Traveling across country, discovering new cities, and meeting new people are some of the great benefits that a travel nursing career offers. But traveling by yourself to an unfamiliar destination requires added precautions to ensure your personal safety.
Before you leave, whether it be for a 3000 mile trip or 30 mile trip you should always have a look around your vehicle. Check the tires for proper pressure and for any abnormalities in the wear and make sure that all lights on the car are functional. There’s nothing worse than getting pulled over for a brake light out and having to pay for a ticket you could have easily avoided. When going on an extended trip, make sure you have the vehicle looked over by a trained professional, get an oil change and tune-up if need be. If you belong to a roadside assistance company like AAA, make sure you are up to date with your membership… Who knew towing a car could be so expensive?
When it comes to packing your car, it is very important that you carry a few essential items that can help if you so happen to have a break down. Always carry an emergency roadside kit, road atlas, first aid kit, tire jack, tire iron (make sure the spare tire is also fully inflated), tool kit and duct tape – you’d be surprised at the many uses of duct tape. Just ask my friend Gus, his wallet has been “repaired” with the help of the tape and now can surely withstand a nuclear holocaust. When it comes to packing your wears, make sure it is only those things in which you’ll need. The more weight you add to your car, the worse your gas mileage will be. So be smart and take only what you absolutely need. Pack a lunch or snacks that can keep you away from those enticing truck stops… Unless of course it’s for beef jerky. Then, by all means you must stop! You can never get enough of the “local flavor!”
It’s almost time to hit the road, so does everyone who needs to know (Family, staffing agency, housing management) know where you are going? When you expect to get there and so on? If you have a GPS system, make sure your coordinates are in place and do a little research as to what to expect weather wise. When you finally arrive to your destination, notify the important parties that you have made it safely, they’ll be glad to hear it.
On the Road
When driving, always wear a safety belt, make sure your mirrors are all positioned correctly and keep your doors locked at all times. If you are traveling alone, make sure when it comes to make a stop, especially in a interstate rest area, park in a well lit area with people nearby. Don’t stop for hitchhikers and if you are flagged down to stop, don’t. Instead, offer to help by using your cell phone or going forward and send help later. You just never know, nor do you want to find out.
When You Get There
You’ve finally made it, safe and sound to your new home for the next 13 weeks or so and the first thing you should do is let your loved ones know. You should have all the housing arrangements made prior to your arrival and now it’s time to unload. Keep a watchful eye around you and never prop open security doors while unloading your vehicle. Make your presence known and greet fellow neighbors and so forth but don’t get too comfortable quite yet. Look around the grounds and your building layout, make sure you know where the nearest fire escape is and make a plan for your escape during any emergency. Try not to reveal your apartment number or give away your full name until you’ve established some sort of “relationship.” As a travel nurse your housing is usually taken care of by the staffing agency and often times your temporary home is equipped with many amenities like a swimming pool or fitness center… You should definitely take advantage of those things while you can.
Beginning a new traveling nurse assignment is an exciting time, everything is fresh and new and the opportunities are abound. Make the most of your experience by following these traveling tips and you should be ready to begin your new assignment, stress free and with a full head of steam. I would love to hear more tips you may have involving traveling by ones self, it can only help our readers. Good luck and safe travels!
Here’s a previous article about traveling in the winter time… It is right around the corner and you surely don’t want to be left in the cold.
Winter Driving Tips