Written by Amy Stephens, Marketing Manager at Medical Edge Recruitment
Planning a move to a new state can be overwhelming. It requires planning, research, and usually a reasonable amount of stress. For travel nurses who move constantly, it is even more demanding as they may move states 3-4 times a year or more. The checklist below will help streamline your assignments and take the stress out of planning multiple moves a year.
1. Research the State
Cost of Living
Make sure you understand the cost of living in the state you are choosing to relocate to. The cost of housing, groceries, services, and products can drastically vary across states. There is nothing worse than committing to a new assignment for the next 3 months and realizing that the cost of living will be double what you are accustomed to.
Knowing what to pack depends on the climate in the state you are moving to. Texas and Louisiana are warm and humid for most of the months of the year, you won’t need to pack your parka or gloves for a Spring assignment here. Taking a February assignment in Colorado or North Dakota? You won’t need to pack a swimsuit or flip-flops. Knowing what temperatures to expect will also set your expectations for the adventures you will have a chance to plan on your days off.
When working a demanding schedule, time can go by quickly. Be sure to make a list of the top sights and “to-dos” for your location. Obviously, the internet is your best friend for learning the top things to see and do, but social media makes it even easier. Search the hashtag for your destination, post a story asking for recommendations, or create a survey of the best things to do in the state you are moving to! There are also many travel nurse communities that may have helpful information or a vast audience to ask for advice.
2. Find a Place to Live
One of the hardest parts of taking a new assignment is figuring out where to live. Even with lots of research, it can be challenging to pick a short-term house rental, apartment, or other extended-stay housing. A great tip is to book a hotel for the first week or two of your assignment. This will give you time to get to know the area, figure out commute times to your facility, and ask around at the nurses’ station for the best places to live.
Many times, another travel nurse will be leaving an assignment and have a great Airbnb you can take over, or several travelers might be looking for roommates to share expenses. It pays to not make a long-term housing commitment unless you have already traveled to the location or have the firsthand experience of another traveler.
No matter where you choose to live, an important tip is to take photos when you arrive. You will want to document anything that is broken, needs repair, or is missing. In addition to having a list of items to submit to the property owner for them to address, you can also avoid issues at check-out if you have documentation that something was broken when you arrived.
Another great tip is to plan to arrive a few days before your assignment starts. This will give you time to unpack, learn the best route to the facility, stock your fridge, and get comfortable with your new home.
3. Packing and Moving
Packing light while also packing for 13 weeks or longer can be challenging. Packing to fly versus packing to drive can also provide unique challenges. It’s also important to think about the amount of space you will have to pack as well as the storage you’ll have available on assignment.
Make a List
A great way to start the packing process is to make a list of things you use daily. This includes more than just clothing and toiletries, some travel nurses can’t live without their sound machine, slow cooker, or air fryer. Will you join a gym or are you planning to take simple equipment with you? Will your housing provide towels, bedding, and dishware or will you have to take these items with you?
Consider Thrift or Discount Stores
In many cases, it might be cheaper to buy larger items at your new location than pay to ship or transport things you may need. Many items at Goodwill or other secondhand stores are in pristine condition and most will last at least the 3-6 months you will need them. Sometimes it may be easier and cheaper to even purchase new items at discount stores. At the end of your assignment, you can choose to sell or donate the items to avoid packing or shipping the items back with you. Many travel nurses repeat this cycle on each assignment and take the tax deduction for items donated at the end of each contract.
If you’re going to be traveling through two or more seasons, the rule of thumb is to bring layers of clothes that can be added or removed as the temperature changes instead of trying to bring more clothing. Another great tip is to use compression bags to make more room in your luggage.
If you’re traveling by car, consider using plastic storage containers instead of luggage or boxes. They are more durable and are easier to unpack since you can see what’s inside. Even better, you don’t necessarily have to unpack them, and since they are stackable, they will help save space at your new home!
Don’t forget to pack your important documents like licenses, social security cards, passports, credit cards, and bank cards. Since constantly being on the move increases the risk of losing paperwork, make sure to take a picture or scan every document and store them on a flash drive or on your phone.
Leave a Key Behind
Make sure you have a friend, family member, or neighbor to look after your house while you are gone. While there might not be a yard to take care of or plants to water, it’s always best to leave a key with someone you trust in case an emergency comes up. There is nothing worse than being hundreds of miles away during an unexpected hurricane or snowstorm with no one to help prepare or check on your home after the event
4. Enjoy Your Home Away from Home
Traveling offers you new adventures and exciting new things to try, but it can also be stressful and uncomfortable in those first few days or weeks. Don’t forget to plan for the simple pleasures you enjoy at home. What will keep you grounded and centered in your new home? For some, it might be family photos, a comfy blanket, or the scent of your favorite candle. Whatever it is, make sure you take it with you to remind you of the comforts of home.
Need Help Planning your Next Move?
Medical Edge Recruitment is the premier travel nursing recruitment agency, specializing in providing top talent to clients in the healthcare industry. We offer a myriad of housing and travel solutions for our Providers and a dedicated Provider Experience team to find and secure you a great place to call home. In addition, we have an extensive housing network and corporate discounts with several major hotel chains. There are a lot of moving parts in getting set up for a new assignment, but we take care of all the details along the way. Adventure awaits, let Medical Edge Recruitment show you where to go next!