Achieving Financial Freedom Through Travel Therapy
My career as a traveling physical therapist has allowed me not only to explore the country, meet new people, and try new settings, but also to achieve financial freedom and lifestyle flexibility that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise!
I first started travel therapy as a new grad physical therapist in 2015, traveling with my partner and fellow PT. We set out on our travel therapy journey for many different reasons, but a major factor was the ability to earn higher income and meet our financial goals—including tackling our student loans, saving for retirement, and planning for our futures.
After working full time as travel therapists for just three years, we were able to achieve financial goals that would not have been possible with permanent PT jobs. In the first six months (two 13-week travel therapy contracts), we had saved enough together to purchase a truck and fifth wheel camper outright with cash, to live in and travel the country. Over the next two years, we saved enough to fully pay off all of our student loans, with enough left over to also contribute to savings and retirement accounts. (While we did save enough to fully pay off our student loans, we personally chose to go on an income driven repayment plan instead of paying them off right away. This allowed us to contribute even more to savings and retirement accounts for our futures.)
After traveling and working full time for three years, we had saved enough to be able to transition to what we call “semi-retirement,” where we now only work part of the year as physical therapists. The first year of semi-retirement, we only worked six months (two 13-week contracts), then took the rest of the year off to travel the world. We worked about six months the following year as well. Starting the next year onwards, we now only work about three months or less per year as physical therapists.
I can say with certainty that when I was graduating from PT school, I did not anticipate it would only take me three years of working full time to reach financial stability allowing me to only work a few months per year. But travel therapy, combined with smart financial choices and strategic planning, has made this a reality for me.
Travel therapy can open up a lot of opportunities for financial growth with the right planning. As a travel therapist, you’re able to earn higher income than at a permanent job. You do have to account for added expenses when you’re traveling, such as duplicating housing expenses at your home location and your travel location. But if you can keep your costs relatively low, search for higher paying contracts, and maintain a high savings rate through being frugal, you can use travel therapy to your advantage and achieve financial freedom!
In addition to the financial freedom, travel therapy allows you to enjoy lifestyle freedom that usually isn’t possible at a permanent job. Because as a travel therapist you’re working short term contracts, you can take off as much or as little time as you’d like to between contracts. If you’re at a point of financial stability in your life, you can choose to work three months, six months, nine months, or somewhere in between as a travel therapist each year, while taking the rest of the year off to pursue other priorities.
Between travel therapy contracts, my partner and I have been able to travel to all fifty states and visit almost all of the national parks via US road trips, as well as travel to over forty countries internationally (not for work, just for fun)! There is no way we could’ve seen or done as much all over the world if we were working permanent PT jobs.
Think what we’ve done sounds crazy or unobtainable? I will admit that we certainly did things to the extreme in a lot of ways, but what we achieved through travel therapy is definitely reproducible. We know many other travel therapists who have paid off their student loans, saved for their futures, and are living their own version of financial and lifestyle freedom through travel therapy.
If you want to learn more about our journey, including our own personal travels and financial pursuits, you can check out our personal blog, Fifth Wheel Physical Therapist at FifthWheelPT.com (named after the fifth wheel camper we bought and lived in for the first three years as travel therapists)! If you want to learn more about how you can become a travel therapist and start pursuing your own financial and lifestyle freedom, visit our Travel Therapy Mentor website at TravelTherapyMentor.com, where we now teach other therapists how to become financially successful travel therapists! Don’t hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you may have via our blog website or socials.
Article written by Whitney Eakin, PT, DPT, ATC. Whitney has been a Doctor of Physical Therapy since 2015. Since then, she has been traveling all over the US and the world with her soon-to-be husband and fellow Travel PT, Jared Casazza. Whitney and Jared were both born and raised in Virginia and still call Virginia home between their world travels. Together they’re known in the travel healthcare community as the “Travel Therapy Mentors” and have provided education and mentorship to thousands of current and aspiring travel therapists over the years.
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