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Your first instinct as you prepare to go on assignment will be to pack as much as possible, so you don’t end up missing something you need, but is that a wise plan of attack? When you are making your list of travel necessities, make another one highlighting the things you can live without as you move from place to place. The life of a travel nurse is an adventurous one, but over packing is a burden you don’t need.
Really evaluate your shoe needs before you begin to pack. Shoes are hard to move from place to place. They take up a lot of luggage space and are heavy, so pick wisely.
If possible, opt for sneaker-style work shoes that you can use for casual walking around and working out. You might want shoes for dressier occasions such as a night out with the friends on the job, but you only need one pair. Pick your favorite and leave the rest at home.
Consider your location, too, when making shoe choices. Are you near a beach? In that case, a pair of flip flops or sandals will come in handy for days off. What can you buy locally? Instead of carting flip flops around, pick up a pair at the local discount store.
It seems common sense to pack a couple pair of jeans, but they can weigh down your luggage and chances are, you will spend most of your time in scrubs for work. Consider alternatives to jeans for your off time like sweat pants, lounging pants and even shorts if the weather is right. If you need jeans, limit yourself to one or two pairs that you can mix and match with different tops.
Today, there is little reason to cart a book around with you when you travel. Even if you prefer to read the old-fashioned way, you should save the paperback and hardcover books for home. For travel assignments, invest in a tablet computer, e-reader or read from your smartphone.
You can use this one device for more than just reading, too. Unless you are taking a class that requires lots of computer time, you might consider leaving the laptop at home and using one mobile device for everything. This will cut down on the number of chargers you have to carry, as well.
White is always a risky choice, but when you are away from home and get a stain, you have limited options. Stick with darker colors and prints when on assignment. This will save you from having to wear that same stain over and over or going to the store to buy new clothes.
All those bottles take up room and add weight to your luggage and there is always the chance one of them will open up while traveling. When you are researching the area around the hospital or clinic that you will call home for the next few weeks, find the nearest pharmacy or grocery store. This way, you know where to go to buy shampoo, conditioner, body soap and any other toiletries after you arrive. If you are staying at a hotel or Airbnb apartment, they might offer these things for free.
Traveling and seeing new places is part of the fun of being a travel nurse. Learning to pack efficiently will make the trip that much more enjoyable.