Packing Tips When You Find a Travel Nurse Job

woman packing suitcase after finding a travel nurse job

When you find a travel nurse job, life is one adventure after another! One minute you’re exploring California’s beaches, the next you could be hiking through the Rockies. But the constant packing and unpacking for each new assignment may feel exhausting and overwhelming. How do you bring what you need without overpacking, especially when the climate and cost of necessities change so much from state to state?

We’ve got the ultimate guide to streamlined packing for our standard 13-week assignments. Need help finding that dream assignment?  To find a travel nurse job, reach out to our friendly recruiters as AHS NurseStat. We can match you with the perfect locations for your skills and lifestyle. 

Step 1: Core Items

Think of this as your travel nurse survival kit. No matter where you land in the US, these items are all must-haves.

  • Work Essentials:  Enough scrubs to match your facility’s policy (at least 5 or 6 sets is ideal), 2 pairs of work shoes that you can swap out every other day, your stethoscope, a pouch of your favorite pens, a badge holder, and any other specialty tools your work requires.
  • Documents:  Pack your nursing license, certifications, immunization records, driver’s license or ID, emergency contacts, and any housing or travel agency contracts in a durable and secure folder. We recommend taking photos of all these documents as well so you always have digital copies available.
  • Tech Toolkit:  Your laptop or tablet is key for online paperwork and staying connected. Don’t forget wireless headphones, your smartwatch, all your chargers, and consider a portable power bank for long shifts.
  • Basic Medications:  Pack enough of your regular prescriptions to last the assignment, plus over-the-counter essentials like pain relievers, allergy medication, and anything else you rely on to stay comfortable and healthy. Even a small first-aid kit is a great idea so you’re as prepared as possible.

Step 2: Clothes and Shoes

woman packing suitcase to find a travel nurse job
Learn how to pack smart when you find a travel nurse job!

Packing clothes is where those regional differences start to make a big impact. Here’s how to strike the right balance:

  • The Layering Principle: Think basics. T-shirts, long-sleeved shirts, light sweaters, comfy jeans, and a jacket suitable for the season are your building blocks. You can layer up or down depending on the weather or if you need a quick change after a shift. Look online for some capsule wardrobe ideas so you can pack items that mix and match well.
  • Shoes: To avoid packing every pair of shoes you own, try choosing one pair for each function. For example, a pair of comfortable sneakers for walking or exercising, a dressier pair of shoes for going out to dinner, slides or slippers for lounging at home, and a pair of sandals or snow boots depending on the time of year!
  • Destination Research: Don’t get caught off-guard by the weather! Is the location known for unexpected cold snaps in the summer? Frequent rain? Heavy snowfall? A quick online search about seasonal averages will help you pack the right kind of layers.
  • Workwear Beyond Scrubs:  Some facilities may have orientations or meetings with a business casual dress code. Check with your recruiter or facility contact if you need to pack a few dressier items alongside your scrubs.

Step 3: Pack or Purchase?

The cost of living varies significantly throughout the US, so it’s wise to strategize what you’ll pack and what you may be better off buying once you arrive.

  • Everyday Essentials: Toiletries, basic groceries, and cleaning supplies can have very different price tags between states. Alaska, for example, tends to be much more expensive than a southern state like Georgia.
  • Research to Save: Before you pack a mountain of toiletries, look online to check typical costs in your assignment location. You might be surprised to find it’s cheaper to stock up once you arrive.
  • The Exception: Any specialized or hard-to-find toiletries or food items you absolutely rely on might be worth bringing. That special shampoo or your favorite brand of tea could be impossible to find at your destination.

Step 5: Home Comforts 

Those 13 weeks will go by fast, but it’s important you feel settled and comfortable throughout your assignment. A few selective personal touches can turn a generic rental into a cozy home base. Pack your favorite pillow or super-soft throw blanket, printed photos of great memories, and a soothing candle or essential oil diffuser. These small comforts can make all the difference in helping you unwind and feel at home. 

Find a Travel Nurse Job with AHS NurseStat

Pack your non-negotiables, and embrace the chance to simplify your belongings. A less is more approach gives you the flexibility to comfortably adapt. You might discover a must-have hat at your new location, or realize you truly don’t need that extra pair of shoes! 

Ready to find your next great travel nurse assignment? The team at AHS NurseStat is here to help you find a travel nurse job. Explore exciting locations, great benefits, and personalized support – start your job search today!

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