The Short List of Tech for Today’s Traveler
By Aaron C. Moore, MSN, RN-BC, travel nurse expert
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December 17, 2014 - I’ve written in the past about intentionally “losing” the technology devices and enjoying the path laid out before you in travel nursing. When it comes to adventure and experiencing the great unknown, it is the preferred way to go, in my opinion. But there are also times when basic tech for today’s travelers can help you relax, stay connected, or enjoy some of the finer things in life.
So here are the things I recommend every travel nurse have in his or her car before arriving at their first assignment:
1. Tunes player: As a music lover, this one is really important to me. Ten years ago, it was hard to pack the sound you wanted into a little car and drive around the country. When iPods first came out, I was in heaven; I’ve owned one ever since. Today, Bluetooth and nanotechnology have opened the door to great sound in a little package. For pure value, any old Bluetooth-enabled device will work, but it pays to invest in a good one and test it out before you buy.
2. GPS: Using a map and taking the road less traveled can really enhance the travel nursing experience. But when you really need directions and the most direct route, a good GPS is essential. For pure simplicity, just get the app on your phone (one less piece of equipment to haul around). But if you like to hike or explore outdoors, invest in a handheld device that suits your style.
3. Computer: Portable is the name of the game for computers to fit your traveler lifestyle--and you may even choose to combine this device with #4. But if you’re going solely for the computer, I recommend a laptop or the new laptop/tablet combo. They are multifunctional, lightweight and won’t take up too much room in your already packed-out car.
4. TV: I started traveling when flat screen plasma TVs hit the market; I debated and debated about getting one. It was thin enough to fit between my two Rubbermaid bins that held our clothes in the wagon, but it never felt right to spend a grand on a device that could crack while driving from Portland to Nashville. So I always just asked for one in my contract. Now, though, you can get a smart TV with WiFi technology that you can hold in one hand and costs you less than $300. So, if you love your TV, go ahead and get your own; it might even leave you some wiggle room in your contract.
5. Modem/Router: This may sound unusual, but as a seasoned traveler I recommend purchasing a good dual band modem/router for yourself. They are compatible with all cable/internet providers--argue if they tell you differently--and will save you money instead of renting one every month while on the road.
6. Phone: The once-humble phone is now anything but; today’s phones can pretty much fill all the needs of the first four topics on this list. There are always debates about providers and coverage, but that is a topic for another entry. When it comes down to it, you simply need a good smartphone when you’re traveling. I recommend getting one with plenty of GBs to store information, pictures, music, etc. I also recommend investing in a very durable case. You never know where the road will lead you, and having an “unbreakable, waterproof and dustproof” friend by your side will be worth it.
There are dozens of new inventions on the market, but this short list of tech gadgets is enough to outfit yourself with plenty of fun. Don’t overdo it when it comes to travel nursing and gadgets; this is the chance to simplify your life. My life motto is “K.I.S.S.,” which means “Keep It Simple, Stupid!” I learned this saying on my first assignment in Chula Vista, Calif., from a well-seasoned intensivist while he was explaining how to treat DKA to me. It has stuck ever since.
So simplify, keep to a short list, and enjoy!
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