The Cons of Travel Nursing No One Talks About

  • Travel nursing sounds glamorous-good pay, flexibility, and the best part, travelling, duh! 
  • The cons of travel nursing are less identifiable. Things like separation from friends and family, unfamiliar accommodations, and the unknown can leave one feeling empty and loneliness. 
  • Learn more, firsthand, of the cons of traveling nursing-what no one else talks about.

Sarah Kim


May 27, 2022
Simmons University

A big topic around nurses these days is becoming a travel nurse.  

As a travel nurse, you could have the option travel to different states, work in local hospitals or clinics, explore the surrounding areas, and most of all… get travel nurse pay.  

Especially when COVID-19 pandemic started back in 2020, the crisis pay contracts were paying quite well. With travel nurse contracts still at a pretty high rate, I want to dive into the cons of travel nursing that a nurse should consider as they are looking into travel contracts.  

For the nurses that have yet to start travelling, here are the cons of travel nursing. 


cons of travel nursing commuting

Duplicate Expenses

I have been a traveling nurse for a little over two years now, and there are many beginner travel nurses that still do not understand this concept. Duplicate expenses and taxes are definitely one of the cons of travel nursing. 

The role of a travel nurse is to… travel.  

Think of it as a business trip and you’re going out of town for 13 weeks. As a businessman or woman, you would save all your receipts or log them in and turn them in to your company to get reimbursed.  

As a travel nurse, you get a stipend for food and accommodation, which is usually non-taxed. This essentially works as a “reimbursement” in a business sense.  

So, before you jump in to travel nursing, think about what expenses you have at your home, AND about the expenses that you would occur while travel nursing such as accommodation, food, gas, rental cars, etc.  

In some cases, it is not worth it to go travel nursing because of the amount of expenses that may occur or the cost of living in of a certain area. Duplicate expenses is a con of travel nursing most do not recognize until they experience it. 

cons of travel nursing expenses


Don’t get me wrong, it is totally possible to travel with your children, husband, partner.  But in many situations, you will be separated for some time. 

With FaceTime and video calls being the norm, it helps a lot, but being away from home can suck at times. Are you willing to sacrifice being away? 

Separation remains of the biggest cons of traveling nursing for many.


You may have to get used to a new environment, especially where you sleep. It may be a hotel, a room in a house, or an entire house. I know some nurses do travel with their own camper or an RV, which it makes it so much better.  

However, in most cases travel nurses will stay in a hotel or a room/house for the entire  contract. It feels weird as you won’t have all your things that make it a home.  

If you’re not used to being in different places to sleep… it might be a struggle. You don’t have your decorations, kitchen appliances, or furniture that make it feel like home. 

cons of travel nursing loneliness

The Unknown

Another one of the cons of travel nursing regards the contracts. They can be risky. Your contract may get entirely canceled in the middle of your contract, you can have an unexpected pay cut, many companies do not have sick days (so if you are sick, it will be deducted from your paycheck).  

There are going to be plenty of unknowns within the travel nursing world. I have seen nurses get cancelled. Pay cuts out of the blue. Nurses pick up extra shifts so they can meet their contracted hours (if you are sick, in many cases you must make these hours up).  

In the travel nursing world, you take it week by week. 

cons of travel nursing contracts

The Bottom Line

It comes down to what you really want in your nursing career. Are you wanting to go into travel nursing for the money?  

Do the benefits outweigh the cons of travel nursing? Because the time that you’re away from your kids or family or your husband may not be worth the money. Do you want to travel nurse to see the world? In some cases, this might be a reasonable reason to leave a staff nurse job.  

Just think about it. Weigh out your options. There are pros and cons to every field in a job, but for the right reasons a change will be worth it… 

Love what you read?
Share our insider knowledge and tips!

Read More