5 Essential Packing Tricks & Tools for Travel Nurses

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By Jessica Smith

May 7, 2021



5 Essential Packing Tricks & Tools for Travel Nurses

Travel nursing is an excellent way to experience and learn about new cultures. Packing can be tricky. When you need to lessen the bulk of your personal belongings to what is necessary for a travel nursing assignment, it would be best to try out a more minimalist lifestyle. Picking up packing tricks along the way will help. We have put together some to get you started.

When you need to lessen the bulk of your personal belongings to what is necessary for a travel nursing assignment, it would be best to try out a more minimalist lifestyle.

Packing tricks and tips:

Conduct Some Basic Research

The most crucial aspect of your move is knowing what you’re getting yourself into. Your employer, future property owner, or recruiter, will be able to answer some or all of your questions. What electronic devices will be available on-site? Is the house/apartment completely furnished? What kind of storage is available on-site? Do not hesitate to ask as many questions as you possibly can. It’s never a bad idea to be overly prepared.

Knowing what the climate will be like in your new location will also help you plan your packing. Are you considering relocating to Chicago during the winter? It’s probably a good idea to leave the flip-flops behind.

You do not want to fill your car’s roof rack with unnecessary luggage.

Digitize Important paperwork 

When you are constantly on the move, there is a high risk of losing or destroying important paperwork. This is why digital versions of your documents are essential. This can be as simple as scanning or taking photographs with your phone and emailing these items to yourself. When digitizing more sensitive information, take extra precautions to ensure that it does not fall into the wrong hands.

Consider A Minimalistic Approach.

We understand – it’s easy to go way over the top with the hype of preparing for your new travel assignment as a nurse. You can learn a thing or two from travelers: pack your belonging with a minimalistic mindset. Overpacking may seem like a great idea, but imagine packing and unpacking your luggage every thirteen weeks. Consider your dissatisfaction with unpacking and repacking items you didn’t even use. For example, if you’re only bringing your laptop, you probably won’t need your big TV.

Save your energy and time by only packing the essentials – your scrubs, day-off clothes, prescriptions, important documents, and electronics. Remember that you’ll most likely pick up souvenirs along the way, so make room!

There are numerous personalized recommendations from routine travelers to help you evaluate the items you will not need. Your journey should be light and stressful-free.

Medical References

The software-as-a-service, Epocrates, provides free medical reference information such as capsule and pill identification, drug interactions, and more. Upgrade to the paid version to get disease and symptom information, as well as lab test results. You could also use the nurse-centric app Nursing Central, which incorporates nursing journal studies and details, or Merck manuals, which cover much of the same information. Each costs less than $200, with some costing even less, and they are available for Android and iPhone phones.

Electronic Hardware for Traveling nurses


The use of smart devices in medical practice is on the rise. Most health workers, including nurses, use smartphones at work despite potential problems with information and infection control security.

As a travel nurse, you will need your smartphone for personal reasons such as maps and/or GPS, communication, information, and entertainment while on assignment.

For information on smartphone use at work, contact your assigned hospital.


Although a smartphone is more convenient for traveling medical professionals, a laptop provides the same functionality and some extras that are ideal for travel nurses. You can pursue an online career or work-related research while also calling or video conferencing with friends and family back home.

Try Skype, where personal video and voice calls made online are either free (Skype-to-Skype calls) or extremely cheap.

While downloaded books and medical practice apps are more commonly used on mobile phones, video works best on your laptop. During your downtime, you can use it to rent movies online. For a better visual experience in your temporary home, get a cable to connect to your compatible TV.

Rent or Buy Supplies at Your Location.

 Keep in mind that you can always rent or purchase basic supplies at your new destination. Don’t feel obligated to bring all of the spices in your kitchen cabinet, all of your four cans of hairspray, and nail polish. Pack only what you need, and if you run out, you can easily replace them with an online Amazon order or a quick trip to the store.

Pick up basic kitchen utensils at a local thrift store and return them after completing your stay. You can also purchase new items for a low cost at the local store.

Remember that you can also rent outdoor equipment such as skis and surfboards from a local outfitter shop. Renting may be preferable to the hassle of having to pack and haul all of your equipment. Furthermore, you never know where your next contract will come from. Don’t be the person who brings snowshoes to Texas!


With these packing tricks and tools, your travel nursing experience should be smooth. Remember that this guide might not cut it for everyone. Feel free to personalize what needs to be customized.

We hope you found these packing tricks and tips helpful. Have you found any packing tricks that have helped you? If you would like to share them with your fellow travel nurses comment them below. For more packing tricks and tips click here.

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