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There are thousands of things racing through your head when you’re about to leave home for a travel nursing job. You’re most likely going to be gone for at least 13 weeks, so this isn’t an ordinary vacation. In addition to packing, planning the road trip, and making sure you have everything lined up for your assignment, you also need to make sure that you have all the loose ends tied off at home. So here are 14 loose ends to consider before leaving for a travel nursing assignment.

Before we begin, it’s important to remember that everyone’s situation will be different. Some people are leaving their permanent home for their assignment. Some people live with family or friends and others are leaving their own apartment or single-family home. Still others are leaving one assignment to head to the next. Depending on your situation, some of the items on this list may or may not apply to you. However, all of them will probably come in handy at one point or another.

Also, we’ve recently published articles on packing tips for travel nurses and road trip tips for travel nurses. You may be interested in checking those articles out given that they cover related subject matters.

Loose End Considerations For All Travel Nursing Jobs

Remember to forward or stop you mail before your travel nursing jobs starts.

Remember to forward or stop you mail before your travel nursing jobs starts.

1) Determine How To Handle Mail During Your Travel Nursing Assignment

Maintaining your personal business at home is one of the ways to ensure that you maintain your tax-home for tax purposes. Part of maintaining your personal business at home is making sure that all your personal mail is delivered there. Of course, you’ll need to access your mail while you’re on assignment, so there are several options.

  1. Open a PO Box or physical address at a UPS Store or another business that provides similar services in the area of your tax home. Then, have them forward your mail to your assignment address. Of course, you’ll need to notify everyone of your address change or have the USPS forward all your mail to the new PO Box.
  2. If you are going to be gone less than 30 days, then you can simply place a hold on your mail with the USPS.
  3. You can have the USPS forward your mail temporarily. To have the USPS forward your mail temporarily, you’ll need to fill out a “Change of Address Form” and select the “Temporary” option. The USPS will let you do this for 6 months at a time and up to one full year.
  4. You can also use the Premium Forwarding Service offered by USPS. They will package your mail weekly and send it to the address you designate. This service is quite expensive though at $16.50 per week!
  5. Have a friend or family member collect your mail and ship it to you. This option is probably the least efficient and reliable, but at least you’ll have someone stopping by your house on a periodic basis.

2) Put a Hold on Newspapers

If you’re the person still receiving the newspaper, then it’s a good idea to put a hold on it before leaving for your assignment.

3) Notify Your Bank And All Credit Card Companies

Banks and Credit Card Companies take security very seriously these days. When they see that your bank or credit card is being used in unusual locations, the default reaction is to suspend the card. Be sure to contact them and let them know about your travel assignment itinerary.

Also, if you use a small local bank, then it might be a good idea to designate a cosigner or guardian on the account. This has to be a highly trusted individual of course, but it can save you tons of time if you ever run across a situation when your presence and signature are required.

4) Pay Your Bills

Sure, you can pay your bills while you’re on the road and chances are that you have automatic bill payments set up for the vast majority of your bills anyway. But for those that aren’t, making sure that they’re taken care of beforehand will make your trip that much simpler.

5) Figure Out Your Travel Nursing Healthcare Coverage

Fortunately, you’ll be reminded to consider what you’re going to do about health coverage when you discuss compensation with your agency. The important thing to remember is that a significant percentage of travelers change agencies several times during their careers. This often results in a change in health insurance companies, which can affect continuity of care. So, you might want to look into securing your own health coverage.

Either way, it’s important to know how this will affect your ability to stay with your primary care physician. Also, it’s important to understand how your health coverage handles your moving from state to state. Different states have different rules and not all plans work in all states. As a result, it’s a good idea to get all this figured out prior to hitting the road.

6) Take Care of Prescription Medications

Dealing with prescription medications can be a nuisance while on assignment. Make sure that you stock up on as much as you can prior to leaving home. Also, prior to obtaining medical coverage, make sure that any prescriptions you’re taking are covered by the new plan.

7) Notify Family and/or Friends of Your Itinerary

Make sure that people have a detailed description of your itinerary. Also, be sure to let someone know that you’ll be checking in daily during the migration portion of the assignment.

8) Confirm all Reservations

Prior to leaving, be sure to confirm all hotels, car rentals, apartment rentals and any other accommodations and services that you’re counting on.

9) Program Needed Phone Numbers Into Your Phone

It’s best to program numbers into your phone for all the services you’ll be relying on throughout your trip. Also, program the phone numbers for your recruiter, your agency, and the hospital where you’ll be working.

10) Check the Weather On Your Route

Be sure to check the weather along your route just to be prepared for anything unusual.

11) Withdraw Cash And Change It For Small Bills and Change

Don’t get caught off guard at toll booths and during tipping situations.

12) Check Your Cell Phone Plan

Make sure that your cell phone plan won’t result in massive charges while you’re on the road. Work with your carrier to find the plan that’s right for your situation.

Considerations For Travel Nurses Leaving Their Home Behind

13) Don’t Tip Off Criminals

Criminals are crafty little devils. It probably seems cliche to say that criminals use social media to help them with their crimes. But a study conducted in the UK found that 78% of burglars said they used Twitter, Facebook, or FourSquare to plan their burglaries. And in the United State everyone from the National Crime Prevention Council to State Farm Insurance strongly advises against posting your travel plans on social media.

Facebook and LinkedIn Groups have become exceedingly popular for travel nurses. It’s important to remember that many of these groups are completely public. The content you post on there can be viewed by anyone and everyone. It’s important to remember that when posting on these sites.

14) Consider A Timer For Lights

Some people like to turn their electricity off when they leave their house for long periods and that may be okay. However, if you’re of the mind set that a little light around the house could ward off potential burglars, then consider putting some of your lights on timers. Timers are easy to use and recommended by many law enforcement officials.

The rest of the considerations are pretty much a check list of things to do before leaving the house behind. Rather than waste your time with a bunch of obvious explanations, here’s the list:

  1. Discard perishable food items
  2. Take out all the trash
  3. Run the dishwasher
  4. Lock all windows and doors
  5. Clear the garbage disposal
  6. Set the thermostat to a proper setting
  7. Close the blinds and curtains
  8. Turn off the main water supply
  9. Check the sump pump
  10. Let the police know you’ll be out if more than 30 days
  11. Sprinkle baking soda in toilets and sink drains
  12. Switch off gas unless needed for heating
  13. Switch off alarm clock
  14. Switch off electricity if you don’t need or want to use it for anything else

As always, we hope you’ve found this information useful. Please post any questions or comments in the comments section below, and let us know if we missed something!

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Source: Blue Pipes – Travel Nurse Blog