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Do Travel Nurses Need Cars?

August 13, 2015

As a travel nurse, you are likely to spend a large portion of each year in locations far from your established home. In some cases, you may travel so much that you no longer maintain an established home at all.

Because travel nursing can take you to so many different locations, you may wonder if it is beneficial to own your own vehicle.

So…Car Ownership

Owning a vehicle can be convenient if you use it frequently. However, owning your own car can also be expensive. Some of the costs associated with car ownership include:

  • The cost of the vehicle itself (purchase price)

  • The cost of financing (interest payments)

  • Insurance premiums

  • Maintenance

In some locations, you may also have to pay for a place to park your car, especially if you will be leaving it in one place for a long period of time.

Do Travel Nurses Need Cars?

As a travel nurse, it may or may not be beneficial for you to own your own car, depending on the circumstances. As you make your decision, consider the following variables.

1. Amount of Time Spent Traveling.

Some travel nurses spend more time on assignment than others. If you accept only one or two short assignments each year, owning your own vehicle may be more beneficial. On the other hand, if you spend most of the year away from home, you may be better off with rentals or an old-fashioned bike.

2. Typical Location of Assignments.

Travel nursing assignments are available all around the country. Do you typically accept assignments within driving distance of your home, or will you be more likely to fly to your assigned locations? If you usually drive to your assignments, owning a car may be beneficial. However, if you plan to rent a vehicle or use public transportation while on assignment, you may not need your own car.

3. Costs Associated with Vehicle Ownership.

The cost of owning a vehicle can vary based on the type of car you choose, whether you need financing, your location and other factors. If vehicle ownership is relatively affordable for you, it may be worth it to spring for your own car. However, if owning a car will be a significant financial burden, it may be better for you to rely on alternatives to vehicle ownership.

4. Storage.

If you need to leave your vehicle behind during a travel nursing assignment, will you have somewhere to store it? If you must pay for storage, how much will it cost? Will your vehicle be safe while you are away? The answers to these questions will help you understand the implications of owning a car when traveling far from home. 

5. Assignment Requirements.

While some travel nursing assignments require that you have your own vehicle, others do not. This requirement may affect your decision in several different ways. For example, if your assignments require a car and you are close enough to the assignment location to bring your own, having your own car may prevent you from needing to rent one. However, if your assignment is too far to bring your own car, you may be forced to rent a car anyway. To find out whether a given assignment requires a car, speak with your recruiter.

6. Availability of Public Transportation at Home.

Even if you travel 10 months out of the year, you will still be spending some time at home. Is public transportation available in your area? If so, you will be able to get around easily without a car. On the other hand, if no public transportation is available, you will be forced to rent a vehicle, which can be expensive.

Deciding whether or not to purchase or keep a car as a travel nurse can be challenging. As you contemplate this issue, consider all of the factors above to make the decision that is best for you. Then, learn more about travel nursing and head off somewhere new!

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