Packing for a Locum Tenens Assignment

While accepting a locum tenens assignment in a new location can be exciting, spending time in an unfamiliar environment can also be intimidating — especially if it’s your first time.

If questions about climate, what to wear, what to bring, and how to pack it all in fewer than three suitcases are swirling about in your headspace, keep reading for some simple tips and tricks to packing for a locum tenens assignment.

Things to Bring:

  • Climate-appropriate clothing. Winter in Montana and winter in Kentucky are not the same winter; before you pack your bags, learn more about your assigned location’s geography so you can properly plan for the weather.
  • Depending on the length of your assignment, bring one or two additional outfits. If work dinners and other events unexpectedly come up during your stay, you’ll want to be prepared.
  • If daily exercise is a must, don’t forget your exercise clothing and active shoes! If your hotel has a hot tub or pool, bring a swimsuit along as well.
  • Travel-size hygiene items. Instead of lugging your full-size (and possibly costly) hygiene products around, consider opting for sample sizes! They’re smaller and cheaper, and if you accidentally leave them behind before heading home, it won’t be much of a loss. Plus, you can easily take them with you to your hospital or clinic for a quick pick-me-up during a long shift.
  • If you wear contact lenses, don’t forget to bring some backup glasses; if you’re heading somewhere sunny, bring a pair of sunglasses.
  • Entertainment. When you’re not on the clock, you’ll likely have some downtime. Be sure to pack some books, download a few podcasts, and bring a laptop to stream your favorite movies and TV shows. Don’t forget your headphones!
  • Remember to pack your phone charger so you can stay connected while you’re away.
  • Bring a small personal bag to accompany you to the hospital or clinic. Fill it with snacks, hygiene items, a phone charger, and any other items you might need throughout your shift.
  • Any medical resources or references you use that aren’t available online.

Space-Saving and Wrinkle-Reducing Packing Techniques:

  • Plan ahead. When packing, carefully select and pair your outfit choices instead of tossing random pieces into a suitcase. This will ensure you’re bringing items that match and prevent you from bringing extra clothing you won’t wear, offering more space for clothing you will wear.
  • Stay neutral. Increase suitcase space by packing neutral pieces that can be worn with multiple outfits. Adding versatility to your travel wardrobe means bringing fewer pieces along.
  • Stack and fold. To reduce wrinkles, try stacking similar items on top of each other, then folding the stack as a whole.
  • Roll and go. Instead of folding, opt for rolling! Rolling your clothing pieces into cylindrical shapes and packing them tightly will limit wrinkles and take up less space.
  • Wrap it up. Fold your dress clothing in tissue paper to lessen wrinkles.
  • Cabinet on wheels. If you’re heading on a longer assignment, try stacking your folded items vertically, as if being placed in a filing cabinet. This method will allow you to bring more items and see everything you’ve packed all at once.
  • Compartmentalize. Invest in some packing cubes! These small, square compartments are designed to be placed in suitcases to assist in organizing your items.

Creative Packing Methods:

  • Squeaky clean. Slip your shoes into shower caps or grocery sacks to protect your clothing from dirty sole markings.
  • No-spill zone. Pack liquid items like shampoo, lotion, and hair spray into resealable plastic bags. With air pressure changes and rough suitcase handling, this will prevent any leaks or spills from getting all over your clothes.
  • Nooks and crannies. Stuff small, soft items like socks and underclothing inside your shoes.
  • Breath of fresh air. Place a couple of dryer sheets in your suitcase to keep your clothes smelling fresh after a long flight.
  • All in one place. Use a glasses case to store your electronic necessities, like your headphones and a phone charger. These easy-to-lose pieces will be easier to keep track of when in a storage container.
  • Handle with care. Tie a “fragile” tag to your suitcase to ensure it’s handled as gently as possible.

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