So, one of the topics I planned on talking about for traveling nurses and people who travel full time or travel a lot are housing options. Really I can only speak to two options- living in an RV and taking company housing. Not all people who travel full time have the option to take company housing because company housing may not be available to them. So that may be more for the travel nurses out there.
So…. we bought a 2012 Coachman Freelander 32 foot bunkhouse. We shopped around for awhile because we knew exactly what we wanted and we looked in a specific price range. We decided on the ‘driveable RV’ because we thought it would be more comfortable for the kids. We didn’t have to stop for potty breaks and I could get up and make lunch with not interruption of the driving. Another factor was cost. To buy a fifth wheel we would have had to buy a new truck to tow it as well and that would have far exceeded what we were willing to pay. Our patience paid off and we bought our RV with less and 20,000 miles on it. It is in great shape.
So, we bought our RV and we drove from SC to Arizona. I believe that drive took six days. My husband drives the RV and we tow our van on a car dolly. Well, Jay was stressed out prior to the drive. He was stressed out on the drive. He was stressed boondocking at WalMart. He stresses that something will go wrong- mechanically, an accident in traffic, a wrong turn down a tiny road….. Are you sensing a current theme. Well, we made it to Arizona- none of those bad things happened. He did well and he has eased up a bit.
From Arizona we drove to Washington. From Washington we drove to California. From California we drove back to SC. So he has gotten quite a bit of practice in driving it, but I think the moral of the story is that he just does not like to drive the RV. He never wants to stop anywhere along the way- he wants to get from point A to point B- no veering from the off the path, no side trips, etc. And it sounds like I’m being tough on him, but I’m not. He doesn’t enjoy driving it and I’ve always told him with all this traveling stuff that if he isn’t happy or something just isn’t working we will regroup and try something different.
Also, aside from the actually driving part, because that’s a big part, but only a part of the whole experience, we have been discussing the financial piece of using the RV for a living space for traveling. Things we’ve discussed- does the gas, insurance, taxes, RV payment and lot rent cost less than just taking company housing through my nursing agency? Well, the most truthful answer would be that I don’t know exactly. I’m willing to be that you may break about even, especially by factoring the cost of gas, along with maintenance and repairs, along with everything else. But I would need to go back and calculate all of that to tell you for sure (I may do that at some point).
So, in January we decided to try out housing. When I say housing I am referring to housing that my company arranges. We added a trailer hitch to our van, rented a 5X8 U-Haul trailer and loaded it up with all our stuff for the next thirteen weeks. We drove to Florida a few days before my assignment began and moved our stuff in. The furniture was delivered to the apartment before our arrival. We did not have to do anything but move in. The apartment was very nice with two bedrooms and two baths, pool, exercise and cardio room and beautiful tropical landscaping.
Once the assignment was finished in Florida we rented a U-Haul, packed our things inside and headed home. Some friends were staying in our RV while their home was being built, so we decided to take housing again. When it was time, we loaded up the U-Haul with all of our things and Headed to West Virginia.
Sometimes finding an RV spot was a real struggle. I was not free to accept a job offer until I had an RV site secured. It would have been very stressful to have a job in an area, but no where to park the RV. When we were submitting to jobs in Washington, I placed a $2oo deposit on a place in between Seattle and Tacoma. I had submitted for a couple of jobs between the two places and thought the likelihood of getting one would be high, so we took a gamble and placed the nonrefundable deposit knowing that this was one of the only sites we could find in that area. Well, I got a job in Yakima, about two hours away , so I lost that deposit. It happens. I can tell you though that we spent hours making calls, leaving messages, and stressing over getting an RV spot for the area where we were hoping to work.
With company housing all of that work is complete. I don’t have to make constant calls and stay attached to Google and my phone awaiting callbacks from RV parks for availability. No prep work for me. Also, with housing, the utilities and furniture rental are included. Also, the extra space is definitely a plus. I would say that is especially true in regards to the kitchen and bathroom.
When we came home after our Florida assignment we made the decision to go ahead and put the RV up for sale(it’s available if you are interested). We struggled with what the right decision, but in the end we decided that if it sells, it was meant to be and if it does not sell, we will use it again. If we sell it, we can always purchase another in the future if we desire. We love camping. We enjoy the atmosphere of the RV parks, but there are a lot of things we enjoy wit staying in an apartment as well.