Just like we said in the last segment of the Travel Nursing Checklist, preparing to arrive at your assignment is crucial to your success as a travel nurse because being late to your assignment is not a good way to make a good impression on your new manager.
The last post talked about preparing your car for a drive to your travel nursing assignment. Now the next thing you need to handle is preparing yourself to make a long drive to your assignment. This means taking care of things as important as mapping out your drive or making sure you have GPS to things as seemingly trivial, but no less important like having comfortable clothes and even planning a little fun along the way if you have time.
Scheduling the drive to your travel nursing job
During the course of a long cross country drive you may run across things that slow you down and are out of your control, so one of the first things you want to do is leave yourself plenty of time to actually make the drive. I would recommend planning on it taking about 20-30% more time than you think need and plan on arriving in your new city at least 2-3 days early; talk to your recruiter about the earliest date you can move into your housing.
The most simple way to do this is visit a site like Mapquest or Google Maps to determine your driving distance and estimated drive time. As a tip try to schedule your drive to avoid hitting major cities during rush hour (don’t forget about time changes).
Here are some previous articles we have written on this topic.
- Avoid bad traffic
- Using technology to help navigate your way to your next assignment
- Using technology to help navigate your way to your next travel nurse assignment: Part II
- Ask a Travel Nurse: What kind of car should a travel nurse buy?
- Find your way around on your next travel nursing assignment
Scheduling sleep before driving to your travel nursing job
Now that you know when you need to leave, one of the best things you can do is plan on getting enough sleep before you head out. Depending on your drive distance you may need to plan on driving through the night or plan a stop at a hotel.
If you need to drive through the night then make sure you get extra sleep the day or two before. Never compromise your safety though, if you are tired pull over and find a hotel.
If you know you are going to stay at a hotel before you leave then make sure you call ahead and make a reservation. You would hate to arrive in town only to find out your trip is coinciding with a giant polka festival and there are no more rooms available.
- Travel Nursing Article: Tips for a good night’s sleep
- How to deal with switching shifts; from day to night
Having fun during the drive to your travel nursing job
You’re starting to get to the fun part of travel nursing now, so don’t forget to plan some fun into your cross c0untry drive (if you have one). With pre-planning you will be able to take time and enjoy one of the best parts of travel nursing, seeing the country. We have written a lot of great articles and discussed a lot of resources in the past that can help you make the most of your road trip across the country so I won’t rehash them here, but they are listed below.
- Nice online tool to plan your drive to your next travel nursing assignment
- Road trip fun
- Getting there is half the fun
Saving money while driving to your travel nursing job
Just because you are most likely making more money as a travel nurse doesn’t mean you want to blow it all just driving to your job so here are some links to previous articles we have written on saving money while getting to your assignment.
- Guest Author: Sandy Thomson – 4 money-saving tips for your travel nursing drive
- Hit the road with these money saving tips.
- Top ten links to help travel nurses save gas
Preparing your pets for the drive to your travel nursing job
If you happen to be taking a pet with you while you are on assignment then you will need to plan for that too. Fido and Toonces have special needs when it comes to a long drive, so it is better to anticipate them early than have to react to them after it is too late. Again, this is an area we have written on before so here are links to those articles.
- Travel nursing with pets – Getting there
- Travel Nursing Without Your Dog Can Be Ruff.
- Guest Author: Heather Green – 7 Must Do’s for Travel Nursing with Dogs
- Guest Author: Heather Green – Travel Nursing and the 3 P’s of Cat Transportation
Preparing to stay safe during the drive to your travel nursing job
One of the most important things you need to plan out before you leave for your assignment is to take proper precautions to stay safe while you are driving. Whether you are driving alone or with a companion, in the summer time or during the winter it is still imperative that you put your safety first. Part of this is pre-planning and giving yourself enough time to make the drive so you don’t feel like you have to push through exhaustion or bad conditions just to get to your assignment on time. Here are some articles we have written in the past with advice for driving safety.
- Winter Driving Tips for Traveling Nurses on the Move
- Winter Driving and Survival Kits for Travel Nurses on the Move
- Safe Driving Tips for the Traveling Nurse
- Tips for winter driving to your next travel nursing job