When I think of locum tenens, I instantly think that it is an all expense trip to work as a Nurse Practitioner. While negotiating, choosing an assignment, and establishing a contract, it is normal to try to have every aspect covered. There are so many small details that you will not even think about until you start your assignment. I believe the reality is that working as a travel Nurse Practitioner often requires sacrifice.
Sometimes in rural locations, there may not be housing with a kitchen available. This means you have to be creative about your meals. This happened to me previously, but regardless, I am not much of a cook so it was not a deal breaker. On the bright side, extended stay hotels often have continental breakfast. This is nice because it is free and may help keep your budget intact. Extended stays also have maid services, which can be requested at your convenience, and saves you both stress and time.
Another sacrifice I have made before is paying for gas for travel to and from the airport to my site (which was over 2.5 hours each way). This is something I did not think about until I was doing the actual drive. I was making $10/hour more than I normally do, so I did not think a one-time cost of $50 was worth complaining about.
I know other travelers that have sacrificed while making a cross-country move. They paid out-of-pocket for some moving expenses because the mileage reimbursement did not cover their complete costs.
Some sites do not want to pay for license reimbursement because of the competitive market in their city or state. Locum tenen Nurse Practitioners need to contemplate if $300-$400 is a huge expense, when they are making more per hour than they typically would. Some sites prefer to pay a higher hourly rate instead of providing travel expenses and lodging. Usually you can ask for $15-20 more per hour to cover these costs. In this case, you can rent a house or an apartment from airbnb for low prices. I know travelers that do not mind this because they have more options and are used to paying over $1.5k per month for their rent.
Moreover, some travelers may wish to work in large cities in a specific state. Yet, there is usually more availability in smaller cities where there are greater needs. In this case, travelers often compromise by deciding to work in a smaller town that may be 1-2 hours driving distance from their preferred city.
Ideally it is nice to have all expenses covered AND to make a high hourly rate AND to have your preference of location and facility. Realistically, there may often be sacrifices if you are trying to work in a certain area or work during a certain time period. In the long run, you will truly make more as a locum tenens provider, than as a permanent employee, and will be enjoying your life way more as well! Please keep in mind that flexibility will always be the key to succeeding as a traveling Nurse Practitioner.