What To Do During Thanksgiving as a Travel Nurse

Health Carousel Travel Nursing
November 2, 2022
Share this post

Being away from loved ones during a travel assignment can be difficult, especially during the holidays when nurses wish they could be home with their families. 

Travel nurses usually end up working most holidays during their assignments.  Even if you find yourself with a rare day off, chances are you may not have enough travel time to make it home to share a meal with your family or friends. 

Are you finding yourself spending this Thanksgiving alone as a travel nurse? Consider these suggestions to help you get through the holiday. 

Travel Home

Travel nurses often work far from home and chances are you may not be just a short driving distance away from your family (or even some extended family & friends you haven’t seen in a while) during your assignment.  However, if you are close enough for a quick trip home,  consider trying to submit a request for a few days off and take the opportunity to share a holiday meal and catch up.


For everyone, including travel nurses, thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for all that you have and to give back to others less fortunate. If you find yourself having the day off, consider volunteering at a local homeless shelter, senior center, or soup kitchen serving Thanksgiving meals to those in need. 

You could also deliver meals or Thanksgiving desserts to your colleagues that are working that day, to win over fellow nursing staff!

Share a Meal with Coworkers

If you find yourself not wanting to spend Thanksgiving alone, ask around and see what your coworkers have planned. You may find yourself with an invite to a fellow nurse’s family gathering, or arrange a dinner out with other fellow travel nurses. 

You may also want to reach out to your recruiter to see if there are any other fellow nurses on an assignment in the area that you can link up with and share a holiday meal. 


If you don’t have any plans for the Thanksgiving holiday, relax, and enjoy your well-deserved time off. Let yourself catch up on some sleep, read your favorite book, take a bath, and order a meal from a local restaurant. Catch up on the shows you have had to save for a quite day to watch  or visit that park you have passed on your way to the hospital. Video chat with family and friends so that you can spend time with them on the holiday, regardless of how far apart you are. Enjoy a relaxing day and save up your energy for your next shift. 

Pick up a Shift

If crashing a coworker's Thanksgiving dinner or spending the day alone doesn’t sound appealing to you, take advantage of holiday pay and sign up for an extra shift. Working holidays as a travel nurse can be a great opportunity to earn some extra cash, help out the unit, and make a difference in your patient’s day.  Picking up an extra shift on Thanksgiving shows that you are a team player who is willing to help out their coworkers and is sure to get you outstanding reviews from management and staff. 

Stay Close to Home

Keep the holidays in mind when you search for your next assignment. Try to pick a destination that is closer to home to make it easier to travel back and forth during the holiday season if it's important to you to be home for the holidays.

Catch Up With Old Friends

Take the time while away on an assignment to catch up with old friends. Reach out to your favorite nurse practitioner from your old unit and catch up. Arrange a facetime call with your favorite group of women from back home. Speaking to and seeing familiar faces can help ease the loneliness of being away from friends and family during the holidays. 

Treat Yourself to Retail Therapy

If you are feeling down about being alone for the holidays, get out your wallet and spend some of that money you were able to save as a travel nurse and treat yourself to some retail therapy. Walk around the mall and enjoy being a customer in your favorite stores. Treat yourself to a nice meal after all of your shopping and enjoy being surrounded by other customers instead of staying home alone. 

Moving to a new city every few months can be exciting, but it is natural to feel lonely when you are away from friends and family during the holiday season. 

This article reviews several options to help you enjoy Thanksgiving as a travel nurse. Our travel nurse recruiters at Health Carousel Travel Nursing understand what life can be like as a travel nurse and are always here to listen to your concerns and provide support as well as help you search for an assignment closer to home for the holidays. 

Lauren Rivera

Author Bio

Lauren Rivera BSN, RNC-NIC is a certified neonatal intensive care nurse. She serves as a nurse expert for a mother/baby telehealth company, and develops content for various nursing sites and fellow healthcare providers.

Share this post
Health Carousel Travel Nursing

Find the Travel Job that’s Right for You

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!

Woman standing with suitcase looking out at the city