The Pros and Cons of a Traveling Team
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When healthcare professionals are considering travel, they often question the possibility of traveling with a partner. When I first started traveling occupational therapy, I was traveling with my best friend who was also an OT. Looking back, I definitely believe starting with a travel partner was the best way for me to jump into the travel therapy world. Also in hindsight, I realize it can be very difficult to travel as a travel team long term. It’s ideal for most to travel around with a partner, but is it really worth it? Here are the benefits and drawbacks I found from traveling as a team.
One big pro to traveling as a team is decreased expenses on rent and bills. If you go the traditional short-term (typically pricey) housing route, it saves you tons of money to have a partner to split the bill. A two bedroom is typically not twice as much as a single bedroom thus you are still saving money even tho you have to move up in square footage. A travel team can even save more money if they get creative with splitting a one bedroom.
An adventure partner
When I was traveling with my friend, we had so much fun! It is much easier to go out and explore when you have a familiar face by your side. We went to every bar/event in the towns we were exploring and on weekends we explored every inch of our location that we could. I definitely believe that I experienced more, and was more outgoing in a new place because I had a good friend with me.
A confidant for those really crappy days
Working as a travel healthcare professional can be really stressful at times. More often than not, these job assignments are not ideal and we are thrown into the job the first day. I do not think I would have made it my first 13-week assignment without my best friend who understood exactly what I was going through. We figured how to navigate the travel therapy world together and it would have been much more difficult without her. Read more about my ridiculous first day of work here.
Traveling can be an awesome experience with a partner, but always traveling with someone can inhibit you. A codependence can start to develop and you can find yourself missing out on certain experiences that you would be able to do if you were by yourself. There is something special about traveling alone and putting yourself out of your comfort zone, and it’s something I think everyone should experience.
In my opinion, this is the ultimate downside of working as a travel team. It can be difficult to find an assignment that is ideal for you, let alone finding two in a reasonable distance from each other. On my second assignment with my best friend we waited around for a bit and finally landed two assignments in the same town in west Texas. Somewhere along our road trip to Texas, I got a phone call that my job had canceled my contract. My friend’s job was still good to go so we now found the daunting task of trying to find me another 13-week contact within 100 miles of my friend’s job. This was also rural Texas with not many surrounding towns. I waited around for 3 weeks and it was super stressful! For our next assignment we couldn’t find anything together in the states we were licensed. My friend then got a permanent job offer in her hometown and traveling as a team just didn’t seem to be feasible for us anymore, thus we went our separate paths. Since then, I have been by myself and it has been significantly easier to find jobs in better locations and settings.
Over the past few years, the only real exception to my cons I have seen is traveling couples. Couples who are PTs, OTs, or a combination of both seem to have more options. This is mostly because one can pick up the slack if the other cannot find a job. I have heard of one taking on a full-time assignment while the other picks up per diem in the area. It doesn’t seem as stressful when one can cover for the other financially. This is obviously less feasible to do this for two friends traveling together.
Should you travel as a team?
If you have someone that is willing to travel as well, I say give it a try. In order to make it work, you would have to be extremely flexible on setting and location. If being alone is holding you back, then attempting to travel with a partner is a great way to break into traveling healthcare. If it becomes difficult to find a job together there is always the option of going on separate assignments. Therefore, there is not really any risk in attempting to travel with a partner.
Have you ever traveled as a team, would you recommend?
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