June 8, 2021

Explore the U.S. with Your Friend as Healthcare Travelers

Personal perspective of two people relaxing on top of Grand Canyon

Can you get jobs as an allied traveler or a travel nurse along with your friend? The answer is: absolutely. Traveling the country with your best friend is exciting, but it also requires some effort. 

TNAA ambassadors Jenn Silvers and Kylea Lynam have been traveling together after meeting on an assignment in Washington state over three years ago. Since then, they’ve taken assignments together in North Carolina, New Hampshire and more. As a well-seasoned traveling pair, they share their story and tips on how to travel with a friend.

Benefits of Traveling with a Friend

Kylea and Jenn climb a mountain

1. Share the Thrills

It’s nice to have someone by your side to chat with along a hike, appreciate the views and help carry gear. It’s even better when your travel buddy introduces you to a new hobby that you get to revel in together.

Jenn, a baseball fanatic, has hauled Kylea to games across the country.

“I drag Kylea all over God’s green Earth,” Jenn said. But Kylea doesn’t mind one bit. 

“If there are sports on, 90 percent of the time I am watching it and I don’t care. But she’s always like, ‘Let’s go to a baseball game,’” Kylea explained. “I say, ‘Okay!’ I’m up for anything.”

Traveling with a friend can encourage you to get out of your comfort zone to explore new hobbies. It can also help to take on more challenging experiences with a friend by your side.

2. Share in Work

Have you ever made up a crazy analogy to help a family member relate to the shift you just had? There’s no need for that when you’re with another healthcare traveler. You both understand the healthcare industry, empathize with each other and know what to do to turn the mood around.

Having a friend who ‘gets it’ was especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic. Both Kylea and Jenn had COVID-19 assignments and could empathize with what their friend was experiencing.

“I looked at her and she looked at me and she’s like, ‘Your shift sucked.’ And I was like, ‘I don’t even want to talk about it. It’s that bad,’” Jenn explained as she recalled a challenging day.

According to Kylea, Jenn has been there to help her through tough days as well. Usually, they find an activity, like a nearby hike or a baseball game, to take the stress away.

3. Share the Responsibilities

Traveling the country is a blast, but it can come with several costs and responsibilities. 

Jenn and Kylea travel with their two dogs and often deal with extra fees to house their pets with them. By splitting housing costs, they have a bigger housing budget and more options to find a comfortable place to stay for themselves and their pups.

Advice for Traveling with a Friend

Jenn and Kylea at a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park

The No. 1 piece of advice to remember when you want to travel with a friend is to be open to compromise. You should be flexible about location, scheduling and the facility to increase your marketability as a traveling pair.

1. Be Open to Location and Facility

Jenn and Kylea are able to travel together so often because they keep an open mind. They typically look at bigger cities with multiple hospital options and multiple needs to fill. Since Jenn works in trauma and Kylea works in med/surg, they aren’t competing for the same job at the same facility, which they say helps. 

However, if they do have to work at separate hospitals, they find a housing option that gives them roughly the same commute time.

2. Be Open to Scheduling

Kylea and Jenn try to sync their off days, whether they work at the same facility or two different facilities. To get more off days together, Kylea and Jenn sign up to take the weekend shifts, which hospitals appreciate as most people don’t want to work them.

“When you’re away from home, a Tuesday is no different than a Saturday,” Jenn said. “Especially when you’re in a bigger city, there is always something to do, even during the week.”

3. Be Open to Being Apart (for a Short Time)

Sometimes, an assignment that is a good fit for you won’t necessarily be a good fit for your friend. However, being separated for an assignment shouldn’t break up a friendship. Kylea and Jenn had a few jobs where they weren’t in the same place.

“We both understand that I might find a job that makes really good money and is good for me but isn’t going to work for her,” Jenn said. “Neither one of us is going to compromise what is best for ourselves just to stay at the same place.”

For their next assignment, Kylea and Jenn will be split again. However, they know that won’t last for long. They always stay connected and know they will be on assignment together soon.

“Even when we didn’t travel together, if we didn’t talk once a day at minimum, there was something wrong,” Kylea said.

If you dream of traveling with a friend on assignments, speak with your TNAA recruiter. Your recruiter will work with you to find the best options for you and your travel buddy.

How to Make Friends as a Healthcare Traveler

We asked our TNAA ambassadors how they find friends when living as healthcare travelers. Here are the stories they had to share!

Kristy Kochan and Anna Marie Catalano

TNAA Ambassadors exploring the Olympic Peninsula

Kristy and Anna met through a healthcare traveler Facebook group while on assignment in the Seattle area and they had fun exploring the Olympic Peninsula together.

Anna: “I typically look up a Facebook group for travel nurses in the city or area I’m traveling to. Otherwise, [I connect with] the other travelers in orientation, on the unit or in the hospital I’m working in. I’ve adopted a mentality of, ‘Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number… I’m off Xday, Xday, and Xday.’ There have been some people I’ve hung out with once and others I still keep in contact with. Either way, I’ve always had a fun day exploring a location with someone.”

Kristy: “If I’m in a big city area, I try to find a social media group to post a little blurb about what my interests are in the area and to see if anyone wants to meet up for activities, drinks, food, etc. In the smaller areas, I usually just try to reach out to the nurses I work alongside for things to do and places to visit.”

Melissa Jones

Melissa: “While on an assignment with TNAA, I met an amazing nurse who decided to join the TNAA team and travel to New Jersey during the height of the pandemic with me. We went through some things I could have never imagined together! I’m so glad she was by my side through it all. We are definitely bonded for life!”

Courtney Minich

Courtney: “I haven’t met her in person but my recruiter connected me with Jacy Ross because she felt we would get along well. She was absolutely right! We text and have become friends. One day, we hope to take an assignment near each other and explore together. It’s so nice to vent to someone who gets it and understands my frustrations.”