What Happens Back Home
No matter how long you have been a travel nurse, the excitement and anticipation of starting a new assignment never changes. Along with that adrenaline rush of the adventure ahead, there is also the important business of taking care of the home life you are leaving behind for 13-weeks. Fortunately, with experience comes routine, and you figure out what works for your situation. If you are still learning the ropes of travel nursing, we’ve compiled a few things for you to start thinking about ahead of time.
Prepare Your Home on the Outside. Where you live and what type of home you have plays a role in how much preparation is required to “travel prep” your home. If you live in a home in the northern part of the country and you are going to be traveling during the winter months, then winterizing your home is a good place to start. Asking a neighbor or family member to keep an eye on things while you are gone will give you piece of mind if there are storms to deal with. In the summer months, ask or hire someone to keep your landscaping groomed. Nothing says “nobody’s home” quite like an overgrown yard full of grass. Today, there are also lower-cost options for home security systems if you are interested in that extra layer of protection.
Prepare Your Home on the Inside. Before leaving, arrange to have your family handyman come over and check out some of the appliances to ensure they are in good working condition. This would include your sump pump and furnace. We know you don’t want to come home to a flooded basement. It is also a good idea to unplug lamps that won’t be in use, electric kitchen appliances, and any other electronics that won’t be used. Also, having a trusted friend or family member with a key and asking them to stop over periodically will go a long way towards easing any worries.
You Still Have to Pay the Bills. While you are away for the next 13-weeks, the cable and the gas company is still going to send your monthly bill. Luckily, banks today offer online bill payment allowing you to manage most of your bills electronically. For other important statements and correspondence, you can decide among mail forwarding options from the U.S. Postal Service to private mail forwarding firms like America’s Mailbox and PostNet. Another delivery item to consider is your daily newspaper. If you still receive a paper delivery, remember to stop your delivery, so you don’t come home to a pile of newspapers on your front porch.
Should Fido Stay or Should He Go? More and more travelers are bringing their pets on the road with them. Having your best friend wagging their tail or purring at the door when you come home from your shift at the hospital is an instant stress reliever. If you aren’t quite ready to have your pet along on assignment, then planning for their care is an important item on the to-do list. Any friend or family member that is going to be taking care of your pet for 13-weeks has to have a good relationship with them before you leave. Helping your pet develop a comfort level and a relationship with someone takes time and that should be a consideration long before you accept your first assignment.
Like most things throughout your life and career, a little bit of planning makes everything better. Having a home to maintain, bills to pay, or even a furry friend to take care of is no reason for you to turn down the travel assignment you have always dreamed of getting. Plan for the things you are leaving behind as much as you are planning things for the place you are going and success will follow you everywhere.
Please take a moment and share with others your favorite tips for preparing to leave on a travel assignment in the comment section below. Everyone has had different experiences, and the tip you share may be perfect for a fellow working tourist. You can also join the conversation on our Facebook page.