In your career as a traveling nurse, you’ll quickly realize that packing light is essential. After all, dragging your stuff from one assignment to another can be a nuisance. However, knowing exactly what to bring and what to leave home can seem overwhelming. In reality, traveling light is so easy that some would say even a caveman can do it. Whether a longtime traveling nurse or are just starting out as a travel healthcare professional, you are certainly smarter than a caveman. Check out the following tips on how to travel light.
1. Papers? You don’t need any stinkin’ papers.
Wise advice from Mel Brooks. Well, Mr. Brooks was never a travel nurse, and so he never said exactly that. It is good to examine what paperwork you choose to bring with you. Obviously, there are certain items, such as your driver’s license, car insurance card, and social security card that you will need to have on you.
However, for other important documents, a digital copy will often suffice. This includes a copy of your professional license and certifications. Instead of carrying around printed lodging information, request the information be emailed so you can have it on your electronic device. If the rental office is stuck in the Stone Age and can’t email the information, then snap a photo of the details on your phone. This also applies to the name and address of your workplace and contact information for your recruiter or staffing agency. Getting rid of all this extra paperwork will make your life less cluttered and much easier.
2. Do you know where you’re going to?
Five thousand years ago, when people traveled they would study the stars, winds, and nature to determine the weather. They could discern if they needed to kill a buffalo or bear to make a winter coat. If they didn’t pay attention, then freezing to death was the most likely outcome. Thank goodness for Weather.com today. There should be no worries about the unexpected weather. Before you leave, research your destination and consider not only the weather but also any recreational plans.
If you’re going somewhere warm, don’t be tempted to pack a few long sleeves and a jacket “just in case.” There’s probably not going to be a huge change while you are there. If there is, you won’t have to worry about hunting a bear to make a coat. Just go to the nearest mall or department store and buy one. The same applies to your spare time. If you’re almost certain to spend your days off outdoors, leave your dress clothes and heels behind.
There is a bonus to packing this way. You get to go shopping. Who doesn’t like buying new clothes? Isn’t civilization great?
3. Penthouse? Tent? Or Tiny house?
You may know where you are living but find out how big it is and what’s included. We all know that big furniture and appliances are usually there. However, what about linens, cooking utensils, silverware, etc.? You’ll want to verify what is there instead of simply packing it “just in case.” If it’s there, leave yours behind.
It’s also important to know how much space you will have. There is no sense packing your Star Wars action figure collection if you won’t have space to display it. If you do bring a few reminders of home, be sure you pick items that are small, light, and easy to pack. If they’re fragile, wrap them in your clothing to protect them while you travel.
4. Pack like you live in the 2800s…BC.
That’s right. Imagine you lived in Babylon around 2800 BC. Do you know what you wouldn’t pack? Soap, shampoo, razor and let’s not even talk about toothpaste. That didn’t come around until the mid-1800s…A.D. Now we aren’t suggesting abandoning good hygiene.
Instead, purchase it when you arrive. This ensures that none of it spills in your suitcase and frees up plenty of space. Keep in mind that these items, along with cleaning products you may need, such as Clorox wipes and bathtub cleaner, can be picked up inexpensively almost anywhere.
By the way, can you imagine the person who invented soap trying to convince people to use it? How did that first conversation go? Take this stuff, jump in that lake, and rub it on your body. Weird. Anyway, we digress. The final suggestion is…
5. Confucius, Socrates, Da Vinci.
What did these men have in common? They knew the value of simplicity and doing more with less. Every time you move try to reduce the amount you take with you. This can be in simple ways like donating unused soap, shampoo, etc. to a nearby shelter. You could even do this with larger items and clothes. Not only will it make your load lighter, but you’ll also feel good about it.
Working as a travel healthcare professional is definitely exciting. Don’t burden yourself by dragging almost everything you own from destination to destination. Instead, take the bare necessities. It’s so easy you might just say a caveman can do it.