Achieving Financial Freedom Through Travel Therapy

I recently had the opportunity to write a guest blog post (below) for MedTravelers (AMN Healthcare) on a very important topic: Achieving Financial Freedom Through Travel Therapy.

We wouldn’t have been able to accomplish all that we have and be in the position we are now if it weren’t for beginning to pursue financial independence and travel therapy early in our careers as new grad physical therapists. By establishing our financial goals early on and working toward them, we were able to save a significant amount and get ourselves into a great financial position only a few years out of school. The best part is, what we did is reproducible. You, too, can use a career as a travel therapist to pursue your own version of financial freedom.

Read the full blog post below to learn more!

Achieving Financial Freedom Through Travel Therapy

My career as a traveling physical therapist has allowed me not only to explore the country, meet new people, and try new settings, but also to achieve financial freedom and lifestyle flexibility that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise!

I first started travel therapy as a new grad physical therapist in 2015, traveling with my partner and fellow PT. We set out on our travel therapy journey for many different reasons, but a major factor was the ability to earn higher income and meet our financial goals—including tackling our student loans, saving for retirement, and planning for our futures.

After working full time as travel therapists for just three years, we were able to achieve financial goals that would not have been possible with permanent PT jobs. In the first six months (two 13-week travel therapy contracts), we had saved enough together to purchase a truck and fifth wheel camper outright with cash, to live in and travel the country. Over the next two years, we saved enough to fully pay off all of our student loans, with enough left over to also contribute to savings and retirement accounts. (While we did save enough to fully pay off our student loans, we personally chose to go on an income driven repayment plan instead of paying them off right away. This allowed us to contribute even more to savings and retirement accounts for our futures.)

After traveling and working full time for three years, we had saved enough to be able to transition to what we call “semi-retirement,” where we now only work part of the year as physical therapists. The first year of semi-retirement, we only worked six months (two 13-week contracts), then took the rest of the year off to travel the world. We worked about six months the following year as well. Starting the next year onwards, we now only work about three months or less per year as physical therapists.

I can say with certainty that when I was graduating from PT school, I did not anticipate it would only take me three years of working full time to reach financial stability allowing me to only work a few months per year. But travel therapy, combined with smart financial choices and strategic planning, has made this a reality for me.

Travel therapy can open up a lot of opportunities for financial growth with the right planning. As a travel therapist, you’re able to earn higher income than at a permanent job. You do have to account for added expenses when you’re traveling, such as duplicating housing expenses at your home location and your travel location. But if you can keep your costs relatively low, search for higher paying contracts, and maintain a high savings rate through being frugal, you can use travel therapy to your advantage and achieve financial freedom!

In addition to the financial freedom, travel therapy allows you to enjoy lifestyle freedom that usually isn’t possible at a permanent job. Because as a travel therapist you’re working short term contracts, you can take off as much or as little time as you’d like to between contracts. If you’re at a point of financial stability in your life, you can choose to work three months, six months, nine months, or somewhere in between as a travel therapist each year, while taking the rest of the year off to pursue other priorities.

Between travel therapy contracts, my partner and I have been able to travel to all fifty states and visit almost all of the national parks via US road trips, as well as travel to over forty countries internationally (not for work, just for fun)! There is no way we could’ve seen or done as much all over the world if we were working permanent PT jobs.

Think what we’ve done sounds crazy or unobtainable? I will admit that we certainly did things to the extreme in a lot of ways, but what we achieved through travel therapy is definitely reproducible. We know many other travel therapists who have paid off their student loans, saved for their futures, and are living their own version of financial and lifestyle freedom through travel therapy.

If you want to learn more about our journey, including our own personal travels and financial pursuits, you can check out our personal blog, Fifth Wheel Physical Therapist at (named after the fifth wheel camper we bought and lived in for the first three years as travel therapists)!

If you want to learn more about how you can become a travel therapist and start pursuing your own financial and lifestyle freedom, visit our Travel Therapy Mentor website at, where we now teach other therapists how to become financially successful travel therapists! Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you may have!

Happy Travels!

Article written by Whitney Eakin, PT, DPT, ATC. Whitney has been a Doctor of Physical Therapy since 2015. Since then, she has been traveling all over the US and the world with her husband and fellow Travel PT, Jared Casazza. Whitney and Jared were both born and raised in Virginia and still call Virginia home between their world travels. Together they’re known in the travel healthcare community as the “Travel Therapy Mentors” and have provided education and mentorship to thousands of current and aspiring travel therapists over the years.

If you’re ready to get your own travel therapy journey started, contact us to get connected with some of the best travel therapy recruiters who we’ve personally interviewed and vetted for you to save you time and help you have the best experience! Fill out our Recruiter Recommendation Form here to get connected!

If you’re looking for the most comprehensive resource to learn everything about getting started as a travel therapist and pursuing your own financial independence journey, check out our course “Becoming a Financially Successful Travel Therapist.” You can save $150 with the discount code “travel.”

Travel Therapy Mentor Course: Becoming a Financially Successful Travel Therapist: The Comprehensive Guide to Start and Succeed in Your Travel Therapy Career.

Achieving a Positive Net Worth in 2 Years with 6 Figures of Debt: Yonas’s Story

Achieving a positive net worth in 2 years with 6 figures of debt

We’ve written extensively about how travel therapy, among other strategic financial choices, has helped put us in an amazing financial position. But we’re not the only therapists who have taken advantage of this career path to achieve financial freedom! Today we’re bringing you a financial success story from a fellow traveling therapist who was able to achieve a positive net worth (assets minus debts) in only 2 years after graduating with his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree! We hope Yonas’s story will further inspire you about the possibilities in your career path as a traveling therapist! Check out his story to learn more:

Achieving a Positive Net Worth in Two Years with Six Figures of Debt: Yonas’s Story


I am a 28-year-old Doctor of Physical Therapy, and I graduated in May of 2018 with six figures of debt. I recently achieved a positive net worth after strategically making simple moves within two years.

I still have student loan debt but have chosen to not rush to pay this debt off, while instead focusing on investing for my future. The amount of assets/money I have is now more than my debts, which equals a positive net worth. I would have never thought I would be this excited to be above water, but here we are today!

How Did I Get Here?

Below I’ll discuss the simple moves I completed to achieve a positive net worth in just two years out of school. These may or may not be easy depending on your goals and situation. Everyone comes from a different starting point, and each person has different goals, life situations, and opportunities.

Personally, I am a first-generation Eritrean. I do not come from a family of wealth. As the son of immigrants, I was instilled with the values of working hard and saving. I never thought about debt or finances until recently. I became interested in how to manage my debt, so I started listening to audiobooks and podcasts on my commutes to work, which is where I learned about most of the tools to help set me up for financial success.

With a bit of research, hustle, and determination, anyone can improve their financial situation.

Here are the 5 steps I used to reach a positive net worth:

  1. Live below your means
  2. Increase income
  3. Automate
  4. Be consistent
  5. Surround yourself with like-minded people

Let’s dive into each one of these steps to see how you can utilize these strategies too.

Live Below Your Means

Spend lavishly on things you love and save immensely on things you do not care about” — quote by author Ramit Sethi, from I Will Teach You To Be Rich

I am pretty low maintenance and do not value many expensive, material things. I do value experiences. I save a good chunk of my paycheck and splurge occasionally on experiences.

For example, during a recent weekend, I went to Yosemite National Park and rented out a cabin with friends. I am living my best life and saving money as well.

I also give credit to my Instant Pot. I am able to cook nearly anything in it. It is great because I can make affordable meals, it makes large portions, and it saves time. As a solo travel therapist, I have lived in places that do not have stovetops or full kitchens, often allowing me to save money on housing costs. Even with these accommodations, I have not had a problem eating well with the Instant Pot. A big “money saver” food is rice as a side. I have eaten over a hundred pounds of rice over the years. My staple dinner is cooked chicken, vegetables, and rice. Yummy for a good price.

This may sound extreme to some, but I am happy with how I am living my life. These are just a couple examples of how I am able to live frugally and put aside a lot in savings. You need to figure out what is your savings comfort level, and make moves accordingly.

Increase Income

Unfortunately, the job market for physical therapists doesn’t always allow for the highest paychecks depending on your setting and location. However, thus far in my career, I have focused on only taking higher-paying jobs in order to improve my financial situation.

I am flexible on setting, location, and am open to moving anywhere in the country. My first job was a permanent job in a large teaching hospital. It was a great learning experience for my first job, but I could not stay there if I wanted to reach my financial goals. I put in my one-month notice and applied for higher-paying travel PT jobs. I have also worked higher paying Per Diem jobs.

In my short two years as a PT so far, I have worked in the ICU, CCU, SNF, ALF, LTC, home health, outpatient, and acute care settings. I have been exposed to many settings from the many travel contracts and PRN jobs I have taken. There is always something new to learn, and if you’re strategic in choosing your positions, you can find high paying jobs while experiencing a variety of settings and learning new skills.

Automate Your Decisions

In order to stay on track financially, I automate my savings, my payments on expenses, and my investments. I automate everything to where I do not have to think about it, thus making it easier to reach my financial goals, be sure not to miss any payments, and having money automatically directed towards savings. This strategy psychologically trains me to not even expect the extra money from my paycheck that is automatically allocated to my bills and my savings accounts.

I am currently saving about 60-70 percent of my paycheck. As part of my savings, I maximize my Roth IRA retirement account. I invest in the same fund every month and plan to do so for as long as I can. This money will benefit me in retirement, and some of it can hopefully be passed down to my future kids or beneficiaries one day. Outside of my retirement contributions, I currently do not invest in any additional brokerage accounts, as I want to hold money to invest in real estate for now. This is a personal decision to diversify my savings.

Remain Consistent

It is important to have an end goal and motivation to stay consistent. What’s the point of making money if you do not have any intrinsic motivation?

I hope to one day be financially free, allowing me the freedom to work because I want to, not because I have to. I also love volunteering and would love to have more free time for this.

Surround Yourself with Like-Minded People

It’s important to hang out with finance rock stars or like-minded people. You are the average of the 5 people you hang out with most (~Jim Rohn). Since the pandemic currently makes it tough to hang out with anyone in person, I try to listen to people who not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk in the finance world. I do so via audiobooks or podcasts, so I can internalize their mindset on money which helps me in my own life. Everyone has an opinion, and it is best to listen to people who have a track record of success. Growing up, I was the kid who never read a book unless if it was for school; however, I am currently on track to read/listen to at least 24 books this year because of the valuable content I have gained.

During the first few months of my first PT job, I had the mindset to pay off my loans ASAP and put the majority of my paycheck toward loans for peace of mind. There is nothing wrong with this, and it’s a great strategy for many people. However, after listening to many podcasts and books, I have changed my mindset and prefer to use the money toward investments and not rush to pay off my loans. I would rather pay myself first and set myself up for a positive financial future, than rush to pay back my student loans at this time.

Future Goals

I am unsure of what the future holds for me. I am currently saving a chunk of my paycheck in a high yield savings account and maximizing my Roth IRA retirement account. I know that in the future I do plan to invest in real estate. I would like to live in a unit, and rent out the others. Hopefully, I can buy property at least once a year and see where the investment goes from there.

Recommended Resources

Below are a couple of life-changing books that changed my mindset on finances. I would recommend checking these out if you’re looking to get into a better financial situation!

  • Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki
  • I Will Teach You to be Rich by Ramit Sethi

A resource I wish would’ve been available to me as a beginning travel therapist is “Rate My Therapy Company” Facebook group. I created this community to fill a need of therapists not knowing what kinds of companies they would be signing contracts with. This group allows therapists to rate companies and provide valuable information on factors like pay, setting type, and company culture.

I love talking about my story, so if you have further questions about it, you can email me or send me a Facebook message—I am an open book.

Best of luck to you as you pursue your own path to financial freedom!

Yonas Tekeste is a travel physical therapist originally from Chicago, Illinois. He graduated with his DPT degree in May of 2018. He is currently taking a month-long break from travel contracts to spend more time with family in Illinois. He enjoys listening to podcasts, playing sports, hiking, and attending social events in his free time. The best way to contact Yonas is through Facebook or email at

We would like to thank Yonas for sharing his story with us! Please feel free to contact Yonas to learn more about his financial strategies. You can also contact us if you have more questions about starting a career in travel therapy to help set yourself up for a better financial future, as we and many other traveling therapists have done!