Unlike traditional nurses, as a travel nurse, you work for a staffing agency instead of working directly for a hospital or care facility.  You typically work in one location for a brief period, generally 13 weeks or less, then you move on to the location of your next assignment which may be some distance away from your previous one.  Furthermore, you may be offered assignments in natural disaster areas which tend to experience a need for more RNs. For this reason, as a travel nurse you need to have a sturdy reliable vehicle if you plan to drive from destination to destination. 

There are several factors that you should consider when looking for a vehicle to suit your travel nursing needs to ensure that you make it to your destination safely and affordably.

Gas Mileage

As a travel nurse, you will probably have to travel significant distances in order to get to your destinations.  Thus, it is very important for you to consider gas mileage when purchasing a vehicle in order to save money and minimize the number of stops that you need to make along your route. Yet, a small car will not satisfy the need for space.  The Honda CR-V, Hyundai Kona, Subaru Crosstrek, and the Toyota CH-R are all moderately priced small SUVs which give you good gas mileage.

Vehicle History

When purchasing a used vehicle knowing its history ensures that it is safe and stable. A VIN check will let you know if a vehicle has been involved in prior accidents and damage repairs. Furthermore, doing a vin number owner lookup is important. It is also important for you to check the maintenance record to make sure that the previous owner maintained the car properly and that it is in great condition.


Being a travel nurse does require that you do a great deal of traveling. You need a vehicle which can hold all the belongings that you need to take on the road.  Like many travel nurses, ensuring that you can bring along everything that you need is crucial.  Hence, you many find a small SUV or a pickup truck with a covered truck bed to be among the best options to consider. 

Another vehicle that you may want to consider is a crossover which is a car with some of the roominess and features of an SUV such as a hatchback and seats that fold down to offer you more space.  These vehicles are also easier to maneuver if you are not used to driving an SUV or pickup truck. One of the best crossovers to consider is the Nissan Rogue which starts at under $25,000 and gets 26 miles per gallon in the city and 33 mpg on the highway.

Need for Maintenance

You need a vehicle that is in great condition and will stay that way period.  Any vehicle that may potentially break down or will need regular maintenance is unsuitable and will interfere with your ability to get to your destination on time and without expending a significant amount of money.  Thus, you may want to only consider vehicles that are less than six years old and do not have a lot of miles if purchasing a used vehicle. Additionally, you may want to purchase some extra coverage for your vehicle that covers maintenance because you may exceed the mileage of the manufacturer’s warranty.


Of course, you need to consider cost when you are in the market for a vehicle, but this factor is especially important for a travel nurse because leasing a vehicle is often impractical. This is because all leased vehicles charge for excess mileage and maintenance when they are returned.  As a travel nurse you may put a significant number of miles on your vehicle and be hit with whopping fees when you return a leased vehicle. Instead you should consider purchasing a new or mildly used vehicle in your price range.

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