Lee Nelson
Lee Nelson
August 7, 2018 - 3 min read

What to do with your stuff while traveling

The thrill of becoming a traveling nurse might come to a complete stop when you think about all the stuff you need to store, get rid of or throw away. The amount of work that is in your future all depends on whether or not you are keeping your permanent home or end your lease or sell the house.

“Honestly, a lot of my travelers keep their current home when they travel,” says Melissa Pryor, national healthcare recruiter at Sunbelt Staffing.

When you’re traveling and you have dual expenses, you’re eligible for “Tax-Free Money/Stipends,” she says.

“For those who don’t keep duplicate housing, I suggest keeping some personal belongings with a friend or family member during your travels. If they have a lot of furniture and larger items, you can look for a storage unit,” she adds.

According to lifestorage.com, the average price of a standard 10′ x 10′ storage unit in the U.S. in 2018 is $111.89, and the average for a climate controlled unit comes in at $133.01.

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What can someone do if they own a house or rent an apartment while they are gone?

“When nurses travel, they get paid more than staff nurses,” Pryor says. “I suggest to some of my travelers to look into travel nurse groups online and possibly rent out their apartment or house when they’re traveling.

There’s a ton of nurses traveling, so they could potentially help out a fellow nurse and rent their current home when they’re on assignment.”

What are some other ways travel nurses can store their stuff?

If your parents have a free basement or closets, that could be your first answer. But Pryor has seen that most nurses keep their stuff in their current home.

For those nurses who rent out their own home when they’re traveling, she encourages them to get a lock for a closet and keep their personal belongings in there while they’re gone.

What other ways can they get rid of their stuff they don’t want?

By decluttering every room, drawer, and closet, you can actually make some money. You can sell your stuff free on Craigslist. Giving it to a charity such as Goodwill gives you a tax break when it’s time to fill out your tax return.

Or you can set up a garage sale or bring it to a consignment shop or second-hand store for some quick cash. Plus the action of cleaning up your old place can give you a clear mind to move on to your new assignment without worries.

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How much stuff should a travel nurse take with them to a new location?

“I always say ‘take what you’ll need’ such as clothing and small personal items. You don’t really need much. Less is better,” she says. And for those who fly to their new assignment, you really have to keep things simple because most airlines charge for each suitcase.

If there is something you really need but can’t pack it right away, have someone send it to you at your new address.
Yellowpages.ca states that if you need to pack some boxes to be flown to your designation, you should use bedding, sweaters, scarves or bubble wrap to pad fragile items. Heaviest items definitely should be packed at the bottom of the box.

To avoid homesickness, definitely pack something that reminds you of home such as a family portrait. When you get to your destination, it’s OK to go to the nearest big box store and buy some décor, dishes or other things that can make it feel like it’s your place.

How should someone handle storing their winter stuff before traveling to a warm climate?

A storage unit would be great or ask a friend or family member to let you store things there until you need it for a different assignment somewhere colder, Pryor states.

But don’t pack away every jacket you own. Even warm climates can have chilly evenings and rainy days. A lightweight raincoat and a few sweatshirts can carry you through.

Pryor’s biggest tip before packing or storing anything is to research the area.

“I always try to do a little research about the area and tell my nurses some fun and interesting things to do near their new assignment. That way they have a better idea of what they might need to bring,” she says.

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