September 24, 2019

10 Reasons to Do Travel Nursing with Your Family

Hospital ED Sign

My son is nine. Today we hiked up Camel’s Back in Boise, Idaho to watch the Hot Air Balloons take off at sunrise for their Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic. After that, we wrote for an hour together, played cards, built a rover from a kit, read, and designed “Team Kids” posters as part of a birthday gift for his cousin. Travel Nursing has given us so many days, moments, weeks, and years that we will forever remember as the greatest moments of our lives.

My husband is a nurse and in 2014 our son was four. I worked full time at a local high school and also coached various sports or helped out with various afterschool activities. As a nurse, Tim was obligated to work weekends, and often we wouldn’t see each other for very long stretches. And, once the open days would come, they would be filled with family obligations or other outside commitments. We made the decision to walk away from jobs we loved, families and friends we adored, and to sign up as a travel nurse family. Since that time, my husband has taken nine traveling contracts and we have lived in every part of the continental United States. We have camped in Yellowstone National Park, rode a riverboat on the Mississippi River, milked cows in Wisconsin, and kayaked with a pod of orca whales in Washington. None of these family memories would have been possible without Travel Nursing.

While not every day is perfect and there have been hiccups along the way, we are so happy we took a leap of faith and uprooted our family from the only place we have ever called home. We took off on an adventure of a lifetime, and we don’t regret it for one second. Thinking about Travel Nursing with your family? Check out the following ten reasons why you SHOULD travel nurse with your family.

1. Time together as a family

Shape your children

Face it, life gets busy. Jobs, friends, family, commitments to go places and do things can leave little time for you and your immediate loved ones. While on the road travel nursing, our family has been given a LOT of extra time together. Nurses typically work three twelve-hour shifts, which leaves four days each week to fill with whatever your family finds meaningful.

Some days we bask in the small things and just go for walks in the new area we are living in, or enjoy a game day together. Other days, we take off on some serious hiking, biking or another adventurous activity that is native to the area we are in.

2. Incredible experiences across this country

When you live in one place with full-time jobs, you are usually limited to one or two week long vacations throughout the year. As a travel nurse family we have been able to live in nine different states for three months at a time, experiencing so many extraordinary things across this country. Not to mention the time spent traveling to these destinations, which can be vacations in themselves. You choose your experience, you choose your destination. And, after three months, repeat again for more incredible fun!

3. Shapes your children

Shape your children

My child has recently been asked to be the Youth Ambassador for the Orangutan Alliance as a result of his efforts to get companies to stop using palm oil, as well as his work on educating others to be smart consumers. Without Travel Nursing, this would never have happened. As a Travel Nurse family, your child gets to experience learning opportunities that simply cannot be found in a school setting.

They learn adaptability as they travel to new places and meet new people. My son is kind, outgoing, intelligent, and understands a lot about the world as a result of him being a Travel Nurse child. My favorite things about travel nursing are the opportunities and experiences my son has had as a result of this profession.

4. You meet incredible people

This country is full of so many wonderful people that we met during our time in this profession. Living in every part of the continental United States, we have been fortunate to meet all types of people from all walks of life and backgrounds. During our three months in San Antonio, Texas, we lived within an hour of my cousin and his family. We spent an entire fall with them watching football games, enjoying sleepovers and eating our first Thanksgiving away from Massachusetts. It felt like home. In Memphis, Tennessee we talked daily with the members of our building complex, who gave my son gifts for his birthday and remain in touch with us to this day. Down in Sarasota, Florida, I met one of the most inspirational humans I have ever had the pleasure of being around, Javier Torres, a boxing instructor who has left a lasting impression on me. Nina, a co-worker at our Idaho contract, invited us to her house for a look at farm life in Idaho, and a fun day of adventure with her and her husband. Every day on our walks, no matter where we are in America, we pass by and interact with all kinds of people. We are thankful for their welcoming smiles, stories, and occasional hug or tear as we leave for the next destination.

5. Learn about the world/each other

Friends knowing each other

My son can name more than half the US state capitals. His sense of direction is impressive for an adult, never mind that he is only nine years old. The places we lived and the cities we visited provided an outstanding amount of opportunity for him to learn about the US, as well as the world.

Each day, we learn about these places together, thus learning more about each other. I wouldn’t change our special time together for anything. My son and I have a bond that will be forever strong. Our foundation was built as we traveled this country together, learning about ourselves through our experiences and travels.

6. Education that is unmatched

I am a certified Elementary Teacher with over fifteen years of academic experience teaching children of all ages and abilities from Pre-K to College. Teaching my child on the road and using the world as our classroom is by far the most outstanding and impactful education I have ever provided to any student. My son learned to read when he was four. He has been to The Space and Rocket Center in Alabama and spoke to a NASA scientist who was part of the team who put man on the moon. In Florida, we swam with manatees and learned about endangered species. In Memphis, he was introduced to the Civil Rights movement in this country, by visiting a house on the Underground Railroad, as well as touring the Civil Rights Museum that is located at The Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King was assassinated. He hiked in the Rainforest and we learned about the states of matter. This country has history and education in every corner. As a travel nurse family, the education you will give your child or children will be unmatched and unforgettable.

7. Live in different ways, which teaches flexibility and change

In Ipswich, Massachusetts we lived in a house on stilts because during high tide the Atlantic Ocean would occasionally creep under our temporary living space. This summer, we are residing in a tiny, adorable studio named “the treehouse” due to its slanted ceilings and small space. No matter what space we are in, we have been excited and loved it! As a family we get to change how we live and see how others get to live for the three months we are in a location. This teaches simplicity, flexibility and change to all members of your family. Searching and securing housing is one of our favorite activities and we are so grateful for the experiences we have had in every location. Due to the many resources available to nurses, it is very easy to know what to expect and to find what you want, thanks to websites like Furnished Finder who offer completely furnished, short-term housing to meet any traveler’s needs.

8. Share vacations with your family/friends

We have been extremely fortunate to have family visit in every location, and oftentimes we have had multiple visitors in places as well. In Memphis, we fed the giraffes with my brother and his friend at the zoo. During my in-laws’ vacation to Washington state, we had a magical day at Mt. St. Helens. Seeing this natural wonder together was truly something special. My father took his first airplane flight in over twenty years to spend time with us in beautiful Lake Geneva, where we had five days of non-stop laughter. Here in Idaho, I went paddle boarding in the sunshine with the mountains in the distance with my best friend. Every time we have a visitor, we are grateful to share in our adventures with our family and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Vacation with friends

9. Try new things together

My son is a very cautious child and has been since he was born. Travel Nursing has made him see the world and all the opportunities that exist to us. Watching him grow and learn on the road is such a beautiful thing for a parent, but for us, watching him step outside his comfort zone as we all take on new challenges together is inspiring. He jumped on an ATV and rode a horse for the first time in the same day. Seeing him jump backwards off a tiny ledge in New Hampshire and zipline across all by himself was both terrifying and exhilarating. He wouldn’t be this person without the experiences we have had as a traveling family.

10. IT’S FUN! You'll never get this time back, do it now!!

These are the best days of our lives. My husband and I often speak this phrase when discussing our Travel Nurse adventures. We have had so much fun. You will never get back this time with your children when they are young, and we could not be more thrilled with everything that Travel Nursing has given us. The bottom line is, it’s FUN! So. Fun. And, if you try it and don’t enjoy it, each contract is only three months long. You can stop whenever it is right for your family.

Get out there and live! Get out there and Travel Nurse together as a family.


Author Heather

Heather Dalton, Travel Nurse Blogger -
Travel Nurse Family

She is a certified Elementary Teacher with a Master's Degree in Education and a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. She has spent the last fifteen years working both privately and in the public school setting as a tutor for children in grades Pre-K through College. Currently, Heather enjoys working with her son academically, as well as her students, as she travels the country with her husband who is a travel nurse. Her husband, Tim, has over 11 years of experience as a nurse and has completed 9 travel assignments across the country. Follow their adventures on their blog at thetravelnursefamily.com