The Scoop on Traveling OT Jobs

The Scoop on Traveling Occupational Therapy Positions with Emily Butler

Many OTs consider trying out traveling occupational therapy at some point. 

Not only do travel OT jobs provide tons of experience and exposure to multiple settings, they pay well and can help you pay down loans and get out of debt quickly.

That said, as with any type of practice, there are pros and cons to consider. 

In this post we will look at the state of travel in 2023. And, share an interview with Emily Butler can help you determine whether traveling is the right career move for you. Then, at the end, I will share a bit about my favorite travel advocate, Nomadicare.

The State of Travel OT in 2023

The travel industry continues to change so quickly. We wanted to include this interview with Laura Latimer, Founder of Nomadicare to talk about travel advice specific to 2023, as our below interview with Emily was conducted several years ago, and provides advice that has withstood the test of time.

I am a longtime friend and affiliate of Nomadicare.

An Interview with Emily Butler on her Travel OT experience

Why did you choose travel OT right out of school?

When I graduated from OT school and was considering job options, I was single and didn’t feel particularly tied to any specific place to move to and get a permanent job.

My good friend from OT school was looking into traveling, and she asked me to travel with her. At that time, becoming a traveling OT with a friend seemed much less daunting than doing it on my own, and since traveling contracts typically only last 13 weeks, I knew I could take a permanent job in a few months if traveling was not a good fit for me.

Another major draw to traveling was that with the tax-free stipends I would receive as a “displaced worker.” I would make more than I would at traditional occupational therapy jobs. I knew that would enable me to pay off the student loan debt I had accumulated during the three and a half years it took me to get my doctorate.  

After weighing the pros and cons, I could see that traveling made a lot of sense for me. I agreed to give it a try with her.

How did you decide on an agency? What kind of parameters could you set?

While looking into travel companies, I talked with other travelers that I knew from my alma mater, and I did a lot of research on each of the companies’ websites.

My friend and I made a giant chart comparing around 20 companies, and we emailed recruiters from each of the companies asking them about their benefits packages, licensure, CEU reimbursements, health insurance, and how they dealt with pairs of travelers. 

I had originally decided to go with another company. They had been slowly building a relationship with the friend I was wanting to travel with; in fact, they’d been in touch with her since our 1st year of OT school! 

We really liked that company until they gave us some bad advice. 

As traveling OTs, we were not eligible for temporary state licensure in any of the states we planned on working in. The traveling recruiter we were working with advised us to get our California and Washington licenses first as soon as we’d passed the NBCOT exam.

The recruiter failed to inform us that the processing time to get state licenses varies greatly from state to state. As it happens, California and Washington both require background checks and fingerprinting [which has to be done on their specific fingerprinting form which is mailed to you and then you mail back]. Consequently, those states take upwards of three months for the licensure process. As a new grad, I was not interested in waiting to begin working for three months. I needed a paycheck!

While we were stressing about the delay with our West Coast licenses, another company contacted us and was very prompt in answering all of our questions. The recruiter told us she could get us two jobs in a different state with an average state licensure processing time of about a week.

We jumped on it, and ended up staying with that company for two years. In my experience, the recruiter you work with is just as (if not more!) important than the agency. You need a recruiter who is going to stand up for you, be detail oriented (for your contract, time off requests, etc.), and timely.

Travel jobs can be posted and filled within 12 hours in some cases! If your recruiter isn’t moving quickly enough, you will miss out on jobs you are interested in.

When negotiating travel contracts, my philosophy became, “don’t ask, don’t get.” I had to negotiate for things like getting paid mileage when I was traveling between buildings, and having at least 30 days notice if the facility I was working for found a permanent OT and wanted to replace me (which happened). Don’t settle for two weeks’ notice. It will happen and turn your life on end. Everything is negotiable, and every company will try to lowball you. Stand up for yourself and don’t sign a contract you aren’t comfortable with.

My biggest fear about traveling is being thrown into situations without support; did you feel this way?

I had similar fears before my first day at my first placement. When I walked in the door that first day as a new grad fresh out of OT school, the first thing I remember happening is the therapy director hugging me and saying, “She’s here! Our angel! We’ve been so excited for you to come.”

At that first placement, they had been getting by with PRN staff, and they were thrilled to have a more stable therapist. They were incredibly supportive and helped me to feel at ease. It also helped that I was traveling with my friend because we could always bounce ideas off each other.

Not every facility has been as supportive as that first one.

I ended up traveling only to skilled nursing facilities. That’s where the demand was while I traveled, and I discovered I really loved geriatrics. In my experience, a patient is a patient, no matter which facility I was working in. They all need therapy.

And, while I’ve seen therapy gyms of all shapes and sizes, they all have gait belts and oximeters. When it gets down to it, that’s all you really need. Nurses’ stations are easy to find. Patients’ rooms are numbered. If I wasn’t lucky enough to get a tour of the facility or much of an orientation, I found I really didn’t need it.

I kept a growing collection of patient handouts and assessments on my clipboard, and I made copies of them when needed. (Finding patient handouts in a disorganized therapy gym was often more trouble than it was worth in the first week at a new building.)  

Also, I traveled to six different sites across the country, and they all used one of the two computerized documentation programs (Casamba and Rehab Optima) I knew.

One building I worked at actually transitioned from all handwritten documentation to computerized while I was there, and I was able to help the other therapists with the transition. Already knowing the computerized documentation system meant that it was easier for me to jump in and see patients, and I ultimately required less and less orientation the longer I was a traveler. 

Most importantly, you need to find a travel company (and recruiter) that will provide you with support. If you stay with the same company, as I did, developing a good and trusting relationship with that company will really help with any problems or issues that you run into.

This is personal, but how did traveling affect your social life? 

Well, for the first year, I traveled with my friend that I mentioned. Being a traveling pair limits job options because you have to find a placement that needs two OTs with the same start date. However, it does make the social aspect a lot more fun.

I met other traveling pairs while I was traveling who made it work, as well. As it happened, my friend ended up falling in love with a farmer from Iowa, and we stopped traveling together. This impacted my social life. Haha!

I did two travel placements on my own, and I chose to travel to large cities. I wasn’t interested in living in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere, thousands of miles from anyone I knew.

I was in Portland and the Seattle area, and I explored on my own and with people that I met there. My philosophy was to say, “yes!” to anything someone invited me to do (within reason, naturally). It was fun doing things I wouldn’t typically do, and traveling definitely brought me out of my shell. 

How did traveling help you grow as a therapist?

Traveling has helped me grow and become an adaptable therapist. I’ve learned to be flexible and work with a variety of different therapy directors, COTAs with limited experience, and COTAs who have been in the field for 20 years.

I’ve learned a lot from all of the different therapists I’ve worked with across the country, and have incorporated both “old-school” methods and cutting-edge practices.

I have also had a lot of practice interviewing for jobs, and don’t get nearly as nervous as I used to. It has also helped me determine what is important to me when negotiating contracts while I was applying for my permanent position. 

Traveling also has turned me into a more resourceful and creative therapist. As I mentioned before, the facilities I worked in varied widely in terms of supplies and space.

The smallest therapy “gym” I’ve worked out of was one drawer of a filing cabinet in the administration office, and the largest was the size of a ballroom and equipped with everything you could possibly need. I learned to think on my feet and work with what I had.

What was the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge for me as a traveler was trying to “plan” things in my personal life. I usually wouldn’t know where I was moving until a week or two beforehand, sometimes less. That made it difficult to buy plane tickets, particularly knowing that if a facility found a permanent therapist, they could cut my 13-week rotation short, meaning I would have to either find another placement close by or move.

That part was stressful, especially when trying to travel with another person. Also, depending on where my placement was, finding housing could be stressful. It varied based on both tourist seasons and the part of the country I was in at the time. 

I had to be very flexible.

How about the most rewarding moments? 

The most rewarding aspect of traveling was something I didn’t expect. I felt very appreciated and could tell that the staff was grateful I was there. On my last day, the therapy department (and often the nursing staff) would give me cards and baked goods, host potlucks, and tell me how much they appreciated me and the hard work I put in.

It helped me to realize that people do notice when you put in hard work and care about your job; people who I wasn’t sure even knew my name would come give me a hug and make sure they said goodbye.

I still have all the cards.

That type of thing doesn’t happen to full-time staff. Everyone doesn’t get together every three months to show employees how much they appreciate them continuing to do their jobs. (Maybe they should? Ha!) I had to say goodbye a lot as part of traveling, but I also got to meet a lot of amazing therapists and make some lifelong friendships. (Is that too cheesy? I’m getting sentimental now.)

I’m not saying that the last days were my favorite—saying goodbye is always hard—but my first and last days at each facility definitely stick out in my memory, and the last days were often full of reminiscing and baked goods.  

If someone was interested in pursuing work as a traveling therapist, how would you recommend they proceed?

I would advise them to start contacting any travelers they know to see what they think of the companies they have worked with. Keep in mind that travelers get referral bonuses so they are motivated to help others sign up for their own company. Also, do your research online and contact a few companies you’re interested in.

Questions from Readers

What is the difference in salary offered to a traveling OT with a master’s and an OT with a doctorate?

I never compared my salary to that of an OT with a master’s degree. From my experience, though, I believe traveling salaries are based primarily on region and years of experience in a particular setting.

Let’s say you are offered a 100k annual salary for being a traveling OT. I was wondering if the housing stipend comes out of your paycheck? If I make sure to put my foot down and ask for things such as paid mileage and what not, would that ultimately come out of my paycheck too? What costs would I have to expect to pay at the end of it all and what would be left over? 

Housing is negotiable. You can choose to have your company find housing for you (which is generally an Extended Stay America long-term stay hotel) or you can find your own housing (which takes more work on your end, but can save you a lot of money if you find an off-season rental home or can live with friends). The housing stipend is calculated based on the cost of living in a region. My housing stipend was a lot larger when I was in California than in Iowa. The other bonus of having the housing stipend as part of your weekly paycheck is that it is tax-free as a displaced worker. Hope that helps!

Where do you start when it comes to looking for companies? Do you simply start researching and contact all of them? What kind of questions would you suggest asking when contacting these companies? Also, do you have to sign a contract for a specific time period? Would we be able to do only one year and then get out of travel?

When it came to looking for companies, my friend and I put together a list of questions we had for each travel company, and then we emailed recruiters from all of the companies. We put together a giant spreadsheet to compare each company, and then narrowed down our list based on which company was the most helpful/had the benefits we were looking for. Some recruiters gave us long, detailed answers; others did not. That helped us get a sense for the company/recruiter right away.

I actually found our list of questions we sent to the recruiters. Here it is:

  • Medical coverage: Is this free for every placement? Also, how does medical coverage work between placements? For example, what if I want to take off a week between placements, would I still have medical coverage?
  • Is there any life insurance offered?

  • Are meals and incidentals covered with a stipend?
  • As part of the travel expense allowance: is there ever the opportunity for car rental when placements are farther away?
  • How much is the CEU annual allowance?
  • Are there any opportunities for PTO?
  • The website mentioned completion and renewal bonuses…can you elaborate on this?
  • Another OT and I are hoping to travel together. Is it always possible to get placements in or near the same place?

    For traveling, the companies really want therapists to work for them, so always remember that they are trying to sell their company to you—thus, you should take what they say with a grain of salt. You don’t have to sign a long-term contract for traveling. You can do one 13-week rotation, decide it’s not for you, and take a permanent job. You could even give your 2-weeks notice your first week if you find it’s really not a good fit for you. That’s one of the positives of traveling: you’re never locked into anything, and if you want to try a different company or go to a permanent job, you can do so whenever you want.

Did you just get a temporary license in each state? Once you left that state, did you ever have to do anything with that license, like recertification? If you wanted to go back to that state, did you have to get another temporary license? Is there an amount of time you have to wait before applying for another temp license?

From my understanding, traveling therapists do not qualify for temporary licenses. I got a standard 2-year license for each state, and then once I left each state, I would keep the license until it expired and then either pay to keep it “active” if I planned to return there in the next few years or let it go “inactive” if I didn’t plan to return. Being inactive is significantly cheaper. It is also an option to let your licenses just expire if you don’t think you will ever return to a state. Each state has its own regulations, and they often require a verification letter from all of the other states that you are licensed in when you apply for a new license.

From what I understand, a temporary license is for new grads who would like to begin working before their official license is processed, and they have to work with an OT who will supervise them. I’ve talked with other travelers over the years, and they used the same system I did.

There are a few states currently working to have PTs be able to work across state lines without having to be licensed in the second state. For example, you could work in Washington under an Oregon license (think of how you use your driver’s license). Hopefully, OT will follow in PT’s footsteps if they are able to get that law passed, ideally nationwide. Talk to your state representatives!


Travel OT provides countless opportunities to grow. Not only can you experience a wide variety of settings and patient populations, you can also work in a number of locations across the country. Traveling and living in new places exposes you to ways of life you might not otherwise know.

In my opinion, travel OT is one of the best ways to grow—not just as a clinician, but also as a person.

Ready to start exploring what’s out there?

Emily traveled before my favorite OT travel site, Nomadicare, came into existence. Nomadicare was started by Laura Latimer, OTR/L, a travel therapist. Laura vets recruiters using her extensive knowledge and experience.

I highly recommend exploring her services. (And don’t worry, the travel companies bear the cost of her work! For travelers, getting a match is free!) I am a proud partner and affiliate of the work Nomadicare is doing to advocate for OTs!

64 replies on “The Scoop on Traveling OT Jobs”

Hi Emily I am looking into becoming a traveling COTA and to work in a variety of states throughout the year. With temporary state licenses not being an option for us, what did you do to keep your licenses in all the states you worked active and in good standing? Or did you let them expire and renewed an expired state license if you went back to that particular state if it was over a year time frame?

Thank you in advance.

Hi Katie! I reached out to Emily, she said that she just let hers expire because she never returned to a state she had worked in before. I know one of her goals in traveling was to see the country before she committed to a more permanent position. If you hope to stay in a particular region, this seems like it would be an important issue. I would definitely talk to your recruiter about this. If you think of it, I would love to know what you learn! Best of luck finding the right travel company. Let us know if you have any other questions!

Hi Emily! I am currently in school to become a COTA and I want to do traveling right after I graduate. I have heard that travel companies don’t offer much supervision. Once I start I don’t want to really be thrown under the bus and not really have much supervision once I start out. Did you feel that there was supervision and the company really helped you out as a new grad? If you don’t mind me asking what travel company did you go with, were you pleased with their service to you? Thank you!

Hi Laura!
Good questions! I’ve talked to Emily in the past about discussing the specific company she worked for and I know she would rather not. Maintaining a good relationship with past employers is so important!

As far as supervision, it is my understanding that this varies a lot by site moreso than which company you are working for. As a COTA, you should at very least have an OT supervisor. When you are looking at different positions, I would think that you could ask how often you supervising OT will be onsite. If he/she isn’t there most of the time that seems like sufficient reason to turn done that particular placement.

Good luck with your job quest! Let us know if any other questions arise!

Hi Laura! I just wanted to follow up with you. I had a recent email exchange with Emily (the interviewee in this post). Here is what she said about supervision: "The COTA won’t have any supervision from the travel company, so the COTA will want to accept travel positions at buildings who have an onsite OT. Some of the smaller rural buildings have OTs that are split between multiple buildings, so the OT may only be at any given facility one day a week or just a few hours a day. It really depends more on the site the COTA is placed at rather than the travel company.

Hope that is helpful! sorry for the delay!"

Hi Sarah, I’m a new grad and just quit my 1st pediatric contract after 18 weeks. I finally realized peds is definitely not for me. I’m having trouble looking for a SNF/acute/outpatient contract in my area. I do have a 2yr old son and am only willing to travel in the summers while he is with his father, the other 9 months of the year I have to stay put. I was wondering if you think I should switch my focus from travel contract positions to permanent positions to gain more experience. (Most facilities keep saying I don’t have enough experience). And honestly, my only desire to stay with the traveling contracts is is to test the waters for which city I want to move to in a few years, and keep my mind preoccupied while my child is away for the summer. Any advice?

Hi Chanelle! Do not feel discouraged that pediatrics wasn’t for you! There are so many avenues to explore within OT and many people spend the first years of their career finding the right fit. Permanent positions are a great way to gain experience. If I were you, I would definitely apply to both permanent and contract positions. It never hurts to apply and keep your options open. You can always turn down an offer if you get more than one offer or if the position just doesn’t feel right as you learn more about it.

Best of luck to you! Let me know if you have any other questions.

Hi Emily,

I am so happy I found your blog. This is perfect for my situation because my friend and I have recently become interested in doing travel OT together, and I have absolutely no clue about it so this was very informative. We still have a year left before we graduate but I wanted to begin getting some information on it. Where do you start when it comes to looking for companies? Do you simply start researching and contact all of them? What kind of questions would you suggest asking when contacting these companies? Also- do you have to sign a contract for a specific time period? Would we be able to do only one year and then get out of travel?

Hi Morgan! These are great questions! Emily was a guest writer for me, but I am going to see if she would be up for answering these questions! I will keep you posted. I feel like there are not many resources out there about what traveling OT all entails, so hopefully I can build this page.

Alright, let’s say you are offered a 100k annual salary for being a traveling OT. I was wondering if the housing stipend comes out of your paycheck as I am trying to figure out how much I can save with such a salary. If I make sure to put my foot down and ask for things such as payed mileage and whatnot, would that ultimately come out of my paycheck too? What costs would I have to expect to pay at the end of it all and what would be left over? Thank you so much, this blog is a God send!

Hi Eva! I think the answer to these questions will help multiple job seekers so I reached out to Emily. See her response in the updated body of the blog. I hope your search is going well!

Hello, I was wondering what is the difference in salary offered as a traveling OT between an OT with a master’s and an OT with both a doctorate. Thank you!

I’m a new grad, about to enter the travel world, I wish I could see your big ol’ chart of all the different companies!


Your information has been wonderful! Thank you for sharing this blog! Just curious how do you factor out your taxes especially if the pay is tax free? Did you ever run into having to repay the IRS back?

Hi Jenny! I was able to reach out to Emily to ask her your question. (I was interested to know the answer as well!) Here is what she said: …"the pay isn’t completely tax-free. The living/housing stipend are tax-free if you qualify as a "displaced worker" which you have to declare on your taxes, but you are also paid an hourly wage that is taxed. I don’t think I had any tax issues other than having to file in each state that I worked in each year."

Hello! I was wondering if you wanted to stay around the city you live in, is it easy to get back to back travel assignments? I have a house and a baby and I would like to bounce around settings and jobs to gain more experience and decide where I want to be, but without the cross country traveling aspect! Thanks.

I have wondered this too! There are always traveling positions open in my area. I’m going to ask one of my contacts at a traveling company what they think about traveling positions close to home!

Gina what area are you located in? It truly depends on the area you are in and what you define as a local commute. Example someone who will drive up to 90 miles will have a better chance than someone just driving up to 50 miles. Also if you are located in a destination area that is highly desirable it is unlikely.

What were your hours on a daily basis? Did you work more than 40 hours a week and could you expect a regular schedule?

I just heard back from her! Here is what she said: "All of my contracts specified a guaranteed number of hours (usually 36-38). I went into overtime once and it was a special circumstance. Like everything, make sure it’s written in your contract and don’t sign it if you are uncomfortable with the minimum guaranteed hours. Hope that helps!"

This confirms my personal experience with how contract employees are used. Often companies want to fully utilize them after going through the effort of finding a traveler for their site- but, they do not want to pay the high overtime rates, so the hours stay at 40 or less!

I am currently in OT school and was wondering if there are a lot of international travel opportunities?

Hi! I am about to graduate and interested in travel OT. What company did you go with/ what companies do you recommend? 🙂

Hello! I’m really interested in doing travel OT and was wondering what chart you used to compare companies/what aspects were important to look at when choosing a travel company? Thank you!!

It is hard to compare company to company because at the end of the day it is about your recruiter. Great companies have bad recruiters and bad companies can still have good recruiters. The author was spot on about wanting someone who is detailed oriented and will listen to your requests. Your best bet is to talk to other travelers and see if they like their recruiter then do some research on the company they are with. Some companies can be well established with different departments and some companies can be two guys working in a spare bedroom.

Hi! I am in school to become an OT, and am seriously considering being a traveling OT. However, I do have a wife that I would be bringing along with me. She is more than happy to travel and see the country with me, but it adds a little complexity. Would we be responsible for paying for her travel, or would the company cover it? Also, about how long does a traveling OT stay in a location? I know it probably varies, but I would love to know if it usually changes weekly, monthly, etc. If we were to be in each location for 6 weeks, that would probably be long enough for it to be worth my wife getting a temporary job.

Hello there! What a wonderful read! Thanks a million. Is there any possible way to get some recommendations on companie(s) you’ve had good experiences with? I don’t personally know any OT travelers and have no idea where to start!

I am heading into my FW2 placements starting this summer and I am very interested in travel OT. Would you mind sharing your spreadsheet comparing the various companies? Is there maybe a travel OT Facebook page where we can get information from experienced travelers? I have so many questions!


I am a current level 2 student who will be graduating with her masters in May 2018. I was wondering about licensing as a traveling OT. Did you just get a temporary license in each state? Once you left that state did you ever have to do anything with that license, like recertification? If you wanted to go back to that state did you have to get another temporary license and is there an amount of time you have to wait before applying for another temp license?

Hey Meg! You can read about Emily’s experiences with licensing under the subheading "How did you decide which agency to go with?" I also sent her an email to see if she could provide even more info about the licensing process as this is a common question!

Hey Megan! I wanted to let you know that Emily answered your question in more detail. The question and her response are now at the bottom of the article! Thanks again for the question. I know licensing is a common query!

I am Masters level OT and graduated 6 years ago. I am currently in East Texas and would love to relocate back to my homeland of the Pacific Northwest. Do you have suggestions on favorable travel companies, recruiters you trust and or locations you enjoyed working?

Hi Emily,
I am about to graduate with my DrOT this May and I am very interested in traveling OT. Thank you for writing this article, it is very helpful. I have been in contact with a recruiter for a traveling company and it seems like a good company but I really should compare. I was really excited when I first thought about traveling therapy and hear about all the perks, but now that I am finding out about all these little hidden details, it’s making me a little bit skeptical. I was wondering if you could send me your spread sheet of comparing companies? – Thank you!

Hi Emily,
I just wanted to thank you and everyone involved in creating this post. I am about to graduate with my masters in OT in a month and am really interested in starting by jumping right into travel therapy. I would also be very interested in seeing your spread sheet. So far I have been in contact with two different companies and I feel like they are all telling me just what I want to hear. I would be very interested in looking at your spread sheet and making sure that I am covering everything!!

Thanks so much!!

Hi Melanie!
Congrats on your upcoming graduation! If you look at the "Find the Right OT Job" image at the bottom of the post. You will see how Emily laid out her spreadsheet. The specific information she gathered in there was taken out as it was dated.

I also recommend you check out my 6 steps to the Right OT job. In Step #1, I list the travel companies I’ve been recommended over the years.

I hope this is all helpful! Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you!



Thank you so much for posting this! I was very hesitant about even considering travel therapy but this post made me feel slightly more comfortable with the idea.

I live in Richmond, VA and am having a hard time finding a new grad friendly job. I have talked with a few staffing agencies/recruiters and they have all said jobs in this area are hard to find. I have however been told there are a lot of contract positions for SNIF’s available. I have been told contract positions require the therapist to hit the ground running. I have no idea how billing and documentation work in a SNIF setting. I am afraid of doing contract work for that reason and my lack of experience in a SNIF.

Would you recommend travel therapy for someone like me, one that is a new grad and no experience in a SNIF setting? All my experience from school is in an acute care setting.

I would love any and all the advice you could give me. Thank you so much in advance!

Being as you are feeling apprehensive about a skilled nursing facility, I would definitely prioritize the availability of mentorship in your job hunt. I know Advanced Travel Therapy has a program.

Make clear as your looking at jobs that you want sufficient training in documentation and billing. If a location isn’t willing to provide adequate training, it isn’t the place for you!

With adequate training and a plan for mentorship the documentation in a SNF is definitely possible to pick up!

Best of luck to you!
Let me know if you have any other questions.

P.S. If you haven’t found this interview yet, it might be helpful to you

Hey, So I was reading your section about getting your 13 week rotation cut short, well that happened to me today, I was 2 days in, loved my facility and then get the call the company hired someone permanent and wanted me to put in 2 weeks notice, how did you deal with getting out of your apartment and things like that? I am very stressed now and extremely disappointed as me and my wife were loving our first few days here.

Hi Mike! That is so disappointing!! I was just talking to Emily this past week about how difficult those 2-week notices can be. That has to be one of the most difficult parts of traveling. I know that she began to always try to negotiate that she have a 30-day notice to avoid the abrupt transitions. Are you a part of the Travel Therapy Therapists FB group? They always have such great advice or at the very least encouragement.

All the best to you and your wife as you figure out your next steps.

Hello! I am considering travel OT and wonder how you "deal" and manage things back home…like, where is your mail sent? Do you need a permanent residence in your previous state to maintain car insurance, etc… thanks.

I messaged Emily about his and here is what she said: "My permanent residence was my parents house. I had my mom take pictures of potentially important mail and text them to me so I could stay on top of it. She also forwarded things I physically needed in person-like car insurance and state licenses."

Let me know if you want me to keep digging about what people do who don’t have their parents house to fall back on as a permanent residence.

There is no actual law that states you need a permanent residence. If, as a traveler, you keep a majority of your belongings in a storage unit (think summer clothes vs. winter clothes) and have somewhere that you can put for car insurance (what address is your car registered to) then that will still qualify for the stipends and the IRS is fine with temporary residences. As for bills, I know many opt for online bill pay. I often suggest people sit with a financial planner or CPA in order to understand the finer points of "tax home" vs. permanent residence.

Thanks for this post! There seem to be a lot of travel companies out there. Are you able to share your list of potential companies and the research you did? I’m from Canada, finishing up in 2 months and looking for work in northern Washington. Thanks again

HI Sarah! On this page (under step 1) you will find a list of recommended travel companies. You can also email me at, if you want a recommended recruiter from Advanced Travel!

Under step #2, you will find an example of the spreadsheet to help your research the companies! You will have to do your own digging about each company as all of the information has changed since Emily traveled. Good recruiters should help you answer the questions found on the spreadsheet! Good luck with your journey! Let me know, if I can help you in anyway other way!

If you were to complete the classes that certain schools have for pre-occupational theraphy , would you be able to take the board exam to become a ota while still wanting to get a master’s in Ot . ?

Hi Kristina,
Undergrad pre-occupational therapy programs help you complete the pre-requisites for OT school, and would not qualify you to sit for a COTA board exam. (To my understanding.) If you decide to pursue an associates degree as a OTA, there are bridge programs to becoming an OTR down the road. Here is a good overview of the pros and cons of taking this approach:

I am considering taking a travel therapy contract next September 2018 and I am curious if I should take my car or rent in the city where assigned? What do most therapists do about a car? Also do any of the travelling therapists go in a motorhome or RV to their assignments and how does that work in San Francisco? Can you park a motorhome on the street in San Fran? Thanks please send response to – Thanks Mary


My name is Lisa and I am an OTD first year at Creighton University. Thank you so much for posting this! Could you recommend some other good articles about traveling OT you have found over the years? What were the main sites you went to as a traveling OT? Did your recruiter give you many options to choose from? Were you ever worried about not finding a placement you would be interested in?

I look forward to hearing from you,