5 Factors to Consider Before Securing a Travel Nurse Assignment

5 Factors to Consider Before Securing a Travel Nurse Assignment

Travel nursing is a great career for nurses who are looking to earn more income, explore professional opportunities, travel to interesting places, and network with other healthcare professionals. Due to COVID-19, the demand for travel nurses is at an all-time high. If you have been considering travel nursing, take a look at the following five factors when evaluating your next assignment.

Travel nurse salary 

If you specialize in the emergency room, intensive care, or labor and delivery areas, you can make up to $12,000 a week in large Metropolitan areas. Not all contracts pay such a high rate, but  current data shows that travel nurses make an  average of $51 per hour compared to staff nurses’ rate of $38 per hour. Now is the time to capitalize on the financial incentives offered to travel nurses—particularly if your goal is to increase your salary. 

In addition to your salary earnings, you can collect sign-on, referral, and extension bonuses. Travel nurse agencies will also reimburse you for the continuing education and certification costs required for your travel nurse contract. Taking advantage of free education money is awesome and will help you keep up with the latest nursing care trends. There are many ways to maximize your earning power, so don’t hesitate to ask for what you want and need.

Contract Specifications 

Your travel nurse salary will not only depend on pay rates and demand. Contract length, location, shift, and weekly time commitment will also play a role. Crisis contracts are usually short four to six-week contracts paid at a high pay rate. They require a commitment of 36-48 hours per week and need to be filled immediately. If you want to submit for a crisis contract, be sure to have all of your credentialing and medical paper ready for submission as these fill up quickly.

During the contract negotiation phase, ensure that the details of the contract fit your specifications on items like base pay rate, overtime rate, bonuses, stipends, contract dates, pay schedule, and requested time off. The best time to request time off is during submission of your application, so be honest and transparent with your availability. Contract negotiations are a vital component of travel nursing so if you are unsure about the terms, ask someone!


As a travel nurse, you are eligible for company-provided housing or a stipend that can be used for rental and living expenses. Whichever housing you choose, be familiar with IRS tax rules around housing stipends as well as tax home requirements. It is also beneficial to work with a tax preparer who is knowledgeable about your unique situation and how to navigate IRS travel nurse rules.

The process of finding your own housing can be time-consuming, but it’s well worth the effort if you find an option that costs less than your allocated stipend. Be aware of housing offers that sound too good to be true, as they probably are. Some landlords ask for first and last month’s rent, which can be a large sum of money at one time.

Cash Flow

Travel nurse salaries are variable with definitive pay dates, so cash flow planning is a powerful way to reduce financial stress. Lume is a banking institution for nurses and can serve  travel nurses to support their unique financial needs. It is a great advantage to have a banking partner that truly understands the travel nurse pay and lifestyle.

One of Lume’s cool features is “on-demand pay.” Rather than waiting for your Friday paycheck to pay bills, you can cash out your funds after you complete a shift. How convenient  is that? Having financial flexibility and options with your banking institution is essential to cash flow and budgeting for every nurse.


A key factor for many travel nurses is location. Have you thought about your ideal travel nursing destinations? Investigating potential assignment facilities can be a time-intensive task. Thankfully, Lume provides a salary and review data bank. This provides you with information about the facility, staffing ratio, job conditions, and salary history. When securing an assignment, the goal is to be happy where you are working and living. Therefore, it’s important to get specific about what your ideal situation looks like.

Travel nursing is a great opportunity to explore new avenues in your nursing career. With a little effort and preparation, you will be sure to have a memorable travel experience. Plus, partnering with a banking institution like Lume will help you with your financial goals. Sign up today for Lume’s waiting list to start taking advantage of all their nurse financial incentives.

Melissa Mora, BSN

Melissa Mora, BSN, RNC-OB, is a second career nurse with over 7 years of nursing experience specifically in obstetrics, gynecology, neonatal care and informatics. Melissa also has more than 10 years of small business management and leadership experience and currently owns PeakRN.com which provides professional nursing development and content writing services. She and her husband Ryan are originally from San Antonio, TX but now spend most of their time in the Eastern Sierra Nevadas.


Answering questions related to all things nursing and money.