Great pay, endless adventure, and limitless opportunities are just some of the benefits of being a travel nurse. It is also a chance to boost your career and enjoy personal fulfillment. You get to travel to different places and explore the hidden gems in the rural areas as you do what you love.
Additionally, working as a travel nurse gives you freedom and flexibility, and it’s a chance to meet amazing people and make friends.
Reports also show that traveling improves your mental health by helping you unwind and feel calm.
However, like any other trip preparation, packing for a travel nurse can be a stressful task. Determining the essentials to carry and what’s too much is a hard decision to make. We’ve put together a guide on what to pack as a travel nurse.
Understand Your New Home
Know what is and what is not provided in your new housing. This idea saves you from carrying things that you will not use.
Connect with your housing specialist to understand if the space has furniture and essential appliances such as microwave, TV, and DVD player.
In addition, understand how long you are expected to stay there depending on the duration of your assignment. Most travel nursing jobs are 13 weeks, and you can choose your lodging choice. This information will help you determine must-have items and which ones are not necessary when packing.
There are two types of travelers, those who pack light and those who wish they did.
It may be tempting to pack everything, especially when moving to a rural area. Most individuals assume that rural areas are remote, but that’s not always the truth. You can still have fun and access essentials while you’re there. If you can’t find something you badly need, you can still order from Amazon and deliver it to you.
We advise you to only pack items you need immediately when you get there and save the rest for a later date.
Travel nurses work temporarily. You will probably be there for a few months then move to a new destination. Pack items that you can comfortably carry around.
Packing Checklist for Travel Nurses
A work trip should be as fun and comfortable like any other trip. Knowing what personal items to include in your carry-on luggage bag is a critical step to having a comfortable stay. But that doesn’t mean that you should overpack. You can still get some items like toothbrushes and toothpaste even in the most remote destinations.
Create a packing list for your essentials and check off each item as you pack. Some must-have items include;
- Something to safely store your jewelry in
- Work uniform
- Hats, belts, and other accessories
- Grooming kit, including a hair comb, hairdryer, and nail grooming kit
- Toiletries including body wash, body lotion, shampoo, hair spray, hair conditioner, sunscreen, deodorant, and makeup
- Your favorite books, music recorder, puzzles, or favorite games
When packing your essentials, select the most comfortable shoes and clothing. It will help to research the climate condition in your destination to determine if you should light or heavy clothing items.
Moreover, check the overall condition of the region, such as the availability of shops, markets, and medical facilities. If the rural area is not very remote, you can pack a few things and buy the rest while there to reduce your luggage. Invest in a quality backpack, a foldable or collapsible bag is more recommended.
Work documents should be a priority on your packing list. They will ease your movement from one place to the next without a hitch. They include;
- Your nursing license and credentials
- Your travel nurse contract to prove that in need, you are approved to offer those services
- Driver’s license and registration
- Birth certificate
- Contact details of your recruiter
You will need to bring proper documentation for orientation and the above documents will make it easier for the hospital to onboard you.
You cannot afford to lose any of these while in transit, so pack them in a secure place or better yet, have digital copies of everything.
First Aid Kit
This may sound like an obvious requirement for any traveler, but it’s more crucial for nurses. You don’t necessarily have to carry a big kit, especially when trying to minimize your luggage. A mini first aid kit with the basics such as wound solution, band-aids, and pain relievers for common illnesses is enough.
The goal is to make your new space a home away from home. Think of everything you may need for your kitchen, sitting area, bathroom, and bedroom. You may need;
- Cooking pots and pans
- Plates and cutlery
- Dishwashing and laundry soap
- Coffee maker
- Handheld clothing steamer
- Laundry basket
Also, anyone who travels for work is prone to experience homesickness. But you can ease the feeling by carrying some comforts from home. Pack items that make you feel close to your loved ones or your home, which could be photos of your loved ones, a pillow, or any small item that reminds you of all the amazing things that await you at home.
Electronics and Entertainment
We can all admit that, at times, work can be consuming. It cannot always be work without play. You have a life outside nursing, so don’t forget to pack your electronics and entertainment gadgets. Carry your phone, tablet, or laptop, WiFi router, and charging cords. If you love reading, carry a few books and if you are into games, include card games to play as you bond with your roommate.
While nursing is considered a demanding career, that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy your surroundings while on assignment. Travel nursing allows you to explore the world and discover new sights after duty. Go out, do what you love, and have fun.
If you don’t have a travel nursing contract yet, check out our available travel nurse jobs on our site and apply for ones that suit you.