Travel Nursing Tips: Ultimate 13 Essential Packing List [2024]

Congratulations on taking the plunge and joining your first travel nursing assignment! As a travel nurse, you have the unique opportunity to explore new places while doing what you love. While starting on a new journey can be exciting, it’s important to keep in mind some travel nursing tips that will make your experience as fulfilling as possible.

Travel nursing can be a life-changing career move for a healthcare professional looking for adventure and flexibility. Whether you’re a gypsy nurse or a float nurse, there are plenty of opportunities to experience new locations and cultures while gaining valuable work experience.

As exciting as it can be to start on your first assignment as a travel nurse, there are also plenty of challenges that come along with the lifestyle. That’s why travel nurse agencies provide resources and tips to prepare you for the road ahead.

From packing essentials to finding housing options, being a travel nurse requires a certain level of preparedness and adaptability. So, let’s dive into some helpful travel nursing tips that will make your journey as a travel nurse smooth and enjoyable.

Whether you’re packing your bags for the first time or a seasoned travel nurse, each new location brings new challenges and opportunities. Remember, you’re not alone. There’s a whole community of travel nurses out there just like you, navigating the excitement and challenges of being a travel nurse. So, get ready to start a new adventure and embrace the freedom of being a travel nurse.

Travel Nursing Tips

Here are the 13 Essential Packing List: Travel Nursing Tips.

Personal Documents

As a first-time travel nurse, there are plenty of travel nursing tips you should keep in mind. One of the most important is always having your nursing licenses and certifications. While it may seem like a no-brainer, forgetting this crucial documentation can delay the start of your assignment or even put your career at risk.

Remember that as a travel nurse, you’ll be working in new facilities with varying requirements, so double-checking that you have the appropriate paperwork on hand is crucial. By staying organized and up to date with your nursing license and certification, you can focus on the exciting opportunities and challenges that come along with being a travel nurse. In addition, make sure to have the following:

  • Driver’s license, Social Security Card

  • Passport (if necessary)

  • Health and immunization records

  • Medical records portfolio

Employment Documents

As traveling nurses, it’s important to stay organized with your employment records and travel assignment contract. With so many travel nursing sites to choose from, it can be tempting to jump from one assignment to the next without taking the time to properly document your work experience on different healthcare settings. However, maintaining accurate records can lead to future job opportunities and help you build a successful career in healthcare.

Additionally, reviewing your assignment contracts and business agreement thoroughly is crucial to ensure you understand the expectations for each and every assignment. Even if you find yourself at the same hospital for multiple assignments, it’s important to carefully review travel nursing contract and what the contract require nurses to each contract to avoid any misunderstandings or surprises.

Make sure there are no issues with your pay rate as many travel nurses overlooked this on their contracts. Keeping track of your employment records and assignment contracts is an essential step toward building a successful and fulfilling career as a travel nurse. The following items are required to bring:

  • RN state licenses

  • Certifications (basic life support, etc.)

  • Travel nursing contracts

  • Skills checklist

Travel Documents

The logistics of a travel nurse can be overwhelming without proper preparation and organization. When it comes to housing, many travel nursing companies provide their own accommodations, but if you prefer to arrange your own housing, it’s important to do thorough research and ensure you have a safe and comfortable place to stay while on assignment.

Most travel nurse assignments offers stipends and allowances. Make sure to have these documents handy and have digital or hard copy of your travel nurse contract.

Itinerary, maps, and location and navigation tools can also be incredibly helpful when traveling to a new city. With the right preparation and resources, travel nursing can be a fulfilling and exciting job that allows you to explore new places while providing valuable healthcare services. Pay close attention to the following items.

  • Itinerary and Travel tickets

  • Hotel reservations or housing details

  • Maps or GPS for navigating your location

    Travel Nursing Tips

Scrubs and Uniforms

When starting a new job in travel nursing, there are plenty of things to consider. One of the most important is what to wear. Many travel nursing agencies require their nurses to follow a dress code, which often includes wearing scrubs or a uniform.

To make sure you’re fully prepared for this exciting career path, it’s important to invest in high-quality scrubs that are both comfortable and professional-looking. While it can be tempting to choose the cheapest scrubs available, investing in durable, well-made pieces will pay off in the long run. With the right mindset and the right outfit, you’ll be prepared to tackle any new challenge that comes your way. Also, don’t forget about your feet, and make sure to invest on quality work shoes. Many nurses and other hospital staff include the following items on their luggage list.

  • Work Shoes (top 10 nurses shoes)

  • Lab coats or jackets from Medelita

  • Scrubs: 7 Best scrubs for men , 7 Best scrubs for women

  • Scrubs hat (for OR staff)

Travel Nursing Tips

Work Essentials

As a first time travel nurse, it can be overwhelming to prepare for your next job. Packing for a new assignment can be especially daunting, but having a well-organized packing checklist can help alleviate stress and ensure that you have all the work essentials you need.

One suggestion is to invest in a good quality stethoscope, such as 3M™ Littmann® CORE Digital Stethoscope , which is durable and provides clear sound quality.

Also, don’t forget to bring your favorite pens and note-taking tools, such as the Pilot FriXion pens and a notebook or planner. These are just a few examples of products that other nurses have found helpful in their travel nursing assignments, so take some time to research and find what works best for you.

  • Digital Stethoscopes (Eko health core 500)

  • Reference tools | 10 must-have mobile Apps for Nurses

  • Fanny packs, belt pouches, and ID wallets

    Travel Nursing Tips

Finances Essentials

Travel nursing isn’t just about packing your bags and hitting the road. It’s important to also be financially prepared for your journey. Luckily, there are many financial products and packing apps available to help you manage your budget and expenses while on the move. When it comes to credit cards, look for ones that offer rewards or cashback for travel-related purchases.

Some great examples include the Chase Sapphire Preferred or the Capital One Venture. For budgeting, consider using financial apps like Mint or YNAB to keep track of your expenses in real-time. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or just starting out (nursing students as well), it’s always helpful to connect with fellow nurses and healthcare professionals or do your own research to get tips on lifestyle and money management. With these finance essentials in hand, you’ll be on your way to a successful and stress-free travel nursing experience.

  • Debit Card

  • Credit Card (Capital One Venture)

  • Cash or Checks

  • Mobile Apps (Mint)

    Travel Nursing Tips

Health and Fitness

Being a travel nurse can be a thrilling and adventurous job. But amidst the excitement, it’s essential to prioritize your health and fitness. Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is crucial to keep up with the demands of your job.

To achieve this, staff nurses suggest incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine. For instance, investing in a fitness tracker can keep you motivated. A positive outlook and personal discipline can go a long way in achieving your health goals, which ultimately leads to a better quality of life. Remember, taking care of yourself is just as important as caring for others.

  • Gym Clothes

  • Yoga Mat

  • Resistance Bands

    Travel Nursing Tips

Diet and Nutrition

As a travel nurse, it can be challenging to maintain a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle while working in various healthcare settings. Whether you’re a first-time travel nurse or a seasoned pro, it’s essential to prioritize your personal life needs alongside your work obligations.

One convenient option to consider is utilizing meal delivery services, which can provide healthy, pre-made meals that fit your unique dietary needs and busy schedule.

Additionally, packing healthy snacks and planning ahead can help you avoid unhealthy choices during long shifts. Overall, prioritizing proper nutrition and healthy habits can improve your energy levels, mood, and overall well-being while on the go.

  • Meal Delivery Services (HelloFresh)

  • Nutrition apps

    Travel Nursing Tips

Personal Clothing

As a traveling nurse, you never know where your next travel nursing job will take you. Whether it’s a new state or a new city, packing the right clothing can make all the difference. When it comes to personal clothing, versatility is key. Choose items that can be dressed up or down, and can be worn in a variety of settings.

This will help you pack lighter and make it easier to transition from a road trip to a new hospital. Consider packing layers, such as a cardigan or light jacket, so you can adjust to different temperatures in winter locations. With these travel nursing tips on personal clothing, you’ll be ready for your next assignment with any travel nursing agency!

  • Casual clothing for off-duty

  • Weather-appropriate attire based on your assignment.

  • Pajamas and comfortable sleepwear

Personal Hygiene and Toiletries

Personal hygiene and toiletries may not be at the forefront of your mind while you’re on the go. However, it is important to prioritize self-care in your daily routine as it can greatly impact your overall well-being and comfort during your assignments.

Along with the required hygiene practices enforced by hospitals and staff, there are various lifestyle tips that you can implement to maintain good personal hygiene while traveling. For example, packing travel-sized versions of your favorite toiletries can save space in your luggage while keeping you feeling fresh on the go.

Additionally, maintaining a positive attitude towards hygiene practices can help alleviate any stress of being away from home. Overall, incorporating personal hygiene and toiletries into your travel nursing routine can prove to be a simple yet impactful way to ensure a comfortable and successful travel nursing contract.

  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss

  • Shampoo, conditioner, and body wash

  • Hairdryer and styling tools

Medication and First Aid

For first time travel nurses, one of the most important things to personally keep in mind is medication and first aid practices. It’s crucial to have a well-stocked first aid kit while on the road. Some must-haves include bandages, antiseptic, and basic over-the-counter medications like painkillers and anti-diarrheal medicine.

Additionally, it’s vital to carry your personal medications with you, making sure to pack enough for the entire duration of your trip. Also, before your start date, make sure to provide your immunization records to your agency or employer and ensure that you’re up-to-date on all necessary vaccinations. These simple steps can help keep you healthy and prepared while on your travel nursing journey.

  • Prescription medications

  • Health insurance

  • Basic first aid kit

  • Over-the-counter medications

Entertainment Essentials

Travel nursing is an exciting career that allows you to experience new places while helping others. However, when the hospital cancels a shift, it’s important to have a few entertainment options to keep you occupied.

One tip is to stay organized and plan ahead for downtime by bringing a book, journal, or your favorite television show to binge-watch during those unexpected cancellations. Another tip is to explore the area and try new things personally, like visiting local museums, trying new restaurants, or hiking nearby trails to create new memories and personal stories from each travel nursing assignment. By doing a little online research, you will be able to find local gems in the area.

Additionally, most travel nursing agencies arranges furnished housing which can help make your downtime more comfortable by having a fully equipped kitchen and cozy living space. With these travel nursing entertainment tips, you’ll be sure to enjoy your downtime while making memories in new and exciting locations.

  • Books, e-readers, or magazines

  • Mobile devices: Laptops, iPads and don’t forget the chargers

  • Streaming subscriptions (Hulu,Netflix etc.)

  • Gaming consoles – For gamers

Travel Nursing Community Info

Travel nursing has become increasingly popular over the years, leading to a rise in the amount of resources available to those looking to enter the field. One way to learn about the ins and outs of travel nursing is through community resources, like joining a travel nursing blog and forum recommended by travel nurse recruiters.

These can offer helpful tips and insights on everything from finding the best travel nurse assignments to navigating travel nurse contracts. Nursing community groups are also available for online research. Additionally, most travel nursing jobs come with a community of like-minded individuals who are passionate about exploring new places while also making a difference in the healthcare industry.

It’s important for aspiring travel nurses to seek out these resources and connect with the community to make the most of their experience.

  • Contact information for fellow travel nurses

  • Travel nursing blogs

  • Nurse practitioner and travel nurse online communities

  • Your travel nurse recruiter contact info.

Travel Nursing Tips


In conclusion, the power of storytelling can evoke a range of emotions and help us connect with the world around us. By embracing our stories, we can share our unique experiences with others and inspire them to create their own stories.

With this in mind, let’s use storytelling to bring more joy, understanding, and connection into our lives. Let’s write stories that will make us laugh, cry, think, and feel – stories that will leave a lasting impression on ourselves and those around us.

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