The Ultimate Travel Nurse Packing List
Travel nursing is an exciting and rewarding career, but it can also be a bit daunting when it comes to making a travel nurse packing list and getting everything together. With so many things to consider, it’s hard to know what you need and don’t need for your assignment. But don’t worry—travel nurse experts at Soliant have got you covered!
This travel nurse packing guide covers everything you need to know about what to pack as a travel nurse, including a comprehensive travel nurse packing checklist, tips, and hacks for packing efficiently, a list of essentials you don’t want to forget, and answers to FAQs about travel nurse packing and clothing.
What to Pack as a Travel Nurse
The first step in preparing for your travel nurse assignment is to understand what your housing situation will be like. Reach out to your recruiter or housing specialist to get information on what is already included in the company-provided lodging. If you are using a housing stipend and have booked your place to stay, communicate with the property manager to confirm what furnishings they provide.
For example, before you start packing, you’ll need to know which furniture and kitchen items are included and which you’ll need to bring. You’ll also need to know if you should supply your own towels or bedding and, if so, the bed size.
In addition, the length of your assignment, the city’s weather, and the laundry situation will also impact the amount of clothing and items you bring. For example, if you will visit a laundromat on your days off to wash clothes, you’ll want to pack more clothing because you might do laundry less frequently than if you had a washing machine in your accommodation.
Travel Nurse Packing Checklist
Below is Soliant’s ultimate travel nurse packing checklist, created for travel nurses by travel nurses. Print this list out and use it as a reference when preparing for your assignment.
- Scrubs (5-7 sets)
- Comfortable shoes (for work and leisure)
- Socks or compression stockings (7-10 pairs)
- Undergarments (enough for 10-14 days)
- Regular clothes for days off
- Seasonal clothes and accessories (swimwear, swim cover-ups, etc.)
- Outerwear (jacket, hat, gloves, etc.)
- Accessories (belt, sunglasses, hat, jewelry, hair accessories, etc.)
- Workout clothes and shoes
- Professional attire for interviews or meetings
2. Personal Care Items
- Dental care (toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss, mouthwash, etc.)
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Body wash and face wash
- Razor and shaving cream
- Medications (prescriptions, vitamins, and over-the-counter medications)
- First aid kit
- Makeup and makeup remover
- Skincare products (moisturizer, sunscreen, serums, etc.)
- Haircare items (brush, hair ties, styling tools, etc.)
- Haircare products (styling gel, hairspray, heat protectant, etc.)
- Nail care items (nail clippers, file, etc.)
- Contacts, glasses, and eye care supplies
- Feminine hygiene products
3. Important Documents
- Nursing license and certifications
- Driver’s license or ID
- Social Security card
- Health insurance card
- Emergency contact information
- Copy of your contract and assignment details
- Health and immunization records
- List of current medications and medical conditions
4. Work Supplies
- Badge holder and retractable clip
- Pens and notepad
- Planner or agenda
- Reference materials
- Lunchbox or insulated bag
- Work bag or backpack
- Smartphone and charger
- Laptop or tablet and charger
- Extra charging cables and bricks
- Headphones or earbuds
- Portable power bank
- Travel adapters (if needed)
- Power strips
- USB drives for document storage
6. Miscellaneous Items
- Travel pillow and blanket
- Bedding (sheets, pillow, and blanket)
- Towels and washcloths
- Reusable water bottle or coffee mug
- Snacks and non-perishable food items
- Laundry supplies (detergent, dryer sheets, etc.)
- Quarters for laundry (if applicable)
- Travel-size umbrella
- Travel-sized sewing kit
- Hobbies and entertainment (books, games, journals, etc.)
- Extra set of eyeglasses or contact lenses
- Additional purses or bags (gym bag, pool bag, night-time purse, etc.)
Travel Nurse Essentials
In addition to the above items outlined in our travel nurse packing checklist, there are some extra travel nurse packing essentials that will come in handy, given the nature of the role. According to Soliant nurses, below are some travel nurse essentials you might want to consider when packing for your next assignment:
- Extra durable scrubs: Investing in a few sets of high-quality scrubs that are both comfortable and durable can make your travel nurse experience go much more smoothly, as you will be less likely to need to replace this essential item during your assignment (which can be a headache to do in a new city).
- Luggage that stores well: A sturdy and compact suitcase or duffle bag that can be easily transported and stored in your accommodation without taking up too much space is essential for travel nurses, especially those who may be moving frequently between assignments.
- Personal protective equipment (PPE): It never hurts to bring a backup supply of PPE, such as masks, gloves, and face shields.
- Reusable water bottles: Beginner travel nurses often forget how essential a reusable water bottle or travel coffee mug is on an assignment. Invest in a large, insulated water bottle that can keep water ice cold so that you can stay hydrated to and from work. When you pack your own, you’ll save money and time looking for water bottles or purchasing plastic water bottles once in your new destination.
- Sleep essentials: We know more than anyone how important a good night’s sleep is for travel nurses. In case your accommodation is near a busy street, or the blinds let in more sunlight than you’d like, we recommend bringing everything you might to help you get a good night’s rest, such as an eye mask, white noise machine, ear plugs, your favorite pillow, sleep supplements (e.g., melatonin), pillow spray, and even blackout curtains.
Travel Nurse Packing Tips & Hacks
Below are some of our expert-sourced travel nurse hacks we recommend following when preparing for your next assignment. These tried-and-true travel nurse packing tips will help ensure you’ve got everything you need for your next (or first) assignment to go smoothly:
- Packing cubes help keep your belongings organized and easy to find. They also make it easier to unpack and repack when moving between assignments.
- Rolling your clothes instead of folding them can save space in your suitcase and help prevent wrinkles.
- When packing, prioritize the items you know you’ll need the most. You can always pick up additional items at your destination if necessary.
- Prepare a “first-day” bag with everything you’ll need for your first day at work, such as your uniform, badge, and stethoscope. This will help you start your new assignment on the right foot, even if you haven’t fully unpacked.
- Bring small, lightweight items like photos or a scented candle to make your temporary housing feel more like home.
Travel Nurse Packing FAQs
Still have some travel nurse packing Qs? Explore frequently asked questions about what to pack as a travel nurse below!
What do you wear as a travel nurse?
What you wear as a travel nurse will depend on your specific assignment, work setting, and the city’s weather or climate. However, travel nurses typically wear scrubs while on duty, so make sure to pack enough sets for your assignment. Additionally, don’t forget to pack comfortable shoes for work and leisure, as well as casual clothes for your days off exploring your new city!
How do I prepare to travel as a nurse?
Here’s a checklist of what to do before a travel nursing assignment:
- Confirm accommodations
- Make copies of important documents and print out confirmations
- Arrange for mail and package delivery
- Notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans
- Set up automatic bill payments
- Coordinate pet care arrangements
- Research your new city and make a list of places to visit
- Join local social media groups
- Download helpful apps (maps, local transportation, etc.)
- Complete vehicle maintenance and check-up (if applicable)
- Notify friends and family of your travel plans
Remember to double-check your packing list before departure and make any necessary adjustments based on the length of your assignment and the specific requirements of your new workplace!
What do travel nurses do with their stuff?
Travel nurses typically store their belongings in their temporary housing while on assignment. For belongings that you don’t need during your assignment, consider renting a storage unit or leaving them with friends or family.
Now that you have a better understanding of what to pack as a travel nurse, you can confidently prepare for your assignment. Remember to prioritize essentials, pack efficiently, and always keep your important documents safe. With our packing list and tips, you’ll be well-equipped for your exciting journey as a travel nurse!
Are you looking for your next assignment? Soliant is a reliable travel nurse job agency with over 30 years of experience in the industry. While there are many travel nursing agencies to choose from, only Soliant can offer all the essential benefits, including personalized housing, custom job matching, ongoing career support, licensing assistance, weekly paychecks, top-quality insurance, and more.