Congrats! If you are at this point, you have completed all the previous steps and are ready to think about leaving for your travel nurse assignment. Hopefully, you have done some research on the city where you are going and have a few ideas of what you want to do in the area. Leaving for your first assignment is always exciting and nerve-wracking, so focusing on the adventure can help ease those nerves.
10 Steps to Getting Ready for a Travel Nurse Assignment
Know what you are doing with your primary residence.
Are you renting out your home, leaving it empty, or having a friend stay there? Perhaps you rent and will be ending your lease. Knowing what you are doing with your primary residence is a very important step in the planning. Remember, there are tax implications if you are Travel Nursing and do NOT have a primary residence.
Before leaving home for work, find out what your bank allows and doesn’t when it comes to traveling is an important and often overlooked step. Does your bank operate in the area where you are going to be traveling? Do you get charged fees for transactions from another bank? These fees can add up quickly. Make sure to notify your bank that you will be traveling so they don’t put a hold on your account. Many banks will block any ‘questionable’ transactions as a safety measure for you. It’s worthwhile to make a quick phone call to the bank and let them know that you are going out of state. It is also recommended that you have a backup credit card or savings account in case of emergency with enough available balance to cover anything unexpected that might come up when you are leaving for a travel nurse assignment.
When you are getting ready for a new travel nurse assignment, it might be worthwhile to check the coverage for your mobile provider in the area you are moving to. With temporary housing, you may also need to use hotspot features on your phone more often, so be sure to know what your plan covers in case you need it!
We already discussed building and keeping a Travel Nurse Portfolio. You should make certain that you have backup copies (paper or electronic) of all of these documents.
Copies to have before leaving for your travel nurse assignment:
- Birth Certificate
- Social Security Card
- Insurance Cards (auto, life, home, etc.)
- Passport (if applicable)
- Work Visa (if applicable)
- Health Information/prescriptions
Mail During a Travel Nurse Assignment
When you leave home for work for an extended period, the last thing you want is your mail stacking up in the mailbox. Once you have your new temporary address, don’t forget to make arrangements for a mail forwarding service or have someone pick your mail up for you and forward it. The USPS will forward your mail for free, but there is a timeframe limitation. In addition, there are multiple mail forwarding services available for a small monthly fee. Research and find a method that works for you.
If you’re driving to your assignment, you will need to make certain that your vehicle is safe and prepared for a long road trip. Consult with a local mechanic and have your vehicle checked, change the oil, fill the fluids, assess the belts, etc. If you are storing your vehicle, you will need to prepare it for storage. Consult with your local mechanic and find out what is necessary for your particular make/model vehicle. There are many storage facilities that will store a vehicle for a monthly fee.
Before you leave for your travel nurse assignment, it is probably easiest to schedule any doctor appointments you may need in the next few months. If you are taking company insurance, you may be in a waiting period once you start your assignment. It is a good idea to look over these considerations as you are preparing to leave for your first assignment.
Make certain that you have enough refills for any required medications. Explain to your physician that you will be traveling out-of-state (give the dates) and find out if you need to obtain an additional refill prior to traveling.
Getting Ready for a Travel Nurse Assignment With Pets
Traveling with your pet can be a rewarding experience. As a pet owner, making certain that your pet is prepared for travel is an important step. Be sure to have all of your pet’s vaccines up to date and carry a record of their health in case you need it for boarding, daycare, or leasing companies.
Be aware that Hawaii has specific pet importation laws that require months of pre-planning. If you are traveling out of the country, research the country’s specific importation requirements.
It’s important to note that regardless if you are packing up your home and putting everything into storage or leaving an empty house behind, the security of your valuables needs to be addressed. Make sure that important items are stored or secured safely. Safety deposit boxes are a good place for paperwork, wills, jewelry, and smaller items. For larger items, you may consider leaving them with a trusted friend or family member or paying for an insured storage facility.
Another consideration is Travel Insurance. While this is commonly used for vacation, most travel nurses do not consider this option when traveling for a contract. Travel Insurance can not only cover your personal belongings but provide additional medical coverage for you if you are more than 100 miles (general rule, check with individual provider) away from home.
Do you have anything to add to this list? Any suggestions to make preparation smoother?
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