Choosing an RV as a Healthcare Traveler

We often receive questions from travel therapists about how to set up housing as a healthcare traveler. Some therapists and other healthcare professionals (nurses, etc.) choose to live in an RV during their travel healthcare journey. We at Travel Therapy Mentor personally lived in a fifth wheel camper for about 3 years during the beginning of our travel PT careers.

There are a lot of pros and cons to consider when deciding if the RV route is right for you, and when comparing RV life to finding short term housing. But if you’re fairly certain you do want to pursue the RV life, the next thing you may be wondering is how to find the right RV for you. We’re excited to share this guest post from Travel PT Kayla who lives full time in an RV with her husband and pets.

As traveling healthcare workers, we are often moving all around the country. Living full time in an RV can be a great way to have a permanent home on the road that can help to provide comfort and stability. It can also provide fun and adventurous journeys.

If you’re a traveling healthcare worker considering pursuing the RV life, you may be wondering how to choose the right RV. Here are some tips to help you find an RV that’s right for you.


My name is Kayla Eldridge and I am a traveling Physical Therapist. My husband, Ryan, is a remote software developer who travels with me, and we have been living full-time in our 5th wheel camper with our two cats since 2020. We chose RV living because we found it to be difficult to find affordable, pet friendly short-term housing. We also want our cats to be happy and comfortable in a permanent living space where we don’t have to worry about them ruining other people’s furniture. We bought our 2021 Grand Design Reflection 31mb and 2014 Ford F350 truck in June 2020. 

Overview of Different Types of RVs

If you’re new to RVing, you might be unaware of the different types of RVs. There are two main styles, each with different classes within them. Motorhomes are drivable RVs with an engine, and towables are towed behind a truck.

Motorhomes are broken up into 3 classes:

  • Class A are big rigs with panoramic front windows. These drive like a bus so there can be a bigger learning curve.

  • Class B are vans. These can get you into smaller campsites easily and quickly. Driving them can be more familiar and easier. They have a very small living space which can be challenging but not impossible for some people.

  • Class C is between class A and B in terms of size. They tend to have more beds than Class A so it can be better for families. Like Class B, they typically use gas instead of diesel, making it more cost effective.

Towables are generally broken up into two categories with a wide range of different options in each:

  • The first is a travel trailer. These are lighter, shorter, and smaller (though, not always). This makes them easier to fit into locations that have height restrictions from bridges or trees. They are towed behind the vehicle using a trailer hitch. They are sometimes referred to as a “pull-behind.”

  • The second is a fifth wheel which is bigger, heavier, and taller. These offer more living and storage space but will require a bigger truck to tow (maybe even a dual rear wheel). They are easier to maneuver than a travel trailer (especially in reverse) since the pivot point is closer to the midpoint of the truck. These are towed from a hitch that is installed in the truck bed. This means you’ll need to install the special fifth-wheel hitch and can’t tow with just any regular trailer hitch.

Within each category, there is a wide array of different layouts and the potential for a number of slideouts which can create extra space. For example, a “toy hauler” model has an opening on the back of the trailer that opens up like a garage, which can allow you to haul extra equipment like motorcycles or have extra space for an office or extra bedroom.

There are many considerations, so it’s important to look at each of them and determine which style would best suit your needs.

Process of Searching for the Right RV

Searching for an RV can be a long and daunting process, but if you put in the time and do your research, you can find the right one to call home. It’s important not to rush the process and make uncalculated decisions, especially if you plan on living in the RV full time. 

There are many considerations for navigating through this process. They all overlap, making it difficult for this to be done as a step by step procedure. You will likely go back and forth among each area multiple times until you figure out what works best for you.


Start thinking about your lifestyle and what you need in a home to be happy and comfortable.

When you search for RVs without making these considerations, it’s possible that you could get caught up in the moment and let the excitement cloud your judgment. Having a list of your wants and needs can prevent forgetting necessary qualities. 

Motorhome vs. Towable RV

Deciding between a motorhome or towable RV depends on a few factors. Would you rather drive your home and tow a smaller car behind it, or drive a truck that tows your home and use the truck as your in-town vehicle after unhitching? Who will be driving and what type of vehicle are they comfortable driving? Not just when you’re moving the RV but after the RV is parked and you need to drive to work or around town. 

Motorhomes can be easier to park, especially in reverse, because there is no pivot point. This makes them great for a single person. Towables can be more difficult to back into spots, often needing two people. It requires good communication, time, and patience, especially for the challenging spots. A backup camera could help for either type of RV. Pull-through spots would make parking easier, but these usually cost more and are only available at some RV parks.

Motorhomes allow you to tow a small, fuel efficient car, which is easier for around town; whereas with towables, you only have the towing vehicle. If you choose the motorhome and car, you will have two engines to maintain, which can be costly. Whereas the towable and truck only has one engine.

If a motorhome engine requires maintenance, you may have to find a hotel to stay in while it is being repaired. Towables can be unhitched so that you can stay in your RV while the tow vehicle is repaired.

Both motorhomes and towables have options for slideouts which provide more living space. We felt that towables had a larger variety of floor plans giving more options for living spaces.

Additional vehicles

If you purchase a towable RV, make sure to check the RV and Trailer towing guides to determine what size/type of truck you will need to safely tow the RV.

If you buy a motorhome, you can tow a small car behind it, but you have to make sure it’s compatible for towing as not all vehicles are.

If you already have a vehicle you’d like to keep that can tow or be towed, this might help you decide on the type of RV you get. Otherwise, you will have to consider getting a new vehicle along with your RV purchase.

Finding the Right Floor Plan

View as many varieties of floor plans as you can to figure out what you like and what meets your needs. Being inside the RV is drastically different than looking at floor plans online. On top of seeing them at dealerships, try to go to an RV show or rally if there is one near you. Just don’t let the salespeople tempt you into a purchase before you are ready.

If you plan on staying in parking lots or truck stops on travel days, check if you can access your refrigerator, bathroom, and bedroom with the slides in. Most of the time you will not be able to open the slide-outs in parking lots, so plan accordingly. If you can’t access the fridge, you could also use a cooler or a mini-fridge in an outdoor kitchen for meals on travel days.

If you have pets, you will need space for crates, litter boxes, and food/water. Make sure these are also accessible with the slides closed during travel days. We built a tunnel into a storage compartment to store the litter boxes. It keeps the RV from smelling and tracking litter on the floor while also providing us with more space inside. When we travel, we move the litter boxes to the shower since the cats can’t access the tunnel with the slides closed. A second bathroom would also work.

If you travel with a partner who works from home, they will need a work space. Using the kitchen table could be a nuisance if they have to keep moving everything. Having a good setup will help them to be more successful when working from the road. Finding a floor plan that has additional space such as a bunkhouse, mid-bunk room or toy-hauler garage will allow them to set up a permanent desk space. We built a desk in our mid-bunk and we have seen many great renovations to turn the garage of a toy-hauler into really cool office spaces.

Some smaller details to consider include location of the windows, whether you’d prefer a booth or dinette, the color scheme and decor, and storage space. Check if you can see the TV comfortably. If you plan on bringing bikes, make sure the hitch is rated to carry them.


You will need to come up with a budget to follow. Consider the above categories when you create your budget and remember that the budget should include cost of the RV, insurance, extra vehicle (if applicable), hitch or tow device and accessories. Repairs can also be expensive, so it is important to set money aside in your emergency fund for when unexpected things happen.

You’ll need to consider if you can buy the RV in cash or will need to finance. If you decide to finance, it is a good idea to get pre-approved to know how much you can afford.

Purchasing RV from Dealership or Independent Seller

Buying a new RV from a dealership can guarantee that you know how well it has been taken care of, if you don’t mind taking the depreciation hit. Depending on the brand though, big issues are often seen right as you take them off the lot, so make sure it’s a reputable brand that is known for good customer service. In our experience, Grand Design has proven to have good customer service.

Dealerships provide inspections to make sure the RV is in working order, but they can often miss a lot. So don’t be surprised if there are issues even after buying brand new from a dealership.

Dealerships can also provide a bigger range of RVs to see in person and provide financing options, which can be beneficial.

When buying from an independent seller, you will have to provide your own financing, but you can find good deals if you search around. Keep in mind that if you buy used, many RV parks do not allow RVs over 10 years old to stay in their parks, so consider the age when you’re buying it plus how many years you plan to use it.

When buying used, you will want to do a full inspection of the RV to assess if there is any damage prior to buying it. You can either do it on your own or hire a professional. This cost will be out of pocket, but it can be worth the added expense to ensure you made a good purchase.

When assessing an RV, there are a few things to look out for. Look for any water damage or mold, as fixing it can be costly and difficult. Check that the appliances are working properly. Make sure the furnace, air conditioners, water pump, and water heaters are in working order. Also, if possible, check underneath for water leaks in the pipes as that can be a common issue as well. 


The process for choosing an RV to live in can be overwhelming, but when done correctly, it can be extremely rewarding. We have lived in several different types of housing, but our RV has been our favorite place to live by far.

We have been to a lot of incredible places and have enjoyed many adventures throughout our travels that we wouldn’t have had without our RV. We hope our advice can help you to also choose a wonderful home to take on the road!

Written by Kayla Eldridge, PT, DPT – If you would like to read more about how Kayla and her husband Ryan got started traveling, living in the RV or about their adventures, check out their website at or follow them at EldridgeExpedition on Instagram and Facebook. They have pictures of their RV when they first bought it and pictures of all the updates they made to it over the years to make it feel more like home.

Thank you Kayla for providing your insights to healthcare travelers making decisions regarding housing and RV living!

If you’re new to travel therapy and have questions, be sure to check out the resources we have available at Travel Therapy Mentor, including getting connected with our Recommended Recruiters. Feel free to contact us with any questions!

Travel Therapy With a Spouse Who’s Not a Healthcare Professional

Guest Post by Ryan Eldridge for Travel Therapy Mentor

We often get questions from healthcare professionals who want to travel, but they are unsure if it’s feasible for them due to having a spouse or significant other who isn’t a healthcare professional. Fortunately, we know many travelers who have made it work traveling with their partner or family. Everyone’s situation will be different, but there are many options to explore to allow your partner to join you on your travel healthcare journey. Some travelers are in situations where their partner may not need to work and can come along for the journey, but many are interested in learning how their partner can still work and earn income while on the road. We asked our friends Kayla and Ryan to share their story on how they have been able to make remote work possible for Ryan, a software developer, while Kayla, a Physical Therapist, takes travel contracts around the country! Check it out below to see what Ryan has to share!

Traveling for work is such a rewarding lifestyle. Life can’t get much better than being able to see the world and having amazing adventures while still earning a living. Whether you’re a solo healthcare traveler, or traveling with a friend, a significant other or a family, you get the opportunity to have these incredible, unforgettable experiences. In our case, we are a married couple that travels together, and we feel very fortunate to be able to share these experiences together.

What We Do for Work

I am a software developer and my wife, Kayla, is a traveling Physical Therapist. We started traveling about a year and a half ago in late 2020. It was a fairly easy transition for me as I fortunately have a job that allows me to work remotely, so that I was able to travel with her without having to figure out an alternative solution.

After working for my company for a few years, more and more people started to leave and work from home, so I took advantage of this and did the same. Initially, it was just to save on time and money from the commute, but it worked greatly in our favor since we decided to start traveling.

Suggestions for Finding Remote Work

Try going remote at your current job

The easiest solution to finding remote work is to try to work your current job remotely. This doesn’t apply to every job, but if you think your job can be done as well remotely as in the office, then I have a couple of suggestions.

Before asking your boss, get prepared. Have concrete examples and actual numbers. 

Try researching the topic. I particularly enjoyed the book “Remote: Office Not Required” by Jason Fried. This can help you come up with good examples of the benefits of remote work that you can share with your boss.

Develop a communication plan

Lack of communication is oftentimes the reason why bosses may not want their employees to work remotely. Propose a solution ahead of time, such as daily updates in emails, or short meetings, or maybe a weekly catch up meeting to go over goals and how things are going. Having suggestions ahead of time shows you’re serious and are willing and able to make it work.

Leverage time or status at company

If you’ve been at the company for a long time, or have an important job that is tough to fill, make sure to leverage that. Let them know you’re serious, and if they don’t let you work remotely they could lose a valuable employee. However, be prepared to walk away from the job if they disagree.

Look for a new job

Even if you’re trying to keep your current job, it may be beneficial to look for new jobs in the same position that hires remote workers. You can use them as leverage and show that other companies are doing it, and you can get a head start on finding a new job if modifying your current job doesn’t pan out.

Can’t Work Remotely?

If you’re looking for new work opportunities, there are many options out there. Keep an open mind and maybe try a few different ones to find what works for you.

Work Camping

Some campsites, National Parks, and RV parks offer Work Camps where you can do seasonal work for them. This can be a great option for those that travel in an RV. Oftentimes this means you can work for a few months right at the park where you are staying. This could include cleaning and maintaining the park, or being a full camp host that stays on site to help out guests and manage reservations. Keep in mind that if they offer you to stay on site at no cost, you are still required to pay duplicate expenses to meet tax home requirements if your significant other (travel healthcare worker) is receiving non-taxable stipends, so be sure to factor that thought into your plans.

Seasonal Work

Seasonal work options could include painting houses, landscaping, shoveling/plowing snow, theme parks, and Amazon or other shipping warehouses especially around the holidays.


Driving jobs through Uber, Lyft, Doordash, etc are another option. These work better if you have a fuel efficient vehicle. There are also some lesser known apps out there for things such as Pet Sitting, Dog Walking, or random tasks like putting together furniture from TaskRabbit.

Freelance Work

If you have a skill that you can monetize, you can try freelancing. You can start a career in freelance web development, graphic design, UX design, writing, and much more by building a couple solid pieces of work and networking. You could try doing your freelancing through sites such as Upwork, but I’d suggest only using it to start building a portfolio and networking, as it’s infamous for people taking reduced pay from cheaper cost of living countries. You could also create and sell products on Ebay or Etsy.

Other options

There are many other options out there you could explore for either remote work or temporary work at your travel locations. Do your research and see if there is an option out there that could work for you!

Logistics of Remote Work

RV vs. Short Term Housing: Workspace & Internet Access

After determining the job situation, you have to decide how you want to travel. We decided to buy an RV, and one consideration with this decision was that it needed a good workspace. We found an RV with a mid-bunk room that I was able to modify and turn into my office.

The bunk room did not have enough space for a normal desk because the slides come in during travel, so I designed and built a desk that swivels out when we are on location, or swivels in over the built-in cabinets during travel. 

Another option is removing furniture in the living room or dining room to build a workspace. If you don’t need the extra monitors, keyboard, etc. many people just bring their laptop to the kitchen table. But personally, I wanted a separate work space from my living space to improve my work-life balance.

One of our challenges was figuring out what to do for internet. Getting consistent internet is a big can of worms coming from an RV perspective. RV parks have spotty internet and are rarely reliable enough for full time work. We’ve found that using mobile hotspot data works the best. Having multiple plans with multiple carriers ensures we always have a connection no matter our location. You can put those plans in phones, hotspot devices, or what we use is a mobile connected router that can take multiple SIM cards and creates a WiFi connection you can use just like you would in a home connection. Plus it gives the ability to connect a robust antenna to get more range than you would from just a hotspot or phone.

If you need to have video conference meetings frequently, another great option would be a tablet plan. Most carriers have plans for unlimited data on tablets that may require digging to find but are actually quite affordable. Then you can use your tablet for video conferencing without worrying about data limits. The downside is that it is harder to boost the connection as you can’t attach an antenna, but you can use a signal booster.

Signal boosters are different from a mobile router and an antenna as they can boost the signal of your phone or tablet wirelessly. It also boosts the signal of your phone allowing better reception for calls and hotspot data. The downside is they are less reliable and will often show no benefit. 

If you’d like to read more in-depth about how we set up our internet on the road, check out our blog post on mobile internet strategies here!

The cost of set-up depends on your needs. It all depends on how much data you need, where you plan on going, and how reliably you need to stay connected.

If you choose the short-term housing route, this could be simpler. Make sure your short term residence has a comfortable workspace for you. The internet may already be set up and included in the cost of renting. Sometimes it is not and you have to set it up yourself, but don’t forget to cancel it when you leave. If you don’t use much data, a simple data/hotspot plan and tablet plan could be a good option since short-term housing will likely be in areas where you won’t need advanced antennas and boosters to pick up a signal. This means you won’t have to get it set up again every time you move.


If you travel with two vehicles, transportation won’t be a problem. We only have one vehicle, which is our truck that we tow our fifth wheel with, which Kayla usually drives to work, so I am usually without a vehicle during the day. We try to stay within walking or biking distance to her work so we can share the truck more easily. When we cannot stay close to her work, and I need the truck for the day, I will drop her off and then find a place to work from close-by. I usually work from a library, a coffee shop, or sometimes her workplace has a room they are willing to let me use for the day. I have also used the bus systems in town for transportation when needed.

Time Off Between Contracts

Kayla will usually take time off between Travel PT contracts before starting her next contract. So far she has only taken 1-2 weeks off, but this summer she will be taking 4-5 months off so we can go on a road trip!

If she was traveling alone, she would have to figure out a plan for her health insurance between contracts, but since she is on my employee plan, she is covered during this time, which makes things easier for her.

One downside of her taking this much time off is that I am not able to take the same amount of time off with my job. Since I am not able to take that much time off, I try to utilize my work time as efficiently as possible so that we can still have most of the day to go out for adventures.

When we’re traveling from one location to another, Kayla does most of the driving while I sit in the passenger seat working. This works well for us because Kayla enjoys driving and has no issues with towing our fifth wheel, plus it allows me the time I need to do my work.

We have run into some issues though, mostly towards the beginning of our travels when we were getting accustomed to this lifestyle. Kayla prefers to take the scenic routes whenever possible, but this often means losing signal en route and I am unable to work. We have a signal booster to help with these instances, but when driving through the mountains we still don’t get enough reception, so we have to stick to interstate driving to avoid this issue.

I always inform my job ahead of time that we are moving locations just in case the signal cuts out. We try to plan our travel days/times around when I have meetings so that I don’t accidentally miss something important at work. We also try to visit places and get some hikes in while traveling between contracts. Oftentimes this means working at odd hours either at night or on weekends so that we can explore during the day.

Is Traveling Feasible for You?

Traveling for work can be tricky, but if you’re creative anything is possible. This experience has been so worthwhile. The number of places we’ve been and the experiences we’ve had in just over a year of traveling is far more than what either of us had anticipated. We initially thought we would only travel for 1-3 years, but after experiencing how incredible the lifestyle has been, we don’t see ever staying in one place again!

We definitely encourage you to look more into this way of life to see if it’s right for you!

If you would like to hear more about our specific experience including how we made the decision to travel, buying our truck and RV, and the places we have been, visit our website or follow us on Instagram or Facebook @eldridgeexpedition.

Written by Ryan Eldridge
Guest post for Travel Therapy Mentor