The Ultimate Travel Nurse Packing Checklist

Heading out on your first travel nursing assignment is super exciting, but you’ll no doubt stress over what you need to pack. You’ll need more than if you’re just going on vacation, but you don’t want to over-pack, so what do you leave at home?

Your recruiter will be able to give you details of the basic items provided in your new home-away from-home, if they’re providing you with housing. However, they can’t think of everything, and it’s important to be prepared. Here is our ultimate checklist of the items we believe are crucial to consider adding to your packing list, before you start gearing for your next adventure.

What to Keep in Mind When Packing:

The first thing you’ll need to consider is how you’re going to get to your new town or city. Are you flying, or riding mass transit, and have to cram everything into a couple suitcases? Or are you driving, which gives you a bit more space? It can be very costly to ship items, so unless you’re going to be living somewhere unfurnished, or be there for several months, you’ll probably need to cut down on all the things that you’d ideally want to bring with you. That means probably leaving your favorite comfy chair at home.



A great place to start is making a list of the items you wouldn’t be able to live without for two to three weeks. Factor in your daily and weekly habits, and make sure to include the things that are essential to your routine. Then build from there. Check online to see what supermarkets and department stores are close by, so you can plan to bring only what’s absolutely necessary. Then, once you’ve unpacked in your new temporary home, figure out what else you need to purchase. Maybe some furniture or decorations to make your space more personal.

In terms of household items, it’s worth ordering cheap or second-hand appliances and electronics you can’t live without. Is your day not the same unless you start it with a smoothie or home-baked muffin? Do you rely on slow-cooker food for easy meals? Look at sites like OfferUpFacebook Marketplace, or go old school and hop on Craigslist.  You can always resell or donate them when you’re done with them, or ask your hospital if any other travelers might want them.

If you have the space, consider filling a box with a small amount of household supplies like laundry detergent, canned foods, dried foods like rice and pasta, coffee, and maybe some cereal to get you started. You can buy more when you’re settled, but this will get you through the first couple of days.

Our final tip is to think like a pro – consider using vacuum/compression bags, packing cubes, travel organizers, and plastic storage boxes that you can use when you get there. The internet and YouTube are great resources, full of awesome life-hacks to help you pack like a professional.

Looking for your next travel assignment?  Search our gigs here.

Travel Nurse Essentials Checklist:

– Important documents – passport, driver’s license, travel nursing credentials, travel documents, insurance documents, social security details.

– Emergency information such as contacts for next of kin, address of where you’re moving to, details about your new workplace, and of course, the contact number for your recruiter.

– First aid kit and any personal medications.

– Toiletries – but only the essentials (better if they’re miniatures) to travel lighter. You can buy full-sized ones once you’ve arrived.

– Personal items like a razor, hairdryer and hair straightener.

– Clothes, including weather-appropriate clothing – sweaters, rain gear, coats and scarves, swimwear, shorts and hats.

– Electronics such as a laptop, tablet, camera and cellphone. Don’t forget the chargers. 🙂

– Cooking items like utensils and cutlery, bowls and plates, cups, and your favorite spices.

– Linens and towels

– Something sentimental to remind you of home, such as a cozy blanket, a photo album, a scented candle, or your favorite book.

Don’t forget items that you may need for your work shift

Now that you’re packed for your first travel assignment, you can rest easy, and start planning fun activities to do in your new destination! Check out where you can fulfill your wanderlust by reading about our top destinations.

Axis Staffing
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