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, y’all!), 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’s 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 living life on the road (literally),

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!

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Taxable rate per hour

If you have a tax home you can get money in two ways: Your taxable base pay per hour + tax-free stipends that help pay for your housing and meals in your new city.

If you do not have a tax home all of your pay will be taxed and put in this field.

Good to know: Your taxable base pay is the only part of your paycheck that is legally considered income. The average taxable base pay is $20 but you might get offers higher or lower than this. It’s the only part of your paycheck that is taxed

Nomadicare’s purpose is to empower. It’s the lifeblood that flows through every single thing we create. We are here to make sure every traveler has all the transparent knowledge they need to make empowered decisions. We want you to feel confident so you can live your dream!

Nomadicare is partnered with dozens of companies and each of those companies have access to different settings, locations, and exclusive contracts. We know their benefit options and who have jobs in each location. We will match you to the best recruiters for you and your goals. Every single recruiter has been vetted and comes with the Nomadicare guarantee.
You can browse the open jobs from many of our company partners on the Nomadicare’s anti bait and switch job board. When you see one that catches your eye, the goal is to apply asap. Jobs are closing faster than ever with all the craziness this year so speed is our best friend. When you request an interview, we’ll instantly match you with the vetted recruiter who posted that job.
Typically 0-3 months before you are ready to start your next assignment is best. A short quiz will give us a picture of who you are, and what you are looking for. After the quiz we’ll have everything we need to match you with the perfect recruirer for your travel goals
If you know where you want to go and you’re ready to travel, Instant Matching is perfect for you. You can browse the open jobs from many of our company partners on the Nomadicare’s anti bait-and-switch job board. When you see one that catches your eye, the goal is to apply asap. Jobs are closing faster than ever with all the craziness this year so speed is our best friend.
We highly recommended being ready! Having all of your documents and being super responsive are key. Speed is the biggest factor in getting the job you want. We recommend using a free service like Kamana, which you can share your online resume, credentials, and licenses with a single link to any of our vetted recruiters when requesting an interview.
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