How to Make the Most out of your Travel Assignment

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How to Make the Most out of your Travel Assignment

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When you complete a travel assignment, you typically only have 13 weeks to live at your job location. This time will fly by faster than you think. It can be difficult to explore a new place in a short amount of time while working full time, but that’s what this lifestyle is all about. Here are some tips to make the most out of your travel assignment.

Research

Once you have a contract signed, you will most likely be preoccupied by the task of getting everything ready. It’s time to get some last minute documents in, find housing and figure out how you are going to get there. Once this is all done you can start to get more excited about your upcoming position. I usually google the location, search it on trip advisor and yelp, and then post my upcoming location on facebook. Chances are one of your facebook friends has been to or knows someone who can provide some information about your upcoming location. Tell all your coworkers and patients that you are new to town. I find that people are usually eager to tell you all the best places to go and things to do. “Locals” can be your best resource. Some of the best places I have visited on assignment were ones that I only heard of through word of mouth.  Once I have a decent amount of things to do I make a “bucket list” on my phone. I try to check off as many as I can before the assignment is over.

Meet Up

Viewing the northen lights while on assignment in Alaska

Meet up is a website/app that allows you to connect with other people. There are many groups for many different locations including anything from wine tasting, rock climbing or just socializing. I have tried a few hiking and happy hour groups which have been fun. It gives you a chance to get out and explore your new location with others who are looking to do the same.

Explore on your own

During my first two assignments I was traveling with my best friend who was also a traveling OT. This made socializing and meeting new people a lot easier. We went out almost every weekend and had no problem chatting and socializing with strangers. My third assignment when I was solo was a different ball game; I did have one friend from highschool in the area but she was over an hour away. I decided to make the most of this experience. I went out to eat by myself, I drove to the beach alone and took long walks on the beach. If I waited until I had someone to go with to experience a lot of these places I would have missed out on so many things.

There is something very valuable about not only getting to visit places, but to live, work and take it all in. Here are some tips for places I have traveled.

Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico

Midland, Texas

This place was tough, as west Texas isn’t the most exciting place to be. However, there are a lot of young professionals there due to the oil boom and there is a surprising nightlife. My favorite weekend getaway here was Sitting Bull Falls and Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. This is about a 3 hour drive from the Midland Area. It is the most bizarre thing: you drive through desert and desert and then all of the sudden a water oasis! Another really fun experience here was going to Lubbock and enjoying a Texas Tech football game. I went to a small college with no football team so it was fun to get dressed up and really into it!

Tucson, Arizona

Sabino Canyon

I have family in Arizona, so I have always enjoyed this state, but I had not spend much time in Tucson prior to this job. I really enjoyed my 13 weeks here, I feel I made the most money here because the cost of living is very reasonable. One of my favorite things I did here was visiting Sabino Canyon and driving up Mt. Lemon. There is a cute town with really awesome cookies and apparently you can ski in the winter if there is enough snow. Yes, skiing in the middle of southern Arizona.

 

Salinas, California

Big Sur, California

Salinas is an odd place. It is a small farm town that is beautiful but with a pretty serious gang problem. This was also one of the places where I could not find affordable short term housing and had to go through my company housing. Although Salinas itself wasn’t too exciting, it’s a pretty good central location. It is an hour from San Jose, 2 hours from San Francisco, 30 mins from Santa Cruz and then about an hour to the central coast including Big Sur, Carmel and Monterey. Big Sur is one of the most spectacular places in California. It remains wild and mostly untouched: a must see if you find yourself in California.

On a travel assignment you experience more outside of work than you do when you’re on the clock. You typically have 13 weekends to explore as much as possible. Plan as many things as you can, connect with as many people as possible, and just go even if your solo.

How do you make the most out of your travel assignments?

About the Author
Sarah

Sarah

Sarah is the creator of Tiny Van Big Living. She is a traveling Occupational Therapist and lives in a converted camper van (Vanny Devito). She is collecting experiences not things and enjoying the simple life while slowly climbing out of the giant hole that is student loan debt.

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