narutoverse13

5+ Year Member
Aug 23, 2014
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Medical Student
Okay, so how exactly do students travel to medical schools for interviews? Let's say you are traveling to a place that is 5-6 or even 10 hours away. Is it better to take a plane? Or just go balls to the walls and just drive the entire thing? Or take a bus like the greyhound?. If you take a plane/greyhound, and do not have family living in the area, how do you go about leaving the airport/bus, getting to a hotel to stay at (or with another med student) and then going back to the airport/bus? Do you like Uber everywhere to your destination? Take a bus? This is just so confusing. I want to try to plan out everything for the interview, but there just seems to be so many factors. Would love some advice from people traveling to interviews/ have already traveled before. Thank you!
 

Kpw101

5+ Year Member
Jul 18, 2013
366
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Medical Student
Personally anywhere less <1 hour I'd drive the day of. Anything greater than an hour but less than 8, I'll drive and stay overnight. Anything greater than 8 goes I'll take a plane and stay overnight. If I take a plane somewhere I'll cab or uber to the interview site.

I haven't started interviews yet but im hoping I do soon but these are things that'll save you money:

1) Student hosts
2) In area emails of the school is open to it.
3) Airline mileage rewards cards
4) Look up hotel/airline ticket deals online.
5) Pack meals
 
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TelemarketingEnigma

2+ Year Member
Feb 12, 2017
589
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Medical Student
So my only interview so far is local, but I've done a lot of travelling for work/pleasure, a few tips:

1. Plane vs. train vs. bus vs. car is very situational. For me personally, I tend to do the following:
  • Car: Anywhere within 5-6 hour drive, good parking options, and minimal tolls. I like driving and have a well-maintained car, so I don't have to worry about it breaking down on me, and I get good gas mileage so I can make that drive on $35 worth of gas each way (plus wear and tear). I also like the flexibility of leaving on my own schedule and having transportation around my destination.
  • Bus: Anywhere with bad/expensive parking (looking at you NYC) or really expensive tolls along the route. Also a good option if you can find a good bus option for less than the cost you would pay in gas. But if it's a really long trip or expensive ticket, I prefer to drive myself. If you don't like driving, buses can often substitute for the situations I noted in the point above.
  • Plane: If the drive would be 6+ hours, I'll look at a plane. Plane is the obvious choice for cross country travel. If the drive is shorter than 6ish hours, driving is usually more worth it for me (cheaper, and between the time spent getting to airport, checking in, on plane, etc, it's also usually just as short of a trip). The longer a drive it would be, the more willing I am to shell out the money for plane travel. If you live very close to a major airport though, you might have an easier time making shorter plane trips.
  • Train: I honestly don't use trains often, because the trains out of my city are often crazy expensive, so buses are usually better. This will really depend on your region and what areas you are travelling between.
2. Travel within destination:
  • Public Transit: If you're going to be in a major city, USE IT! saves you a lot of money, and often very convenient. Except places like LA because lol. Look up in advance how the public transit works in the city you'll be going to.
  • Rental car: good for when you're flying/busing/training into a city without good public transit options, but good parking options. Especially useful if it's a long distance between the airport and your destination, because those ubers/taxis/lyfts can get expensive. Often will have a fee if you're under 25, but if you're over 25 can actually be surprisingly affordable.
  • Uber/lyft/taxi: great for short hops. Can get pricy quick if you're travelling long distances in them. Helps relieve some of the stress of navigating an unfamiliar place, which can be worth the money.
  • Google maps is your FRIEND. Look up the routes you'll need to travel in advance, check them at rush hour times, see what options will get you places fastest, easiest, and cheapest (often you'll have to settle for 2 of the three). Don't wait until you get to the city to look up how to get to the school.
 

dr.grenouille

2+ Year Member
Mar 27, 2017
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I don't really agree because plane tickets are like 300+ dollars anywhere you want to go within the US and I have interviews to two schools in one week both 12 hours (driving) away. I'd rather drive 12 hours for $50 gas than pay $800 for plane tickets. It's basically up to you and how much you want to spend.
 

TelemarketingEnigma

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Feb 12, 2017
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I don't really agree because plane tickets are like 300+ dollars anywhere you want to go within the US and I have interviews to two schools in one week both 12 hours (driving) away. I'd rather drive 12 hours for $50 gas than pay $800 for plane tickets. It's basically up to you and how much you want to spend.
Plane ticket cost depends heavily on several factors: when you buy, when you're flying, where you're flying from, and where your destination is. There are many, many flights within the US that cost less than 300 if you're flying between major airports. Obviously not everyone is that lucky! You're also paying for convenience - driving 12 hours means I'll need to take more time off of work than flying that distance in 2-3 hours, and I would also be far more tired/stressed before my interview. As I said before, what you choose is hugely situational, my advice is just what generally works for me and my circumstances.

that being said, I think your $800:$50 math is super far off from reality. A 12 hour drive (each way) would probably be more like $140 in gas round trip. I can book a roundtrip flight from LA to Seattle for barely more than that.
 

Cornfed101

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Aug 10, 2017
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Fly or Drive Calculator This is a great website/app that helps you compare flying vs driving with lots of factors including how much you value your time and how many people are going.
 

Matthew9Thirtyfive

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ciestar

All grown up! MS4!
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Sep 18, 2013
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I don't really agree because plane tickets are like 300+ dollars anywhere you want to go within the US and I have interviews to two schools in one week both 12 hours (driving) away. I'd rather drive 12 hours for $50 gas than pay $800 for plane tickets. It's basically up to you and how much you want to spend.
Anywhere is a huge stretch. It really depends. PA to Florida? It's cheap. To/from Cali? It's a lot. But you have to do your research and check prices. Airlines like Spirit and Frontier help a bit with this. Check surrounding airports as well, could save you some.
 
Oct 13, 2015
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I don't really agree because plane tickets are like 300+ dollars anywhere you want to go within the US and I have interviews to two schools in one week both 12 hours (driving) away. I'd rather drive 12 hours for $50 gas than pay $800 for plane tickets. It's basically up to you and how much you want to spend.

A 12 hour drive will cost you more than $50 depending on gas price and fuel efficiency.

And the length of a 12 hour drive translated to a plane ride will cost you nowhere near $800 unless you did first class
 
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