Travel Nurse Tips for Packing Like a Pro

Posted on January 20, 2018

For some, it’s hard to imagine packing up your home and moving to a new location every few months, but seasoned travel nurses have this nomadic lifestyle down to an art. Having everything you need and keeping it neat and organized may seem like a challenge, but with the right amount of planning and practice, you’ll be fully prepared on the road. Below are some tips to help you feel at home on every assignment.

 1. Do your homework

Before you begin your assignment, there are several things you can research that will help you know what you need to bring and what you can leave at home. Check with your housing specialist to see what will be provided for you in the housing you’ve selected. Many times, large furniture items and appliances will be provided or rented through another vendor, but smaller items like shower curtains and kitchen equipment can vary from place to place.

Also, research the area where you’ll be traveling. Will the weather be warm or cold? Sunny or rainy? Save space in your suitcase by only packing for the weather you can reasonably expect. What kind of activities are you looking forward to in your spare time? If it’s exploring the outdoors, you can probably leave your dress clothes at home.

2. Make a list

All packing will be made easier with a thorough list. If you’re a new traveler, your recruiter should be able to provide you with a list of basic necessities and as you gain experience, you can figure out which specific items are important to you.

As you customize your list, remember to consider the space available while you travel. If you’re flying or driving a small car, you’ll only be able to carry the essentials. If you’re driving a large SUV, you may have room to splurge on a few comfort items.

3. Bring familiar items

To make the time away from home a little easier, especially for new travelers, bring along some small things that remind you of home. Choose items that are light and easy to pack, like photographs. You can easily scatter these small mementos throughout your new living space to make it feel a little more your own. And when it’s time to leave, they won’t take up much space among the rest of your belongings.

4. Pack only what you need

After you’ve researched your destination and housing accommodations, you’ll be able to tell most of the things you need to bring with you. If it’s not something you absolutely have to bring from home, plan to purchase it when you arrive at your new location. While you’ll definitely want to save space for your favorite clothing and electronics, things like linens, cleaning products, kitchen utensils and other household items can be purchased inexpensively just about everywhere. If your new living space is without large electronics, appliances or any desired pieces of furniture, check with your housing specialist to see if a rental can be arranged.

When your assignment ends, lighten your load by leaving non-essential items behind. Donate usable items to charity organizations, and you’ll even receive a tax write-off!

Spending time away from home can be difficult, not only because of the loved ones and familiar surroundings you’ll miss, but also the challenge of deciding what to pack and leave behind. With a little patience and the right amount of planning, you’ll figure out a system that works best for you. And as always, if you need advice, feel free to reach out to your recruiter or housing specialist for help.


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