Much of the cost of working as a healthcare traveler is covered by your staffing service: Your housing, meals, transportation, etc.
But there are some things that you’ll be required to pay for yourself. Read below for some tips on how to handle these “hidden” costs of working as a traveling healthcare professional.
- While your staffing service will cover most – if not all – of your housing expenses, this usually is so only if you accept its offer of paid-for housing. If you decide you’d rather find your own place to live, the staffing service will give you a generous housing stipend. However, if you opt for housing that’s more expensive than your stipend, it’s up to you to pay the difference. This can be problematic if you’re still paying rent or a mortgage back home. Budget carefully.
- The same goes for food. Your staffing service often provides a per diem for such out-of-pocket expenses as food, cab fare, etc. But it may not be enough to cover everything. Ask what the stipend is upfront and then be prepared to make some decisions. A $20 lunch every day may not be in the cards, but a Subway sandwich? Healthy and affordable!
- Your staffing service will help pay for your travel expenses to and from your assignment. The stipend usually is a set amount and should be enough for you to get where you need to go. However, if the cost of your travel is more than your stipend, you may be responsible for the difference. Talk to your staffing manager.
- Shipping must-have items that are too large for a suitcase or the back of your car? If there are some things you just have to have with you at all times, you may have to pay to have them shipped to you. Whether you’re driving yourself or taking a plane/train, know upfront what you must take with you, and then decide if you really do have to have them with you because shipping can be costly. If the answer is yes, check out bus lines such as Greyhound for shipping the items. Shipping items by bus can be a lot more affordable than by the post office, UPS/FedEx or some other shipper.
- Sightseeing expenses such as the cost of admission, plus food, souvenirs, etc. Just as when you go on vacation, these types of costs are also your responsibility.
- Related to sightseeing costs is the that of staying in your assignment city should you want to do so for a period of time before or after your assignment. Talk to your staffing service: It may be able to put you up in an apartment if your planned stay is for less than a week, but that cost may be in your corner. As with any vacation, accommodations could very well be up to you, as will food, gas, etc.
- Costs associated with bringing your family or spouse with you are also your responsibility. Your staffing service may be able to find housing that will accommodate your family, but if not, the housing stipend given to you probably will only be the equivalent of the stipend for a single traveler. Talk to your staffing manager prior to your assignment to find out what may or may not be available and how much of a stipend you can expect.