You may make a packing list before leaving for a long trip or vacation, and it could benefit you to treat travel nursing assignments the same way. As you travel to new locations, there are certain must-haves that we recommend all travel nurses consider as they start to pack. Let’s take a look at some of these travel nursing essentials and why you should consider adding them to your packing list.
- Important Documents
It’s not easy to replace important documents, and it can be a hassle if you forget to bring them with you. Instead, it’s always a good practice to keep track of important paperwork and store them securely so that you don’t find yourself in a bind should you need them. Important documents you may need to take with you to your next travel nursing assignment include:
- Driver’s license
- Social Security card
- Passport or birth certificate
- Debit and credit cards
- Car insurance, registration, and roadside assistance agreement
- Travel nursing contract, traveler handbook, and first-day instructions from your new assignment’s facility
- Nursing license, certifications, and credentials
- Recruiter and staffing agency contact information
- Contact information for your new assignment facility
- Temporary housing details
Having a backup form of ID is always a good idea in case any of your documents get lost or stolen. That way, you can still catch a flight or withdraw cash in the event that you don’t have your driver’s license.
Your travel nurse staffing agency should also have copies of your nursing license and other certifications. Still, it’s also wise to keep digital copies of these documents on your phone or laptop. That way, if you need to produce them for some reason, you have them handy.
- First Aid Kit
Another important travel nurse essential is a first aid kit. A few things you may want to consider putting in your first aid kit include bandages, gauze, aspirin, ibuprofen, vitamins, sunscreen, antiseptic, gloves, thermometer, and other essentials.
While it may seem counterintuitive to bring a first aid kit with you when you’ll be working in a medical facility, you never know when you might cut yourself or catch a cold while not on the job. Having a fully stocked first-aid kit handy can ensure that you have the tools to take care of yourself.
Your travel nursing clothing wardrobe may change depending on the location and climate you are traveling to. Besides scrubs, you’ll want clothes you can wear when you’re not working, such as if you decide to go out with friends or do some sight-seeing. This may include clothes for both dressy and casual occasions, as well as workout clothes and sleepwear. While you don’t want to overpack, it is a good idea to have extra undergarments, socks, and outfits just in case.
You don’t have to bring your whole closet with you; instead, pack the staple items you need, including clothing that can be layered in case it gets chilly, comfortable shoes, and essential winter wear. You may also consider bringing a lint roller, travel steamer, and umbrella.
Every travel nurse may have their own unique toiletry items they will need when on assignment, but here is a general list of things to consider as you start packing:
- Shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, and face wash
- Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash
- Hairbrush, comb, hairspray, hairdryer, and other hair grooming products
- Makeup and cosmetics
- Nail grooming supplies
- Razors and shaving cream
- Lotion and sunscreen
- Perfume or cologne
- Contact lens solution
- Feminine hygiene products
- Hand soap
- Toilet paper and paper towels
As you pack, remember that liquids can easily spill if not packed securely. It may also make sense to only pack enough toiletries for the first part of your assignment and then buy what you need later while on location.
- Basic Kitchen Supplies
Basic supplies for the kitchen are also considered travel nurse essentials. With travel nursing assignments lasting around 13 weeks, you’ll most likely be cooking or eating a lot at home. Your temporary housing may not provide the kitchen supplies you need, so it’s good to bring your own just in case.
Some kitchen supplies that may be helpful include:
- Coffee Maker or Tea Kettle: Caffeine fanatics can save money by making their own coffee or tea at home. Small coffee pots, French presses, or tea strainers are all easy to pack and travel with. Don’t forget your favorite travel mug!
- Cooking Supplies: You don’t have to take your whole kitchen with you. A few pots and pans, a sharp knife, cooking utensils, dish towels, and condensed travel spices are all great items to have on hand, especially if you love to cook.
- Eating Supplies: Dishware such as cutlery, plates, bowls, mugs, and glasses are essential for eating your meals.
- Emergency Food Supply: It might be a good idea to keep some non-perishable, easily consumable food items in your car in case you ever get lost, stranded, or have car problems while on the road.
If you’re trying to find affordable kitchen supplies to travel with, many retail and thrift stores offer reasonably priced options, so you don’t have to break the bank.
- Essential Electronics
Nowadays, there are endless possibilities of electronics and devices, both for entertainment and work, that you may want to consider bringing with you to your next travel nursing assignment. Laptops, tablets, e-readers, Bluetooth headphones, Bluetooth speakers, and cameras are all devices you may want to have with you.
When bringing electronics, always remember to bring their respective chargers. This is especially important for essential items, like your smartphone or laptop. You may also consider bringing a flashlight and extra batteries.
- Comfort Items
You’ll want to be as comfortable as possible in your housing assignment. Certain items, like blankets, bedding, pillows, and bath towels, can make your travel nursing experience feel more comfortable. You may also consider certain hobby items to use in your free time, such as books, journals, puzzles, instruments, gaming equipment, and sporting equipment.
- Pet Supplies
Bringing a pet along with you can help you feel a little less lonely during your new travel nursing assignment. Some pets, like dogs, can also help you stay active or get out and sight-see. If you’re bringing along a furry friend, you’ll want to pack the necessary pet supplies to be properly prepared. These may include:
- Food, treats, and bowls for eating and drinking
- Favorite toys, blankets, and bed to help ease anxiety during travel
- Leashes, harnesses, and a collar with ID tags
- Clean-up bags, litter, and litter box
- Crates or kennels
- Essential medications
- Important documents including microchip paperwork, health and medical records, vaccination records, and other important health information
- Local veterinarian information
Having your pet microchipped and keeping clear photos of them on your phone is important if your pet gets lost. Always make sure their ID tag lists your full name and contact information. If you’re flying to your destination, you’ll need to check with your specific airline to see their guidelines for bringing pets onboard.
- Prescription Medications
Remember to bring all prescription medications you will need during your travel nursing assignment. You may also consider asking your doctor to pre-order any refills so you have enough medication to last through your entire assignment. While getting a refill shouldn’t be difficult, it makes it a lot easier to already have them ready at your new pharmacy.
- Photos and Mementos
While you’re out on the road, it’s nice to have small reminders of home. As a travel nurse, you may underestimate how much you might feel homesick when you’re away from your hometown. Consider bringing photos of family and friends, keepsake items, or other possessions you’ve gotten from loved ones that are special to you.
Our recruiters at OneStaff Medical are here to make sure you consider all travel nurse essentials as you prepare to leave for your next assignment. If you’re thinking about becoming a traveling nurse, browse our current job listings or contact us today at 877-783-1483.
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