If you’re a travel nurse, then you know that moving around frequently is just part of the job. But that doesn’t mean it’s always easy! There are some things that you’ll want to make sure you have with you every time you move, in order to make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the must-haves for any traveling nurse. Keep reading to learn more!
What Does a Travel Nurse Really Need While on Assignment?
If you’re a travel nurse, one thing you know for sure is that each assignment brings new challenges. No two assignments are alike, and that’s part of what makes travel nursing so exciting. But it also means that you have to be prepared for anything and everything- while still keeping most of your stuff in a suit case or two (or maybe the trunk of your car!).
What you need will largely depend on your preferences. Additionally, where you will be staying will make a big difference. A fully furnished apartment catered to a travel nurse will need a lot less than a friend’s spare bedroom, hotel room, or even a campground.
Travel Nurse Must Haves: By Category
We will review 5 categories that are important to keep in mind when preparing for a travel assignment and staying comfortable on the road. We will cover:
- Packing Essentials
- Kitchen Items
- The Comforts of Home
- Healthy Living Essentials
The Packing Essentials for Travel Nurses
Obviously, you will need to pack your clothes and personal items- such as scrubs and toiletries. But what will you pack them all in and how will you keep them organized? Having an easy system for moving for a travel nursing assignment makes it easy to keep everything in order.
So, how do you stay organized while on the move? Whether by car, train, or airplane, have these with you:
- Sturdy Carry-on Size Bag: If you’re flying to your assignment, make sure all of your absolute essentials are in a carry-on size bag. Starting your first day at work without a clean pair of underwear or your toothbrush just isn’t any fun if your bags get lost. Plus, if you’re in a completely new area you may find a chunk of time to hop on a plane and explore a nearby area!
- Packing Cubes: These are great for rolling clothes and keeping everything tidy in your suitcase- or even drawers at your new apartment. No more digging to the bottom of a bag to find that one shirt you need! You can try organizing your cubes into underwear, shirts, tops, PJs, and/or casual wear- whatever works best for you.
- A Laundry Bag: This is great for keeping your dirty clothes separate from your clean clothes while on the road. A mesh laundry bag that can be hung on your door is perfect for this.
If you are staying in a furnished apartment, you probably won’t need to worry about these. However, if you’re at a hotel or have a small kitchenette set up, you may need one or more of the following:
- Kitchen Multi-tool: Find a great all-in-one tool that can open bottles, cans, and jars. You can also find ones that have a knife, peeler, zester, and corkscrew for those wine nights in!
- Travel Size Coffee Press: If you’re a coffee lover, this is an absolute must-have. You can find small French presses or a cute espresso style press that is perfect for travel.
- Pressure Cooker and Air Fryer Combo: If you only have a hot plate in your rental, or if you just want quick easy meals at the end of your long work days- an easy one-touch cooking machine is a must. Pressure cooking and air frying make for quick and delicious meals. Plus, many have sautéing features if you need that on occasion too.
If you’re renting an unfurnished apartment, see our full list of travel basics that you’ll need.
After a long day of work, you may want to relax and watch some TV or listen to some tunes. But what if your rental doesn’t have a TV or streaming? Here are some options to consider that are easy to pack and have on hand:
- Firestick or Roku: These are small devices that you can bring with you and plug into any TV with an HDMI port. They provide access to all of your favorite streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and more.
- Portable Speaker: A small Bluetooth speaker is perfect for listening to music in your room or even outdoors. You can find ones that are waterproof and have great sound quality.
- Laptop or tablet: This is a great option for watching movies or TV shows on the go. You can also use it for work, keeping in touch (via email and social media), and paying bills.
- Portable projector: A projector is a great way to watch movies or TV shows on a big screen. You can find small, portable ones that are easy to pack and set up with Bluetooth. And all you technically need is a white wall or sheet for a backdrop.
Bringing the Comforts of Home on the Road
Moving around can be tough, but there are ways to make it a little easier. Bring items that remind you of family, friends, and loved ones. Any small item that helps you feel calm and relaxed is a great addition to your suitcase. These might include:
- A digital picture frame: This is a great way to keep your loved ones close while you’re on the road. Just load it up with photos before you leave and you can change them as often as you’d like.
- A favorite blanket: Familiar smells and textures can be very comforting when you’re away from home. So, if you have a favorite blanket, bring it with you!
- A scented candle: Candles are great for making any space feel like home. And if they have a familiar scent, even better.
- Your own pillow: Nothing beats sleeping on your own pillow. If you have a favorite, make sure to bring it with you.
Healthy Living Essentials
No matter where you are in the country, taking care of your own health is important. Having these items on hand can help:
- Water bottle: Staying hydrated is key to feeling your best. Invest in a good water bottle that you can refill throughout the day.
- Exercise equipment: Actually, you can get in a great workout with just your body weight (and maybe a mat if you have hard floors). However, if you want extra resistance, bands are easy to pack away and are very versatile.
- Sleep aids: Setting up your room for good sleep hygiene is important, especially if you work night shifts. Essentials should include portable blackout curtains (instead of a sleep mask) and a white noise machine.
Feel Comfortable Anywhere
Packing these items will help you feel at home no matter where you are. With a little bit of planning, you can make sure that your transitions are as smooth as possible. Enjoy your next travel adventure to the fullest!