RV travel nurses: How to receive tax-free stipends

Hey there, RV Travel Nurse! Can I just start off by saying how jealous I am of your life choices? I have always dreamed of living in an RV part of the year. Ah, smells like freedom. I'll keep living vicariously through you. But for now, let's dive in and talk about travel nurses who live in RVs (and how it impacts your pay.)

As a Travel Nurse, we need to keep in mind how our living situation can impact the reimbursements we receive while traveling. In order to receive your housing stipends or reimbursements (AKA, tax-free money, ya’ll!), your RV must function as your second home.

An RV travel nurse typically has two housing expenses while they travel

First, you have a tax home. That’s house #1. Know and follow the tax home rules to make sure that the first home is set up to be considered your tax home. Then, have an RV in addition to your tax home. That makes your RV house #2. From an IRS standpoint, this can be considered your second housing expense while on assignment.

House #1: Paying rent at a tax home. House #2: Having expenses for your RV

If your RV is your only home, then you are not duplicating your housing expenses. Why does this matter? Well, that big chunk of tax-free money you receive every week is there as reimbursement for having duplicate meals and housing costs. If you’re not duplicating your housing expenses, you are not eligible to receive this money tax-free. No big deal, but all your income should be taxed.

Remember, we still need to show that we are duplicating housing expenses. This is easy if you rent your RV, rent the land you park it on, or you’re still paying it off! This can be a little trickier if you already paid it off and are able to park it for free. If that’s the case, make sure you keep your receipts of RV upkeep!

How the RV Nurse Travels without a Tax Home

Hey, Laura. What if I don’t want to keep my apartment, and I only want to have my RV. Can I still be a Travel Nurse?


If your RV is your only home, it sounds like you were born to travel, baby! Nothing can stop you. You are what we call a “Free Spirit Traveler.” You don't have to worry about having a permanent home because home is where you’re parked!

The only thing you, the RV Nurse, need to know is this type of free-spirited travel does not qualify you for tax-free money. Think you can remember why? That’s right, the free spirit RV Nurse is not duplicating housing expenses.

Tons of RV Nurses and regular Travel Nurses do this! There are lots of rules we have to follow to be eligible for tax-free money, but there are no rules that say we have to have two homes to be a travel nurse. If you only have one home- You can just travel, make the same gross income and it will all be taxed. (honestly, this route is a lot easier and you don't have to go back to your tax home around 30 days a year if you pick this path!)

The RV Nurse life can be a whirlwind. That's why it's important to know these things ahead of time. Now you can pack up your RV, sit back, and enjoy the ride.

Cheers to RV Nurses!

xo Laura

Hey friends. This is really important. I am not a tax advisor and the information I provide on this blog about taxes is not legal advice. Please, don't treat a blog, Facebook, or your recruiter as your tax advisor. But please, learn some theories here and get some great context to go to your tax advisor with questions about your unique situation!

Mentorship, education, and inspiration

Join thousands of empowered travelers and subscribe to the Nomadicare newsletter.

You're now subscribed!

Something went wrong (our fault, not yours). Please try again.

Here for the famous recruiter matching?

Get matched for free
Getting StartedFinding JobsMoneyInspirationTaxesInsurance
Favorite RecruitersSearch JobsMarket ForecastHelp Center