Welcome to the exciting world of travel nurse RV living! If you’ve ever dreamed of combining your passion for nursing with a taste for adventure and a love of the open road, you’re in the right place.
This guide provides all the essential information you need to embark on an RV travel nursing journey. From choosing your ideal RV (recreational vehicle) and finding the best parks to call “home” to managing your finances on the road and maintaining that all-important work-life balance, we’ve got you covered.
So buckle up and get ready to learn how to maximize your experience as a travel nurse while enjoying the freedom and flexibility of life in an RV. It’s time to make your dream a reality!
Decide if Travel Nurse RV Lifestyle is Right For You
Before diving headfirst into travel nurse RV living, weighing the pros and cons is crucial. On the one hand, the benefits can be substantial. Think about the flexibility of taking your home with you wherever your assignments lead, the savings you can accumulate by avoiding expensive temporary housing, and the unparalleled freedom to explore the country at your own pace. You’ll also join a vibrant community of RV-ing nurses who share your adventurous spirit.
On the other hand, living in an RV can be challenging. Space can be limited, which may require some adjustments in terms of lifestyle and belongings. The responsibility of maintaining and repairing your RV falls squarely on your shoulders. Plus, while many find the constantly changing scenery exciting, others may miss the stability and routine of a fixed residence.
In essence, the decision to become an RV travel nurse is personal and requires careful consideration. Ensure you’re ready for the unique adventures and challenges the RV lifestyle brings before making the leap.
Choosing the Right RV
The next crucial step is selecting the right RV for your travel nursing adventure. Here are some options to consider:
Class A Motorhomes
These are the largest and most luxurious RVs on the market. They have spacious interiors, usually including a full kitchen, a bathroom, and separate sleeping areas. However, their size makes them more difficult to maneuver and park, and they can be fuel-intensive.
Class B Motorhomes
Class B motorhomes, or camper vans, are the smallest and easiest to drive. They’re perfect for solo travelers or couples who don’t mind close quarters. While less spacious, they’re more fuel-efficient and can be parked in regular parking spaces.
Class C Motorhomes
Class C motorhomes strike a balance between Class A and B. They offer more space than camper vans but are easier to drive than the large Class A models. They usually have a separate bedroom, a compact kitchen, and a dining area that converts into a sleeping space.
Travel Trailers and Fifth Wheels
These are towable RVs that you pull behind a truck or SUV. Travel trailers come in various sizes and layouts. Fifth wheels are larger and provide more living space, including separate sleeping quarters and full-size appliances.
When deciding, consider factors like how much space you’ll need, your comfort with driving larger vehicles, your budget, and the essential amenities. Remember, this will be your home away from home, so choose wisely!
Finding the Perfect RV Parks
Now that you’ve decided on the perfect RV, the next step is to find the ideal RV parks to call home during your travel nursing assignments. Here are a few tips to help you in your search:
Research in Advance
Start by researching potential RV parks well in advance of your arrival. Use online resources to find parks in your travel nursing assignment area, read reviews, and get a feel for each RV park’s amenities and atmosphere. Some websites even offer virtual tours, allowing you to explore the park from the comfort of your current location.
Consider the Location
Location is vital. Consider the park’s proximity to your workplace, grocery stores, and other essential services. If you’re a nature lover, you might want to look for parks near hiking trails or bodies of water.
Check the Amenities
Every RV park offers different amenities. Some might have full hookups (water, electricity, sewer), laundry facilities, Wi-Fi, and recreational areas like swimming pools or game rooms. Others might offer more basic services. Think about what amenities are most important to you in your day-to-day living.
Understand the Rules
Every park has its own set of rules. Some might have restrictions on pets, noise levels, or the length of stay. Ensure you’re comfortable with the park’s rules before staying there.
Connect with Other RV Travel Nurses
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to find great RV parks. Join online forums or social media groups where other travel nurses living the RV lifestyle share their experiences and recommendations. They can provide invaluable insights that can guide you in your search.
Finding the right RV park to call home is key. Take your time, research, and you’ll find the perfect spot to park your home on wheels!
Tips for Booking Campgrounds
Once you’ve found a campground that fits your needs, the next step is securing your spot. Here are some tips to help you navigate the booking process:
Book in Advance
Campgrounds can fill up quickly, especially during peak travel seasons. To avoid disappointment, booking your site as far in advance as possible is best. If you plan to stay at a popular campground or visit a popular area during the peak season, you might need to book several months ahead.
Understand the Campground’s Booking Policies
Different campgrounds have different booking policies. Some may require a deposit at the time of booking, while others may require full payment. Make sure you understand the campground’s cancellation policy as well. Knowing these details can save you from unwanted surprises down the road.
Consider Off-Peak Times
If your travel nursing schedule allows it, consider booking your campsite during off-peak times. Campgrounds are less crowded during these periods, and you may also get a better rate. Plus, you’ll enjoy a quieter and more peaceful environment.
Be Flexible With Your Dates
If the campground of your choice is fully booked on your preferred dates, try adjusting your schedule if possible. Being flexible with your travel dates can open up more options and may even result in cost savings.
Join Loyalty Programs
Some campground chains offer loyalty programs that provide discounts and other perks. Joining their loyalty program could be beneficial if you plan to stay at campgrounds under the same chain regularly.
Securing your spot at a campground is an important part of the travel nurse RV life. By following these tips, you can take the stress out of the booking process and focus on the exciting adventure ahead.
Creating a Cozy Home on Wheels
Creating a home-like atmosphere in your RV is essential for travel nurses. Full-time RV living can sometimes feel isolating, and having a familiar and comforting space can significantly improve your overall RV travel nursing experience.
Think of your RV as a blank canvas that you can personalize to reflect your tastes and preferences. Add touches of your favorite colors through accessories like cushions, blankets, or curtains. Hang photos or artwork that bring you joy. Consider small potted plants for a touch of greenery.
Remember, it’s not just about physical comfort – creating a space where you can relax and unwind after a long day at work can help reduce stress and maintain your emotional well-being.
Living in an RV requires efficient use of space. Below are a few travel nurse RV tips and tricks to help you maximize your full-time RV life.
Utilize Vertical Space
Often overlooked, vertical space gives you more storage options. Install shelves, hanging organizers, or hooks on walls and inside cabinets. Magnetic strips can hold kitchen utensils, and suction cup baskets are great for bathroom storage.
Buy Multipurpose Furniture
Consider furniture that has multiple uses. A bed with storage underneath or a table that folds into a wall can save a lot of space. Ottomans with storage compartments can be footrests and places to store extra blankets or books.
Downsize Your Belongings
The idea is to carry only what you need. Avoid duplicate items and keep your wardrobe to a minimum. Swap bulky items for collapsible versions, like a collapsible dish drainer or a foldable laundry basket.
Keep items used daily within easy reach and store rarely used items in harder-to-reach spots. Use drawer dividers, baskets, or bins to group similar items. Clear, labeled containers can make finding and storing items easier.
Opt for Digital
Opt for digital versions instead of physical books, CDs, or DVDs. E-books, streaming services, and digital music can save a lot of physical space.
Living in an RV doesn’t mean you have to feel cramped. With a little creativity and organization, you can maximize your space and enjoy the comforts of home while on the road.
Managing Finances on the Road
Travel nurse RV living involves careful budgeting and planning. Your budget should include the typical expenses of life on the road, such as food, gas, and campground fees, and the unique costs associated with being a travel nurse and maintaining your RV.
Budgeting for Travel Nursing Expenses
As a travel nurse, you’ll have to account for additional expenses. These include professional licensing fees, uniform costs, and continuing education or certification expenses.
Furthermore, while many travel nursing agencies provide a stipend for housing expenses and travel, it may not cover all your costs.
It’s also important to remember that tax-free stipends are only available to travel nurses who can claim residence in a permanent home and live in their assignment location.
RV Maintenance Costs
Owning an RV also involves recurring maintenance costs not involved with traditional housing options. These expenses range from routine check-ups and oil changes to more significant repairs like tire replacements or leaks.
It’s also wise to set aside funds for unexpected repairs, as these can crop up when you’re on the road.
Consider a separate savings fund for these unexpected expenses so they don’t derail your budget. Setting aside a small amount each month can add up over time and provide a safety net when needed.
Navigating the Challenges of RV Living
Living in an RV as a travel nurse can be rewarding and challenging. Here are some common obstacles you might face and tips on how to overcome them:
In some remote locations, you might face challenges with accessibility to amenities such as grocery stores, laundromats, or healthcare facilities. Planning is crucial in these situations. Stock up on essential supplies whenever you have access to stores, and always have a plan B in case of an emergency.
Weather conditions can change rapidly when you’re on the road, and living in an RV exposes you to the elements more than a traditional home would. Always watch the weather forecast, plan for severe weather, and ensure you have the proper RV gear, such as flashlights, batteries, and emergency food and water.
Travel nursing in an RV requires reliable internet access for work and personal use. However, some RV parks might have weak Wi-Fi signals or none at all. Consider investing in a reliable hotspot device or a strong data plan to ensure you’re never without connectivity.
Traveling alone and being away from your loved ones for extended periods can lead to feelings of loneliness or isolation. To combat this, try to engage with the local community in your new city, maintain regular communication with your family and friends, or consider joining online groups to connect with fellow RVing nurses.
Despite these challenges, the freedom and adventure of RV travel nursing make it a unique and rewarding experience. Remember that every challenge is an opportunity to learn and grow; with some preparation, you can turn any road bump into just another part of the journey.
Maintaining Work-Life Balance
Maintaining a work-life balance while RV living is crucial to avoid burnout and ensure you enjoy your unique lifestyle.
Schedule Regular Downtime
Make sure to schedule regular downtime in your routine. This can be time spent exploring your surroundings, pursuing a hobby, or simply relaxing with a good book. Remember, it’s okay to do nothing sometimes!
Set boundaries between your work and personal life. Have specific working hours and stick to them. If possible, try not to bring work into your living space, keeping your personal and professional lives separate.
Regular physical activity is good for your health and can also improve your mood and reduce stress. Take advantage of the natural surroundings your RV life affords you — go for a hike, swim, or enjoy a walk around the campground.
Connect with Loved Ones
Stay connected with your family and friends back home. Regular phone calls, video chats, or even letters can help you keep in touch. You could also invite them to book a hotel room near you on the road, combining family time with a fun vacation.
Start Your RV Journey Today!
Embarking on the travel nurse RV life is an exhilarating journey filled with new experiences, challenges, and rewards. From selecting the perfect RV to navigating various roadblocks, each step you take is a testament to your adventurous spirit and dedication to your profession.
Armed with these tips and insights, you’re well-prepared to embrace the open road, create a cozy home on wheels, and seamlessly balance your work and personal life.