By February 23, 2011 1 Comments

Ask a Travel Nurse: How do I ship my stuff and negotiate a rental car?


Travel nurse on moving dayAsk a Travel Nurse Question:

David, I need some advice. I am planning a cross country assignment in Alaska, I live in Tennessee. What is the best way to handle negotiating a rental car needed that far away from home??

And how would you ship boxes of things you will need for the 3 months if it is so far you have to fly to get there?

Do agencies ever cover things as these and how do i ask without begging????

Ask a Travel Nurse Answer:

The first thing you need to know is if you will even require a rental car. What do you know about the area? What do you know about the hospital? Where will you be staying and how far will it be from there to the hospital? All of these things should factor into your decision.

Determine if you will need a rental car at all and then determine whether you need one the entire time or just when you will be working to get to and fro. Your travel company should be able to arrange a rental for you, but nothing in life is free. You will certainly see a lower hourly rate to compensate for that expense.

See how your travel company plays it. Tell them you will need a rental car while you are there and see what they say. Even if they are not willing to provide one for you, it might be an excuse to ask for a higher rate. You might say, “Well, $27 an hour is ok, but I’m definitely going to need a rental car”.  If they respond by saying, that is something that you will have to provide on your own, then you come back and say, “Then $27 an hour is just not going to cut it”. Nothing about a travel contract should be written in stone. If they wont budge, tell them you’ve spoken with another agency that does offer rental cars to their travelers. You’d be surprised what a company can accomplish once they think you might take a contract with someone else.

You will also want to see if you even need a car. Alaska has dramatically different areas. If you are in a big city, maybe mass transit might be the way to go. If it’s just a small town or village, then you might even be able to walk to work. Also, if there is enough to do locally, maybe you only need transport 3 days a week while working. In that case, a taxi might be the way to go. Research the area and find out what is available. Also, ask your recruiter if they have any other travelers that have worked, or are currently working, at that facility and if they can put you in contact with them to see what they do (or did) for transportation.

As for shipping, it’s as easy as the post office. When I worked in Hawaii, I had all of my diving equipment (that weighs quite a bit) and all I did was pack it in a box about one foot by one foot that stood about three feet high. I can’t recall, but I’d say it was a good $50-$60 to ship. However, I was on the island for about 10 months, so I did get the use out of it. Plus, this helps you decide what things are “MUST HAVES” while on assignment.

You could also take an extra suitcase or two, but might end up paying more to the air carrier than you would the post office.

You might also pack up another box of items you might need or want should you stay longer. Have the box ready to ship and then have a parent or friend ship it to you.

Long distance assignments do pose challenges, but if you plan accordingly, they need not be any different than any other assignment.

Hope this helps.

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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.

1 Comment on "Ask a Travel Nurse: How do I ship my stuff and negotiate a rental car?"

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  1. Deborah Felix says:

    I am nervous about travel nursing. For one, I am not the most social person, but I do get along with people. I have never traveled so this is all new to me. I do not know how to negotiate a deal since I am new at this and do not know my rights. What are some good companies that you recommend? and what to expect? How can I get a car and house accommodation? Thank you.

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