Tips for Travel Nurses Going to Hawaii

The number one complaint that I heard from travel nurses in Hawaii was I wish other travel nurses had told me about how to handle the assignment.  I’m going to give some tips on how to.


You’re going to need reliable transportation.

I chose to do a rental car.  That can get really expensive.  I found another travel nurse that gave me a rental car company that charged less than anybody else.  It worked out great.  I could just trade in the car when something went wrong with it and get another car.  I didn’t have to pay for oil changes and the upkeep of the car.

Another traveler just bought a cheap used car and sold it when he was done.  I probably should have done this but I didn’t want to have to find someone to buy the car.  This route can save money so that you can spend more money on experiences.  You’re going to want to island hop as much as possible.  Every island is different.

Another traveler just had her car shipped to Hawaii.  I looked into that and it can be expensive depending on where it is being shipped from.  It would be less expensive if I had of drove my car to California and shipped it from there.  It was about $2100 to ship to Hawaii and then another $2100 to ship it back to my parents home.

Another option is to just buy a bike.  One traveler did this because she lived so close to the hospital.  She only rented a car when she wanted to go to the other side of the island.  She saved a lot of money and was able to go to the other islands on a weekly basis.

Another option is to check with your landlord and see if they have a car to rent.  I stayed at the Bayshore Towers and the management at the apartments had a Jeep that they passed from travel nurse to travel nurse.  At the time I stayed there, it was being used by another travel nurse.  Some apartments will advertise that there is a cheap car that they can rent.

When I go back to Hawaii, depending on the length of my assignment, I’m going to buy a cheap car and sell it.


One option is to rent a room.  I rented a room from airbnb for my last month.  It was an interesting experience.  Just make sure to ask questions about who else is living in the house.  Ask about the quiet hours on the weekend and during the week.  Going this route can save a lot of money.  Its cheaper than a hotel sometimes.

Another option is rent an apartment or condo.  There are plenty of these to choose from.  I found that a lot of people own vacation properties and rent them out when they aren’t in Hawaii.  It can be expensive.  I wanted to have an ocean view.  If you are comfortable with having a roommate then the rent would be cheaper.  Many of the travel nurses I met were traveling in pairs.

Another option is a hotel.  Most of the hotels are expensive in Hilo.  I stayed at the Hilo Naniloa Hotel.  It was gorgeous.  I had the most beautiful ocean view and the mountain view is gorgeous.  I loved it.  If I could have afforded it, I would have stayed there but I wouldn’t have been making any money.  I got a discount but it still was too expensive.  It was $100 per night.  There were other hotels that were a tad bit cheaper but this was close to the hospital.  There were also bed and breakfast hotels.

Another option is a hostel.  It was really cheap.  I found one for about $30 per night.  I’ve never tried a hostel and decided against it.  I just need my own space.

There is also a work housing option.  It was only $23 per night.  You just had to work for 1-2 hours a day in the garden.

Housing and transportation are the biggest items for a travel nurse.  My agency doesn’t pay for the housing or the transportation. I had to rent a room for my last month because it was cheaper than anything else that I found.


Set aside some money for adventures.  If you live in Hilo, most of the tourist things are on the other side of the island.  It takes about an hour and a half to get to Kona from Hilo.

You have to fly to the other islands.

There are so many things to do on the Big Island.  I went horseback riding, hiking, para-sailing, Segway tour, zip lining, whale watching and a lava tour.  There are so many beaches to go to.  Some of the waterfalls can only be seen after a long hike.

I can’t wait to go back!!

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