If you’re travel nurses, you know that preparing for your next assignment can run the gamut from feeling like a hassle to an exciting adventure. Whether it feels more like the first or the second can depend a lot on shifting your focus from the destination to the journey! By optimizing the travel process itself, your experience will be much easier, smoother, and more enjoyable! Here are five tips to make your travel experience from headache to happiness!
Channel Your Inner Girl Scout
The Girl Scout motto, “Be prepared,” is the first and most important key to making the most of your travel. For travel nurses, this applies to much more than gathering together clothing, hygiene items, and work-related supplies. It also means being prepared to practice self-care. Take stock of the things that you find soothing or comforting and build them into your journey. Whether that’s scheduling regular check-ins with a friend or partner, bringing along a meaningful object, queuing up an awesome playlist, investing in a comfy travel pillow, having fresh flowers nearby, or something else entirely, being prepared to practice self-care can make all the difference.
Think Like a Tourist
In the hustle and bustle of a world that seems to never stop, it can help to think like a tourist when planning your journey. Instead of focusing exclusively on getting from point A to point B as quickly as possible, research various routes to identify interesting landmarks, restaurants, local attractions, scenic views, state parks, or sightseeing destinations that might make sense to visit along your way. If nothing else, think about taking the scenic route, trading in long stretches of featureless highways for picturesque country roads. Even if it doesn’t make sense to venture off the beaten path for long, look for opportunities to make a scenic detour to treat your senses to something new and wonderful.
Lighten Your Load
Being prepared doesn’t mean being a packrat. If you’re somebody who tends to look at packing like an Olympic sport or like an exercise summiting Everest solo, take a deep breath and lighten your load. If you’re vulnerable to taking “everything but the kitchen sink” on your journey, make a list of three categories: Must Bring, Want to Bring, and Kidding Myself. Be honest about what goes in which category. Once you’ve determined what goes wear, bite the bullet and do your best to remove as many items as possible from the Want to Bring category and all items from the Kidding Myself category. (If you have tendencies for overkill when it comes to packing, you’re still likely to have quite a few things left that don’t serve a good purpose, but at least your load will be lighter.).
Nom Your Way There
If you ask us, the main difference between a long drive and a road trip is having your favorite healthy snacks on hand. And who are we kidding? Maybe some unhealthy ones, too. (After all, you know what they say: There are no bad foods — only bad diets, meaning that a cupcake or candy bar certainly isn’t going to hurt you if 90% of your diet is nutritionally on point.) There are so many satisfying, healthy snacks to choose from: carrot and celery sticks, olives, almonds, string cheese sticks, a few squares of dark chocolate, and so on. And don’t forget water! Resist the temptation to consume fruit juices and energy drinks. Yes, they taste great and give you a boost of energy, but they’re not what your body actually needs and won’t keep you hydrated like good old-fashioned H20. Of course, part of the fun of creating your own snack pack is having the perfect mini-cooler to keep them in. There are so many fun and functional styles to choose from, so be sure to find the perfect one for you!
Get a Checkup
For your vehicle, that is. Be sure you’re scheduling regular maintenance and aren’t overdue for a vehicle evaluation. A full-service evaluation should include examination and testing of brakes, lights, fluids, transmission, cooling and heating systems, and tires. Tires are the most common parts of a vehicle to fail, so your maintenance technician (or yourself, if you’ve got some mechanical mojo or shop skills) will need to check for uneven wear and tread degradation. The tires’ alignment, rotation, and balance will also need to be evaluated, as well as the condition of the unused space. Once you’ve got the green light from your maintenance technician, be sure you’re also the proud owner of a pair of jumper cables, a set of spare keys, and a jack and tire iron.
Whether preparing for your next travel assignment as a travel nurses feels like a headache and hassle or a new and exciting adventure has everything to do with optimizing your journey! By following these five tips, you’ll arrive at your travel nurses destination feeling more relaxed, energized, and equipped for success! We wish you a bon voyage and happy trails!