For some people, the change of seasons from summer to fall ushers in their favorite time of the year. Signified by apple picking, pumpkin spice lattes, sweater weather, and cozy scarves, fall is a time to enjoy a slower pace of life as the sun sets earlier and the air cools.
As the leaves change color to gorgeous yellows, oranges, and reds, fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year. If you're a travel nurse wanting to take advantage of the fall season, this blog post will fill you in on what you should expect as a travel nurse in the fall, offer some considerations and top contenders for ideal locations across the country, and help you prepare for travel nursing in the fall.
What to Expect as a Travel Nurse
Generally, travel nursing assignments are thirteen weeks long, although it's possible to find assignments that are four weeks, six weeks, eighteen weeks, and sometimes thirty-two weeks long. As a travel nurse, your housing costs will be covered—either through booking a hotel room or apartment or through a housing stipend which you can use to book your own accommodations, such as an Airbnb.
Most travel nurses are offered contracts through travel nursing agencies, which place registered nurses (RNs) in high-needs areas. Since there may be shortages of local nurses or other staffing challenges, travel nurses are typically paid higher rates as an incentive for uprooting their lives temporarily for work.
If you're considering accepting a travel nursing contract for the first time, make sure you understand the realities of travel nursing, from what your shifts will look like to the practicalities of traveling for work.
Preparing for Fall Travel
Here are Nursa's top tips to help you prepare for travel nursing in the fall:
- Pack appropriate clothing. Fall is the perfect time to dress in layers, so be sure to pack an assortment of clothing options you can layer, including t-shirts, long-sleeve shirts, flannel, cardigans, hoodies, a fall jacket like a trench coat, and accessories such as boots, scarves, and gloves for days when the weather is nippy.
- Prepare for the elements. Pack sunscreen and bug spray for your fall trips, especially if you enjoy being out in nature. A raincoat or umbrella will come in handy too!
- Be flexible with your timing. To avoid peak travel times, wait until mid-September when university students are settled into campus life.
Top Fall Destinations for Travel Nurses
There is no better time than autumn to enjoy nature's stunning display of colors and the crisp, cool weather that makes outdoor activities so enjoyable. When considering destinations for travel nursing contracts, you'll want to choose a location that offers a range of fall activities. Here are some great options:
Fall is an ideal time to visit wine country to enjoy the fall foliage of vineyards and wineries. The autumn colors make for a unique visit. Sanoma also has dozens of beautiful parks and is home to hiking trails, including the Bodega Head Trail, which features a stunning ocean view, and Sonoma Valley Regional Park, which has a flat path taking you through oak trees and an open meadow.
Late September to mid-October is the best time to visit Sedona, Arizona, to soak in vibrant colors on local sycamore, oak, and maple trees. You can explore hiking trails, including the Bell Rock Climb, Cathedral Rock, and Fay Canyon, which all provide stunning views. Sedona also hosts an annual Day of the Dead celebration in October.
Charleston, South Carolina
Autumn is one of the best times to visit Charleston, with its fairs and festivals, from the Boone Hall Fright Night to the Moja Arts Festival. The port city, characterized by its cobblestone streets and horse-drawn carriages, is a charming fall location featuring traditional autumn activities, including tractor rides, corn maze treks, and pumpkin and apple picking.
Santa Fe, New Mexico
If you're a foodie, the Santa Fe Wine & Chile Fiesta, which happens every September, is one you won't want to miss. In October, the Santa Fe Indigenous Peoples' Day Weekend Celebration is a culture-filled event to experience authentic Native American art and culture, and the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is a stunning sight. The crowds in Santa Fe typically dissipate by late October too, so fall is a perfect time to enjoy this gorgeous city as you visit farmers' markets, hike on local trails, and enjoy the fall views from a chairlift at the top of Ski Basin.
If you can't choose just one location for a fall contract, consider planning an ultimate road trip as you take on PRN jobs throughout the country.
Making the Most of Fall Travel Nursing
Here are some ideas to help you maximize your time as a travel nurse in the autumn:
- If you're a fan of the spooky season, look up themed activities you can do in the area, from visiting haunted houses to going on guided ghost tours.
- Find a local pumpkin patch or apple farm so you can spend a day off work soaking up some of the season's most loved autumn activities.
- Research local hikes where you can enjoy the fall foliage—and don't get lost! Download a hiking app such as AllTrails or Gaia GPS to learn about nearby trails and support you in exploring an area that's new to you.
- Plan to spend time outdoors to maximize the cool weather and stunning fall foliage. You can consider activities like ziplining or enjoying a picnic at a park.
- Research fall events or festivals you can attend. Local blogs are a great source of information in advance, and once you've traveled, be sure to ask around and pay attention to local signage that can lead you to fun community events.
- If you're not one for outdoor activities, stay indoors and watch classic fall movies instead. Our favorites include Harry Potter, Matilda, Hocus Pocus, Halloween, and The Blair Witch Project.
If your hometown is your favorite fall destination, stay local and use Nursa to connect to high paying, per diem shift opportunities in your area.