Travel Nurse

The Ultimate Guide To Travel Nurse Packing List

If you’re a travel nurse, packing for a new assignment can be daunting! With so many unknowns, it can be hard to decide what to bring and what to leave behind. Hence, we have curated the ultimate packing guide crafted specifically for travel nurses like you!

Our guide will walk you through the nurse essentials you need to pack for a successful and stress-free assignment. We’ll help you decide what to bring, what to leave at home, and how to organize it all. Our comprehensive travel nurse packing list will make sure you have everything you need for a successful assignment, whether you’re traveling near or far. So let’s get started on your journey to becoming the ultimate packing pro!

Essential to-do list before you travel

Whether you’re a seasoned travel nurse or just starting out, thorough preparation is key to ensuring a successful and enjoyable experience. Let’s have a look at the essential tasks to complete before you embark on your next travel nurse adventure.

1. Research your destination

Before you pack your bags, take some time to research the destination where you’ll be working. Understanding the local culture, climate, cost of living, and available amenities will help you make informed decisions and ease your transition.

Climate: Check the weather patterns for the time you’ll be there to pack appropriate clothing.
Culture and lifestyle: Familiarize yourself with local customs and norms to respect cultural sensitivities.
Housing options: Research housing options available in the area, whether provided by your agency or arranged independently.

2. Licensing and documentation

Ensuring your professional credentials and legal documentation are in order is vital for a smooth transition.

Nursing license: Verify that your nursing license is valid in the state or country where you’ll be working. If required, obtain the necessary temporary licenses.
Certifications: Ensure your certifications are up-to-date and recognized at your destination.
Identification: Carry a valid ID, driver’s license, and any other identification documents you might need.

3. Accommodation arrangements

Sorting out your accommodation in advance contributes to your peace of mind upon arrival.

Agency assistance: If working through an agency, discuss housing options and preferences with your recruiter.
Independent housing: If arranging your own housing, research and secure a place that suits your needs.

4. Health and insurance

Taking care of your health and ensuring proper insurance coverage are paramount.

Health insurance: Confirm that your health insurance covers you in the location you’ll be working. Consider travel insurance for additional coverage.
Vaccinations: Check if any vaccinations are recommended or required for your destination.
Prescriptions: Ensure you have an adequate supply of any necessary medications for the duration of your assignment.

5. Financial planning

Managing your finances ensures a seamless experience during your assignment.

Banking: Inform your bank of your travel plans to prevent any issues with transactions.
Budgeting: Create a budget that considers living expenses, transportation, and leisure activities.

6. Communication and technology

Staying connected and having the necessary technology tools are essential for a travel nurse.

Phone and internet: Check if your phone will work at your destination or consider getting a local SIM card.
Laptop/tablet: If needed, bring a laptop or tablet for work-related tasks and communication.

7. Notifying important parties

Letting people know about your travel plans keeps everyone informed and ensures support if needed.

Family and friends: Inform your loved ones of your departure and provide them with your contact information.
Employer and contacts: Notify your current employer, colleagues, and any professional contacts about your travel plans.

Essential packing list for travel nurses

This meticulously crafted travel nurse packing list is designed to be your ultimate companion, ensuring that every essential item finds its place in your luggage. From medical supplies to personal comforts, professional tools to entertainment, we’ve left no stone unturned in creating a thorough and organized packing checklist and the perfect travel gear.

This nurse packing checklist is the right answer for what to pack for travel nurse assignments.

1. Documentation and licensing

  1. Nursing license (physical and digital copies)
  2. Certifications (BLS, ACLS, PALS, etc.)
  3. Driver’s license or ID
  4. Passport (for international assignments)
  5. Social security card
  6. Travel nursing agency contact information
  7. Contact information of your agency’s representative
  8. List of emergency contacts
  9. Copy of your resume and references
  10. Copy of health records and immunization records

2. Health and medical supplies

  1. Stethoscope
  2. Blood pressure cuff
  3. Pulse oximeter
  4. Thermometer
  5. Medical scissors and shears
  6. Penlight
  7. Reflex hammer
  8. Tape measure
  9. Gloves (nitrile and latex)
  10. Masks and face shields
  11. Goggles or safety glasses
  12. Hand sanitizer
  13. Basic first aid kit
  14. Personal medications and prescriptions
  15. Personal prescription glasses or contacts

3. Uniforms and scrubs

  1. Scrubs (multiple sets)
  2. Lab coats
  3. Comfortable and supportive nursing shoes
  4. Compression socks or stockings
  5. Nursing badge or ID

4. Personal clothing

  1. Casual clothing for off-duty hours
  2. Sleepwear
  3. Undergarments
  4. Socks
  5. Weather-appropriate clothing (coats, jackets, rain gear, etc.)
  6. Swimsuit (if applicable)
  7. Comfortable shoes for leisure

5. Toiletries and personal care

  1. Travel-sized shampoo, conditioner, and body wash
  2. Toothbrush and toothpaste
  3. Hairbrush or comb
  4. Deodorant
  5. Skincare products
  6. Makeup and cosmetics (if desired)
  7. Hairdryer or styling tools
  8. Feminine hygiene products
  9. Shower shoes or flip-flops
  10. Towels

6. Electronics and gadgets

  1. Smartphone and charger
  2. Laptop or tablet and charger
  3. Travel power strip
  4. Power banks
  5. Headphones or earbuds
  6. Travel adapters (if traveling internationally)
  7. Personal alarm clock

7. Home essentials

  1. Bed sheets and pillowcases
  2. Bath towels and hand towels
  3. Dishware (plates, bowls, cutlery)
  4. Cookware (pots, pans, utensils)
  5. Small appliances (microwave, coffee maker)
  6. Cleaning supplies (detergent, dish soap, broom)
  7. Home decor items (pictures, plants, etc.)

8. Professional supplies

  1. Notebook and pens
  2. Personalized badge holder or lanyard
  3. Small pocket guide or medical reference book
  4. Nursing journal for notes and observations

9. Comfort and entertainment

  1. Comfortable pillow
  2. Lightweight blanket or throw
  3. Books or e-reader
  4. Magazines or puzzle books
  5. Travel board games or cards

10. Nutrition and hydration

  1. Reusable water bottle
  2. Healthy snacks (nuts, granola bars, etc.)
  3. Portable lunch bag or cooler

11. Miscellaneous

  1. Identification and insurance cards
  2. Personal banking essentials (ATM card, credit cards)
  3. Travel wallet or money belt
  4. Sunglasses
  5. Travel-sized laundry detergent
  6. Compact umbrella

12. Professional development and education

  1. Continuing education materials
  2. Professional journals or medical literature
  3. Laptop/tablet for online courses

13. Safety and security

  1. Small flashlight
  2. Personal safety alarm
  3. Door stopper or portable door lock

14. Packing accessories

  1. Packing cubes or compression bags
  2. Toiletry bag or hanging toiletry organizer
  3. Clear Ziploc bags for liquids
  4. Luggage tags with your contact information
  5. TSA-approved locks for luggage


Packing efficiently as a travel nurse is crucial to ensuring that you are well-prepared for the challenges and adventures that come with the job. Remember to tailor your packing list to your specific needs and preferences, and don’t hesitate to adjust it based on the unique requirements of each new location you’ll be working in. 

After learning from this guide, the most important advice is clear: bring only what you really need. Don’t burden yourself with

Are you excited to put your packing skills to the test on incredible travel nurse assignments?
Join us at MedCadre, your partner in finding rewarding and fulfilling journeys.

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