How to Pack for Travel Work

by Angela Stevens on April 23, 2009

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If you’re new to the field of travel healthcare, you may be wondering exactly what to take with you when you go on your first assignment.  Chances are, you’ll be there for 13 to 26 weeks, so there will likely be a change of season involved. Is it possible to pack so you won’t have to rent a giant moving truck?

The first thing you’re going to want to do is making a packing list.  Figure out what it is that you use each day that you want to bring with you.  You don’t need to worry about bringing toiletries and other consumable items – it’s probably better off to wait and go shopping for these things when you get to your destination.

You’re going to need clothes for work as well as casual clothes. You won’t be on duty all the time! If you’re a nurse, you probably have a set of uniforms that you’re really comfortable in.  If you’re a school therapist, you’re going to need to bring along enough appropriate business outfits that you can rotate every week or every other week.  You don’t want to bring your whole closet, but you want to make sure you’re not running to the Laundromat every other day either!  Consider the weather at your destination, and not just for the time you arrive. It may be hot and sunny when you get there, but it may turn cold and rainy or snowy before you leave. Don’t forget your coat!

You’ll be staying in a fully furnished apartment, but you’re going to want some of your comforts from home. I know I couldn’t go anywhere without my laptop and my cell phone, but I know I’d also miss my hair towel and the set of Tupperware glasses I like to drink out of.  You can’t take everything with you, but you can bring some of the little things that will help you feel more at home while you’re away.


If you’ve done a lot of traveling before, you know that it’s best to roll your clothing to maximize space in your luggage while minimizing the amount of ironing you’ll need to do later.  Make sure you take any of your prescription medications with you in their original bottles.  Keep important paperwork in a rigid folder so that it doesn’t get folded or torn.  Pack shoes and other heavy items on the bottom of your suitcase.  If you must pack anything liquid, make sure to put it in a sealed plastic zipper bag. I’ve saved myself a lot of heartache when a bottle of lotion or shampoo exploded all over my bag of toiletries – and not all over all of my clothing.

You can pack a bit more if you’re driving to your destination than if you’re flying, so keep that in mind.  And don’t forget that you’ll have to pack everything up again when you’re assignment is over! Talk to your recruiter for more information about getting ready for your travel assignment. And welcome to the world of travel healthcare!


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