There are a handful of items that you need to put some thought into before you submit to that dream contract.
This step comes after:
- signing up to a handful of agencies
- getting to know some recruiters you’d like to work with moving forward
- going through the up front work required of you
Decide on your number. What does this mean? Do some research and see what the going rate is for travel techs in your specialty right now.
Rates differ based on location (large city versus rural area) and current demand.
At the time of writing this in January 2022, for histotechnologists specifically, there is an average rate of >$2000 per week for smaller cities and >$2500 per week for larger cities.
Rates fluctuate month to month, year to year, as the demand for travel techs goes up and down.
Don’t sell yourself short.
It is common for recruiters to take advantage of new travelers as they just don’t know their worth as a travel tech. This includes negotiating your hourly rate, housing stipend, per diems, and reimbursements AFTER you have a job offer in hand!
One group that I would highly recommend that is already established for travel histotechnologists is called “Histology Travelers Unite” on Facebook.
I have created a group for all travel techs to join on Facebook called “HistoTrek“.
You can join the group HERE.
All specialties and experience levels are welcome!
Decide on a region (if that matters to you).
There are lots of reasons you might want to travel to a specific areas, including:
- Distance from home (there are limits to this for tax reasons)
- Desire to see a specific place, state, or attraction
- Ability to see friends who moved to other states
- Wanting to avoid hot summers or freezing winters (or maybe vice versa!)
- Preference for a certain lifestyle (small town versus large city life)
- Driving distance from your current assignment or hometown
With these reasons in mind you can just let your recruiter know you’re only looking for jobs in the Southwest, or maybe just the coasts, or only in a large city.
You can be as specific as you’d like to be.
Just remember, the more requests you have, the less jobs will be available to you.
Have your state date in mind and be ready to commit to that date once you start your interviews. It will be incorporated into your contract so you want to be solid on this.
Your recruiter is going to ask for a start date or a few start dates to have in mind. This could be based on when orientation is at the location you will be going to, multiple open positions, and to keep things flexible.
However, make sure that when you’re applying to facilities your recruiter actually gave the facility your exact start date!
Let the facility know when you can start during your phone interview so expectations are clear.
Look at housing in the area. There are numerous options to secure housing in the traveling world.
However, if there is nothing available in your area you have two options. First, move on and look for assignments with more housing availability. Second, let the agency secure housing and sacrifice your housing stipend.
The most common housing will be tackled in another post as there are many ways to find a great place to stay during your contract.
Housing is the FIRST thing I consider once I know how much a contract is paying.
I don’t recommend submitting to a job if there is no housing available in the area unless you are willing to give up the housing stipend. However, the housing stipend will provide a big boost to your income if you are willing to put in the time to get the housing on your own.
Oh, and did I mention the housing stipend is tax free if you have a mortgage or are renting a room or apartment?
Many experienced travelers will recommend that a first time traveler allow the agency to pick the housing for the first contract. Although, I disagree with this. It is important for you to learn how to organize and plan from the start.
There are a lot of moving parts with travel work. If you follow this guide there will be no questions left unanswered.
Know how you’ll be traveling to your assignment AND how long it will take to get there.
There are two ways to get to your assignment:
- Drive yourself and collect a travel allowance to get to your assignment and a car allowance for the duration of your contract
- Fly to your assignment and rent a car once you get there, both of which should be covered by your agency
Now, if you live on the east coast and need to drive to your assignment on the west coast over a weekend to start the following Monday… You will be in a world of hurt!
Give yourself time to get out to your contract location.
Get an AirBnB for the first week or move into your housing. Familiarize yourself with the area. For instance, figure out where you will be buying groceries. Find a nice restaurant to try. Do some exploring. See how long the commute to your workplace will be and what the drive is like.
Make sure you’re nice and comfortable before your first day and you’ll be setting yourself up for a great first travel assignment!
New to Travel Work?
Visit our entire travel work series here.
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