Heading On a Travel Assignment? 11 Items You Can’t Leave Home Without

You probably have a well-manicured list of items that you are absolutely sure end up in your travel bag when you’re planning to be away from home. We all do! However, when you’re a travel nurse it’s even more important that you have exactly what you need to put your best professional foot forward, and to help make your surroundings feel as much like home as possible. Assignments typically last week (or months), and sometimes even longer than that. So staying comfortable away from home is a must. Whether you’re heading out on your first travel assignment or your 100th, we’ve gathered a list of essential items you’ll want to have on your travel nurse packing list!


  1. Clothing for Work and Fun

When you’re working in a brand new location you might not be familiar with climate and weather, so make sure you check weather patterns for the season and location that you’ll be traveling. This will help you pack appropriately with all of the clothing items you’ll need no matter the weather. Take it from us in Ohio (where you can have all four seasons in one day), and don’t rely on thinking you know what the season is like in an unfamiliar location! You’ll need to find out from your staffing firm or recruiter what type of dress is required of you on-site during your assignment so that you’re dressed properly for your shifts. Don’t forget about fun! Since most travel assignments are scheduled to last for several weeks, don’t forget to pack some leisure clothes as well. You’ll have downtime, and you’ll want to be comfortable when you’re able to relax.


  1. A Great Pair of Shoes

As a nurse, you probably already know how essential it is to have the right kind of footwear to get you through your shift. You’ll need to make sure that the shoes you bring along for work are able to offer you support all day long, are durable, slip-resistant, and lightweight. Working long shifts without the right support for your feet can lead to all kinds of physical pains and fatigue, which can add up over time and can lead to health problems. So, choosing the right footwear for your assignment is one of the most critical decisions you can make to stay comfortable.


  1. Electronics

When you’re traveling, you will want to make sure that you can stay connected and have access to all of the same technologies you have at home. Bringing along items such as a cell phone, tablet, laptop, or Kindle will help you have several ways to stay entertained, especially on days when there is bad weather, or you just feel like staying in. Most streaming services offer an app that you can download on your phone or tablet so you can stay up to date with your favorite shows or relax with movies. Electronics are also important to stay connected with friends and family, communicate with your staffing firm, and remain accessible to the organization you’re working for on your assignment.


  1. Important Documents

You don’t want to end up hours from home and suddenly discover that you need a document you don’t have with you. This one is really important because the reasons you might need a document are usually really important like to be set up on payroll, to be able to fly or to meet state regulations at the facility where you’ll be working. No one wants to have to scramble, and besides all the extra stress it causes, it could end up delaying your pay or your start date. That’s never a good look. So, before you leave, make sure you pack the following items:


  • A state or federally issued identification card (usually a driver’s license or passport)
  • Social Security Card
  • Birth Certificate
  • Copies of nursing license (Certification for Certified Nursing Assistants)
  • Copy of your most recent physical
  • Copy of your most recent Tuberculosis screening
  • Copy of current Basic Life Support Certification (CPR card)
  • Debit and credit cards
  • Car registration and insurance information
  • Contact phone numbers (facility, recruiter, manager, doctor, family members)
  • Immunization records
  • Prescription information


You most likely have completed all compliance prior to boarding that plane but you may have a need to present actual documentation. Double-check with your staffing firm or recruiter about the items you need to take with you on assignment.


  1. A Cozy Blanket

A great way to cozy up your “home away from home” space and make it feel more familiar is to bring along a favorite blanket. Whether you’re looking for a good night’s rest, or you want to curl up to relax, a good blanket from home will keep you feeling comfortable.


  1. Personal Items

You’ll want to make room in your suitcase for at least a couple of personal items from home that will help you feel connected and less homesick when you travel. If you have a special photograph, a favorite coffee mug that you use every morning, or a fuzzy bathrobe, consider bringing it along. These can serve as little inspirations of joy and the comforts of home that will help you feel at ease.


  1. Day-Trip Bag

Being a travel nurse or travel CNA opens up some great opportunities to explore new places! Whether your assignment destination is a new city or a rural community, there will most likely be fun things to do that are within a day’s drive. You’ll want to bring along all the items you’ll need for a day trip so you can be free to venture out and explore. Bringing a small backpack, water bottle, and a small first-aid kit will ensure that you’re ready to see some new sights on your days off.


  1. Kitchen-Ware

No matter if you’re staying at a hotel, Airbnb, RV, or rental home during your assignment, you’ll want to make sure you have some items to eat with. You don’t need to pack a lot, but bringing a plate, bowl, utensils, and a cup will free up your meal choices for more variety than just eating out.


  1. Hobby Item

If you have a hobby that you regularly engage in, such as reading, putting together a puzzle, or knitting, remember to pack the items you need to continue working on your projects while you’re away from home. On your down-time, it’s important to have several different activities you can do that you enjoy.


  1. A Hanging Hamper

While most lodging offers laundry amenities, it’s a little more difficult to keep everything organized when you’re away from home. There’s really no good place for the laundry to go until you’re able to get it washed. Investing in a good hanging hamper offers a great solution. You can hang it up somewhere out of the way, and then there’s a place to put the dirty laundry separate from your clean clothes. When you’re ready to do laundry, you can just take the hamper with you instead of collecting all of the dirty items throughout your living space.


  1. The Best Travel Nurse Apps

In today’s digital world, it’s much easier to quickly find things you need and even keep track of any expenses. There are numerous apps that will help you find great local restaurants and hot spots, or even meet new people. Additionally, there are several apps available that will help you stay safe when you’re in an unfamiliar area and are learning your way around. These apps will show you the safest routes to take and will highlight any unsafe area on the map. Make sure to check out the best apps for travel healthcare professionals and download the ones that will be most helpful to you before you go.


These are just some of the items we think you should take on your next travel assignment. What are some other “must-haves” that you take while on the road?


If you’re looking to travel as a travel nurse or travel CNA, LeaderStat offers AMAZING job opportunities! Contact us at 877.699.STAT to speak with our highly specialized recruiters.


Contact Us

LeaderStat specializes in direct care staff, interim leadership, executive recruitment, travel nursing and consulting for healthcare organizations nationwide.