Intern Travel: Should I Relocate for an Internship?

So, you’re ready to apply for a college internship…that’s great! An internship can be a fabulous experience that jumpstarts your post-academic career. But chances are, right about now you’re wondering: what kind of internship should I pursue? Should I stay local? Go the virtual route? Or (deep breath!) should I relocate for an internship?

The answer is: that’s totally up to you. It depends on your goals, situation and comfort level with travel. Not to mention the specifics of a given opportunity. There’s really no wrong answer. Most likely, any internship will benefit you. 

After all, listing an internship on your resume shows employers that you mean business and that you already have some work experience under your belt! 

When it comes to job-hunting, having an internship will most likely tip the scales in your favor. In fact, research shows that: 

  • 70% of employers go on to offer their interns full-time jobs  
  • Grads who intern receive 16% more job offers than non-interns
  • Grads who intern earn up to 12% higher salaries than non-interns  

Okay, but what specifics should you consider when considering internships that involve relocation?

Pros and Cons of Relocating for an Internship

Long-distance internships offer exceptional growth opportunities you may not get by staying local. It’s a chance to experience a new city, culture and lifestyle. It’s also an opportunity to spread your wings—to have to depend on yourself to figure things on the fly. 

On the other hand, if you’re not adventurous by nature, a long-distance internship can seem overwhelming and lonely to some. Plus, from a practical standpoint, intern travel can be expensive, depending on the employer’s arrangement.

In order to determine if a long-distance internship is a good investment of your time and money, you need to know upfront what costs you will incur—and how to interpret any intern offer you receive.    

Intern Travel: What Will It Cost?

According to the National Survey of College Internships 2021 Report, the average internship lasts four and a half months. In financial terms, that’s four and a half months of housing expenses, food, commuting and living costs—plus the cost of travel. Of course, you may be receiving college credits in return.   

Remember, cost of living varies widely by location. Big-city internships may be the most exciting and prestigious for many, but they’re also the most expensive—something to factor in when calculating expenses.  

And internship offers vary widely, too. According to surveys, nearly 61% of internships are paid, with an average wage of $20.76 per hour. But a lot depends on what relocation benefits, if any, accompany your offer. Which is why it’s important to know how this works.

Intern Travel: Breaking Down a Relocation Offer

In one major survey, 56% of employers reported offering relocation assistance to interns—usually in the form of a lump sum or stipend—a flat dollar amount to use as you see fit.

But that lump sum is just the beginning. When weighing a relocation package, there’s more to ask, including:

  • Does the employer provide intern housing—say, via a corporate apartment or college dorm? If so, that’s a huge advantage. Not only does it simplify the housing issue, it comes with a built-in social life, since interns are living together. 
  • Does the employer offer relocation assistance, provided by a third-party relocation expert? This is another advantage, since these consultants can identify safe, affordable housing…get you up to speed on your new city...and answer all your questions. (And if the relocation company has a portal that lets you manage your move online, so much the better!)   
  • Will the employer pay the cost of your two-way travel, whether you’re flying or driving? 
  • Will the employer pay a tax gross-up? Unfortunately, relocation benefits are taxable as income, but some employers will “gross up” their offered benefits to cover their cost.

Long-Distance Relocations: All Things Considered

Yes, when it comes to long-distance internships, there’s more moving parts. But that alone should not hold you back.

Odds are, once the unfamiliar becomes familiar, you’ll be glad you took the plunge. You’ll learn a ton. Make great connections. Set yourself up for a brighter future. And yes, have a blast. 

In a recent survey of more than 12,000 interns, more than 75% reported that they were “very” or “extremely” satisfied with their internship. And a full 98% said that, to one degree or another, it was a good experience. 

Now, it’s your turn. Figure out what you want—and then go out and get it!


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This groundbreaking software, which is relatively new, simplifies relocation planning for employees, while empowering them to take control of their moves. (At the same time, relocation software gives employers much greater visibility into their programs and related expenses.)     

As a result, relocation consultants who work for tech-based RMCs are charged with     introducing employees to their software and helping them get the most from it. 

“UrbanBound is a unique beast,” says Grace Ashenhurst, UrbanBound’s Relocation Consultant Training Manager—and a relocation consultant herself. “So, we do things differently.”

“We guide employees through the UrbanBound app, so they understand what an amazing tool they have at their disposal.”

That includes managing their move, tracking their spend and utilizing a wide repository of valuable content. 

According to Ashenhurst, employees appreciate the empowerment and flexibility the software gives them. 

As a result, UrbanBound relocation consultants use—and talk about—technology far more than traditional relocation consultants, while performing fewer of the tasks employees are free to manage, easily and directly. 

Career Considerations for Aspiring Relocation Consultants

Corporate relocation is a $14.1 billion industry in the U.S.—and growing. Between the Great Resignation and the fact that more Americans are looking to move, there are ample career opportunities in the relocation management industry.

A successful relocation consultant is a true “people person”—someone who enjoys talking with a variety of people, coaching them and providing assistance as needed. 

According to Ashenhurst, successful relocation consultants are also inherently kind, remain calm under pressure, and excel at organization and time management. 

Because they are continuously presented with new situations and challenges—say, how to move a tropical fish tank 800 miles—they should have strong research and creative problem-solving skills. 

In addition, tech-based relocation consultants, like those at UrbanBound, must be comfortable learning and using evolving technology and coaching others to do so, too. 

Not surprisingly, job satisfaction in this sector tends to be high. Beyond the gratification of helping others, every day brings new people and puzzles to solve. 

Working for a tech-based relocation management company like UrbanBound—which pioneered relocation technology and continues to forge new ground—is particularly exciting.

“Before UrbanBound, the relocation management industry was set in stone for more than 50 years,” says Ashenhurst. 

“There’s really nothing like belonging to a team that’s revolutionizing an industry and creating something totally new.”

Human Resources Today