The Ultimate Travel Nurse Packing List

by Premier Medical Staffing Services on August 25, 2022 in Travel Nursing


The days leading up to departure on your travel assignment are full of excitement and anticipation…and yes, packing. Packing for a travel nursing contract is more complicated than packing for a vacation, and you may be lost on where to start. We’ve compiled a list of essential items to bring with you on your travel journey. Behold, the Ultimate Travel Nurse Packing List. You can thank us later 😉.

1. Paperwork

At the top of your travel nurse packing list are your important documents. These include: your nursing license and credentials, a copy of birth certificate, your bank information and checks, and a copy of social security card. If you’re old-school and like hard copies, store them in a folder or binder to keep everything organized. If you’re looking for an even more compact way to store your documents, check out the Nurse Backpack to help organize your credentials on your mobile phone.

2. Travel essentials

A huge part of the travel nurse life is, unsurprisingly, traveling! Whether you’re road tripping, taking the train, or flying to your next assignment, your travel nurse packing list should include some essentials for the journey.

A nice memory foam neck pillow is a must-have for airplanes. It will help you catch some (much-needed) ZZZs while keeping your head supported in the plane seat.

Noise-cancelling headphones are a must for plane or train trips. Whether you’re listening to podcasts, playlists, or streaming a movie or show, you can use these ear buds to tune out the ambient noise (and crying children) for a more relaxing experience. Noise-cancelling headphones are also a great tool for a guided meditation on-the-go.

A reusable water bottle is every travel RN’s best friend. Not only is it great for the environment to avoid using plastic bottles, but it’s also a fantastic tool to stay hydrated. Not to mention, most airports and public transit hubs have filling stations for reusable bottles.

If your travel journey is a particularly long one, it’s smart to invest in a portable charger. This device is great for keeping your phone or tablet charged no matter where you may find yourself. This one is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.

3. Home essentials

No matter where your travel nurse career takes you, it’s always important to make your temporary housing feel like home.

Having some portable exercise equipment of your choice is a great way to stay fit while on a travel nurse assignment. Check out our complete Travel Nurse Exercise Guide for fun ways to work out while on your contract!

Love cooking but don’t want to haul all your pots and pans along to your travel nurse assignment? This is the perfect kitchen companion for the RN who loves to chef it up. The Always Pan by Our Place is a fry pan, sauté pan, steamer, skillet, saucepan, spatula, and spoon rest all in one beautiful piece of cookware.

We all know that coffee is a nurse’s best friend. To avoid the expense of daily Starbucks trips, bring along a portable coffee maker to make those pre-shift hours a little easier. This single-serve coffee maker by Keurig is a great travel-friendly option.

A great way to customize your space (however temporary) is by hanging up some photos of your favorite people and places. To easily transform snapshots from your phone into beautiful, framed photographs, use Mixtiles. This way, you can turn any collection of photos into a stunning gallery wall. Not to mention, they are small enough to pack up and move from place to place.

4. Nursing essentials

Your travel nurse packing list would be incomplete without your RN basics. While you may already have all the nurse gear you need and these suggestions may be no-brainers, here are the nursing essentials you don’t want to miss bringing on your assignment.

A fun-yet-practical ID badge holder is a great way to inject some of your personality into your nursing garb. Since you’re jumping into a new facility and new staff, your ID badge holder can be a great conversation starter; and you can even customize one with your pet’s face!

Make sure you check with your new facility to find out if there is a certain color scrubs you should be wearing and bring multiple pairs. Some popular brands among RNs are: FIGS, Jaanuu, and Dickies.

Don’t forget about your feet! Invest in a high-quality pair of nursing shoes before starting your next assignment. A crowd favorite for 2022 are HOKAs.

An insulated lunch box is a must-have for your shift. This budget-friendly neoprene bag will keep hot food hot and cold food cold, so you can skip the hospital buffet line when dining at work.

5. Adventure essentials

No travel assignment should be all work and no play! Here are items to include on your travel nurse packing list to help you explore your new surroundings and enjoy the outdoors.

A fanny pack or belt bag is a great, compact carrier for everything from granola bars to dog treats. Whether you’re out on a long hike or just meandering around the city, a fanny pack is a super useful travel companion. This one from Lululemon is a viral favorite this year!

If you’re keen on exploring the natural beauty of your new surroundings on your travel assignment, purchasing a National Recreational Area pass is a must. This will give you access to the national parks, historic and natural monuments, forests, and lakeshores in your state.

Whether you’re a city slicker or backwoods explorer, a good pair of sunglasses is a must-bring for any travel nurse. To best protect your eyes, pick a pair of polarized lenses like these ones from Amazon.

The best parts about any travel nursing contract are the new people and places you get acquainted with while on the road. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran of the travel nurse life or debating starting your first contract, get in touch with a Premier recruiter to see where travel nursing can take you next!

Want to connect with one of these awesome recruiters? Fill out the form below!

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