A career in travel nursing might just be the ultimate dream job: high pay, exploration in new and exciting places, a flexible schedule, and rewarding work. What’s not to love?

Short-term assignments available to travel nurses are in abundant supply. And for qualified RNs, the world is your oyster. You probably already know where you want to go on your first adventure in nursing. Whether it’s a city you’ve always wanted to see, somewhere close to family, or a hospital on the cutting-edge of neuro therapies (for example), there are hidden factors which every nurse should consider before boarding the flight to your next position.

We’ve done some of the footwork for you, and compiled a list of what we think are the top locational choices for travel nurses working in the U.S.

What to Look For

There are many elements to look at when choosing a work location. Not every city (or every state, for that matter) is going to have the same opportunities, demand, or pay rates. Travel nurses should consider their needs based on their unique lifestyles and decide which positions in what places will work for them. Some basic things to think about are:

Local Wage

A smaller city or rural region may offer lower rates of pay than a hospital or clinic in a large metropolitan area. This may or may not be a concern to you, depending on where you live most of the time, and what your bills are like.


Places with high growth-velocity and an expanding healthcare industry will have more job opportunities for nurses, and it is likely that the assignments for travel nurses are going to be longer. You’ll be more likely to land a spot in a locale which has more empty scrubs to fill.


Some sites for travel nursing are more exciting than others. Highly desirable travel destinations see application numbers going through the roof, as opposed to cities with lower rates of tourism.


If you’re looking to add an a-list hospital to your resume, look at cities which have health care organizations of high esteem.

The City Itself

The ‘travel’ in travel nursing is part of why you want this career, right? In considering where you might work next, it’s always a good idea to think about whether a city’s culture, activities, and lifestyle will suit your personality and needs while you’re there.

Top Cities for Travel Nursing

  1. San Francisco, California
    Not-so-sunny California! This iconic city on the western coast has a lot to offer: amazing food, fantastic museums, great views, and access to beaches, redwood forests, and other outdoor adventures. Nurses are in high demand in the San Francisco Bay Area, hiring at top hospitals such as the UCSF Medical Center, and nearby Stanford. San Francisco has a reputation for being one of the most expenses places to live in the United States, but this also means that hourly wages are some of the highest around, with nurses making an average of $67.16 an hour.
  2. New York, New York
    The city that never sleeps? That sounds like the perfect place for an energetic travel nurse. You could spend a lifetime exploring this mega-famous metropolitan giant and you would still find something new and surprising every day. A cultural hub, New York boasts top art museums, musical innovation, a booming nightlife, and 5-start cuisine (also the best slice of pizza for $1.50, if that’s more your speed.) Top hospitals in this area include New York Presbyterian and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Nurses working in NYC make an average of $48.82 an hour.
  3. Austin, Texas
    One of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., this jewel of the south has been deemed the “Live Music Capital of the World.” In addition to hosting the South by Southwest music festival every year, Austin has all the art, food, nightlife, and outdoor recreation you could hope to find in a larger city, but at a much lower cost of living. Demand for nurses in this area is high, and travel nurses may have the opportunity to work at such hospitals as St David’s Medical Center, and the Ascension Seton Medical Center. Nurses earn an average wage of $28.99 an hour.
  4. Denver, Colorado
    The capital of the Rocky Mountains allows you to live in the comforts of an urban environment, surrounded by glorious wilderness. Straight off the cover of a nature magazine, no matter the season, Denver is the place to be if you’re the outdoorsy type. And besides the skiing, hiking, and rock climbing, the city itself offers urban living at its finest, with summertime street fairs, contemporary art galleries, and modern takes on classic dining. Medical facilities in Denver include the Rose Medical Center, and the Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children. Nurses in Colorado earn an average of $30.23 an hour.

Travel nursing is an ideal career for nurses who want to incorporate their love for exploration into their job. Any city, any hospital, you find yourself working in will be lucky to have you.

Medely is a platform committed to working for nurses. We place nurses like you into highly-desirable travel nursing positions, so that you can live life to the fullest while working your dream job. Sign up for free here to take control of your work and your schedule.