5 Ways to Spend Your Day Off While on the Road

5 ways travel nurses can spend free time on assignmentBy Leigh Morgan, Contributor

Whether you work as a med-surg nurse or spend most of your time in a specialty department, travel nursing is an excellent opportunity to earn more money, meet new people and visit new places. After a busy week of caring for patients, it's important to use your day off wisely. For some travel nurses, a day off is the perfect opportunity to try something new; other nurses use the time to run errands and prepare for the week ahead. If you're tired of watching TV or playing computer games, here are five ways to spend your day off while on the road.

1. Plan your meals for the week 

Meal planning may not sound relaxing, but it's one of the best ways to spend your day off. Although travel nursing is a rewarding career, it's not easy to maintain a healthy weight and get the right nutrients when you're always on the road. According to the Mayo Clinic, planning ahead can help you save time and make sure that you're eating balanced meals. Next time you're off, use the time to create a weekly menu, shop for ingredients and prepare several meals to freeze.

2. Take a class for personal enrichment

Although continuing education is important for travel nurses, you may not want to spend your day off reading journal articles and taking quizzes. If you love to learn, try taking a class just for fun. Many colleges and community organizations offer personal-enrichment classes for people interested in gardening, painting, cooking, fitness and other hobbies. Taking classes is a great way to improve existing skills or learn something completely new.

If you're ready for a new travel nursing assignment, check out the Onward Healthcare job board for a list of openings.

3. Visit a public library

Visiting a public library is one of the most rewarding things to do by yourself, and public libraries are no longer just for reading magazines and checking out books. In an article for the Public Library Association, Noah Lenstra describes public libraries as "vibrant community hubs" that offer a wide range of activities. Some public libraries have even partnered with other community organizations to offer educational programs, fitness classes and opportunities for patrons to connect with like-minded people.

4. Prepare for the week ahead

Life is stressful enough without having to rush around looking for things every time you're getting ready for work. Marina Watson Pelaez of Time reports that planning ahead can help minimize stress and increase your level of happiness. Here are several things you can do on your day off to save time on busy work days.


  • If you're scheduled to work four nursing shifts, make sure you have four pairs of scrubs washed, dried and ready to wear.
  • Cut down on the amount of time it takes to get your lunch ready by doing as much as you can when you're off from work. Chop vegetables, portion out single servings of snack foods, wash whole fruits and do whatever else you can to save time later in the week.
  • Prepare birthday cards, letters and other correspondence. Put each item in an envelope, write out the recipient's address and add a postage stamp. Instead of scrambling to find an envelope or write out a birthday greeting later in the week, all you'll have to do is drop the stamped envelope in the mail.
  • Traveling with kids? Fill out permission slips, write notes to their teachers and plan ahead for weekend activities as much as possible to avoid having to search for lost items or complete last-minute tasks when you're getting ready for work.


5. Visit the local historical society

One of the great things about working as a travel nurse is that you get to visit places you might not get to see otherwise. If you're interested in getting a feel for your new locale, visit a nearby historical society. Some organizations have museums or other buildings filled with documents, artifacts and works of art that can help you learn more about the people and events that shaped your new town. Use a directory of historical societies to find one of these organizations in your area.

Travel nursing pays well, and it's a great opportunity to advance your career, but it's important to recharge when you're not working. Taking time to relax will help you be a more effective advocate for your patients, so be sure to try one of these ways to spend your day off the next time you have an opening in your work schedule.

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