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Locum Tenens Travel Tips

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 in between.


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:


  • Get A TSA PreCheck
  • Book Your Flight For The Morning
  • Make Use Of Your Carry-On
  • Avoid Busy Travel Days
  • Get To The Airport Early
  • Bring Some Friends Or Family


Travel Tips for Locum Tenens Clinicians


1. Get A TSA PreCheck

If you plan on flying to your next locum tenens assignment, we highly recommend that you PURCHASE A TSA PRECHECK, as it can significantly reduce the time spent going through airport security. The application process takes only a few minutes and requires a small fee, but it’s well worth the cost.


Domestic travelers can purchase a multi-year membership, and international travelers can upgrade to the Global Entry membership for an additional fee. With a membership, you won’t be required to remove your shoes, jacket, or electronics, allowing you to get to your gate faster.


The benefits of TSA PreCheck are apparent any time of the year, but it will prove especially invaluable if you’re traveling during the holidays.


2. Book Your Flight For The Morning (or a Day or Two Early) 

Flight delays can be caused by inclement weather during winter months, nasty rain storms, mechanical issues, or any number of other reasons. They happen every day, every week, every month, everywhere. Because delays are unfortunately so common, it’s important to give yourself extra time 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 arrive at your destination a few days early if possible. Arriving early will provide you with the opportunity to get settled in your accommodations, acclimate to your surroundings, and explore the new city a little bit to make your first day at your new assignment less stressful.


3. Make Use Of Your Carry-On

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 claims, 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.


4. Avoid Busy Travel Days

There are certain days of the week, month, and year that are known to be particularly harsh, and you should avoid traveling on these days if at all possible. Not only are they much busier, sometimes seeing millions of people traveling at once, but they’re also some of the most expensive 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. Conversely, Friday and Saturday are often two of the most expensive and crowded 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.


5. Get To The Airport Early

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 your departure is planned for a busy travel date.


The TSA PROVIDES SECURITY WAIT-TIME ESTIMATES for several airports that can be helpful in deciding when to arrive at the airport.


6. Bring Some Friends Or Family

Locums jobs can be a great way to plan a vacation with friends or family, especially when you’re visiting a 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!


Locum Tenens Travel Bonus Tips

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:


  • Pack lightly and bring only the essentials with you
  • Bring a quality laptop with you so you can stay connected and get more work done
  • Make sure to bring extra charging cables
  • Make use of cloud storage for important files so they can be accessed from multiple devices (Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, OneDrive, etc.)
  • Pick up some noise-canceling headphones
  • When flying, aim to book direct flights with your locum tenens agent or partner, instead of flights with layovers
  • Make sure you get to your destination early to avoid any scheduling issues if things don’t go according to plan
  • Make use of membership or loyalty programs for airlines, hotels, and car rentals
  • Make use of hotel gym equipment to exercise while traveling
  • Don’t opt for an all junk food diet; healthy meals will keep you moving

Do you have any travel tips that we didn’t include here that you think locum tenens clinicians 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!

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