How to make the most of your time off while on assignment.

    One of the great things about travel nursing is the opportunities it presents to explore new and interesting places during your time off work. That’s why many nurses become travelers in the first place.
    If you’re new to the travel nursing life and want to take advantage of the adventures awaiting you on your time off, here are a few ideas to help you plan the perfect sightseeing tour or day trip.

    Know Before You Go

    As soon as you accept your assignment to a new locale, start researching local and regional places of interest. Go online and look at websites for the city or region you’ll be visiting. Those websites usually list local and nearby features of interest, and cities may have visitors bureaus that can provide additional information. Ask coworkers, friends, and neighbors who may have been in the area for their suggestions about what they enjoyed there. When you arrive, your new colleagues can probably clue you in to must-see features below the usual tourist radar.

    Plan Your Trip Carefully

    You may be tempted to just strike out and let your trip unfold organically. That may not be the best idea in unfamiliar territory or when traveling alone, as you might develop car problems or run out of gas miles away from anywhere. Better to have a plan and itinerary and stick to it — and there’s an app for that (see below).

    Don’t Overextend Yourself

    Don’t overestimate your stamina by planning to visit several attractions in one day. As we all know, driving long distances can be very fatiguing, and if you’re too saddle sore to enjoy the place you made the trip to
    visit, you won’t be able to enjoy the visit fully. After all, these trips will be taking place on your days off from work.

    Weekends Are for Work

    As a travel nurse you will probably find yourself working more than the average number of weekend shifts. That’s a good thing! A weekday road trip has many advantages: nonexistent or smaller crowds at popular attractions, fewer cars on the road, and more time to poke around and explore all the sights your find has to offer.

    Savor the Local Flavor

    Not every assignment will take you to a major metropolitan area with abundant cultural and epicurean delights. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find experiences worth a day trip. For example, many small towns take great pride in their history and maintain small museums chronicling local pioneers and events. The curators love talking about their locales and usually have plenty of colorful stories to tell.

    Seek Out the Obscure

    If you’re looking for offbeat sights like the world’s largest ball of twine or a Paul Bunyan monument, try Atlas Obscura, a site that seeks out the novel and intriguing. Just enter a state, city, or keyword in the search box, and chances are you’ll come up with a sizeable list of places you won’t want to miss. These finds can be more interesting than many big city venues.

    Technology is Your Friend

    While a lot of the fun of road trips is unfolding maps and trying to refold them properly, Furkot is a nifty road trip planner that does all that hard work for you. (No separate software needed; Furkot works from your device’s internet browser.) Just enter your starting point, end point (or midpoint for a round trip); date, duration, mode of transportation; highway or nonhighway routing preference; and lots more. Furkot plans your trip so you won’t run out of gas, and you can edit the route by dragging the flag to another location. You can add points of interest by either entering a site name or general address or adding a category/feature icon to your search criteria. Furkot does all the time and distance computations so you can just relax and enjoy the scenery.

    Bon voyage!

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