As a travel nurse, you are constantly jetting off to different locations. When planning to be away for a couple of months, you’ll definitely need more than you did for your last weekend road trip or overnight getaway. Then again, you don’t want to overpack since your location is temporary.
Regardless, there are certain things travel nurses want to have on every travel nursing assignment—whether it’s a new destination or somewhere you’ve traveled before. To ensure you have everything you need, we’ve prepared the ultimate list for your travel nursing essentials.
Before starting your new adventure, speak with your travel nursing agency to find out what will be provided for you. For instance, if they provide the housing, the apartment might have basic appliances like a toaster, microwave, and houseware. Next, research where your travel nurse assignment is located to find what type of weather you might expect. Will you need to bring cold-weather gear, rain boots, etc.? Also, consider how you are traveling. If you’re going by car, can you fit everything you need in the trunk and backseat? If you’re flying or taking a train or bus, will you have to ship items? Be sure to figure it out!
Most of the time, your important paperwork and documents have been completed ahead of time. It is important to still bring these along just in case they are needed to confirm your travel nurse contract, a hospital identification badge, or a car rental. Some documents to consider bringing are:
- Your travel nursing contract
- Driver’s license, car registration, insurance card
- Birth certificate and Social Security card
- Copies of nursing license, certifications, and credentials
- Major credit or debit card
Emergency phone numbers from your loved ones, family, doctor, and recruiter are good to have with you. Save these numbers in your phone, but be sure to write them down and keep them in a place you can easily find.
First Aid Kit
While taking care of others, you must remember to take care of yourself too. Bringing along a first aid kit is a great way for travel nurses to prepare for the unexpected. Pack your first aid essentials such as a thermometer, wound care bandages, and antibiotic ointment. If you take prescription medication, bring a full supply and prescriptions for refills. Vitamins and over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or Tylenol are important, too—you never know when you might need to use them.
Personal Care Items
You will likely want to take your hair dryer, electric toothbrush, etc., during your travel nursing assignment, but don’t go too crazy packing toiletries you can buy once you’ve arrived at your destination. Bring a few days’ supplies to have them on hand, and stock up once you arrive. Some important toiletries that travel nurses often forget besides the essentials are sunscreen, cosmetics, contact lens solution, and contact lens cases.
Depending on your assignment location, a few outdoor items couldn’t hurt to bring along. Do you like going on hikes when you’re on assignments? How about biking around town or maybe you like to camp. If you keep active during your assignments, make sure you bring proper shoes, items, and water bottles you can take as you explore your new setting.
Whether you’re the outdoorsy type or not, a good backpack is a nice-to-have in many situations. Need an easy way to get all your stuff into and out of work? Extra storage when you’re road-tripping? A good backpack is something you should bring along.
Since you’ll mostly be in your uniform, stick with a few casual outfits, loungewear, workout gear, and undergarments. Consider the area; bring outerwear, a swimsuit, and rain gear.
Also, having comfortable shoes is a must. As a travel nurse, you are always on your feet—moving from one location to the next. Take a quick spot and feel-test your shoes to ensure they are not worn down. The last thing you want to develop is pain in your feet as a travel nurse.
Electronics And Entertainment
Think about the travel to and from your travel nursing assignment. From long drives to nights at home, you want to ensure you have things to keep you entertained during your stay. Bring your laptops, e-reader, tablet, phone, and the appropriate chargers for each. Don’t forget to pick up a car charger if you’re road-tripping it. Make sure you have enough songs on your device and any favorite movies, shows, and books to enjoy during your travel nurse assignment.
Comforts From Home
Being away for consecutive travel nursing assignments can make you feel homesick—which is perfectly normal. Thus, bring some items that remind you of home. From pictures to loved ones to a favorite gift someone got you, these small items can help when you have those sad days.Every travel nurse’s packing list will look different each time they take a new assignment. Don’t forget to spend a little extra to ensure your travel nursing assignment is the dream job it should be. If you’re ready to get started on your journey, look at our travel nurse jobs for available positions.