Packing/Traveling Tips Needed!

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    Will be traveling in the near future.. currently a RN in FL, will be traveling to CA with my RN boyfriend.. We plan on driving to the assignment. Hoping to be in CA for an extended period of time (if assignments allow).. First time traveling for the both of us. Wondering if anyone has tips on what to pack and how to pack efficiently.. Thanks!

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  2. 9 Comments...

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    Quote from RachaelRN7
    Will be traveling in the near future.. currently a RN in FL, will be traveling to CA with my RN boyfriend.. We plan on driving to the assignment. Hoping to be in CA for an extended period of time (if assignments allow).. First time traveling for the both of us. Wondering if anyone has tips on what to pack and how to pack efficiently.. Thanks!
    My husband and I traveled from the east coast to California in our car recently. Packing and organizing was challenging, especially with a regular sized sedan, not an SUV. My first assignment was a furnished apartment with no extras (no kitchen items, bedding, shower curtains, nothing!) My assignment now is more of a turn-key place, they provide almost everything.

    So things to bring that have been highly useful: our favorite kitchen items, pots, pans, knives, coffee maker, very few plates, bowls, glassware, silverware. We packed a three drawer organizer of bathroom items, ya know, ibuprofen, band aids, q-tips, toiletries in one drawer. Another had seasonings, tea, vitamins, and the last drawer had random things you need you prob don't want to buy like scissors, tape, matches, flashlight, trash bags, ziplocks, wine opener, ya know random stuff you use a lot and don't realize. Some things we bought down there like a trash can, a dish drying wrack, shower curtain, Tupperware, all stuff we gave to goodwill after the assignment because it wouldn't fit.

    What really saved me were the space bags. Three extra large bags: 1 for all my clothes and shoes, one for his, and one had our pillows, sheets, blankets, and towels. What we didn't think about was when we packed up again, we had no vacuum to suck out the air, so we drove to a car wash place and used their car vacuum hose. Those space bags are a lifesaver. We packed a suitcase full of some food that we put in ziplock bags like rice, nuts, oatmeal, coffee grounds, to save space. I had another 3 drawer organizer of every document I could possibly need (very thankful for that), copy paper, photos, pens, notepads, envelopes, stamps, all my husbands work stuff (he works from home). On top if that, we were still able to bring a tv, laptop, printer, modem, all the electronics. We brought an air bed for visitors, which is useful, and in a small box.

    Just be smart about the clothes. I brought too much. I wear scrubs, work out clothes, pjs, and don't go out as much as I thought I would. But I have clothes for all four seasons because you never know what kind of assignments you might have. I brought dresses for weddings I'm going to in a cpl months because you never know when you're gonna be home! I am highly organized, so this was stressful for me. Just pan ahead and really think. Last minute packing us a nightmare. I hope my very long response helps!
    RachaelRN7 and ImKosher like this.
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    I agree with the space bags suggestion! Saved me on packing my clothes for sure. The other thing I would recommend is a car top carrier or bag. I bought a pretty sturdy car top bag for my crossover. It works pretty slick because it folds down to almost nothing when I'm not using it, but is waterproof and holds a bunch of stuff when I need it.

    The kitchen was the hardest thing for me because I'm a big baker/cook. But, the upside to all of the packing/unpacking is that when you finally get back home after being gone for several months, you can downsize the "stuff" in your home. i learned that if I could live without something for 7 months, I probably didn't need it to begin with!

    For your first time, just remember: money, credit cards, ID, and all your relevant nursing paperwork. Everything else you can buy if you absolutely need it!
    RachaelRN7 likes this.
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    Quote from cmimmel
    I agree with the space bags suggestion! Saved me on packing my clothes for sure. The other thing I would recommend is a car top carrier or bag. I bought a pretty sturdy car top bag for my crossover. It works pretty slick because it folds down to almost nothing when I'm not using it, but is waterproof and holds a bunch of stuff when I need it.

    The kitchen was the hardest thing for me because I'm a big baker/cook. But, the upside to all of the packing/unpacking is that when you finally get back home after being gone for several months, you can downsize the "stuff" in your home. i learned that if I could live without something for 7 months, I probably didn't need it to begin with!

    For your first time, just remember: money, credit cards, ID, and all your relevant nursing paperwork. Everything else you can buy if you absolutely need it!
    I have this binder (about 6 inches thick) of all the things anyone could ever ask for. They are all in sheet protectors.. okay, maybe I am OCD. All my immunization records, copy of my degree, college transcripts, agency paperwork, reference letters, resumes, contacts, licensing receipts, time cards from assignments, all my certifications with expiration dates right in the front, all continuing education. On my first my to my assignment, I come prepared. I have nursys verification report, copies of my flu shot and TB shot, along with any company specific training modules. I know the agency is supposed to take care of this, but you'd be surprised what people ask for. Also, you may want to apply for a new state license when on the road. Have everything ready.

    I am also big in the kitchen. I had to sacrifice my blender, chopper, mixer, cast iron skillet, etc... Sigh. But you learn to live without that stuff. I'm just excited for someday when I have my huge kitchen and all my gadgets and gizmos!
    RachaelRN7 likes this.
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    6 inches thick? That's nothing! But I wised up early, scanned about three feet of documents, and have happily ditched any paper copies since. They only take up one inch now - in my laptop! I can find anything in seconds and drop it in a thumb drive or email it. Welcome to 1996!
    RachaelRN7 likes this.
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    Quote from NedRN
    6 inches thick? That's nothing! But I wised up early, scanned about three feet of documents, and have happily ditched any paper copies since. They only take up one inch now - in my laptop! I can find anything in seconds and drop it in a thumb drive or email it. Welcome to 1996!
    Wow! The job of scanning that stuff sounds ... Tedious! But yeah would make more sense. With the scanner I have now, no thanks! Looking to get something more up to date in the future.

    What kinda of things have they asked you for that surprised you? Has anyone asked for proof of things from years ago? Just curious. I'm still new.
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    You can buy $150 all in one with a nifty paper feeder that can do a pile quickly. I have such a device at home but a common problem with those is that the scanner sensor is fixed and the paper moves over it. A bit of debris now leaves a full page vertical line (or several). No doubt you have seen this on faxes (fax machines are also scanners) or the relatively expensive copier/scanner at work. This is also one of the problems with the the very small portable scanners that you have to feed the paper into a roller.

    I use a Canon Lide flat top scanner. About $75 and the size of a laptop. Even fits into my laptop bag with my laptop when occasion demands. Yes, only one page at a time, but when you stay caught up, it takes only a couple minutes a week. I will take more time with documents presented to hospitals. I'll adjust the settings per page. I want every hiring edge I can get! With most stuff I don't get that fussy.

    I do time sheets as well. In part because they show proof positive to the IRS that I was there and even my mileage claims per shift are correct. Warding off the audit gods.

    You can never predict what you might need. But mostly it is great to have everything searchable on my laptop. Old contracts and handbooks come in very handy. Keeping proof of your CEUs also really helps when you are adding them up with the titles and certifying authority for that five year specialty re-certification.

    I collect two or three evals/references per assignment. They can come in handy if there is a low census and admin tries to claim performance issues.

    But they have been useful years later when going back to the same area. Sometimes a manager has worked for or with a prior manager that you have also had. Let me tell you that those references are worth twenty from strangers. Just finished one of my best assignments ever based on such an eval from six years ago!
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    Thank you! very helpful
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    I'm now starting to talk to the different travel agencies.. plus get all of our documents together. I worry that I don't have enough documents and such, after hearing everything you guys save!
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    I scanned all my documents in and signed up for a free dropbox account. I keep a copy of the dicuments on my laptop. A copy on a thumb drive, and a copy inthe dropbox account. That way I always have access to them. I scanend in the documents individually and named them so I know what they are. That way I can email or upload the documents when needed.


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