Traveling Tips


The website is geared to help you use some of these tips. Tell us if you have a tip to add or object to something below.

Air Travel

  • While we try to keep the website current with all of the budget carriers, we sometimes miss things (let us know). Always go to the website of the airport into which you're flying and see if a budget carrier unknown by you flies there.
  • Consider flying into airports that are a few miles away (and perhaps larger) from the airport in the city of your business.
  • Create frequent flyer accounts for the airlines you use. You will rack up miles quickly (if not now, in the future).
  • Use major airfare search engines to find your desired flight. Then book the flight on the air carrier's website to avoid the search engine's service fee.
  • On your favorite airline(s), use their specials and last minute fare finder. If you are traveling frequently, you are likely to find several low fares. Here are a few we recommend:
  • Print your boarding pass before going to the airport to save time if you aren't checking bags.

Delays and Cancellations

  • If your travel plans are flexible, do your best to avoid the heavy travel times during the day to prevent delays and prolonged stays in the airport. Most airports are busiest in the morning and early evening so if you can avoid those times it would be best.
  • If you have a very important connection that you want to make, take a closer look at the options available for your connecting airport. You are much less likely to be delayed at smaller less crowded airports.
  • Although the morning is a busy time for airports, flying early in the day also increases your chances of getting on another flight in the event of significant delays or cancellations.
  • It is also a good idea to write down a list of a few alternative flights from that airport to your destination, in the event of a significant delay or cancellation.
  • Avoid checking a bag at all costs. If you can fit everything you need for the trip in your carry-on bag, that is the best option. If you don't check a bag it can't be lost or mishandled.
  • If your flight is excessively delayed be aware that overnight stays and meals may be covered by the airline if the cause was due to a controllable situation, such as maintenance or lack of a crew. Unfortunately, weather is considered to be beyond the control of the airline and compensation may be provided, but is not required.

Accommodations

  • Consider staying in a hostel. They are usually found in large(r) cities. If you have stayed in a hostel in Europe, the experience in the United States is quite similar. Most are clean and safe.
  • Choose your accomodations knowing that during residency interviewing, you'll most often have a dinner the night before your interview. A $200 hotel is hard to justify for 6 hours of sleep when you're up early the next day for your interview.
  • Investigate your school's alumni association. Alumni are often willing and glad to host a student for a night. Make sure to bring a small gift and write a thank you!
  • Were you in a sorority or fraternity in college? Get in touch with a local chapter and see if you can stay with them.
  • Call up an old friend or distant relative. Staying with someone you haven't seen in a while is a good (and inexpensive) way to catch up.

Ground Travel

  • Consider renting a car if you aren't driving. The cost of taxis adds up quickly.
  • Never used public transportation? Now's the time. Investigate public transportation in the city where you're traveling. Trains and light rail are usually the quickest because of fewer stops, but buses also work very well. Almost all public transit companies now have trip planners. Spend some time at home planning your route using the trip planner and you'll have no problem when you arrive.
  • Make sure to carry exact change for public transit options. Bus drivers usually do not make change. A plastic bag of quarters will suit you well.
  • Create accounts for the car companies you use. Discounts and specials can appear quickly.

General

  • Time is money. The more time you spend planning, the less expensive your trip will be. The tighter your time schedule (e.g., flights), the more you'll have to pay (e.g., taxi) to get there quickly.
  • Keep track of your expenses and keep all of those receipts! For residency interviews, we've heard that the costs are deductible for the first year in which you start working as a resident (as a job expense).
  • Many companies have reciprocal agreements to earn points between them (e.g. most car rental companies allow you to earn miles on one of several airlines).
  • Moving: If you can use a cargo van, you are usually covered by your insurance. Most insurance policies do NOT cover you if you move on a truck, even if it is the small 10 footer. If you can get by with the cargo van, you may be able to still be covered insurance-wise without having to pay the extra insruance premium.