Packing for a travel assignment can seem overwhelming, especially if you are a new traveler. It doesn’t have to be! Focus on keeping things simple and make sure you have your essentials covered. Remember, you’ll have limited space whether you are flying or driving to your assignment location, so you certainly don’t want to overpack. Stick to the essentials- you can always pick up other items upon arrival.
1. Small Personal Items
Consider which items to pack carefully. Travel Nurse Across America’s Housing Director, Ashley, says she tells travelers, “Ask yourself do I want to take this or do I need to take it? Can I pick up an inexpensive travel version of this when I get there?” These can range from styling items such as a blow dryer to over-the-counter medications you can purchase when you arrive.
2. Cooking & Kitchen Essentials
When you start packing, start with those gadgets you can’t live without, such as a Crock-Pot or Keurig. Keep it simple and consider how much cooking you actually plan to do. Cups, plates, bowls, and utensils can take up valuable space, so consider finding a local dollar store or thrift store upon arrival and purchasing those items. They can easily be donated to a local charity after you finish your assignment.
3. Comfort Items
If you have an item from home that brings you comfort, such as a blanket or framed photo, make room for it. It will make you feel more comfortable in your home away from home.
4. Bed Items
A bed in a bag is a great option. They typically include a comforter, pillow shams, sheets, and pillowcases. If you have a favorite pillow, bring it. Consider investing in a mattress cover as well.
5. Important Documents
Pack these items carefully and be sure to put them in a place that you locate them easily, such as your purse or outside luggage zipper, or purchase a travel wallet necklace if you travel by air frequently. Be sure to bring your driver’s license, emergency credit card, birth certificate, and insurance cards.
6. Bath Items
Keep it simple. Pack a minimum of 2 bath towels and two washcloths. You can purchase bath products such as shampoo, conditioner, and soap when you arrive.
We certainly live in an electronic age, so consider which electronics are essential. For example, if you are bringing a laptop, it might not make sense to drag a TV with you. And of course, don’t forget the chargers!
8. Medical Essentials
Make sure to pack any prescription medications you take, as well as pre-ordering additional scripts from your doctor. Consider packing a small first aid kit in case you have a small injury while traveling.
Of course, you’ll need scrubs: pack 2 or 3 pairs, depending on your schedule. Check the weather of the city you are traveling to, and pack appropriately. It can be tempting to overpack, so if you feel your clothes will take up too much space, you can have them shipped to your destination. Don’t forget to include comfortable work shoes, a jacket, and an umbrella.
10. Pet Supplies
More and more nurses are traveling with their pets, so if you’re bringing a furry friend, make sure they are microchipped if they get lost. Update their collar, pack any medicines they take, and don’t forget their favorite toy or bedding, so they feel comfortable in their home away from home, too!
Remember to ask your questions, whether your agency is helping with your housing or you’re doing it on your own. This will prevent any last-minute inconveniences from turning into last-minute expenses, so your travel assignment is an enjoyable adventure!