You’ve just accepted your first traveling healthcare assignment, congratulations! While you’re so excited to be heading out on the road to your next adventure, there’s a little worry in the back of your mind- I’ve never done this before, what do I pack? How much? Will it be enough for the 13- week assignment?

Don’t worry, that’s a common question! Packing up to move to your new home for 13 weeks is a lot different than taking a 5-day hiatus to the beach. Here are some of the packing tips that we’ve found most helpful for our travelers:

1.    Find out what your Travel company is providing. Each travel agency is different. Some are able to offer fully furnished housing with linens, dishes and everything down to the salt and pepper shakers. Others will offer furniture only, you would be responsible for the linens and dishes.

It’s important to ask what exactly is being offered from assignment to assignment so that you’re prepared to pack all of the necessities for your new temporary home. Take into consideration what housewares are being provided, or if you’d like to bring your own. In addition to the normal clothing, shoes and personal care items, also think about entertainment and electronics. Do you have a gaming system you want to take with? Does the TV being provided support that gaming system, etc.

2.    Remember your paperwork. As we’ve stated before, it’s incredibly important to keep your proof of identification, resume, and other medical records nearby for each assignment—some things expire yearly and will require updating while you are on an assignment. Without the correct documentation, renewing those certifications will be incredibly difficult.

3.    Before you leave, keep track of the items you use daily. Often times, the most forgotten items are the ones we had to utilize last minute before leaving for the trip. Shampoo, tooth paste or hair brush, they’re all essentials—but were probably left out for use in the morning before you get in the car and go.

Keep a list of these items and do a last-minute check to ensure all of the daily essentials are packed up and ready to go.

4.    Ask what uniform the hospital requires. This can eliminate extra, unnecessary wardrobe—creating extra space in your luggage. Find out what uniform the hospital requires, take 4 or 5 of them. Packing less, and doing laundry more frequently is the best bet for minimizing the hassle of moving.

5.    Pack comfort items. Packing certain items such as your favorite blanket or your throw pillows will help you to relax in your new space, and give it the feeling of “home.” While you can’t just pack up your whole house to take with you, these small items will help give your new space the touch of home you desire.

6.    Remember that you can always re-evaluate. Most likely, your assignment is only about 13 weeks long. This means that you don’t need to pack of every single one of your belongings… you’ll be back before you know it! This also means that if you brought too much, too little or just not the right items, you have another chance to get home and pack again before your next assignment.

After your first assignment, the worry will wear off, and you’ll be a pro in no time! Over time you may learn that you don’t need those 12 boxes of kitchen supplies, and you’ll cut it down to two. Everyone is different. The best advice for heading to your next assignment is to learn and grow as you go.