Top 5 Destinations To Consider For Travel Nurses

Health Carousel Travel Nursing
February 11, 2022
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Thinking of becoming a travel nurse, but unsure about the best destination for you? Maybe you’re already a travel nurse, but do not know where your next location should be. Here are the top five destinations for travel nurses, and how to choose the right fit.

Deciding on the Best Destination

Before diving into the top destinations, there are some important factors to consider. First, think about what part of the United States you would like to travel to and what time of year. For instance, you might want to travel to Washington state but hate the snow. Therefore, the best time of year to accept a travel nursing assignment in Washington would be late spring or summer when all the snow has melted. Perhaps you have the opposite view, where you love the snow and would like to go skiing on your days off.

Next, it is critical to review the state licensing requirements as every state is different. Do you have a nursing license for the particular state, or does the state have a compact nursing license agreement? If you need a license, find out the requirements. Once you have submitted your information, inquire about the approval process. This could take  anywhere from a couple weeks to a few months. If there is a compact nursing license agreement for the state, make sure your licenses are up-to-date. Not having your licenses in order could delay your start date or get you declined from the travel nursing assignment altogether.

Finally, review the travel nursing assignment as a whole. Look beyond the destination and  consider the pay rate, cost of living, overtime availability, and guaranteed hours.

Top 5 Destinations for Travel Nurses

San Francisco, California

Northern California, specifically San Francisco, is known to have some of the highest pay rates for travel nurses in the country. The demand for travel nurses remains steady throughout the year, which also makes it an attractive area to take an assignment. San Francisco offers many activities in the city area including dining, shopping, and beautiful landmarks. You can visit the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz Island, and many other sights. If you are looking for a drive outside the city, Yosemite National Park and Napa Valley are just a few hours away. California is currently pending approval for the nursing compact licensure, so make sure to secure your state nursing license several weeks before your assignment.

Denver, Colorado

Colorado is a compact nursing license state, which makes things easier if you already hold this license. Denver boasts an array of outdoor activities — especially for those who enjoy winter activities such as skiing, hiking, and snowshoeing. The Rocky Mountains and local cities have a lot to offer for those not traveling during the winter months as well. Denver is especially attractive to travel nurses due to the short assignment lengths and pay.

Dallas, Texas

Texas has a high demand for travel nurses, due to nursing shortages throughout the state. Dallas is no exception, with a particular need for intensive care and emergency room nurses. If you do not work in one of these areas, do not worry because there are plenty of other opportunities. The Dallas area offers many music and sporting events, as well as diverse restaurant options. The cost of living is relatively moderate, so your entire paycheck will not be going toward living expenses.

New York, New York

New York City provides a little taste of big city life. It offers higher pay to help offset the cost of living, and there are many short-term rentals available. New York City is urban living at its finest, showcasing museums, the fine arts, and high-end shopping. It offers various nightlife activities including nightclubs and Michelin-starred restaurants. However, make sure to apply for your nursing license several months in advance as it can take this long to receive.

Miami, Florida

Florida offers year-round sunshine, and the warmer climate makes for easier traveling during the winter months. Travel nurses are attracted to Miami and surrounding areas for the vast selection of beaches, water sports, and outdoor activities. Miami has a lower cost of living than some other regions like California, but pay rates are typically lower as well.

Travel nursing can open the door for you to see and explore the world. When it comes to selecting your next travel nursing destination, consider what is most important to you. Decide whether salary and overtime hours outweigh the destination. On the other hand, determine if the destination and social activities are a bigger priority. Whatever your next assignment may be, make the best choice for your unique needs and desires.


Amanda Marten NP-C, MSN has been a certified nurse practitioner for over three years. With eight years of nursing experience, she has worked in a variety of specialties including urgent care, travel nursing, post-surgical, and intensive care.

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Interested in how the pay stacks up in other states not on this list? Our trusty Super Nurse sidekicks are standing by to answer any questions you have. Click below to get information on opportunities in other states!

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