The nomadic life of your average travel nurse comes with a big decision: do you haul your whole life across country or pick up what you need upon arrival.
Certain items you’d never replace: a favorite outfit, a family portrait, or even a cookbook filled with family recipes. But other items, rather than strapping them to your car like a homesteader travelling across the Plains by covered wagon, are better left at home.
We find that a first time travel nurse has a less stressful time when she or he downsizes beforehand. In fact, the following 5 types of items probably don’t need to make your next travel nurse journey.
Clothing – We all have our go-to outfits. Some provide sublime comfort. Others make you look like a million bucks. Regardless, those outfits are irreplaceable. Yet your whole wardrobe isn’t at that same gold standard. Most outfits make an appearance on a rare occasion. Do you really want to cart your whole wardrobe across state lines? You can, but it’s not necessary.
There are plenty of ways to buy or rent outfits on the cheap. Retailers like Plato’s Closet or Nordstrom’s Rack are in just about every state and big metropolitan areas, offering an array of stylish options to buy at affordable prices. Additionally, if you are attending a fancy event (a wedding, cocktail party, or classy dinner) you can rent stunning outfits through Rent the Runway.
When you’re done, you can return the rental or resell any garments you decide not to keep. That way, you’re not returning home with mounds of unneeded clothes.
Tools & Craft Accessories – Most nurses are problem-solvers, even outside of work. They find ways to keep active, whether it’s fixing something around the apartment or making something from scratch. To be effective, you need the right tool for the right job. Instead of bringing trunks filled with heavy duty tools, sewing machines, or soldering irons, you can rent most of the equipment upon your arrival.
Home Depot rents anything from hand tools and professional auto jacks all the way up to heavy-duty equipment (not that you’ll likely need a concrete saw on your next travel nurse assignment). Are you doing some crafting in your spare time? No need to bring cumbersome tools. You can rent sewing machines, soldering irons, and anything else you’d need for your crafty hobbies.
Furniture – Some travel nursing benefits packages will include furniture stipends, so if your apartment isn’t already furnished, you can pick some pieces of your own. Sure, you can bring your own furniture and pocket the cash, but repeatedly moving heavy furniture pieces becomes tedious. There’s no need to break your back.
Low cost furniture rentals are available through Aaron’s (which you’ll find everywhere but Wisconsin and Minnesota) and Cort (which is a bit more limited geographically). The initial cost is low, but the interest can be high if you’re going to stay anywhere for a long period of time. However, since most travel nursing contracts are not going to exceed the one year marker, the cost should remain in reasonable territory.
Major Electronics – Have you ever moved a television? You’re on pins and needles, always in fear of the screen cracking. You pad the screen with anything (towels, pillows, or bubble wrap) as if it’s going to receive a beating that would make most piñatas explode. Instead of worrying that any rough turn will destroy your precious big screen, leave it at home and get a rental.
Rent-A-Center is the answer. A LG 55” is in the ballpark of $35 a week, which for the average 13 week travel nurse contract is well under the full cost of the television. Rent-A-Center can also drop off, and set up your rental, taking the burden off of your hands. Moreover, you can pick up sound systems, gaming systems, and even major appliances.
Bikes – Are you taking a travel nurse assignment in a city that’s bike friendly? If you’re not an avid biker, there’s no need to transport your road or mountain bike along with you. Instead, go with the ride sharing option.
There are plenty of options to rent bicycles in most metropolitan areas. Bike shops or even private owners (through sites like Spinlister) are available to rent out bicycles (even surfboards and skis) to enjoy on a beautiful afternoon.
Plus, some cities have bike rental programs (CitiBike in New York or Divvy in Chicago) where you can pick up bikes and drop them off at stations throughout the city. There is a membership fee, but it’s cheaper than buying a new bike outright.
Are you looking for other ways to simplify your first travel nursing assignment? We provide our users with up-to-date information on the nursing industry, travel nursing resources, and job search. Register today and we can help lighten your load as you look for travel nurse jobs.