6 Packing Tips and Tools for Travel Nurses

Becoming a travel nurse presents you with a unique situation when it comes to packing for your job. Sure, you’re traveling, but you’ll most likely be there for 3 months living in an apartment, house or extended stay hotel. As a result, you are sort of in limbo between traveler and permanent resident.

Having all the comforts of home would be ideal, but packing everything you own each time you move is unrealistic. Here are a few tips to help you pack for your next travel assignment:


First off, you should determine the duration of your travel nursing adventure before you start packing. Assignments have varying lengths, most are 13 weeks, but 4, 6, 8 and 26 week assignments are also possible.

Additionally, you may want to extend your stay in the city after your assignment is complete – or you may want to go straight to your next assignment before returning home. Different travel times require different packing strategies, so do your best to estimate how long you’ll be away!


Now that you know how long you’ll be gone, it’s time to consider the location of your assignment. Obviously as you move across the United States, climates change and so do activities. If you live in Arizona and are taking an assignment in Colorado in the winter months, then you need to pack lots of layers!

You should also do some research on the weather patterns and potential activities in that city and state when you’re developing your packing list.

List It Out

A great way to start developing your packing list is to make a list of what you do and use regularly. We all have different lifestyles and daily habits, so this is a great way to gauge what you personally use frequently. For example, some nurses love the convenience of a slow cooker to help them prepare meals. Other have never even used a slow cooker!

Make your list over a one or two week period and you will have a great start to your list.

What Will Be Provided

If you take company-provided housing, it’s important to remember that different agencies handle housing in different ways. Some housing arrangements will include a houseware and cleaning package. This might include pots, pans, dinnerware, silverware, towels, broom, mop, vacuum and other cleaning supplies. Other agencies only offer the furnishings.

As a result, it’s important to inquire what exactly will be included in your housing accommodations! Don’t rely on ambiguous statements like “fully furnished” or “turn-key housing” as you might find that the expected items are not included.

What To Pack In

Before you start the big task of getting all packed away, decide what the best container is for your items. If you are having to fly to your location, then multiple pieces of large luggage is probably the best bet. If you get to drive to your location, consider packing in storage containers instead of luggage!

Other ideas for packing include using a tackle box for small items, a cosmetic and grooming travel bag, compression bags for saving space or even shoe bags.

Packing Apps

When they say “there’s an app for that,” it reigns true! There is a great packing app called PackPoint that’s available for iOS and Android. This app will help you develop and refine your lists. You can save your packing lists and create lists for different situations and destinations.

These apps can even pre-populate a list of recommended items that you can keep or discard at your convenience. This app has the potential to help you save a lot of time in the long run.

We hope you found this list of tips and tools helpful. Have you ever packed for a long assignment? If so, what did you find helped you?

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