The Happy Locum: Essential Tips for Enjoying Every Assignment


Locum tenens assignments offer an exciting avenue to explore varied clinical settings, meet new colleagues and patients, and achieve optimal work-life balance. These temporary contracts provide more than just professional opportunities, though; they’re also a backdrop for personal growth, exploration, and the joy of discovery.

However, the transient nature of this work, coupled with the logistics of travel and adjustment to new environments, can sometimes overshadow its benefits. The key to not just surviving but thriving in locum tenens roles lies in mastering methods to streamline travel, enhance your living conditions, and ensure you remain connected and nurtured.


This article explores actionable advice and insights to upgrade your locum tenens experience, highlighting everything from essential packing hacks for efficiency to enhancing your workspace, building valuable relationships, and maintaining self-care routines. Continue reading to learn more.

Travel hacks

Navigating the logistics of travel is a significant aspect of locum tenens work. Try these tips to transform your experience:

Tips for efficient packing

  • Create a packing list: Tailor a comprehensive packing list for your locum assignments, including essentials and a few comfort items. This ensures you don’t forget anything important and helps avoid overpacking.
  • Invest in quality luggage: Durable, lightweight luggage with compartments can help organize your items and make packing and unpacking easier.
  • Pack multi-use clothing: Choose versatile, wrinkle-resistant clothing suitable for various settings. Layering pieces can save space and adapt to different climates.
  • Use packing cubes: Packing cubes can drastically improve how you organize your suitcase, making it easier to find what you need without disrupting everything else.
  • Essentials kit: Keep a small bag with all your travel essentials — chargers, toiletries, important documents, and medications — so they’re always ready to go.

Strategies for navigating TSA, the airport, and rental cars

  • TSA PreCheck and Global Entry: Investing in TSA PreCheck or Global Entry can save significant time at the airport through expedited security and customs checks. Some travel rewards credit cards even reimburse you for your TSA PreCheck or Global Entry fees.
  • Download airline and rental car apps: Use apps for check-in, boarding passes, flight updates, and rental car details, to reduce wait times and paperwork.
  • Familiarize yourself with airport layouts: Before your travel day, review the airport layout to locate terminals, car rental agencies, and any necessary amenities.
  • Loyalty programs: Enroll in airline and rental car loyalty programs to accumulate points for future travel and enjoy benefits like free upgrades and priority service.
  • Pack smart for the airport: Wear shoes and belts that are easy to remove for security checks, and pack liquids and electronics in your carry-on for quick screening.

Craft a home away from home

Moving to a new location for an assignment can often feel disorienting, especially if a hotel room is your temporary residence. The key to turning these impersonal spaces into comforting sanctuaries is to bring a few carefully chosen items. Here are some ideas:

  • Portable speaker
  • Travel candle or essential oil diffuser
  • Soft throw or pillowcase
  • Personal photos
  • Your favorite coffee or tea

Choose assignments in exciting destinations

The allure of locum tenens work combines professional experiences with the opportunity to explore new and exciting destinations. Accepting assignments in intriguing locations can significantly enhance your experience, making each job an adventure. Here are some tips:

  • Research destinations: After accepting an assignment, take some time to research the destination. Look for places that offer activities and attractions that interest you, whether outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or culinary explorations.
  • Plan your downtime: Make the most of your time in a new location by planning how you’ll spend your days off. Whether visiting local landmarks, trying new restaurants, or simply relaxing in a beautiful setting, having a plan will help you optimize your free time.
  • Extend your stay: Consider extending your assignment or staying a few extra days before or after your contract. This allows you more time to immerse yourself in the local culture and environment, making the travel aspect of locum tenens work even more rewarding.

Connect with colleagues

Building relationships with colleagues at each new assignment can significantly enrich your experience. Not only does it help you professionally by expanding your network, it also provides a sense of community and belonging, which can be comforting when you’re away from home.

Initiating introductions and expressing a genuine interest in getting to know your new team can lay the foundation for meaningful relationships. The shared experiences and challenges inherent in healthcare often create opportunities for solid, immediate bonds. Demonstrating openness and approachability from the start can make integrating into a new team smoother and more rewarding.

By actively seeking to build connections, you’ll create a network of colleagues who can offer support, camaraderie, and insight, making each assignment a more integrated and enjoyable experience.

Continue your self-care rituals

Upholding your self-care rituals is vital for your well-being, offering stability and comfort as you adapt to new places and schedules. Strive for routine consistency, from your morning rituals to exercise and sleep routines, to ground yourself and alleviate stress.

Pack essential self-care items — like your yoga mat, skincare products, or journal — to help keep your practices in place. Additionally, embrace the chance to integrate your self-care activities with exploring your new environment, whether attending local fitness classes or finding serene meditation spots, enriching your self-care and overall experience.

Are you ready to find your next adventure? Contact us today to get started.