It’s time! You’ve signed your contract, and soon you’ll be off on your travel nursing assignment.
But wait …
Now, you’re wondering what to pack as a travel nurse.
Unlike a week-long vacation, travel nursing requires a multi-week — or even multi-month — commitment. Forgetting to pack certain things can end up being costly.
That’s why the travel nursing experts at Trusted Nurse Staffing have created the ultimate travel nurse packing list so that you can hit the road feeling confident that you’ll have everything you need to succeed!
Table of Contents
- What to Cross Off Your Travel Nurse Packing List: Typical Items Included in Company-Provided Housing
- The Ultimate Travel Nurse Packing List by Category
- 3 Travel Nurse Packing Tips
- Trusted Nurse Staffing Is Here to Help You Make Sure Your Travel Nurse Packing Checklist Is Complete
What to Cross Off Your Travel Nurse Packing List: Typical Items Included in Company-Provided Housing
The first thing you’ll need to consider before heading off on your travel nurse adventure is what to expect from your company-provided housing. Basic housing will always include furniture items, such as:
- A bed and mattress
- A dresser
- A nightstand
- A table and chairs
- A sofa
- End tables
- Appliances; and
- A television
It’s important to speak to your recruiter about anything above and beyond basic furnishings. Depending on the agency, your housing could include linens and housewares as well.
At Trusted Nurse Staffing, we make it our mission to provide the best possible housing for our nurses. We believe in your comfort, so our company-provided housing is among the most well-equipped in the industry.
To speak to a Trusted Nurse Staffing agent about what you can expect in your free accommodations, contact us today.
The Ultimate Travel Nurse Packing List by Category
Who doesn’t love a good list? Nurses, by nature, are very organized people — we get it! That’s why we want to ensure you have everything you need for your assignment.
As you skim through this list, highlight the items you know you’ll want to have, but also take a walk around your home. As you go from room to room, imagine what items you don’t want to live without for the length of your assignment.
If you’ve decided to take back-to-back assignments, remember that you’ll be gone for quite some time, and you may want to bring items you wouldn’t otherwise consider.
Some household items that you will definitely want to remember bringing along, include:
- Personal bath towels
- Your pillow (comfort is key after long shifts!)
- Dishtowels; and
Before you head out, check with your recruiter to find out if the following housewares are included. If they’re not, you’ll want to plan to pack a box with these items:
- Cooking utensils
- Dishware and glasses
- Pots and pans
- Kettle/coffee maker
- Shower curtain and bath mat; and
- A small vacuum
Remember, when traveling alone, you don’t need to bring more than what’s needed for a single person — usually no more than 2-3 place settings to account for dirty dishes and occasional guests.
If you plan to stay longer, you can always hit up a local Target or Walmart for some additional items to entertain with.
Electronics are a part of daily life, and quite frankly hard to live without! Here’s a list of must-haves for any travel nurse:
- An alarm clock
- Batteries and electronics chargers
- Laptop or tablet
- A good watch
- Wi-Fi router (if one is not included)
- Bluetooth speaker or a small stereo; and
- An eReader
This list will prepare you with the basics, but you may have other digital devices that would make your trip more meaningful, such as an underwater camera or a GoPro.
If ever there was a time to implement a capsule wardrobe, this could be it! You’ll be engaging in various activities, so you’ll want to be prepared, but you won’t be able to take your entire wardrobe.
First things first. Where are you going? What special outings do you have planned?
Consider your daily life, as well as any excursions and exploration you plan to do, and pack accordingly.
Here are some of the clothing items we recommend:
- Facility uniforms (if not provided)
- Casual clothing
- Exercise clothing and swimwear
- Dressy clothing
- Sleepwear and slippers
- Sweaters and jackets (seasonally); and
- 3-4 pairs of shoes
Before your assignment, it’s a good idea to find out what local clothing retailers are in your area, just in case something comes up, and you need a fresh new outfit.
If you or your dependents (including pets) require prescription medication, it’s not only important to bring them along, but also to have refill prescriptions called in to the local pharmacy in your assignment city.
If you plan to take a longer assignment, then it’s a good idea to ensure you have called local MDs to find out who may be accepting new patients. Your at-home MD may be able to make a referral.
Supplies for Your Pet
Planning on bringing your fur baby? Just like you, your pet will be adjusting to their new surroundings, so bringing along some items that will make them feel at home is wise.
- A bed or blanket from home
- Toys that they love
- Their food dish
- Their leash
- The food they usually eat; and
- Some treats for the road
Your pet will be feeling displaced, and possibly stressed from the flight or road trip, so whatever you can do to make them feel at home will be beneficial to you both.
Luxury is in the eye of the beholder. That being said, luxury items can be anything that makes you feel ultra-comfortable.
- Home spa products
- A cozy quilt from home
- Your favorite bottle of wine
- Specialty food items; or
- Whatever you consider being luxurious
Treating yourself while on the road can make the experience that much richer.
When on the road, travel nurses may find themselves getting lonely. Bringing along hobby items to keep yourself entertained can make a huge difference in how you enjoy your time off.
Pared down, almost any hobby can be brought along on your assignment, including …
- Camping gear
- Sporting equipment
- Musical instruments
… while others can be purchased easily on the road, such as:
- Crafting supplies
- Cards or board games
- Painting and art supplies
If you’re an outdoorsy type, then packing for the elements will come naturally to you. But, if not, it’s important to consider that your new location may require special gear.
For example, if you’re moving to Colorado and have never hiked the mountains before, then you will want to research the type of gear needed for this terrain.
If you’re headed to sunny Florida and are dying to try some ocean sports, then you should consider wetsuits or rash guards.
If the great outdoors is what keeps you sane on your days off, then outdoor gear is an especially important consideration for you.
Your standard identification, such as your driver’s license, will be necessary for travel, but you’ll also want to remember to bring …
- Digital or physical copies of your nursing license
- Any other professional certifications that pertain to your position
- Immunization records; and
- Your emergency contact list
Being a nurse, this may seem like a no-brainer! But, let’s face it, you already have a lot on your mind, making it easy to forget the obvious things.
A basic first-aid kit can be a huge help when the unexpected happens. Being prepared with bandages, gauze, over-the-counter medicines, etc. can be beneficial, especially when living alone.
3 Travel Nurse Packing Tips
#1: Do Research on Your Destination’s Climate
Even the shortest assignments can span two seasons, so preparing for any possible weather is important.
For example, springtime can be cool and wet in Michigan, while summer can get hot and humid. Rubber boots and a raincoat will be necessary, as will planning to dress in layers. And don’t forget the bug spray!
Arizona nights can get quite cool, while the days will feel hot and dry. You’ll need sunscreen for the scorching desert sun!
Quick research on the type of weather to expect can help you prepare for anything.
#2: Bring Items That Help You Feel at Home
Whether you’re gone for 8 weeks, or a year, bringing along a few personal items that feel like home can help stave off feelings of homesickness.
Items, such as …
- Photos of family and friends
- Scented candles
- Fridge magnets
… or anything else that gives you comfort would be a good idea to pack.
#3: Get Organized
Getting organized before you go — and when you’re wrapping up — will make the trip that much smoother.
If you’re planning to bring more than a suitcase and carry on, consider plastic totes that can be labeled and shipped or added as extra cargo to your flight.
Or, you might consider making a checklist of the things you’ll need for a shorter assignment and weighing out the option of hitting up a Target vs. bringing goods from home.
Sometimes it’s cheaper to buy a few household goods that can be donated or packed into your bags when you leave.
Either way, having a …
- Travel nurse packing list
- A to-do list; and
- A “what to buy” list
… will make life easier when on the road!
Trusted Nurse Staffing Is Here to Help You Make Sure Your Travel Nurse Packing Checklist Is Complete
Unless you’re doing back-to-back assignments, packing doesn’t need to be a colossal chore. Remember to pack the essentials, but don’t plan to bring the entire contents of your home.
After your first travel nurse assignment, you’ll have the opportunity to re-evaluate your needs while away, making it easier to pack for the next adventure.
The recruiters at Trusted Nurse Staffing are here to help! We work with our nurses to ensure they feel completely comfortable in their new surroundings.
In addition to our many benefits, we offer free furnished accommodations, or you can choose a housing stipend and find your own housing. In either case, you can get an inventory list of what is provided in the home before you arrive.
For more information about travel nursing, contact one of our recruiters today. We look forward to working with you!