One of the best reasons to be a travel nurse is the opportunity to explore the region on our days off. We don’t go to a brand new place just to hide in our housing when we aren’t at the hospital. We take a road trip and explore the area!
It’s so healthy to mentally detox on days off and focus on finding those sweet spots to fall in love with wherever we may be. As travel nurses, we love sharing our adventures with other people via social media… so how do you find the best places to travel and snap the perfect shot for Instagram!?
1. Get your schedule
The first thing I do in order to organize my days off is get a full schedule for my contract. I usually do a 3 or 4 week contract so I will most likely receive my schedule all at once when before I arrive to the facility.
Use your days off wisely!!
2. Choose your days
Next, I look at what my options are for days off. It’s really nice if you have a 4-on-4-off schedule, which makes for a lot of exploring! Sometimes you aren’t so lucky so you take what you can get and make the most of it! During my most recent contract North, I had only one set of days off (3 in a row). I knew that was my chance to go exploring!
3. Plan your activities
The next thing I do is use Pinterest and TripAdvisor to get inspiration for things to do in the area. Pinterest usually gives you a variety of blog posts to read about places; I use this when I plan any trip, not just during a contract. TripAdvisor is great because it will always tell you the ‘Top 10 Things to Do’ in the city you are visiting. You’ll get restaurant recommendations, hiking suggestions, and you can also read reviews from people who have already visited.
Another tool I use is the app called AllTrails. You can type in the place you’re going, and every hiking trail will pop up with a map, description of the trail, and reviews from people who have hiked it!
4. Find some inspiration
Another thing I do for inspiration is following some accounts and hashtags on Instagram. When I signed my contract up North, I followed a few hashtags such as #northernbc, #liardhotsprings etc. There are a few really inspiring accounts to follow as well such as @hellobc and @travelnorthernbc! Now every post that has those hashtags will come up in my feed and give me inspiration and ideas of where to explore! When I was on another assignment in December, I discovered a gorgeous walking trail through the hashtag I followed on Instagram…it ended up being one of my favorite places to visit while I was there!
Don’t forget to connect with others!
5. Ask the locals
The best information you can gather is by speaking directly to the staff at your facility and asking them about the best spots to go. Find out which restaurants are the yummiest, which coffee shop is the most popular, which trails have the best views. The locals are the ones who will know best! Some of them will probably even want to join you! I went hiking with a staff nurse in Prince Rupert and now we are planning a trip to Haida Gwaii together!! Another option is to go get your hair done, or a manicure or eyelash extensions; talk to the staff and get a good feel for the town you’re working in. I have learned so much about the town from my eyelash technician! I know about the housing market, the industries in town, the kind of patient population I’m dealing with…all from a one hour appointment when I first got into town!
My northern road trip
On my set of 3 days off, I drove up to Liard River Hot Springs and even went all the way up to Watson Lake, Yukon!! I gathered a ton of tips from social media and people in town and I was that much more prepared for my weekend getaway. A nurse I worked with even gave me a free voucher for two nights at the Lodge which saved me a ton of money!! It was freezing (-43 degrees Celcius to be exact) but it was amazing to get away from the hospital for a few days for a nice break and explore the hot springs, Muncho Lake Provincial Park and the Yukon! Make the most of your days off! Those are the days you will remember most when you think back on your contracts!
Interested in more content from Haleigh? Check her out on Instagram @thetalesof.hales
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