travel nurses

How Travel Nurses Pack

travel nurses

Traveling to go on vacation and traveling to start a nursing assignment are two different animals. Typically, one goes away on vacation for only a short period a time, lasting a week or two. If you’re just out of college you might decide to trek around Europe for a couple of months but, usually, a vacation lasts only as long as the money does.

On the other hand, going to a new state for a travel nursing position means staying in one place for a considerably longer period of time, typically thirteen weeks. Moreover, if you and the organization you’re going to be working for reach an understanding, that thirteen weeks might get extended.

Keep this in mind when you pack.

One mistake most newbies make when getting ready for a travel nurse job is underpreparing, thinking that since they’re really just technically “visiting” a new location and not moving there permanently, there’s no need to pack up the whole house.  The truth is they’re only half right. Yes, the furniture stays but there are items at home that require a certain amount of consideration. Here are some essentials you mustn’t forget:


A growing trend in business is bringing one’s iPad or tablet on a business trip instead of a laptop. The rationale is simple: Tablets are less bulky and therefore easier to carry. This is fine if you’re only going to be gone for a few days. Long-term? A laptop is more useful than a tablet, especially if you anticipate a lot of typing in your spare time. Another important reason to bring a laptop is for online banking. Who wants to waste a day-off to go to the bank? If you have room in your luggage, bring both laptop and tablet. But if you must choose, take your laptop. Or if you don’t have a laptop, purchase one before you leave. It’s a worthwhile investment when you’re on the road.

House Wares

Be sure to check with your travel nursing staffing’s housing accommodation personnel if household items such as linens and kitchen utensils are provided. If not, you better pack your own. In fact, many experienced travel nurses bring their own set of silverware and beddings anyway even if they’re provided by the travel nursing staffing company to make their new dwelling would feel more like home.


Many travel nurses opt to get to their destination by car instead of by plane simply because it’s more fun that way. It might take longer to get where you want to go but nothing compares to the experience of being out on the open road. If you do decide to drive, be sure to invest in a map or GPS system. In fact, even if you have a GPS buy a map anyway. It’s less than ten dollars and nothing compares to the peace of mind it provides.

Emergency Funds

This goes without saying but we’ll say it anyway. Make sure that you carry enough cash with you for emergencies. Carry at least $500 cash in case you can’t find an ATM.

Traveling—whether on vacation or as a career path—is exciting especially if it’s your first time. Be sure to take the time to prepare for it so that everything goes smoothly and you’ll be able to enjoy the experience to the fullest.