Written By: Infinity Scrubs
Life as a travel nurse can be both exciting and rewarding. It allows you to see new places, meet people from all walks of life and enhance your professional skills. No matter how much a travel nurse loves their job, though, homesickness is a common problem. Even the nicest short-term rental unit rarely feels like home, and it can be challenging to adjust to being far away from friends and loved ones.
However, the good news is that there are many ways to make temporary housing feel cozier. Whether you’re new to travel nursing or a seasoned pro, here are a few things you can do to make your temporary residence feel a bit more comfortable.
Unpack and Organize
If you want your temporary housing to feel like home, you need to treat it like home. That means not living out of your suitcase for the duration of your contract. From your favorite modern scrubs to your toiletries, unpack everything and neatly organize it in your new space. Fill up your closet with stylish scrub jackets for women and other work and casual essentials, and organize the kitchen and bathroom to your liking.
When you’re finished, put your luggage away rather than leaving it out. Tucking them away is an easy way to make your temporary residence feel less temporary.
Do Some Decorating
Time and space constraints make it impractical to redecorate every temporary home completely. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t add a few personal touches to make the space feel more like your own. Bring along some of your favorite photos and artwork, and display them. If you’re staying in a tiny apartment, adding a few inexpensive mirrors can make the space feel larger, too.
Think about investing in a few small, easy-to-pack accent lamps. While your temporary digs may have plenty of overhead lighting, bright ceiling lights don’t create much of a homey feeling. Adding a few accent lamps can make your living space feel warmer and cozier while eliminating the sterile feeling that lingers in many short-term rental properties.
Bring a Pet Along
Nothing makes a short-term rental feel more like home than having a furry face waiting for you when you return from work at the end of a long day. Roughly a third of travel nurses bring a pet along with them, and the practice is widely accepted.
Keep in mind, though, that you may incur additional costs when traveling with a pet. Many short-term rental owners require additional fees or deposits for pets. Your furry friend may also need veterinary care while you are on the road. For most people, though, the financial costs are negligible compared to the amount of joy and comfort their pet brings them. Furnished Finder is a great place to search for temporary accommodations that allow pets.
Pack Your Own Linens
Linens are commonly provided in fully furnished short-term rentals. This is convenient, of course, but it doesn’t make the unit feel like home. If you have room to do so, consider packing your own bedding. Whether it’s a favorite set of sheets, a cuddly blanket, or your pillows, having your own bedding to cuddle up in at the end of a long day evokes a sense of peace and comfort.
Add a Houseplant
Did you know that houseplants are scientifically proven to improve one’s mood and ease stress? In addition, the act of taking care of something — even something as simple as a houseplant — supports mental health.
You don’t have to have a green thumb to have a houseplant. Plenty of plants are easy to care for and adapt well when being moved from one location to another. If you’re looking for an easy-to-care-for plant that’s difficult to kill, a snake plant is a great option. Snake plants require very little maintenance, and they do a fantastic job of purifying the air.
Don’t Live on Take-Out
When you arrive in a new city, head to the grocery store to stock up on everything you need to prepare home-cooked meals. Eating every meal out is unhealthy, and the cost adds up quickly. Cooking for yourself is a powerful act of self-care that is incredibly comforting.
Filling your new home with the aromas of cooking and enjoying your favorite flavors is a great way to make yourself feel more at home. Plus, inviting your fellow travel nurses to your place to enjoy a home-cooked meal is an excellent way to make new friends and combat loneliness.
Get to Know Your New City
When you aren’t working, spend some time checking out local coffee shops, stores, and restaurants. Say hello to your neighbors, and ask them for recommendations on the places you absolutely must-see while you are in the area. Go for a stroll around the neighborhood. Exploring your surroundings may seem a bit intimidating at first, especially if you are new to travel nursing. Still, it really will help you feel much more comfortable in your surroundings.
Temporary Housing Doesn’t Have to Feel Unfamiliar
Whether your assignment lasts a few weeks or a few months, your temporary place of residence doesn’t have to feel cold and unfamiliar. With a little bit of planning, you can make nearly any space feel warm and cozy. From bringing your pet or some of your favorite things from home to exploring your community, there are many ways to make yourself feel more at home while traveling.
From travel nursing beginnings to seasoned pros, the tips listed above will help you overcome homesickness and make it easier for you to enjoy the perks of working in a new city.