While many physicians, advanced practitioners, and CRNAs who accept locum work more than a few hours’ drive from home opt to travel to opportunities by plane, there are distinct advantages to using your own vehicle to get to an assignment.
For a start, many locum tenens staffing companies offer travel reimbursement or provide for travel expenses, giving you the option to take your vehicle instead of arranging for a rental. What’s more, using your own car means you’re the pilot. You can decide whether to stay the course between points A and B to arrive as quickly as possible or take a more leisurely tack—even a mini road trip—if time permits (a particularly nice choice if you’re headed to or through an area known for its beautiful fall foliage).
If driving to an assignment destination appeals to you, here are seven things you should do before you hit the road to better ensure smooth, safe travels:
- Take care of basic vehicle maintenance before you leave. Inspect your wipers, headlights, and indicator signals to ensure they’re working properly. And unless you can do it yourself, ask a trusted mechanic to check your brakes, battery, fluid levels, oil filter, air filtration system, belts, hoses, tire tread, and spare tire. If service is needed, get it prior to departing for your assignment.
- Put a vehicle emergency kit together. If you do not already have these supplies in your trunk, pack or pick them up before you embark on your journey: a multipurpose utility tool, a flashlight and extra batteries, a first-aid kit, reflective warning triangles, a fire extinguisher rated for Class B and Class C fires, jumper cables, a tire jack, a tire gauge, foam tire sealant, a few quarts of oil, antifreeze, a funnel, duct tape, a pair of gloves, and rags. Keep a blanket or two, non-perishable snacks (protein bars are a great option), and a couple of gallons of drinking water in your trunk, too.
- Make sure your GPS is functioning well and its maps have been updated. Even so, it’s wise to print out directions from your permanent home to your temporary accommodations and from your housing to the facility and back, in case your device malfunctions or has difficulty acquiring a signal.
- Keep a cell phone charger in your glove compartment. It is a must-have accessory when taking a long trip. Use it en route to your assignment destination to keep your smartphone fully charged at all times. (Bonus: If you want to boost the speed with which the device charges, simply turn off your phone.)
- Find out if you will have tolls along the way. Make sure you know your options for paying tolls before you leave. For instance, many toll booths take cash, while some are automated and only accept exact change. Then again, a number of toll facilities in metropolitan areas no longer use toll booths. Instead, they scan your registration or license plate and send an invoice, which may be paid by mail or online. And in some areas, electronic toll collection can be used, allowing drivers to prepay tolls, which are paid when they drive through a toll plaza and the overhead antenna reads their transponder or tag.
- Be prepared to encounter different weather conditions. You may not live in an area where snow is common, but if you are traveling to or through places that see their share of the white stuff, stashing chains, road flares, a snow brush, ice scraper, kitty litter, cardboard, and an expandable shovel in your trunk is prudent. Having a windshield glass treatment that repels rain, dirt, and mud (e.g., Rain-X or Rainbrella) on hand could prove convenient as well, and keeping a good pair of sunglasses in your glovebox can ensure your eyes have protection against ultraviolet radiation as well as the elements.
- Verify where you can park at both the facility and housing complex. The latter won’t be an issue if you’re staying at a bed and breakfast or hotel. But if you’ll be living in an apartment, find out whether there is open parking or if you will need to put your vehicle in a specific spot or numbered space.
Call Medicus Healthcare Solutions at 855-301-0563 to explore locum tenens opportunities with an experienced recruiter, and check out our blog for tips, the latest news and trends, and other helpful information.