How to Pick a Travel Company

SarahTravel Therapy10 Comments

How to Pick a Travel Company: For Traveling Healthcare Professionals

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So you have decided to become a traveling healthcare professional ! Weee! Now what? Most traveling healthcare workers work with an agency, but there are SO many! How does anybody pick one? I wish I could tell you all that one company was the best but thats simply not the case. In truth, the “best” travel agency is dependent on a number of things. I really have not seen a huge difference between companies in terms of pay, but I have noticed that different companies have different connections. So for me, although there might be agencies I prefer, I really will go with whatever company can get me the job I want, when I want it. Here are some tips I have for picking a company.

A Trustworthy Recruiter is Key

frozen streets while on assignment in Anchorage, AK

Your own personality will cause you to “click” with different recruiters. I really don’t mesh well with aggressive personalities. If I say I need a day to think about it and I get two calls in one day, it makes me not want to work with that person. I have also experienced recruiters who have lied through their teeth and that’s never a good place to start. This has mostly happened when I am looking for a very specific job and the recruiter says they have it. I fill out the application and paperwork right away, but the job is gone by the time I finish, how convenient.

If a recruiter and healthcare professional relationship is based on a lie, it’s never going to be a good situation. Every recruiter I have ended up working with was always very upfront and honest with me, and I have always felt that they had my best interest in mind. Obviously, honestly is really important, I appreciate it when recruiters tell me,  “It’s going to be really difficult for to get a job here, how about here.” I appreciate the feedback and it makes me trust him/her more because I know I’m not just being told what my recruiter thinks I want to hear. After all, we are both trying to find work and earn money so we need to be honest and on the same page!


The travel therapy industry has changed a bit even since I started traveling four years ago, especially  regarding pay. Before, we had some idea of what type of compensation would come along with the job, but it was always conveyed after the offer for the job was made. Now, I have noticed a lot of jobs already have set weekly after tax pay before you even interview, which leaves less room for negotiation. As I said earlier, I have worked with a handful of companies since I started traveling and the pay has never been significantly different between companies, but rather the pay difference comes with location and setting. The most money I ever made was home health in San Jose,CA (ie high paying setting in a high cost of living area). There is a completely different side to the equation regarding tax exemptions for travelers, which is complicated. Check out THIS POST that breaks down the way to do travel therapy correctly in order to avoid issues with the IRS.


The truth is you could find the best recruiter in the country with a company you adore but at the end of the day if they can’t find you the job you want, you’re essentially stuck.  People have asked me how I choose a travel company and I always say, “ Whoever can get me the job first is the one I go with.” I have typically been more set on location than setting or pay so I often have the state in mind I would like to travel to next. I always tell my “go to” recruiters my top choices to see what they have available. Most companies will have similar jobs but sometimes one company will have one that fits me very well but the others won’t. I am always honest and tell recruiters that I am working with others and I never work with more than 3 at a time to not over complicate things.

So when it’s all said and done picking a travel company is really a personal choice. One of my good friends, a traveling PT, has stayed with the same company since she started for convenience and trust with her long time recruiter. There are others like me that are always working with different recruiters but I have to admit it can be a hassle of keeping up with documentation that each company needs, but to me it’s worth it :).

Related Posts:

Why I chose Travel therapy

My Awkward First Day

Check out these other blogs that offer more insight into travel therapy:

OT Potential

Hobo Health


What other questions do you have a about traveling healthcare jobs? How do you pick a company to work with?

About the Author


Hi there! My name is Sarah and I am the creator of Tiny Van Big Living. I am a former traveling Occupational Therapist who lived in a converted camper van (Vanny Devito) full time for almost two years. I am collecting experiences, not things while slowly climbing out of the giant hole that is student loan debt.

10 Comments on “How to Pick a Travel Company”

  1. I am digging your page & SO appreciate your insight! Next year hubby & I (and probably a teenager!) will be moving to Colorado, after dreaming about it for decades. I hope to work several temp jobs around the state as we determine where we might want to settle down. Figuring out how to be nomads will be much easier with your help; thank you! I WILL be in touch! (I am a COTA, btw).

    1. Hi Cat! Thank you so much for commenting and reading. I wish you and your family luck on your trek to Colorado, be sure to enjoy the journey as much as the destination :).

  2. Hi Sarah, so it’s ok to work with different recruiters but you cannot have the same location as you did with a prev company if it has not been a year (or depending on what company contract states) What is the longest time between assignments you’ve had to wait? Do you just travel to another state if there are not any other assignments in the area you are currently at? Sorry so many questions… I will be doing this one day and want to understand. Thanks! Debbie

    1. Hi Debbie,

      You can work with a different company in the same location/client company but it cannot be the same building. However, you could work for the same client but a different location. I have only had to wait in between assignments, not by choice, if I was really picky about location. The longest I have waited for a job was 2 weeks. Yes, I often apply to multiple locations and states if I have no strong preference for location.

      I hope this helps :). Thanks for reading!

  3. Hi Sarah,
    Thank you for all of your travel tips and for sharing your experiences!
    I recently graduated in OT and am still unsure of what setting or with what specific populations I’d like to work with. That being said, travel therapy appeals to me as I could experience different places/settings before finding a more permanent position. However, I know it is so important as a new therapist to have a mentor. That being said, would you recommend travel therapy as a new grad?
    Thank you for your advice!


    1. Hi Beth,

      I did start traveling therapy as a new grad. It’s definitely not for everyone but totally doable. If you do decide that route I would tell your recruiter that you need a job with senior therapists to assist you. This means that you may have to go to places less desirable but it’s worth it and desirable. I would also try to pick a setting that you had a level II fieldwork. You also have to be ready to hit the ground running and be independent as possible. Some companies have mentors available! Hope this helps, good luck!


  4. Hi Sarah!! How soon do you start looking for the next location and talking with recruiters about it?

    1. Hey Kaylee, traveling happens pretty quick. Some jobs have further out start dates but most are ASAP aka about 2 weeks. But it’s a good idea to start talking to different recruiters a few weeks before you would be ready to start. That way you can get a good feel for where the jobs are and which recruiters you would like to work with.

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