How to Pack for Your Travel Assignment
Packing Tips for Travel Nurses and Allied Clinicians
There are many divisive topics in society today. However, it’s safe to say we can all agree on one thing – packing sucks.
You need to figure out what you need, where you'll put it, and how to fit it into the minimum amount of luggage possible. Not to mention, if you're going on a travel nurse assignment, you need to figure out how many seasons to pack for and what other household necessities you'll need.
Will you be flying with a couple of bags or driving with several? How can you bring all the necessary items without overloading yourself? How will you find the time to get everything packed?
First, take a step back and breathe. This stage of travel is stressful for just about everyone. Once you get into the groove of assignments, you'll be packing like a pro, but you have to take the first step in the meantime.
To keep your packing manageable:
- Start early
- Make yourself a list of everything you'll need
- If applicable, call ahead to your housing accommodations and figure out what's already there for you
- Make some time every day to do some packing
Keep reading to see some additional healthcare traveler packing tips!
Essentials vs. Non-Essentials
If you're flying to your assignment destination, we suggest packing non-essential stuff first — for example, things you don't use every day but will still need with you. If you plan on bringing books or entertainment, pack it now, and keep it light. Save the essentials for carry-on bags you can keep within easy reach. It's a good idea to include at least a few pairs of clothes or any musts for work with your necessities, just in case your checked luggage gets lost on the way.
Remember to start saving anything that you can use to pack. If you have boxes, don't just toss them out - keep them so you can use them to store things! If you know the address of where you'll be staying, mail your belongings ahead of time, so you don't have to carry them with you.
Additionally, trash bags are gold. They're cheap and easy to stuff soft stuff into quickly! We would only recommend using them for things you don't mind wrinkling, but they'll save you from buying moving boxes or extra luggage (depending on how you travel, of course).
Protect Fragile Items
Are you planning on bringing extra blankets? Good idea! But don't pack them on their own. Instead, use blankets or other linens as padding between items. If you're packing anything fragile or that will move around during the move, wrap it up in a blanket or towels.
Do Some Research
Utilize YouTube! There are plenty of videos with tips on how to pack light or get the most out of a limited amount of space. For example, rolling your clothes instead of packing them folded can save you tons of room.
Lastly, remember to store all your packing pieces while on assignment! If your next contract brings you to a new town, you'll already have your systems down and supplies ready.