By August 26, 2009 0 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: What should I do with my house when I am a travel nurse?


Another nurse, with whom I work, was thinking about giving travel nursing a try and asked what I did about my home when I traveled.

If you have been a nurse for awhile, there is a good possibility that you have invested in some sort of home. Whether it is a condo or a house, having either does not mean that you are unable to travel. Plus, there can be some very nice benefits to owning a home and being a travel nurse.

Despite owning a large condo in Ohio, I still continue to travel anywhere from six to eleven months out of the year.  To leave a home sit empty for a few months is not a big deal, but to have a home that will be vacant for six to twelve months at a time takes some forethought.

How much attention you will need to devote to you home while away on a travel assignment will depend on the area of the country in which your home is located. Ohio has the best to offer in regard to weather extremes. It can be hot and muggy in the summer, rainy in the spring, and freezing cold in the winter. All these forces of nature can take their toll on a home and if yours is located in such a state, you will need to have someone take care of the maintenance while you are on the road.

The easiest imposition by far is that of relatives. Dear old mom or dad will be happy to take care of things for you, won’t they? While relatives and friends can ease some of the burden, too large an imposition can strain relationships. It is best to budget for being able to pay people for the work they will do in maintaining your home for you. Not all those who help take care of your home need to be professionals, but you should be able to compensate those who devote time to maintaining your home.

To own a condo takes away some of the burden because I know that the grass will always be mowed and the streets will be cleared in the winter (by my condo association). However, I still have my father check in on things when Ohio has a spell of bad weather.

If you have friends or family that can keep an eye on things, it always helps ease some of the stress of leaving your home sit vacant. If not, hire those that can tend to the maintenance while you are away. Also always remember to forward your mail and cancel any paper deliveries that might tip people off that you are not at home. Lastly, consider an alarm system for added peace of mind (and also a deduction on your homeowner’s insurance).

In my next post, we’ll talk about some of the advantages of owning a home when you travel.

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About the Author:

Hello everyone. I’m a travel nurse originally from Ohio who graduated in 1993 from Mount Carmel School of Nursing in Columbus. I completed a critical care fellowship at Riverside Methodist Hospital in 1994 and started traveling in that specialty a year later. My first travel assignment was in Maui and since that time I have completed close to 40 different contracts in various states with multiple travel companies. I am the author of Travel Nurse’s Bible (A Guide to Everything on Travel Nursing), in addition to my writings here and in the pages of Travel Nursing publications such as Healthcare Traveler Magazine and American Nurse Today. I am presently on assignment in Phoenix, AZ and travel anywhere from six to eleven months of the year.

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  1. Epstein says:

    I own a home in Idaho, and before we leave, we call the water department and they come out and fully shut the water off to the house. This prevents any extended water damage occuring, along with leaving the heater on at 50 degrees to prevent the house from getting too cold and causing more winter damage.

    Talk to your newspaper office and they may have a free service where they will mail your newspaper to you while on assignment. If you are a snowbird and go south for the winter, the post office will forward your mail free of charge for up to six months. If you are going to be away for more than 6 months, then they have a paid program in which you can participate in.

    Remember that if you do leave in the summer and have to make arrangements for lawn care while gone, this is all tax deductible.

  2. las vegas says:

    I went to the post office (I am not a nurse by the way) because I travel a lot for work. Weeks at a time. I asked them to STOP delivery of any and all junk mail. And what they did was hand me a photocopy of a few companies and told me that if I wanted to stop the junk mail I had to call each of the advertisers and tell them not to send me any more mail! why? Because the Post Office is NOT concerned with service they are concerned with making money. And yes they will hold mail, but what a pain going back and forth and all the waiting to get them to stop each time I have to travel. My solution was to get a giant recycling garbage can and I have my neighbor keep my real mail (Any that makes it through as I have a post office box for most of it) and just toss it all in the recycling bin. I don’t like to advertise that I am not home by having an overflowing mail box.

  3. Annika says:

    Even if neighbour/friend/relative can pop around some days while you’re traveling can be great as they would be able to look over the property and it doesn’t seem inviting for possible burglars 😉

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