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My first travel assignment: 10 things I learned

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  1. 13 weeks go fast! It is only 91 days and 39 shifts. If you like your location, keep in mind you may be able to extend. Some assignments are for location and others are for high pay. We extended our first assignment to 52 weeks.
  2. Expectations. You will be thrown into a variety of circumstances. For example, you may float first or have a higher patient to nurse ratios. You are expected to hit the ground running. You may even train less experienced nurses.
  3. Schedule. Arrange your work shifts to your advantage. If you work six straight two times in a month, you will have eight days off in between. Use these for adventure!
  4. Details. Read your contract thoroughly and work with your recruiter for questions. Details like on-call, orientation and time tracking can impact your experience.
  5. Scrubs. You need enough scrubs to work 3 shifts. We used 6 sets to extend the time in between washes. We ended up leveraging the laundromat because you can knock it all out at once.
  6. Friend & Family. It is easy to lose touch with friends and family when you travel. A simple text, social post, call or email goes a long way!
  7. Taxes. Don’t skip this. If you understand taxes you can create more take-home pay. It is especially important to understand how a tax home impacts your finances. As an alternative hire an accountant that works with other travelers.
  8. Mail. Use a forwarding service such as the UPS Store. This allows you to keep your home address and have shipments come directly to your forwarding address. We used Amazon.com for all kinds of specialty items.
  9. Luxury. Take a few luxury items (but not too many!). One of our favorite extras is an Italian coffee maker called a Moka Pot (Macchinetta del Caffè). This simple device makes excellent coffee and is super easy to clean!
  10. Locals. Talk to as many locals as possible. This is how you find out about awesome experiences. Use Meetup.com as an option.
  11. Internet. Having a Wifi for your own internet connection anywhere is more valuable than you think. With your own network, you can securely shop, bank and plan. We used Verizon for our setup.