It’s one of the most enticing benefits of locums work: The recurring opportunity to pack up, hit the road, and experience a new, exciting place, all while getting paid handsomely for your time and skills.
As the travel manager at Hayes Locums, it’s my job (along with my team) to assist our physicians and advanced practice clinicians with all things travel-related to make sure their trip runs as smoothly as possible — and we’ve learned some invaluable tips over the years.
To be fully prepared to travel for your next locum tenens assignment, we’ve rounded up six things to consider to make the experience as worry-free as possible.
1. Sign up for TSA precheck.
This is pretty basic, but it’s an absolute game-changer for frequent travelers.
With the TSA precheck, you can save hours by skipping long security lines and rid yourself of the anxiety that comes with rushing through an airport to catch a flight. Plus, it only costs $85 and takes just a couple of weeks to get approved.
2. Keep packing simple.
To streamline the packing process, unpack as little as possible between trips. I’m talking about things like your toiletry bags, shoes, extra lab coat or scrubs, stethoscope, pager, etc. It’s unlikely you’ll need these items when home from a locums assignment, so keep them in your luggage, wash and return your laundry to your suitcase, and off you go!
Another pro pointer: Pack a change of clothes and any essential work supplies in your carry-on luggage. This way, if a flight is canceled or the airline misplaces your luggage along the way, you’ll be prepared and have at least the necessary items to get to work the next day.
3. Make the most of points.
As a locums provider, you are considered an independent contractor. For tax purposes, you complete a 1099 form. This
You’re traveling anyway, so why not accumulate rewards points? Car rental companies, airlines, hotels — they all encourage you to sign up for rewards that you can use toward future travel, so take advantage!
Also, being a frequent traveler or rewards member makes the overall travel experience easier to navigate. Signing up can make you eligible for upgrades and special accommodations and makes resolving issues simpler, should anything come up during travel.
4. Download travel management apps.
I was once at the gate, waiting to board the plane when I received a notification from TripCase, a helpful travel management app, letting me know that my flight was delayed before the even airline announced it. By receiving the notification early, I had the opportunity to act sooner and book a seat on the next best flight before it filled up. This made my travel experience so much easier!
There are more than 25 other travel management apps out there that are designed to aggregate all your travel itinerary info into one easy-to-navigate location, so check them out. In addition to TripCase, we like TripIt, Traveler Buddy, and Tripify. And don’t forget to download the app of the airline you’re using, as well. Having this on your phone will make checking your flight status and managing your travel even more convenient.
5. Get out when you can.
It can get lonely when you’re doing locums work, so make the most of where you’re staying.
Regardless of the environment, get outside and explore. Take a hike or walk around your new neighborhood. Embrace the local culture and try things you can’t do back at home like eating at new restaurants and taking in the sights nearby.
Even better, make an effort to socialize with other employees where you work. Changing up your routine, trying something new, and taking in the sights will help you fend off cabin fever and allow you to make the most of your temporary assignment.
6. Lean on your locums consultant.
From the moment you sign on for a new assignment to the moment you return home, the travel team at Hayes Locums is committed to providing you with the best experience possible.
We work with our consultants to help them guide you before, during, and after your assignment. Our job to take excellent care of you and we’re happy to help you with anything you need, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The most important thing to keep in mind: Even when you’re as prepared as possible, things can still happen. So, stay flexible. When you work with a capable, attentive travel team, there’s no problem we can’t handle.
Traveling as a locum tenens provider gives you the opportunity to travel, explore, and learn a new part of the country. Plus, you get to work in a different hospital or facility where you can experience new patients, new methods, and a new way of doing things, so you never feel “stuck” in a situation that’s not a good fit for you.
We want you to make the most of your Locums experience, so don’t hesitate to reach out to your consultant with any questions you may have.