Traveling by yourself can be intimidating, and if you’re a travel nurse in a new city, it can be especially so! It may seem scary at first, but the opportunities you receive as a travel nurse are certainly worth it. There are several ways that you can be safer while traveling alone. Below are a few tips, plus a few fun suggestions, that will help ease your mind. Remember, if you have any specific questions, head on over to the Stability Healthcare website or ask your recruiter for more information.
Familiarize yourself with the neighborhood
Chances are you’ll be working in a neighborhood that you’ve never lived in. If you have the opportunity to check out the neighborhood prior to moving, you should do so. This way, you can get a feel for the area before you commit to housing. Does the neighborhood feel relatively safe? If you’re taking public transit, is it far from the bus/train stop? Does the neighborhood look taken care of? These are all aspects you want to consider. Depending on which city you’re in, neighborhood safety can also change block by block. A neighborhood at night can seem very different than a neighborhood during the day. Take a walk at all times of the day. Look online to see if you can find any first-hand stories from those who live in the neighborhood. The best place to get factual information is to either experience it yourself or to talk to someone who has.
Keep your belongings on you safe
If you’re walking alone, make sure that whatever bag you’re storing your items in is secure. Refrain from using open-top bags like tote bags. Instead, use a backpack with a zipper or a side bag that you can fasten. Keep all of your valuables in the main pouch of a backpack, and at the bottom of your bag. Instead of carrying your wallet or cellphone in your pocket, make sure it’s also secure in your bag. Overall, pack light. This will help prevent any pickpocketing.
Always carry your cell phone and have a portable charger
Sometimes it’s tempting to leave your phone at home to disconnect from the world of social media or to clear your head, but it’s always safer to bring it with you. You never know when you may need it, like in case of an emergency or if you need to Uber home instead of taking transit. It’s also incredibly helpful for directions. A portable charger will help ensure that your phone is always able to be used. It also comes in handy if you decide to adventure after your shift and you need to be able to get home in an unfamiliar neighborhood.
Pack smart, not heavy. This especially rings true if you’re traveling for a shorter amount of time. Instead of traveling with valuables – like televisions, other large electronics, expensive jewelry, etc. – leave them in a trusted area or with a trusted person. This will not only help you be less of a target for burglary, but it will also help you move easier. Only take the necessities. If you’re working in the summer in California, you most likely won’t be needing that heavy down jacket or mittens. If you’re in Maine in the winter, you won’t be needing those flips flops. Look ahead and plan out what you’re bringing so you don’t over or under pack.
Plan out a budget
Sitting down and looking at your finances is extremely important when it comes to being a travel nurse. You want to accommodate for all of the necessities – housing, food, activities, insurance, etc. It’s best to sit down and write everything down so you know what to expect and how much you can spend. Account for more spending than you think you will. Surprise expenses always pop-up, and since you’ll be alone, you’ll have to hold yourself accountable.
Take advantage of traveling alone, but when you do, let someone know where you are going
One of the biggest benefits of traveling alone is the ability to do what you want to do. Try that funky restaurant down the street, check out that movie you’ve been meaning to see, or visit that national park a short driveway. Your time outside of your shift is yours and only yours to use! Just make sure to let someone know where you’re going if it’s for an extended period of time. On most smartphones you can share your location with someone, allowing them to check on you periodically. This is beneficial when you’re traveling alone, or in case something happens and you need help. In particular, sharing your location is important if you’re doing a physical activity that will place you out of your comfort zone, like hiking or camping.
Scared you’ll get lonely? Consider a pet
There are many opportunities for a travel nurse to bring a pet. If you’re worried that you’ll be lonely or feel like a pet (like a dog) might make you feel safer, consider bringing your furry friend along with you! Just make sure that your position and housing will allow you to travel with an animal beforehand.
Meet other travel nurses and friends along the way
If you’re looking to adventure while you’re a travel nurse, make friends! Just because you may be traveling to a new city alone, doesn’t mean you have to do everything alone. At the end of the day, the safest option is to do activities with others. While you’re a travel nurse, you have plenty of opportunities to meet people, whether they’re other travel nurses or if they frequent the same café down the street like you do. Be smart about meeting people, but be open to it.
Are you feeling inspired to pack your bags and hit the road on your next placement? Stability Healthcare can help you find your next placement!