Traveling for a living reaps many benefits, from experiencing new people and places, widening your lens to the profession, skills and knowledge acquisition, to the financial benefits; it’s no wonder that traveling for a living provides answers that many are seeking.
In order to obtain a more satisfying time when home, traveling for a living requires more pre-planning than it does for a yearly vacation. Yes, there are similarities – both scenarios contain luggage, then there are the adieus you bid when leaving and those welcoming moments upon returning home – but aside from that, if you want to extend the time spent enjoying family and friends, or in pleasant relaxation, an organized regimen is vital.
I have several memories of my initial traveling cycles that amuse me when I consider how little I knew about traveling. I suppose it helps prove the adage, ‘you don’t know what you don’t know!’ My hope is that you learn at least one valuable tip after reading this blog.
The most important takeaway that I wish I had learned early on is to R.E.L.A.X and don’t sweat the small stuff. ‘Be prepared’ is my most important tip! If it can happen, it probably will happen if you travel long enough, but if you prepare yourself by at least considering one backup plan, you will be better equipped to handle the small glitches and bumps in the road.
There are several variables to consider when planning to travel, such as how many days you will be away from home, the distance between your home and the destination, how you will travel, securing your home, and of course, planning for the occasional intervention by Mother Nature. Let’s take a look at some of these variables in a few categories:
Invest in yourself and your new lifestyle. There are several items which I highly recommend that are a small outlay initially, but will pay for themselves quickly:
- A refillable water bottle is cost effective and will keep you hydrated.
- Empty it before you go through security.
- Once through security, look for a water bottle refill station.
- Small refillable plastic bottles for items such as body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and lotion are easily found in stores and can be a great financial aid to you while traveling.
- I would recommend using the travel size manufacturer’s products only in an urgent situation if you wish to save money.
- Purchase duplicates or extra deodorant, combs and brushes, makeup, underwear, and socks.
- Pack all your valuables in your carry-on, i.e., passport, jewelry, money, credit cards, identification, etc.
- Pack one change of work clothes in your carry-on.
- If packing books, consider packing a large one in your carry-on, and the others at various places inside your checked luggage.
Clothing and shoes
- Consider clothing basics while choosing solid colors that are easy to mix and match.
- Choose fabric that doesn’t wrinkle easily.
- Wash your clothes as soon as possible on arriving home and immediately re-pack or trade out clothes in order to spend more stress-free time at home.
- Break in new shoes several weeks before you travel.
- Pack all medicines in your carry-on luggage.
- Keep medicine in its original container – for ease of obtaining prescription, pharmacy and provider information, as well as easy packing and unpacking.
- Put several individually sealed OTC medicines (analgesics, antacids, etc) in a baggie – buying small containers of those medicines while on the road is not cost effective.
- Medicine can lose potency or go bad before the expiration date if stored near heat, air, light, or moisture.
- When shopping for groceries at home, also purchase snacks for your return trip to your assignment to avoid unnecessary trips to the store.
- Steer clear of sugary foods that provide immediate relief from hunger, but not the long-term nutrients needed to sustain the body.
- Bulk buying is the most cost effective and the food can be repackaged to suit your needs. If purchasing nuts, freezing them in individual packages will extend their shelf life.
- Granola, trail mix, pretzels, and popcorn are good choices, as are apples, pears and carrots.
- Many new food choices are available to make your food choices varied and healthy:
- Kale chips, protein bars, seeds (pumpkin, sunflower).
- Applesauce squeeze packets and nut butters are both healthy and easily transportable.
- Remember the 3-1-1 rule when traveling by air. Nut butters and fruit squeeze packets are considered ‘liquids,’ and need to be packaged in 3.4 oz. (100 ml) or less containers. They must also fit in a quart size baggie to pack in your carry-on luggage.
- For a list regarding food items, check out this TSA link:
- Keep your phone charged with options such as:
- Portable charging units
- Solar chargers
- Smart luggage that can charge devices and be tracked
- Hotspots and Skype Wi-Fi are other options to stay connected.
- Keep an extra cable and charger in your carry-on luggage.
The Home Front
- If you live alone, consider:
- Who will take in your mail?
- Who will tend to yard work?
- Timers for lights and the television
- A security system or an upgrade to your current system
- If there is another adult in the house, consider:
- Who will take care of cooking?
- Who will clean the house?
- Who will be the household ‘taxi driver’?
- Who will perform the laundry chores?
Basically, you want to consider what tasks you perform now (pre-travel) that another person will be responsible for when you begin to travel.
Traveling for a living holds great rewards that can be increased through careful planning to ensure a more satisfying time when you are home. Feel free to add to this list and mentor another person on the wonderful world of traveling through your experience.
Karen Newhouser, RN, BSN, CCM, CCDS, CCS, CDIP
Director of Education
- Powell, L. August 17, 2015. CNN. Turner Broadcasting System Inc. 2017. Retrieved from http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/01/travel/top-new-travel-acessories-2015/index.html on February 7, 2017
- Transportation Security Administration. Travel. Official website of the Department of Homeland Security. Retrieved from https://www.tsa.gov/travel on February 23, 2017