Take advantage of your off days as a traveler. This is your sign to explore and access more options by crafting your own adventure itinerary.
What to Do with Extra Time on a Travel Nurse Assignment?
You’re finally settled in from moving across the country to your new travel nurse role. You’ve completed hospital orientation, and found yourself with several days off, with zero plans. This is a great place to be in your life! You have the opportunity to explore and adventure your way into experiencing a beautiful and brand-new state or city.
Boredom on a Nursing Assignment
Sometimes, you end up in a city that seems dull and uneventful. The days off seem long, and you’ve quickly run through your day off to-do list. What’s a travel nurse to do?
Connect with loved ones, look up local events, or take a class.
If you live nearby family or friends, this is a great opportunity to drive a few hours to visit, or catch a flight! You can also invite them to come stay with you for a long weekend.
Don’t let boredom get you down. Branch out and try a local event. It could lead you to more options for adventure and community down the road.
Look up local classes, like cooking or sewing, at the community center or online. Sign up for workout classes. Try something completely new. It’s a great way to keep your mind active and learn something new.
Homesickness is the main side effect of travel nursing. Think about what you miss from home, and see what you can do where you’re living to help. If it’s southern cooking, for example, try to find a southern restaurant where you live. See how the locals do it!
Call home and connect with your friends and relatives regularly. Engage in your favorite self-care practices and remember why you decided to venture off in the first place.
Exploring and adventuring are often great antidotes to homesickness. Try booking a weekend away camping, or a spa day at a salon. Pretty soon your homesickness will lessen.
Take Advantage of the Area
When you’re in a new place, it’s a great time to wander. Look up art districts, farmers markets, or other local activities. Align your interests with what’s available in the area, then make a bucket list and start checking it off!
Don’t forget to explore around the area too! You may find anything from hot springs to historical sites. Whatever fancies your interest, entertain it. For example, Las Vegas has great shows like Cirque du Soleil and delicious restaurants downtown. But just outside the city, Red Rocks boasts some of the most vibrant sunset hikes. And if you wanted to venture further, the beautiful beaches of San Diego are only a four hour drive away.
Get Creative and Explore
When you’re in a new city, it can be overwhelming to figure out what to do. On the other hand, don’t sell a smaller city short just because it’s not NYC or LA. There are hidden gems for everyone, coast to coast.
Plan for in between assignments. Save up for future travel and plan to take time off! You can even travel internationally in between assignments.
Top Travel Nurse Adventure Ideas
1. Explore a Local Culture Site
There’s nothing more fun than playing tourist in your own backyard, especially when you’re actually a tourist. Try spending an afternoon at the art museum, science center, or planetarium. Look up local cultural sites. You’ll learn a lot about the city and be able to see it through a brand new lens.
2. Get Outdoors
From hiking to neighborhood parks, you’ll have no shortage of places to experience. Many cities have arboretums to visit as well. You can go for a jog, picnic on the grass, or spend the afternoon lounging in a hammock. Other outdoor venues include botanical gardens and parks. Don’t sleep on the beauty that surrounds you.
For the more adventurous sort, plan a hike! From day hikes to backpacking, nearly all states have incredible nature opportunities. Check out your local list of state parks for more information on hiking, camping, fishing, swimming, and backpacking. Go even further and explore some of the national parks around the country.
3. Attend Cultural Events
Traveling means you may live where your favorite band or comedian is touring. Check for concerts, live shows, and comedy events nearby. Keep your eyes open for cultural events. Whether it's Mardi Gras in New Orleans, or a local cultural celebration in the park, there are many ways to enrich your travel experience.
Feeling lonely? Meetup groups are one way to connect with like-minded individuals. You can attend events, join book clubs, or tag along with a game night group. This is a great way to meet other adventurous spirits in your community.
4. Explore a Hobby or Find a New One
Take a class. Whether it's online or in-person, take the leap into trying something new. Try a writing class if you’re feeling creative, or find a pottery studio and take the wheel for a spin.
If you’re by the beach, take a surf lesson. If you’re in the mountains, try rock climbing or explore bouldering.You can even sign up for classes and outings at your local REI.
5. Be of Service
Getting involved in local volunteer opportunities is one way to find community as a travel nurse. Searching online is a good way to find organizations near you to join. Or, get involved in your local hospital. Oftentimes, volunteer opportunities are listed on the hospital homepage.
Make a Plan
Decide on your mode of transportation. Whether you drive, fly, or RV, each mode of transport needs a plan.
Bringing a car (or leasing one) allows freedom for day trips and a lot of flexibility. One perk is driving to work,but of course you'll have to plan for parking. If this is the case, be sure to get parking reimbursement written in your travel nurse contract.
Flying to your travel nurse destination lets you experience a city in a brand new way. If you don’t have a car, living where there is good public transportation may be a great option. Boston and New York City are two cities with excellent public transportation and they both offer tons of travel nurse opportunities.
If you choose to live in a van or an RV, there is more planning involved with finding where to park. A benefit to traveling with your van or RV is that you won’t have to pay for housing, and can pocket your lodging stipend.
Wherever you wander, make a plan, and enjoy the journey. Be open to what the world has to offer!
Find Travel Nurse Positions
Work with one of Health Carousel’s travel nursing recruiters to embark on your journey today. A travel nurse agency can partner with you to find your next nursing adventure. Who said you couldn’t live where you vacation?
Katie Taibl (pronouns: she/they) is a registered pediatric nurse and freelance nurse writer. She has adventured from coast to coast as a travel nurse. She currently resides in Boston with her partner and three cats. In her free time, she enjoys time outdoors and teaching kids the joys of surfing as a surf instructor.