Packing Tips for Travel Nurses

January 24 / Posted by Christi Hintz

Packing for a 13 week trip is a little different from packing for a vacation. The types of things you can do without when you’re spending a few days in a hotel may be absolute essentials when you’ll basically be living at a new location. But how do you fit enough of your daily essentials to live away from home while not overstuffing your bag? Here are a few tips and tricks we’ve rounded up to help you decide what to pack and what to leave behind.


Find Out What Is Included With Your Housing


Depending on your housing selection, your new living space may or may not include certain furnishings. Talk to your recruiter if you are using housing provided by ADEX, or call the landlord if you’ve opted to choose your own housing. Ask about furnishings, what cooking appliances are in the kitchen, whether or not linens are provided, and anything else that will help you determine what you do and do not need to bring. You don’t want to show up just to find that your housing already provides something you sacrificed precious packing space for!


Observe What You Use Most


Observe the items you use most on a daily basis for the weeks leading up to your assignment. You may be surprised by what you find isn’t actually essential, and can be left behind for an assignment. Think critically about what may not be worth bringing. If you find yourself missing something you skipped on, you can purchase it after you’ve arrived at your location.


No Room? Rent It.


Large items like TVs and microwaves can take up a lot of space in your car or make air travel impossible. There are companies that allow you to rent large electronics like these at a monthly rate, which is a great option for temporary living situations.


Make a List Before You Start


Packing always seems pretty straight forward in the beginning, so you might be tempted to just throw yourself into it. But by starting without a plan you risk forgetting to pack the essentials, double packing something you may not need, or not packing efficiently since you haven’t added things to your bag in the most efficient order. Instead, plot out what you need before you pack a single thing. Start with the essential things like documents and chargers for your electronics, and work down to more specific things like what outfits you want to wear.


Don’t Leave Anything to the Last Minute


We get it, we all forget things and end up throwing a few more items into our bags before we leave. But if you’ve only had a few minutes to think about that thing you suddenly realize you need, you may be making a poor decision that will come back to bite you later. You’ll want extra room in your bag in case you end up bringing anything back, and anything nonessential that you pack now will just make travelling harder. So leave yourself plenty of time to pack, and resist the urge to add a bunch of items at the last minute.


What are your best packing tips? What’s on your essentials list, and what have you found that you can live without? How do you make it work when you just can’t stuff anything more in your suitcase? Leave your own tips and tricks in the comments below, and help your fellow travel nurses.

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