You just landed your dream travel nursing assignment and are eager to hit the road. You have a full list of excursions to experience at your destination and are excited to check each adventure off your bucket list. Before the sightseeing can begin, you have one important task to complete: packing your bags.
Though it may seem like a simple undertaking, knowing what to bring, what to leave behind, and what to source upon arrival in your temporary hometown can raise a lot of questions. This handy list of travel nursing must-haves will ensure you never leave for an assignment without the essentials.
What to Pack on Your Travel Nursing Assignment
Important documents are not easily replaced, so take the time and effort to gather these documents before you embark on your next assignment. Some essential documents include your driver’s license, car insurance and a backup form of ID such as a passport or copy of your birth certificate. Your staffing agency will have your nursing license and certifications on file, but it’s beneficial to keep digital copies on your phone or laptop in case you need them for any reason. Don’t forget about your most helpful resource – your recruiter! They can answer any questions and give you a full list of documents you might, which can vary by facility.
Having a journal to document your adventures is the perfect way to keep the memories you make alive. You will be able to look back on these special moments for years to come and share with your family and friends back home. Journaling is also an excellent way to pause, reflect, and stay in tune with your mental health.
French Press or Tea Strainer
Are you a caffeine fanatic? No need to break the bank on-to-go lattes! A French press or tea strainer is convenient to travel with and easy to pack away. Don’t forget to bring your favorite travel mug to keep your drinks warm while you’re on the go! Staying caffeinated will help push you through those long shifts.
Bring a Bluetooth speaker to make sure you always have your favorite jams or podcasts playing! There’s nothing like your favorite song to get you through your travels. Whether you’re cooking at home, hitting the beach, or enjoying time in the park, having a speaker on hand helps things feel a little more like home.
Wherever your travels take you, make sure to always have a camera ready to capture the important moments. There’s no need to be an avid photographer with professional equipment. Most smartphones today double as a high-quality camera, making it quick and convenient to capture all the sights of your explorations.
First Aid Kit
While on the go, it can be helpful to keep a first aid kit with you on assignments. You never know when you might need medicine to cure a common cold or a band-aid for a cut when you’re not at work. Some items that are good to have on hand include bandages, vitamins, aspirin, ibuprofen, sunscreen, and of course any prescription medications you take.
Proper Clothing and Accessories
Do your research on the location you are traveling to. You will need to make sure to have clothes that fit the climate and seasons of your destination. No need to travel with your entire wardrobe! Pack the essentials with plenty of layering options to ensure you have apparel for every occasion. A few other must-haves include comfortable shoes, an umbrella, travel steamer and lint roller.
Electronics and Extra Chargers
Laptops, tablets, e-readers, smartphones, Bluetooth headphones… these days there are endless forms of electronics at our fingertips. Whether you use these devices for entertainment or for work, they have become a necessity on any travel nursing assignment. Just don’t forget to pack up each item’s respective charging device and make sure they are fully charged before you journey to your next destination.
Hobbies and Pastimes
Besides visiting all the amazing attractions during your travels, don’t forget to bring something to do during your downtime. Whether that’s reading your favorite book, playing an instrument, or drawing, your hobbies can always travel with you.
Comforts from Home
Being away from home can be a tough adjustment for some people. To avoid feeling homesick, make sure to bring items that connect you to your life back home, such as pictures of your family and friends, or a favorite item someone special gave you. Surrounding yourself with meaningful keepsakes can help carry you through difficult times and make you feel comfortable in your “home away from home.”
With all these must-haves for travel nurses, here are a few bonus tips to also keep in mind:
Bonus Tip #1: Go thrifting to find cheap household items (think pots, pans, utensils, hangers) and at the end of your assignment, donate the items back to a local charity.
Bonus Tip #2: Find a travel nurse buddy to team up with and decide on which items each of you can bring to get you through your assignment.
This packing list is just a starting point to make sure the time spent in your new destination runs smoothly and efficiently. What are your travel nursing must-haves? Share with us in the comments below!
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