Working part time as a traveller?

  1. Hi All, First time posting here, like many others I'm thinking of travelling. Am wondering how realistic it is to only want to do 1 or 2 assignments per year, during the winter months? I've been a nurse since 1985 and I'm trying to partially retire (YEA!) I don't know how an agency would feel about that...

    Also, ideally, I would like to stay fairly close to home, maybe 6 hours away. I'm in central Washington state, so that would certainly include Seattle. I wouldn't mind going into Oregon and Idaho. I suppose an agency would prefer more flexibility?

    I'm most familiar with telemetry, but would be able to do medsurg as well. So not exactly a high demand specialty area, which may be a further limitation.

    What do you think? Might there be something out there for me? Or do I need to lower my expectations?
    Last edit by Joe V on Aug 10, '12 : Reason: spacing
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    About achyfeet

    Joined: Aug '12; Posts: 3


  3. by   NedRN
    Lots of travelers work only one or two assignments a year, often staying per diem at their local hospital. This is a lot easier to do seasonally, like going to Florida for the winter. Staying in your local area probably means no recurring assignments based on season.

    You don't even need to be a traveler. Just sign on with the hospital of interest as a per diem, and get on the schedule for the period you want. This is not possible at all hospitals, so you will have to shop around. Ultimately, you will have to prove your worth to them, or they will not give you a schedule. Same is true as a traveler interested in a recurring assignment at the same hospital every year.

    Think about flying farther afield. Working three month assignments is a great way to enjoy a local area more thoroughly than you can on a couple weeks vacation, such as Hawaii for example. It is much more comfortable in an apartment actually living there, than in a hotel for a vacation. Working in different locales will make you more interesting personally, and grow you professionally (maybe not what you want at the end of your career of course).
  4. by   Reigen
    You will still have the house you rpurchased as the primary residence, thus you will minatin and return to that home when your contract assignment is finished. You will have a tax home. Just because your work requires you to be in a different location for your job, you will still have your home. See below for more information about the "tax home."

    Assignment housing

    If travel agencies provide housing it usually consists of a one bedroom furnished apartment although other options can be arranged. Utilities (electric, water, trash) may be included. Telephone, cable TV and sometimes Internet service can be included. Housing often includes basic furnishings and may include a washer and dryer, dishwasher and a microwave but this must be clarified during negotiations. Many companies also provide housewares, which include pots, dishes, utensils and linens.

    The housing is typically arranged by the travel nursing agency in the company name. Some companies allow the travel nurse to participate in the search and selection process. Some parts of the country are much harder to secure reasonable housing than others.

    Nearly all agencies will offer a housing stipend if the nurse chooses to secure housing independently of the agency. Stipend amounts can be very substantial - often higher than the actual wages - and these may be provided tax free if the traveler has a qualifying tax home. The stipend is attractive to travelers who prefer to obtain their own housing, those who travel in RVs, and to those simply trying to maximize their income and who are able to secure inexpensive housing. Some companies require the traveler to take the housing stipend. The housing stipend or the value of the provided housing will be taxed as part of the pay if the traveler does not have a qualifying tax home.

    There may be tax benefits, commonly called "Tax Advantage" or "Per Diem" pay, if the traveler maintains a "tax home" while working and living away from that home. The tax-free reimbursement covers meal and incidentals as well as lodging. Some companies only offer the tax free lodging component, while others provide both. A "tax home" is a dwelling that you live in, maintain and return to between assignments. You must have living expenses at your tax home that you duplicate because your business requires you to be away from that home.

    Tax-free money is a complicated subject and many travel companies have little understanding of the tax implications for the traveler, often encouraging travelers who do not qualify to take it, leaving them at risk in an IRS audit. It is highly advisable to consult a travel tax expert prior to accepting tax free money.
  5. by   achyfeet
    Thank you both for your replies; I find it encouraging that other people do just a couple of assignments yearly!
    I checked into per diem, but unfortunately not available locally so far. I have a home and acreage that I enjoy taking care of, which is why I'd like to just work a bit during the winter months. And I have animals that I would not be able to take with me, so kind of limiting - I'd like to be able to go home on my days off. Time (scheduling and travel time) are a priority to me, less than say money is. Altho I must say the stipend thing sounds attractive and might work to my advantage.
    Sounds like good advice about the tax issue, I'd definitely have my advisor look at that!
    After your replies I feel like I can contact some companies without being afraid they'd laugh me out of the office I wouldn't mind travelling further afield because I love to travel, take trips as often as I can. But can't right now
    In a few months when my chores are caught up and I'm back from vacation I'll probably contact some companies (and this forum!) for more info.
    Thanks again - great forum.
  6. by   NedRN
    There are tax advantages to traveling away from home. But don't get too excited, they are meant to cover duplicated expenses that you would not have incurred if you had stayed at home. For example, housing. You have that paid now! You will have that additional "duplicated" expense if you go traveling. The IRS calls per diem "Meals and Incidental Expenses" and they are supposed to cover the additional costs of restaurant meals (versus eating at home) when you are away from home.

    This is not the primary reason to work away from home. If you don't want to travel, you won't find the tax benefits advantageous in the least.
  7. by   achyfeet
    Good points Ned; like I said, primary reason for travel nursing would be the ability to work more when I want and to be home when I need to. I doubt if I would earn enough working part time to have to worry much about taxes anyway But it is nice to know that duplicate expenses would possibly be covered as well...I can live and travel very cheaply, that's why I say a stipend might be to my advantage. Except in Seattle, the cost of living is comparably high there, altho nothing like SF or NYC!

    Maybe at some point I could travel farther out. I've already been to all the lower 48 states, many major US cities and 8 other countries (soon to be 11 after upcoming vaca!) I do like to travel! I used to have a friend who did travel nursing; she hardly ever would go out and do any exploring, just would go to work, back to her apartment, then work again. Don't understand that, I would be out and about, sightseeing.