What Does a Travel Nurse Do With Their Stuff When on Assignment?

Rick Martinez RN

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One of the first questions that first-time travelers ask is, what should I take with me on the road.

And the second question?

That question, is of course, what do I do with the stuff I don't take?

Both are great questions, and today I want to talk about what to do with your stuff when you're on the road.

As we begin our journey as a travel RN, we have many things to think about. Things like what to do when we arrive at our new city. How long will it take to make new friends? Is there a dog park in the area? Plus, it's just so dang exciting to know that we're embarking on a wild new adventure that we rarely think about the things we're leaving behind.

But don't let these thoughts slow you down!

Sure, there just might be years of stuff you've accumulated, but hang tight a sec because we're gonna talk about it, and I'll give you several options on how you can handle it all.

Let's say you already have a primary residence; now what?

You may already rent a place or own a home. Don't worry, you're not alone.

The first thing to remember is that as a travel RN, you're almost certainly going to make more than staff nurses. Plus, you'll likely receive a travel and housing allowance. So don't panic.

For those who want to keep it simple and leave everything as it is, you may strongly consider putting your place up on Air BnB. Or better yet, pop into some nursing groups on social media and see if any travelers are coming to your hometown who need a place to stay.

Nurses often help fellow nurses, and you won't need to pack up or store any items.

And if this isn't an option you like, simply keep on reading.

I'm not sure I want strangers in my stuff. Now what?

Fair enough. So do you have friends or close family members with some garage space? Tap into them and see if they wouldn't mind holding some boxes while you're away.

If this isn't an option, then you can easily find a month-to-month storage facility that's relatively reasonable.

Whatever you decide, whether to leave your items in place or store them, always remember to pay extra attention to any keepsakes or valuables.

Are there any other ways to trim down all my things before I leave?

A habit my wife and I have, regardless of travel status, is a donation.

Like, we literally will do a spring cleaning and take the stuff we haven't used, unwrapped, or worn, and give it to the Goodwill. Of course, you could always choose to list it for sale on eBay or Craigslist, but often a simple giveaway is the ticket. The annual purge and purging have been an easy way for us to declutter and keep our "things" to a minimum.

The unintended side effect of this is the fact that this simple, annual act has a way of keeping us both at ease. Especially if we take a travel gig and want to worry about it less.

Now that I've got a plan for my stuff, what should I actually take with me?

The phrase "better to have and not need than to need and not have" doesn't apply here as much.

Remember, you are likely only going to be gone for 13-weeks. You're not leaving for a year, nor a lifetime. Plus, you're going to a new city and state in the US, not a 3rd world country.

That being said, if you forget something, you'll likely be able to pick it u at your next destination.

Another thing to consider is if you'll be driving or flying. If driving, you may be able to get away with taking a few extra comfort items. But if flying, remember that airlines will charge you for bringing too much or too heavy luggage. Less is better, in my opinion.

Worst case scenario, as I mentioned, is you have to pick up a new item OR have someone mail stiff to you.

What if I've done all this and still have lots of stuff?

First of all, if you've done all these things and still have gobs of things, then congrats, you're very fortunate.

If you've put items in a friend's garage, donated to Goodwill, and basically followed these simple rules and still have too much, then my final suggestion is this.

Get a storage unit.

Bite the bullet, spend a small amount of dough and rent a month-to-month unit, so you don't need to part with your items. This may give you peace of mind and the knowledge that your things will be safe and secure.

Just remember to NOT pack the things you'll need. Warm jackets for cold weather, that special blanket you always sleep with. Or even that one unique photo album that does with you everywhere.

The bottom line here is when all else fails, store it in a safe place.

The final word

Travel nursing doesn't need to be stressful if you plan it out correctly. Simply taking the time to consider where you'll store things may create a sense of peace while you're on the road.

And if you have any tips of your own, please leave them in the comments section so others can benefit.

Stay tuned because I'll be writing a few other articles regarding tips and tricks for your move in the coming weeks.

Good luck with all your travel nurse adventures!

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I'm a freelance writer and a decades-long travel nurse. Writing about the travel nurse industry and healthcare.

San Antonio, TX
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