Packing For Success: The Top 10 Essential Items For Travel Nurses

Author: Coast Medical Service

Posted: July 28, 2023

Abroad, Life Balance, Travel Nursing

Travel Nurse Packed for Assignment

Make Sure Your Bag is Ready for Your Next Travel Nursing Assignment

Navigating the world of travel nursing can be daunting, especially when it comes to packing for your assignments.

You’ve probably already begun stressing about what you’ll need to leave at home and what to take with you. Perhaps you’ve previously experienced the stress of forgetting some crucial work item, or found yourself amid mounds of clutter due to incessant overpacking.

In this list, we’ll share what we consider to be the top 10 essential items that every travel nurse should pack, outlined for convenience and efficiency into the transition as a travel nurse. Ready to transform your packing routine? Never overpack or under-pack again.

Top 10 Essential Items for Travel Nurses

Packing for a Travel Nursing Assignment

For travel nurses, packing the right items is essential for a successful assignment—especially if the contract is for a prolonged period of time. Work items like scrubs and stethoscopes are crucial, as well as personal care items such as clothing and toiletries. Little things, or everyday items like a toothbrush can easily be repurchased if you forget to pack them.


Important documents and medications might not be as easily replaceable.


Your housing will also determine what you need to bring, as most housing will include basic furniture and appliances, but might not include utensils, cooking pans, microwaves, amenities, or a television.


You might feel more comfortable in a foreign space if you add some keepsakes from home to make what is fundamentally a temporary living space feel more familiar—and like “home.”


1.    Work Items

Scrubs for Travel NurseTravel nurses have a unique set of work items to pack before embarking on their next assignment. Essential nursing gear tops the list, beginning with scrubs, comfortable shoes, and compression socks that can withstand long hours of wear.


Packing multiple sets of this healthcare attire lets you create various pairings—an effective technique towards managing your wardrobe space during assignments.

2.    Personal Items: Clothing

Packing personal items is crucial for any travel nurse. These essentials include clothing versatile enough to cover casual, dressy, sleepwear, and workout situations. Layering options help nurses stay prepared for changing weather conditions and occasions.


You’ll of course need a pair of scrubs or your work uniform—as per faculty guidelines (including a stethoscope).

3.    Personal Items: Toiletries

Travel Nurse ToiletriesA toiletry kit containing shampoo, conditioner, makeup, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, lotion, sunscreen, grooming supplies, hair brushes and razors is also a great idea. You’ll also want to check for:

  • First-aid kit
  • Any grooming tools like a hair dryer or electric razor
  • Prescription + OTC medications



4. Important Legal Documents

Legal Documents for Travel Nursing AssignmentTravel nurses often have a myriad of necessary paperwork to manage.

This vital component is not something you’ll want to overlook when it comes to packing. This may include key documents like:

    • Driver’s license
    • Car insurance
    • Travel nursing contract
    • Social security card and birth certificate
    • Any documentation required by your facility
    • Contact details for your recruiter, nurse manager, or assignment facility
    • Nursing license, credentials, and other academic documentation

Storing important papers carefully ensures they’re readily accessible during your assignment, which is important when handling legal or administrative obligations.

4.    Medications

Medications and a well-stocked first aid kit are crucial for travel nurses on the go. When packing for your assignment, make sure to include all your essential medicines that you regularly take at home, along with over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Additionally, don’t forget basic first-aid items such as band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and gauze to address any minor injuries or health issues that may arise during your travels.

5.    Electronics & Devices

Packing Electronics for Travel NursesTravel nurses should never forget to pack their electronics and entertainment items before embarking on their assignments. These essential gadgets and tech accessories are necessary for staying connected, keeping up with work responsibilities, and enjoying some digital entertainment during downtime.

Laptops, tablets, and smartphones are must-haves for travel nurses as they provide online connectivity and allow them to complete their work efficiently. Additionally, portable devices like e-readers, gaming consoles, and DVD players offer personal entertainment options when taking a break from the demanding nursing duties.

Packing chargers, headphones, and power banks is crucial in ensuring that these devices stay powered up throughout the assignment.

Whether it’s catching up on favorite TV shows or reading an engaging novel during breaks, electronics and entertainment items can help you maintain a healthy work-life balance.

6.    Household Items

Sheets, Towels, & Such for Travel AssignmentsWhen packing for travel nursing assignments, don’t forget to include essential household items that will help create a comfortable living space. Some important household items to consider are bedding, towels, kitchen utensils, and cleaning supplies.


Having your own sheets and pillows can make any bed feel like home, while having quality towels ensures you always have something clean to use. Packing a few basic kitchen utensils allows you to cook meals and save money on eating out.


Additionally, bringing some cleaning supplies helps keep your living quarters tidy and sanitary throughout your assignment. By including these household items in your packing list, you can make any temporary accommodation feel more like a genuine home.

7.    Outdoor Essentials

Outdoor gear for backpackDon’t forget to pack your outdoor essentials when you embark on your travel nursing adventures. Whether you’re exploring a new city or enjoying some downtime in nature, having the right gear is crucial.


Be sure to include items like comfortable walking shoes for those long shifts at the hospital and hiking boots for weekend hikes. Don’t forget your rain jacket, hat, bug repellant and sunscreen for protection against the elements.


And for those who love staying active outdoors, pack your favorite workout clothes and equipment like resistance bands or yoga mats.

8.    Comfort Items

Travel nursing can be challenging, but having comfort items from home can make it feel a little more like home. Packing your favorite pillows, blankets, and other personal items will provide a sense of familiarity in your new environment.


These small touches can go a long way in creating a cozy space where you can relax after a long day at work—after dealing with high-stress environments, it is essential to be able to unwind or feel at peace.

9.    Pet Supplies

Travel Nurse with DogOne perhaps neglected category of essential category of items for travel nurses to pack is pet supplies. Many travel nurses have furry companions that accompany them on their assignments, so it’s important to ensure their needs are met too. If you’re bringing your pet, you’ll need to ensure you bring their toys and treats, too!


Some key items to include in your packing list are food, collars, leashes, toys, vet records, and medications if necessary. It’s crucial to keep your pet(s) comfortable and happy during your assignments, as they adjust to a new environment.

10. Portable Meals

Travel Nurse SnacksAs a travel nurse, you’ll likely have busy shifts and irregular meal breaks. Carrying portable meals is essential to ensure you have nutritious and convenient food options while on the go. Consider items like pre-packaged salads, sandwiches, granola bars, or meal replacement shakes.


Having these portable meals handy can help you avoid unhealthy fast-food choices and maintain your energy levels during long shifts or while traveling between assignments. Additionally, carrying a reusable water bottle is important to stay hydrated throughout the day.


Packing the right essentials is crucial for travel nurses to ensure a successful assignment. From work items like scrubs and stethoscopes to personal items such as toiletries and clothing, having the necessary supplies will help make life on the road much easier.


Don’t forget important documents, medications, electronics for entertainment, household items for comfort, and pet supplies if needed. By following our comprehensive packing guide, travel nurses can be well-prepared for any situation they might encounter during their exciting new opportunities and living situations.


Now that you have your packing plan of attack, when you’re ready to start exploring high-paying travel nursing opportunities, check out Coast’s job board to find your next ideal position. Or if you’re not sure where to begin, simply fill out our contact form and one of our expert recruiters will set up a call with you to discuss your goals & help you find your perfect match.

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