Travel Nurse Packing Tips: Lightening the Load


If you’re preparing for a travel nurse assignment that lasts about thirteen weeks or so, packing can be the biggest pain in the keister. As much as we’d all like our packing process to be as seamless as it is in the movies, oftentimes the whole ordeal leaves us feeling more like we’re in an episode of Hoarded: Buried Alive. It’s not pretty. However, sometimes it’s worth the effort to sprawl out on the living room floor and debate whether or not you need to bring that extra bikini. In the grand scheme of things, the lighter your load, the less flighty your travels will be. Below are some great travel nurse packing tips to help you ensure that you’re able to travel anywhere, anytime.

travel nurse packing tips

Travel Nurse Packing Tips

Make a travel checklist

You’re way less likely to forget something if you write it down and physically cross it off. Also, you’ll be able to figure out how many pairs of scrubs, shoes, etc. you’ll need for your trip. Writing a list will make it easier to avoid putting unnecessary stuff in your suitcase, too. When it comes to travel nurse packing tips, a checklist will keep you organized and will give you peace of mind as you prepare for your assignment.

Make the most out of carry-ons

If you’re traveling by plane, be sure to take advantage of the personal bag allowances on airlines. Most people use a large tote as a purse when they’re flying. You can stuff your toiletries, small electronics, personal items, and even clothing in this bag. It’s a great way to utilize space without checking additional bags or exceeding weight limits. You can also pack a smaller bag inside the tote and use it to store essentials like your phone, wallet, and keys. Consolidating your belongings is one of the best travel nurse packing tips we can provide!

Avoid the “what-if” items

Sometimes our fears of leaving certain items behind will make us want to overpack. While all those of those knickknacks may have sentimental value, in all honesty, you’ll probably never end up needing them on your trip. Instead, take a risk by traveling without unnecessary items. No, you don’t need to bring along that winter parka when it’s summertime, try a light jacket. And definitely don’t bring that waffle iron on the off chance you’ll get a hankering for a homemade breakfast when you haven’t even eaten breakfast in 5 years anyway. At the end of the day, you can always purchase things at your new location. And if you’re worried about price, you can always look at consignment shops or online marketplaces.

Wear your luggage

When you’re transporting your belongings to a new place, remember to wear your bulkier items on the plane. For example, wear those clunky hiking boots and pack the flip-flops in your bags. You can stuff things in your pocket, too. It’s also important to layer up while in you’re in transit, this will keep you comfortable without sacrificing any luggage space. It might be a pain when you go through TSA, but you’ll thank yourself later!

Bring basic clothing

While it may be tempting to bring crazy patterns, you must remember that your pairing options are limited. Instead of packing a wild wardrobe, stick to more neutral-colored classics. This way, you’ll be able to mix your wardrobe up and also get away with wearing the same things more often.

Don’t bring inexpensive items you can replace when you arrive

When packing for your trip, there’s no need to pack those cheap and easily replaceable things like shampoo and toothpaste. Just purchase them when you arrive at your destination. These items can be found in most stores. This will save space and help you follow luggage regulations.

If you’re looking for your next travel nurse assignment, feel free to check our available jobs! If you have any other travel nurse packing tips, share them with us in the comments below!

Author: Troy Diffenderfer

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