Traveling solo can be extremely therapeutic and something we recommend everyone tries at least once. However, we’re not going to lie, it can get lonely at times. You're in a new place without a built-in social network, and 13 weeks on assignment may not give you enough time to develop one. If traveling solo is your preference, we see you, lone ranger! But, there are many benefits to bringing along your spouse or a medical professional friend.
We recently featured a couple, both physical therapists, who have been traveling together since their graduation. Shelby said this of traveling with his spouse:
“I love traveling as a duo because my wife is my favorite person to go on adventures with and it’s allowed us to live out our personal dreams, but experience them together—that’s what I love about it! Every day is a new adventure with my favorite person!”
While all travel is stressful, exploring the country with your partner by your side creates a strong bond and eliminates some of the day-to-day stress. It also allows you to feel like someone understands what you’re going through and where you’ve been—because they have. Explaining your traveling career to friends and family might seem a bit unfulfilling when they can’t fully appreciate the experience.
“Traveling with a friend is great because we never have to feel alone,” said Alix, a traveling RN who takes assignments with her RN pal, Maddy. “There’s always someone close by who understands your journey, is a resource on the job, splits the drive time, keeps you sane and has your back!”
Whether you're traveling with a previous colleague, friend, partner or your family, you can enjoy these traveling pair perks. Explore a few other reasons to travel as a team:
Enjoying Local Companionship
It takes time to make friends in a new location, especially if you're not extremely social. Traveling with a friend or partner means you've got someone by your side from the get-go, and the chances of getting homesick are also slim to none. Whenever you want to go out or enjoy activities at home, you have someone on-hand for your plans. Not only is that great for your social life, it’s beneficial to your health as well.
According to a 2018 report by Cigna, “Loneliness has the same impact on mortality as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, making it even more dangerous than obesity.” – Yikes!
Exploring a New Location
Medical travel takes healthcare professionals to exciting locations. Discovering the best local places to eat and shop is an adventure you’ll likely enjoy more having someone else to share the experience with. Your partner, coworker or friend can tag along to restaurants, boutiques, tourist spots and other points of interest. Take turns finding new things to do locally. You can look through your city’s publications to see their recommendations and reference community calendars. We also recommend visiting Atlas Obscura, to find the most interesting (and bizarre) hidden gems in your area.
If we’re being Real, which is our number one goal at Triage, everyone is familiar with the easy-to-forget adverse affects of spending too much time with someone. Be it your spouse or friend, make sure to create a balance of time spent together and apart.
Better Housing and Reduced Expenses
While stipends help cover short-term housing, living alone is more costly. An obvious bonus to having a traveling companion is splitting the cost of living in your new location. You can get a larger place, with more amenities, when you pool your resources together with another medical travel professional or friend. It's hard enough to deal with homesickness and the other challenges of your job, you don't need to come home to sub-par housing with on top of it.
By the same token, food and utility costs go down significantly if you're splitting them with another person. You end up spending less money on groceries, furniture, household supplies and other essentials. You can also save on transportation, if your travel companion is at the same facility.
Split House Chores
When you're on your own at your assignment, you do all of the chores at home (wah wah). Few people enjoy every housekeeping task, but when you have a roommate, you can split the chores to reduce the load any one person deals with. Take on the tasks that you don't mind doing and avoid those that you absolutely hate. Come to think of it–maybe survey your traveling partner to make sure you both don't hate the same chores before hitting the road? Just kidding (or are we)?
Accounting for You
Traveling with someone else can also make you less vulnerable to criminals who see a solo traveler as an easy target. Having someone who knows your schedule and expects you at certain times of the day ensures your safety and gives you piece of mind. When exploring your new location, it’s always nice for someone to have your back, literally and figuratively. Regardless, you should get in the habit of being hyper-aware of your surroundings, especially at night.
“Our families were much more accepting [of our traveling careers] knowing we’d be traveling and rooming together,” said Alix.
"Two heads are better than one" certainly applies to this situation, whether you're working with a friend or bringing your family. Medical travel jobs don't have to be lonely prospects. Set yourself up with a built-in travel companion and avoid many of the drawbacks of this type of work. Search our open jobs page to find an opportunities perfect for your next companion adventure.