Traveling as a physical or occupational therapist for a living is not as straightforward as one might think. When therapy graduates first think about traveling, they’re inundated with thoughts of living in their must-visit locations and earning more substantially than regular employees.
Yes, travel therapy does allow you to do all these things. However, here are things you might not have thought of about traveling:
Your first few assignments might not be on your list
When you first talk to a travel therapy staffing consultant or recruiter, you will undoubtedly list down the places that you want to visit. You might be surprised to hear that your locations are on the “to-go” list of many travelers as well. As a new grad, you’ll be competing against seasoned and more experienced travelers. The chances of you getting picked for the job are slim. That said, your recruiter will probably recommend destinations that are not on your list. Be open-minded and listen to what your recruiter has to say. They won’t suggest a location that you can’t handle.
Once you have a couple of assignments under your belt, you will have enough bargaining power to pick the location of your choice. So be patient.
You need to get organized
Know how much work it takes to go away for a weekend? The packing? Making sure someone’s looking out for your pet while you’re away? Imagine being gone for thirteen weeks! There are documents that you need with you so make sure you have everything. Remember too that it takes months to get a license in a new state so you need to schedule your time accordingly.
If you’re not organized, you are definitely going to have a difficult and stressful time.
Aside from the paperwork, there’s the packing. More experienced travel therapists will bring knickknacks and familiar items like bedsheets and linen with them to make their housing feel more like home. Remember that you’re not staying at a hotel for a weekend. You’ll be living at a new place for thirteen weeks at the very least. Yes, it’s temporary but not also long enough to seem like it’s permanent. Be as comfortable as you can be.
Bring your own equipment
Make sure that you have your own goniometer and other instruments. Sure, the facility at your destination will have those but it makes sense to carry your own. Sometimes therapists get attached to their equipment and would feel more comfortable if they used their own.
Traveling is an opportunity to be adventurous
Humans are creatures of habit. It’s sometimes hard to shake off our habits but being in a new place is the perfect excuse to try out new things. For instance, if you’ve never tried bungee-jumping before and the location you’re visiting has it, you should go ahead and try it. The point is that a new place should entice you to step out of your comfort zone and embrace the unknown. Above all, have fun while you’re away from home.