A life as a professional traveler can be tough, especially when you’re separated from your spouse or romantic partner. But have you ever considered bringing them along on your med travel adventures? If your ears perked up and your heart skipped a beat at the thought, maybe it’s time to promote your spouse or partner to your new travel buddy.
A Guide to Traveling as a Couple with Angelia Parreno, CLS/MLS/MT
Fusion lab traveler, Angelia Parreno, CLS/MLS/MT, knows what it’s like to bring a romantic partner on the road. So, she shared her experience and helped us create this handy dandy travel guide for how to travel alongside your spouse or partner.
Can I bring my romantic partner on an assignment?
First thing’s first, can you even bring your romantic partner on a travel assignment with you? Is that a thing? Great news: It is a thing! Whether you’re married, engaged, in a serious relationship, or playing it cool, your partner is welcome on the road with you, as long as you say so.
But wait—does your partner also have to be a professional medical traveler to tag along? Nope! Your spouse or romantic partner can join you on your travel journey, even if they’re not a travel nurse, allied health traveler, or other health care provider, which just so happens to be the case for Angelia and her fiancé. No spoilers, we’ll find out more later!
4 things to consider before traveling with a spouse
You know what they say—just because you can do something doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. So, before you intertwine your professional life into your romantic life, take a moment to consider these four things.
No. 1: Your careers
Of course, you already know that a travel career works for you and your lifestyle, but what about your partner? Does your spouse or romantic partner also have a career that can adapt to constantly being on the move?
When the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. in 2020, many companies sent their employees home for remote work. Now, more than two years later, 58.6% of the American workforce work remotely at least part of the time. And if that’s the case for your spouse or partner, like it is with Angelia’s fiancé, then traveling together may be a little easier to figure out.
However, if your spouse can’t work remotely in their current position, then traveling together may be a little more complicated. You may have to have a deep conversation to talk about what you both want in your careers to figure out your next move. Perhaps your spouse or partner stays home and longingly awaits your return. Or maybe they switch up jobs and decide to do something that will allow them to be with you. And if that’s what your partner chooses to do, might we suggest these job options?
- Freelance work—for example, graphic design, web development, coding, writing, or content creation
- Online teaching
- Virtual assistant
- Delivery service driver
- Uber or Lyft driver
- Certified pet sitter
Only you and your spouse or romantic partner know what’s best for the two of you in your relationship. So, before you hit the road as a powerhouse travel couple, break down these barriers and have a grown-up discussion about your careers and what’s important about them to each of you.
No. 2: Your mode of transportation
How do you get from assignment to assignment? Plane? Train? Automobile? When you’re traveling solo, it may not require as much planning and coordination to get from place to place. I mean, when it’s just you, you can pack up and head out whenever it’s convenient for you.
But when you add a whole other person to the mix, traveling can quickly become a complex puzzle to solve. Especially if you and your spouse need your own cars to get to and from your respective jobs. Before you strap in for a cross-country road trip, buy your airline tickets, or Velcro your lifejacket, talk with your loved one to decide what works best for the two of you. Here are a few things to consider:
🚗 Do you both need your own car?
🚙 Can you afford to rent a car?
🚌 Is there public transportation in the city you’re going to work in?
✈️ If you fly to your next destination, how are you going to get your belongings to your new temp home?
🐶 Do you have pets to travel with?
There are several different transportation methods to help you get to your next travel assignment. But if you’re traveling as a dynamic duo, you’ll need to make sure the mode of transportation is feasible for both you and your spouse or partner.
No. 3: Where you’ll live
Spoiler alert: A career in medical travel doesn’t mean you get to stay in a rotation of five-star hotel resorts for each travel assignment. Although that would be nice, the reality of temporary living is more like extended-stay hotels, Airbnbs, one-bedroom apartments, and such. Even when traveling solo, finding temporary housing can feel like a headache. Then, add another body, and you’ve got yourself a migraine.
Sure, your health care staffing company will help you find temporary housing and offer discounts when available, whether you ask your recruiter to work their magic for you or you get reimbursed for lodging. However, your staffing company won’t pay double because you now have a travel buddy, so keep financials in mind when looking for temp housing. The most common types of temp housing for med travelers include:
- Extended-stay hotels
- Airbnb/VRBO rentals
- One-bedroom or studio apartment
- Mobile living in an RV, camper, or van
Thankfully, if you and your partner share a room, finding temp housing for a travel assignment shouldn’t be too much extra work. Just be sure to keep your eye on any leases that only allow a max of one resident.
No. 4: Where you’ll go
Part of the fun of traveling with a buddy is having someone there to share good times and create memories with. If you decide to travel with your romantic partner, decide together where you’ll travel to next and what you’ll do when you get there! Here are some ideas on what you and your spouse can think about when deciding where to go for your next travel job:
- The environment
- The climate
- The walkability
- The vibe
- The cost of living
- The community
- The culture
- The commute
Before you invite your partner to join you on the adventure of a lifetime, make sure you’re both on the same page with what you want to get out of the experience. Is your goal to travel to all the U.S. national parks? Or do you want to eat your way from West Coast to East Coast? Maybe you’re chasing festivals across the country. Whatever it is, just make sure you and your partner are in agreement!
Q&A with Fusion traveler, Angelia Parreno, CLS/MLS/MT
Now that we know that traveling with a romantic partner is a possibility, let’s find out what that looks like IRL! Fusion traveler, Angelia Parreno, CLS/MLS/MT, spills all the dirty deets.
Megan Bebout: Hi Angie! Thanks so much for chatting with us today. We’re going to dive into all the details of what it’s like to travel with a partner who’s not in the health care industry, but first, let’s get to know you better!
Angie Parreno: Hey, Megan! Thanks for having me, I’m excited to share more!
MB: So, tell us, how long have you been a lab professional?
AP: I’ve been working in the lab for about four-and-a-half years!
MB: Wow, going on five years! Why did you choose to work in the lab?
AP: I chose the lab life because I loved seeing behind the scenes! Specifically, I love how physicians determine a patient’s prognosis with testing. I find that the role of lab personnel is definitely one of the many unsung heroes in health care. Also, I really do think it’s cool!
MB: From what I’ve learned from you and others in the lab, you folk really are one of many unsung heroes, like you said. So, switching gears, you travel with your fiancé—congratulations BTW! Let’s talk about that. What does he do professionally and how do your work schedules differ?
AP: Yes, thank you! My fiancé works remotely as a Product Owner for a tech company. He has a 9 A.M. to 5 P.M. EST schedule with weekends and holidays off. My schedule on the other hand changes with every contract.
MB: Ooh, a Product Owner, interesting! So, what drew the two of you to a travel lifestyle?
AP: Honestly, the travel life kind of fell in our laps! I left to travel solo and was planning to be back home after a year, but when my fiancé’s job turned remote, he joined me at my second contract, and the rest is history.
MB: That’s incredible! Gotta love when that happens. As you know, there’s several different ways to get from assignment to assignment. What is the preference for you and your partner?
AP: Oh, yes. We travel by car, two cars to be specific. It’s easier for us to have our own cars with us wherever we are, so he can do what he needs to do while I work and vice versa. Also, it makes moving so much easier since we have two cars to load up versus just one.
MB: What a great idea, I would have never considered two cars! Okay, let’s get into the juicy stuff. What are the perks of traveling with a romantic partner?
AP: Everything! Here’s a list:
- We have gotten so much closer traveling compared to when we were dating, and I was a permanent employee. For example, I had no idea he liked hiking or snowboarding until we started traveling and doing new things!
- I always have my little family unit with me and feel like I’m home wherever I go.
- Whether we want to stay in for a weekend or explore the surrounding areas, everything’s at our pace! I’m never alone, unless I want to be, of course.
- He makes friends with my coworkers and friends along the way, as a result, our friend groups have blended.
- I have help getting things done, like finding our next lease or next gym, plus other things like cleaning at home while I’m working, cooking meals, and going grocery shopping.
MB: You are making me realize how much my husband and I need to get out there and travel! That truly sounds like a dream. On the flip side, what are some challenges of traveling with your romantic partner?
AP: One challenge is I always want to make sure he has things he can do while I’m working so he doesn’t feel unfulfilled or lonely. Things like a community volleyball team, hiking in the area, etc. For example, this contract I’m currently working isn’t a far drive from his hometown, Pensacola, so he can drive to see his family and old friends, if he likes! I always keep him in the loop with contracts before I sign. Another challenge of traveling with a partner can be prioritizing time with new friends.
MB: Oh, that makes so much sense. I feel like I would be the same way. You said you keep your fiancé in the loop before signing anything, so how do you two decide where to travel next?
AP: Aside from the above, making sure he would also have things to keep himself busy while I work, it depends on how we feel. For example, we have been working on our snowboarding (though I am much newer), so this upcoming contract, we’re looking at any locations that are within an hour to ski resorts so we can continue to get better!
MB: Color me jealous! Snowboarding sounds extremely fun but feels like one of those things I would only be good at in theory, so I’m going to live vicariously through the adventures you post on Instagram. When you’re working a travel assignment, how do you prioritize quality time together?
AP: We have certain routine staples—like the gym, which is something we do five or six days of the week—that we always go to together. I would say most places we go we don’t know anyone so quality time is easy, we’re always together! If anything, I try to prioritize meeting new friends, so we aren’t always in our own world.
MB: I love that you both recognize the importance of “you” time and quality time with friends, too! What are some experiences you’ve had together that you may not have had if you weren’t a professional traveler?
AP: Experiencing SNOW in Hawaii!!
MB: I’m sorry, what?! Snow in Hawaii?! You just blew my mind.
AP: Yeah! Really, just living in Hawaii for a year. And getting past my fear of swimming in deep ocean waters. Otherwise, learning to snowboard! I cried a few times because, man, that sport is hard, and my fiancé would be my cheerleader. Experiencing new (and old) places together or sometimes it’s a new place for me, but not for him and he tells me about times he spent there, and we get to learn more about each other.
MB: You are so sweet! You’re making me all mushy! How would you say travel has strengthened your relationship?
AP: We really learned to work together as a team! It’s challenging to always pick up and go. In the beginning, we quickly discovered that delegating tasks during moves was extremely helpful and ultimately, got things done faster. Our communication improved and we both adapt to change pretty well, I think.
MB: I can see how communication would be important when living on the move. Alright, to wrap it up, can you share some tips on traveling with a romantic partner?
AP: Discuss what’s important to each other all around and find that common ground. For us, it’s the amenities in a short-term rental—we must have a full kitchen and a workspace for my fiancé. Also, think about if your partner would also enjoy the area where your contract is. Sometimes we take turns on where the other wants to go! Willingness and compromise are big ones. For example, I didn’t really want to go to Utah, but it ended up being my favorite mainland state so far! Then, I chose Tallahassee to improve my resume. Compromise!
MB: Compromise! Thank you so much, Angie! We loved getting to chat with you and share your awesomeness with the world.
Just because you’re a badass medical traveler doesn’t mean you have to travel from job to job all by your lonesome. Instead, ask your spouse or romantic partner if they want and are able to join you on your travel adventures! According to a recent study, 67% of respondents said that their relationship has improved after traveling as a couple—that could be you.