Road trips are a big part of travel nursing. When I was recruiting, it seemed like almost every traveler I worked with got to their assignment by driving their own car, traveling as little as 100 miles to as much as 3,100 miles. While it’s true that road trips are typically fun, they can also be risky, stressful and grueling. So, here are 45 tips and tools to help make your travel nursing road trips safe and enjoyable.
The List: 45 Travel Nursing Tips for Road Trips
16) Ensure Maintenance is Up To Date
Beyond the tires and windshield wipers, it’s also a good idea to ensure that the maintenance recommended by your auto’s manufacturer is up to date. This can include a whole host if things if you’ve gotten off schedule. In general, the breaks, fluids, filters, belts, transmission, lights, heating and cooling system should all be up to maintenance recommendations.
17) Bring The Jumper Cables
Jumper cables are always good to carry on board your vehicle, especially when you’re taking a road trip!
18) Bring a Spare Car Key
It stinks to get locked out of your car anywhere, but it can be a real nightmare when you’re on the road. Car keys are getting pretty fancy these days, but most cars still require some form of key to get the vehicle started. Having a spare key can be a life saver if you accidentally lock your main set in the car or lose your main key while on the road. I use a hide-a-key myself, although my wife thinks I’m crazy because someone could steal my car. I don’t think car thieves operate that way though.
19) Consider Roadside Service
Many folks just don’t do well with cars even when it comes to small things like changing a tire. Moreover, road trips always present potential for major breakdowns. A good roadside service plan can be well worth the cost, especially is you plan on several road trips in a year. TopTen Reviews has a list of 10 great roadside services to consider.
Random Preparation for Your Travel Nursing Road Trip
20) Bring Money For The Toll Trolls
Toll roads are popping up more and more these days. It’s a good idea to have change and paper money on hand in case you run into one. Some states, like Illinois have toll roads that require you to throw some change in a bucket. There are parts of southern California that have this too. Neglecting to pay can result in uncomfortable fines.
21) Charging Devices for Electronics
These days, the main charging device to have for a road trip is a USB charger that plugs into a cigarette lighter. Of course, your car may already have built-in USB chargers, in which case you’re good to go. However, some electronics require unique charging devices so be sure that you have whatever you need before setting out.
22) Bring Toilet Paper
It’s a real downer to enter a rest stop or gas station bathroom and realize there is no toilet paper until after you’ve gone. Get in the habit of carrying your own and you’ll never get stuck in this awkward situation.
23) Bring a Flashlight
Flashlights come in handy in many road trip situations. Use them to help you change a flat tire, or to save your car battery while reading in your car at night (parked of course). Be sure the batteries are fresh before embarking.
24) Bring Sunscreen
It’s easy to forget that you can get a sunburn when driving all day long. Your left arm is typically most at risk, but your legs can get hit too. Be sure to carry some sunscreen with you in the cab.
25) Supplement Your Cell Phone With a Phone Card
You never know when you might find yourself without your cell phone. You might have no signal, lose it, or have it break on you. A prepaid phone card can be a life saver in these situations. These cards typically let you make calls from any touch tone phone. There are tons of options out there, but I like this virtual phone card from AT&T.
26) Carry Plastic Grocery Bags For Trash
Keeping plastic grocery bags in your cab to dispose of trash can save you from the distraction of finding somewhere to put your trash and help you keep your zen going for the long haul.
27) Keep Your Essentials Handy
Pack a small necessities bag so you don’t have to dig through a bunch of stuff when you need something.
28) Notify Your Bank
Banks are serious about security these days. If their system detects that your card is being used somewhere outside the norm, then it may automatically shut the card down. It’s best to contact your bank prior to your road trip to give them an idea of where you’re headed and for how long.
Stay Safe on Your Travel Nursing Road Trip
29) Pepper Spray
It’s a good idea to stay safe on the road. Besides, most travel nurses are flying solo. Consider carrying pepper spray with you. The laws for pepper spray vary from state to state. The Pepper Spray Store has some useful information about state laws.
30) First Aid Kit
C’mon, you’re a highly trained healthcare professional. You know better than to leave home for a long road trip without a well equipped first aid kit!