How to Maximize Travel While Being a Nurse

Overlooking Ljubljana
Share Me!

I was bit with the travel bug while I was still in college quite some time ago.  I found myself in class daydreaming of far off places that I had only seen in the movies.  Very quickly realized that travels don’t fund themselves and in order to live the life I wanted (jumping from one vacation to the next), I would need a job to fund my dreams of traveling.  So I set off on searching for a career that would allow me to maximize travel while working.

Biking through Alsace, France

As much search began, I quickly found a passion for helping others and realized I excelled in all of my science courses.  I suddenly became interested in nursing.  Not only did the human body fascinate me, but I was also inspired by what nurses do day in and day out. The cherry on top of it all was realizing that by becoming a nurse I could easily live out my dream of frequently traveling. Of course, there are pros and cons to every profession, and I would not recommend going into nursing just for the days off.  However, if you do choose to become a nurse there are multitudes of ways to maximize your time off so that you too can live out your dreams of travel.


Eight Days Off in a Row

For starters, nurses can take eight days off, in a row, without using any PTO!  In order to do this, you have to schedule yourself at the beginning of week one and the end of week two.  For example – I would schedule myself Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.  And the following week I would schedule myself Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  These eight days off do not include the allotted PTO that we receive.  Each hospital differs, but typically you can earn an average of 12 days off in a one-year period; (one day per month).  That eight-day vacation just turned into a 20-day vacation!  If you are planning on going abroad, but don’t think eight days is long enough, try to take one or two days of PTO.  You don’t have to use an entire week of PTO to leave the US.  For example – take two days of PTO.  Week one you will work on Sunday and on week two you will work Thursday, Friday, Saturday.  You now have 10 days off!  Plenty of time to explore the hidden caves off of Scotland’s coast or stuff your face with tapas under the Spanish sun.

To maximize your eight days off, make sure to check out my series – The Eight Day Vacay, to get ideas on where to head for your next vacation!

Travel Nursing

If you crave even more than that?  Consider travel nursing.  Travel nurses typically sign a 13-week contract and that’s it!  Not only do you get 13 weeks to explore places within the USA and outlying territories, but you also get unlimited time off. Feeling burned out?  Take one, two, or even 10 weeks off between contracts!


For tips on how to land your dream travel nurse position, click here.



The third way to leverage nursing into travel is to volunteer.  In 2017 I landed a volunteer position with Project Hope in Macedonia. I volunteered in the hospital Monday-Friday, which left me with the weekends to explore!  Before I knew it I had used my career in nursing to visit eight countries in a 10-week period!  I had suddenly visited La Sagrada Família, eaten sachertorte in Vienna, fell in love with Lake Bled, and partied with strangers – that turned into friends – at Springfest in Munich.

Children's Hospital Skopje, Macedonia

The bottom line is, find what you’re passionate about and go for it.  I found a career that I love and found a way to make the most of it in order to travel, which I also love.  Nursing is a hard, but rewarding profession.  It is important to remember to take care of yourself and take time off as needed.  To get away and travel can heal your soul in more ways than you can imagine.

I’m curious, how do people in other professions maximize their travel while still working?  Let me know in the comments below!


Share Me!

Kylee splits her time between being a NICU nurse and solo traveler. Spending half her time at the bedside, Kylee has been caring for premature babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for five years now. She began Passports and Preemies in 2017 to reach nurses and advocate for the prevention of nurse burnout by traveling. Kylee is the original creator of the “8 Day Vacay” – A vacation geared towards nurses aiming to take advantage of the potentially 8 days off between work weeks with no need to use PTO.

Find me on: Web | Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *