fees if you exceed the maximum weight limit. Do you really need those golf clubs? If you simply can’t resist taking a few swings on the course while on assignment, consider renting equipment once there to save money.
This is where researching comes in handy – Utilize Google to your advantage and scope out costs for things like rental equipment for your favorite activities. If you can’t rent equipment, do your research into how much it would cost to ship those items to you. Don’t do this research while standing in line at baggage check counter – save yourself the headache and panic by doing the research of all ‘Plan B’ costs before you get to the airport.
According to Chad, many travel nurses try to bring their own sheets and towels in their luggage – inevitably resulting in costly surprise fees. A simple way to save money while still sleeping on your favorite plush sheets is to buy them when you get out to your assignment at a value provider like Target or Walmart. Depending on cost, it could save you money as opposed to paying extra baggage fees or shipping costs.
Although Fastaff provides housing that’s determined by the most cost effective, safest, and closest to your assignment, if you choose to find your own assignment, you can still save money by doing thorough research. In many cases, you can still receive a housing allowance if you choose to secure your own housing. When choosing the DIY method of housing, be aware of a couple things. Look carefully at the lease agreement if it’s an apartment – many apartments will seem enticing with low monthly rent, but often they require you to sign a full 12 month lease – with penalties for breaking contract early once your assignment ends. These apartments are also typically unfurnished, which means you’ll be spending your own money on furniture. Generally, the shorter the lease, the more expensive your rent will be. If a hotel seems like a better option for you, remember that your hotel typically needs to be an extended stay depending on the length of your assignment – you don’t want to get evicted from a regular ‘2-night’ stay hotel for trying to stay for a month or more.
When booking extended stay hotels, book directly with the hotel so you can ask questions and fill them in on your plans. When you secure long-term stays on booking websites such as Expedia, often these are non-refundable, so if you have to leave early, you’ll have put in a good chunk of change that you won’t see again.
When you become a Fastaff nurse, you can reap the benefits of our long-standing relationship with certain booking websites that will provide you with discounts for Fastaff Travel Nurses – but be mindful as these also come with their own stipulations regarding cancelation policies, but often you’ll end up still saving money due to Fastaff-specific discounts.
Regardless if it’s your first assignment or you’re a seasoned traveler, you can still benefit from staying organized, being creative with your costs, and doing your research to ensure your smoothest and cheapest travel as you make your way to your next assignment. Share these tips with your traveling friends and help keep each other accountable with costs as you hit the ground running for patients and communities in need. Leave a comment below with any money-saving tips you’ve found for yourself as well to help fellow travel nurses.