Healthcare providers are often drawn to locum tenens work for the unique travel opportunities that come with the job. As a provider, you’ll get to choose when and where you’d like to be temporarily relocated – from mountainous small towns with plentiful outdoor activities, to bustling metropolitan cities with incredible night life opportunities, and everywhere inbetween.
While exploring new cities is a definite job perk, navigating airports is undoubtedly the least enjoyable part of the process, and it can be made even worse if you’re traveling for a locum assignment during the holidays.
Whether you’re taking an assignment during the holidays or considering a future cross-country locum tenens opportunity, follow these tips to make your travel less stressful.
If you plan on traveling to a locum tenens assignment by plane now or in the future, we highly recommend that you PURCHASE A TSA PRECHECK, as it can significantly reduce the time spent going through airport security. The application process is simple – taking only a few minutes – and requires a small fee, but we believe that it’s well worth the cost.
Domestic travelers can purchase a multi-year membership, and international travelers can opt for the Global Entry membership for an additional small fee. With a membership, you won’t be required to remove your shoes, laptop, compliant liquids, belt or jacket, allowing you get to your gate faster.
The benefits of TSA PreCheck are evident throughout the year, but it will prove especially invaluable if you’re traveling during the holidays.
Flight delays happen. They happen every day, every week, every month, everywhere. They’re just unavoidable it seems.
Delays can be caused by inclement weather during winter months, nasty rain storms, mechanical issues, or a bag that fell off of a card on the tarmac. Since delays are unfortunately so common, it’s important to plan for changes to your flight schedule.
To avoid arriving at your assignment destination late, morning flights are a safer option than late-night flights. In the event that your flight is delayed or canceled, you’ll have the opportunity to find another flight later in the day, rather than having to wait until the next day to try to get on a flight.
Another alternative is to show up to your destination a few days early if possible. Arriving early will provide you with the opportunity to get settled in your new accommodations, get accustomed to your surroundings, and explore the new city a little bit to make your first day at your new assignment less stressful.
While checked bags may be necessary for long-term assignments, we recommend opting for a carry-on when traveling for short-term assignments. Hospitals will have all of your work essentials, so you will only be required to travel with personal items.
Packing your belongings in a carry-on bag allows you to bypass baggage claim, getting you to your destination faster and minimizing your time spent in the airport. Lost baggage is always a possibility when traveling with a checked bag, but it’s completely avoidable when using a carry-on.
There are certain days of the week, certain days of the month, and certain days of the year that you should avoid traveling on if at all possible. These days aren’t just busy travel days, seeing millions of people traveling at once, but they’re also some of the most expensive, disruptive, and stressful days to travel.
For example, in the U.S., Tuesday & Wednesday are historically the cheapest and least stressful days to travel due to the relatively low number of people traveling on these days, while Friday and Saturday are often two of the most expensive and stressful days to travel.
Holiday seasons only exacerbate this. When possible, and if possible, avoid peak travel days like the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, or the day after Christmas.
Even if it means arriving for an assignment early, your travel will be far less hectic if you avoid the busiest days. If you’re taking locums work in a new city, use the extra time as an opportunity to try out a popular local restaurant or visit major landmarks.
For more info on what the best and worst travel days are, CHECK OUT THE GUIDE CREATED BY UPGRADEDPOINTS.
Make it a point to get to the airport an hour or two before your flight’s scheduled takeoff time. If you can, try to get there even earlier.
Consider traffic patterns when you decide what time to head to the airport. If you’re traveling in an unfamiliar city, ask your hotel concierge for a recommendation on when to leave to get to the airport on time.
Most airlines recommend arriving at least two hours before takeoff, but you may need to arrive even earlier if you’re traveling around busy travel dates.
The TSA PROVIDES SECURITY WAIT-TIME ESTIMATES for several airports that can be helpful in deciding when to arrive at the airport.
Locums jobs can be a great way to plan a vacation with friends or family, especially when you’re visiting an new or exciting destination.
If possible, add on a few days to the front or back of your assignment to explore the area and visit the city’s tourist destinations. Take a few extra days to travel, explore the local area, try new restaurants, visit museums, galleries, and parks. Take the time to enjoy your travels with some friends or family.
Just make sure to plan for their travel and accommodations accordingly!
To further increase your productivity and comfort level while traveling for your locum tenens assignments, we’ve compiled the below list of bonus travel tips to make your next trip just a bit more enjoyable and smooth:
Do you have any travel tips that we didn’t include here that you think locum tenens physicians should know? Let us know and we’ll be sure to include them. We’d love to hear what travel hacks you’ve come up with!