Should Travel Nurses Own or Lease a Car ... or Even Have One at All?

Written by Rose Torrento on Thursday, April 15, 2021 Posted in Travel Nurse Tips

vehicle ownership question

The decision to become a travel nurse means taking an objective look at many normal things in your life and asking, “Does this make sense for me?” One of the simplest questions many new travel nurses face before their assignment is whether they need a vehicle.

It’s actually a great question to consider because the answer depends on the context of each nurse’s unique situation. A nurse in Cheyenne, Wyoming, might need a car just to get to work each day, while one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, might have access to great public transit or a walkable route.

Even more important is asking whether you should own or lease a car, if you need one at all. It depends.

car rental

Buy, lease, or go without?

Not all travel nurses will need a car while on assignment. In fact, owning a car could be a hindrance, rather than help, in some cases. Whether or not you need a car will ultimately depend on your unique life circumstances.

There are three main options when it comes to vehicles: owning one, leasing one, or not having one at all. There are advantages and drawbacks for each of these options, so it’s important to consider them carefully to make the best decision. Here are some of the best situations for each option.

Own —

Owning your own vehicle is best if you expect to use your car a lot, on assignment and off. Travel nurses who plan to take assignments closer to home benefit a lot from owning a car. Owning a vehicle allows you to live at home and drive to work, or visit home on the weekends if you’re staying close to your facility.

Owning is also ideal for nurses who want to drive to an assignment that’s far away. Mileage restrictions on leased vehicles usually prohibit cross-country trips. Additionally, owned cars are great for travel nurses who love to explore. If you plan to take road trips and venture far on your days off, owning a car and driving it to your assignment is usually the best choice.

Lease —

Leasing a vehicle is somewhat similar to owning, but there are some unique pros and cons to this structure. Leasing is ideal for travel nurses who need a lower monthly payment because of a tighter budget or who might not need a car for the long term. However, because of mileage limits, leasing isn’t suited for nurses who will drive a lot.

If you want the convenience of a car and the ability to drive to work but don’t plan to drive much or have other transportation options available, consider leasing. This option may be more economical than buying a car, if you don’t already own one.

No car —

Some travel nurses do well with no car at all! Not having a car is good for nurses who are taking assignments far from where they live and don’t have a place to store the car in either location. Some nurses just don’t need a car because they are able to walk to work, can carpool, or have access to excellent public transit that gets them to all the essentials. Not having a car also allows you to save money on a car payment.

should have biked

Which options is right for you?

There’s no right way to travel when you’re a travel nurse. The decision to own, lease, or opt for no car should be based on your life circumstances. There’s always time to sell your existing car or buy a new one to make your assignments go smoothly.

There are many decisions you will need to make before you hit the road as a travel nurse — including which agency you work with. At Health Providers Choice, we strive to make every assignment the best one possible for our nurses, and we advocate for you every step of the way. We encourage you to talk with a recruiter who can help you answer the difficult questions, so you feel good about your decision to become a travel nurse. Contact us online or call us today at 888-299-9800.

About the Author

Rose Torrento

Rosemarie Torrento has worked in health care for more than 26 years, beginning as a registered nurse in 1988. Early in her nursing career, Torrento worked as a freelance contract nurse before accepting a position in nursing administration. During her 17-year tenure in that role, she oversaw nursing employment and travel nurse contracting at a Level 1 Trauma Hospital in Michigan. Understanding the challenges travel nurses faced, Torrento founded Health Providers Choice Inc. (HPC) in 2003. Through Torrento’s extensive experience and her role as President and CEO, HPC provides travel placement of registered nurses and allied health professionals to hospital systems nationally.