How to Pack for Your Travel Nurse Assignment: Tips from the Pros

Are you getting ready to embark on your first travel nurse assignment? Congratulations! It’s an exciting adventure.

However, before you can start enjoying all that the new location has to offer, you need to pack your bags. And, as with any other type of trip, packing for a travel nurse assignment can be tricky.

You want to make sure that you have everything you need, but you also don’t want to lug around a heavy suitcase. So, what do you bring with you?

Read on for tips from the pros on how to pack for your travel nurse assignment like a pro!

Table of Contents

Questions to Ask Before You Pack

Before you start packing your bags, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself. This will help you determine what you should and shouldn’t bring with you.

  1. Will my accommodations have furniture and kitchen items? Depending on the kind of housing you are looking for, you may not have utensils, pots, and pans, but maybe you will have furniture. Some locations do not supply a microwave. After doing some research on hotel stays, I have noticed that many hotels are getting rid of personal microwaves for community microwaves.
  2. Will there be a television and entertainment available at my location? If entertainment is essential to you, you may want to consider traveling with a television and some kind of entertainment device such as a DVD player or Playstation. Bringing a PlayStation is excellent as they work for dual functions, including gaming and entertainment.
  3. Will there be a bed available, and will I be required to bring my own bedding? I have spent many assignments on an inflatable mattress on the floor to avoid the costs of furnished housing so you will want to double check on what the accommodation will provide so you can pack accordingly.
  4. What amenities will be available? Will I have the chance to frequent the pool, a fitness center, or parks? If these are available, I will want to pack accordingly?
  5. What will the weather be like in the area I am traveling to? You will not want to pack summer wear if you plan on picking up an assignment in Maine during December. It is important to do your research other than what the temperature will be like, and if there is any adverse weather, you should be considerate of such as snow, tornados, or hurricanes.

How to pack for your travel nurse assignment

Packing for your travel nurse assignment doesn’t have to be complicated. By following these simple tips, you can make sure that you have everything you need without overpacking.

Personal Items

These items are the most essential items that you will need to have with you as a travel nurse. These items can include things that are special to you that you cannot purchase in the store. Be sure to pack your:

  • Scrubs or uniform
  • Work bag including a stethoscope, scissors, pens, notebook, pen light, etc.
  • Weather-appropriate clothing – casual wear, sleepwear, fancy clothes, gym outfits, underwear, socks, shoes, hats, accessories, jewelry
  • Toiletry bag including shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face cleansers, hair products, deodorant, sunscreen, lotion, makeup, nail supplies, toothbrush, toothpaste, razors, shaving gel, hairbrush, hair dryer, etc.
  • Prescriptions, first aid kit, over-the-counter medications
  • Insulated tote or cooler for food and drinks while you are on a road trip
  • Puzzles, games, books, or any other hobbies that help alleviate anxiety and bordem

Personal Items Packing Tips

  • Pack clothing that can work for several different occasions, such as a tank top that can be worn in several different ways
  • Roll clothing in lieu of folding it
  • Use compression bags to compress bulky items such as jackets and blankets.
  • Use packing cubes to pack similar items like underwear, socks, etc.
  • Don’t overpack toiletries as you can purchase these items when you reach your destination

Paperwork and Documents

Be sure to bring all of your important documents with you, such as:

  • Driver’s license, Passport
  • Social security card, Birth certificate
  • Vehicle insurance, vehicle registration
  • Travel Nurse Contract documents, handbook, first-day instructions
  • Nursing license, credentials, vaccinations, mask fit, etc.

Home Essentials for Everyday Living

While you are on your travel nurse assignment, you will want to make sure that you have everything that you need to feel at home. These items can include:

  • Coffee maker, Toaster, Dishes, Utensils
  • Pots and Pans
  • Towels, Linens, Sheets, Pillows
  • Cleaning supplies – trash bags, paper towels, all-purpose cleaner, dish soap
  • Laundry detergent, fabric softener
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Tools – hammer, screwdriver, drill, etc.
  • Furniture

Home Sick Happiness Items

There are certain items that can help make you feel more at home and less homesick while you are on your travel nurse assignment. These items can be:

  • Picture frames, photo albums
  • Small trinkets or mementos
  • Candles, air fresheners
  • Blankets, pillows, throws
  • Home décor items
  • Books, magazines, movies, TV shows
  • Video games, board games, playing cards
  • Baking supplies


As a travel nurse, you will want to make sure that you have all of the essential electronics with you. These items can include:

  • Computer, Laptop
  • Printer, Scanner, Fax Machine
  • External hard drive
  • Smartphone, Tablet
  • Camera
  • GPS

Packing Tips for Electronics

  • Be sure to pack all cords, chargers, and batteries for your electronics
  • Pack your computer in a padded sleeve or case
  • Pack your tablet and smartphone in a padded case
  • If you are bringing a printer, make sure that it is compatible with the computers that you are bringing

Pet Supplies and Documentation

If you are traveling with a pet, you will need to make sure that you have all of the supplies that they need as well as the proper documentation. These items can include:

  • Food, Water, Bowls
  • Medications
  • Toys, Treats, Chews
  • Crate or Kennel
  • Bed, Bedding
  • Leash, Harness, Collar
  • First Aid Kit
  • Vet Records, Rabies Certificate, Health Certificate

Packing Tips for Pets

  • Make sure that you have enough food and water to last your pet for the entire trip
  • Pack their toys, treats, and bedding to help make them feel at home
  • Be sure to have all of their documentation readily available

My number one tip is if you tend to be someone who overpacks because you believe that you may need something or may use something, try traveling with only the essential items, and as you gain experience, you will begin to reduce the number of items you need to travel by identifying what you actually need versus what you thought you might need.

Tips for staying organized while on the road

  • Label everything – your suitcases, duffel bags, and backpacks. This will help you know what is in each bag without having to open it.
  • Use packing cubes – they are great for organizing your belongings and help you utilize the space in your suitcase efficiently
  • Make a packing list – this will help you make sure that you have everything that you need
  • Pack an extra set of clothes in your carry-on bag – just in case your luggage gets lost


I hope that these tips help you to pack for your next travel nurse assignment! If you have any other packing tips, be sure to share them in the comments below!

Happy packing!