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10 Best Travel Nursing Destinations

You’ve got the whole country waiting for you. Here are TotalMed's picks for the top 10 travel nursing destinations.
06/11/2024 | 5 minutes to read

You’ve got the whole country waiting for you as a travel nurse. And such awesome freedom can be a bit overwhelming -- how do you narrow down the ideal place to travel next? Here are TotalMed's picks for the top 10 travel nursing destinations.

10. New York, New York

There’s a reason so many movies begin with shots of the New York City skyline -- it’s the stuff that legends are made of. No matter what your interests -- bfrom cutting-edge theater to five-star restaurants to top-tier sports -- New York has something for everyone.

A 13-week travel nursing gig is a great way to get a taste of all the city has to offer. You’ll have a good salary to fuel your fun, too -- the average annual pay for a travel nurse in New York is $74,000, one of the highest rates in the nation.

9. Anchorage, Alaska

If you travel to New York to be surrounded by the constant hum of people, you might choose Anchorage next for a little peace and quiet. Though it’s the most populous city in Alaska, it still affords the privacy and spaciousness many associate with Alaska.

This Last Frontier also has a burgeoning healthcare system that relies on travel nurses as it grows. This means a diverse spectrum of specialties are often in high demand in Anchorage.

8. Las Vegas, Nevada

When you think of Las Vegas, you likely think of the Strip, that gambler’s paradise, lined with larger-than-life casinos, all-you-eat buffets, and over-the-top musical performances. But Las Vegas is more than high rollers, lobster tails, and Britney Spears. It offers a gorgeous desert landscape, a thriving arts scene, and the friendly, interesting folks who live there year-round.

Nevada ranks second-to-last in number of nurses per capita, meaning it’s a travelers’ paradise, too. Full of opportunity, Vegas also has a lower cost of living than the national average, which means your nursing salary will go far (and even more so if you tend to get lucky on the slots!).

7. Madison, Wisconsin

Madison often tops lists of the best places in the US to live -- and it’s no surprise. From its commitment to being a cyclers’ city to its green initiatives, from its booming housing development to its craft beer scene, Madison makes the good life easy.

It makes good healthcare easy, too. A hotbed of the healthcare industry, Madison generally hasn’t had to worry about nursing shortages -- until recently. In 2015, for the first time in five years, Wisconsin has an RN hospital workforce vacancy rate of greater than four percent—a more than 15 percent increase from just one year earlier.

What’s more, Wisconsin is one of 25 states, along with Arizona and Texas, that have compact nursing licenses, making it a great place to consider not just for a travel gig but for your permanent residence, too.

6. Tucson, Arizona

Unless you have family or friends who live there, Tucson might not have been the first place you thought of traveling to. In fact, that’s part of why it’s appealing -- this active desert city, surrounded by gorgeous mountain ranges, is a well-kept secret. Be sure to bring your SPF 30 -- it’s one of the sunniest cities in America.

The prospects look pretty bright for travel nurses, too -- Arizona ranks 47th in nurses per capita. The state-of-the-art hospitals in Tucson will certainly need your expertise.

5. Burbank, California

Burbank is home to some major star power, but it’s not just for celebrities anymore. With a population of just a little over 100,000, you can get the best of both worlds -- the access to the cultural attractions and culinary feats of Los Angeles while enjoying the smaller-town feel of beautiful Burbank.

California is popular on this list -- it has the highest average salary for nurses and one of the lowest number of nurses per capita in the nation. This means that travel nurses are always in high demand and handsomely rewarded for their work. Burbank is no exception.

4. Austin, Texas

Austin ranked 2nd in the list of 50 best places to live in the US and gains about 50 new residents each day. Not your typical Texan city, Austin residents frequently boast bumper stickers urging folks to “Keep Austin Weird.” It’s the live music mecca of the U.S., so if you are interested in seeing your favorite bands play under the big Texas skies, this is the city for you.

And like California, Texas boasts one of the lowest numbers of nurses per capita and a strong average salary. You can expect to earn $1,600 take home per week in Austin.

3. San Antonio, Texas

Not to be beat, San Antonio is another major contender if you’ve got your eyes on Texas living. It is home to the breathtaking RiverWalk, year-round sunshine, and some of the best Tex-Mex food in the nation.

As in Austin, you can expect your wages to make you happier than a nice margarita does. The average travel nurse earns $1,600 take home per week in San Antonio.

2. San Jose, California

San Jose is welcoming to the young, the old, and everyone in between. Though San Jose is often overshadowed by San Francisco, Berkeley, and Santa Cruz nearby, it is an easy city to live in with a lot to offer its residents. Its stellar transportation system will connect you to whatever your heart desires: killer hockey games, strange but delicious donuts, or a lovely farmers market.

It ties with San Francisco for some of the top travel nursing salaries in the state. Further, its cost of living is much more reasonable than San Francisco’s, meaning in San Jose, you can benefit from all San Francisco has to offer, while saving some money for your next adventure, too.

1. San Francisco, California

San Francisco is known as “Everybody’s Favorite City” because of its picturesque location, its diverse cultures, its fine food scene, and so much more. When travel nursing in San Francisco, you’ll spend your days off lounging in Golden Gate Park, hiking the foothills, or simply walking the beautiful streets.

If you end up leaving your heart in San Francisco after a travel nursing gig, you won’t be alone. Plenty of nurses fall in love with the city, due to its wealth of travel nursing gigs and high salary. While California is known for offering some of the highest travel nursing salaries in the nation, San Francisco is the crème de la crème, and where you can expect $2,000+ take home per week.

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