So: you’ve landed a great travel assignment, your paperwork is up to date, and your bags…are lying open on your bedroom floor. Where to begin? Packing for a travel assignment can be a daunting task. The average assignment lasts 13 weeks – you’re not moving away, but you’re not exactly preparing for a weekend stay, either.
In our experience, it’s not really about what to pack – it’s about how to pack. To help you develop a set of strategies which can be applied to any number of travel situations, we’ve written this blog article with a few helpful pointers in mind.
Before you make your first move, you need to answer two questions: how are you getting to your destination, and what amenities does your accommodation offer?
If you’re driving, this frees up quite a lot of space for you to bring larger items. Several Travel Nurses like packing their items in clear plastic crates, which makes packing and stacking a breeze and has the additional benefit of allowing you to see what is in each crate for ease of access. If you’re traveling by plane, then your packing space is quite limited. You might want to invest in travel organizers so that you can compartmentalize bulky items like cables, hairdryers, shoes, and small electronics and save on valuable space.
In order to pack effectively, you’ll need to know how long your assignment is and what amenities are already in place at your new digs. Will you, for instance, need to pack your own crockery? Do you need a WiFi router? If you’re a home cook, which gadgets absolutely need to come with you? Can you live without a home coffee machine wherever you’re going? The more details you have about your new environment, the better you can prepare for your relocation. Remember, though, not everything needs to be brought with you: you can always buy or rent what you need when you arrive in your new location, even if it means donating those items at the end of your stay.
When it comes to packing clothes, remember to give yourself scope for adventure – yes, you’re working on assignment, but you might want to spend some of your time off exploring your new surroundings! Make sure that you have at least one outfit which allows you to do what you love, whether it be exercising outdoors or living it up in a pair of heels on the dance floor.
The thing about being a Travel Nurse is that you are going to have to make a home wherever you are. The challenge lies in how to do this when you’re living out of a suitcase. Often, the things that make a place feel like home are items which cannot typically be hauled cross-country: your beloved cat, houseplants, or neighborhood barista are not likely to be able to accompany you. There are, however, a few things which you can bring along to make yourself more comfortable in your housing. Bringing your own linen, crockery, small decor tchotchkes, and other easily transportable items can transform a room into your room.
Finally, if you’re still totally stuck on how to pack – there’s an app for that! PackPoint for iOS and Android can help you break down what you need to bring with you and how you’re going to pack it effectively.