Your applications are finished, your letters are in, and now you wait anxiously for the interview invites to come rolling your way. Next thing you know and you’re frantically booking flights, hotels, and rental cars at cities across the country. Here are some tips to reduce the hit on your wallet in the process.
- Pay for things using your rewards points – all throughout medical school, I used a credit card in which I earned airline miles for purchases. After paying for countless test prep materials and USMLE exams, the miles added up. I was able to pay for at least half my interview flights on those miles alone. Other cards can even give you access to airplane lounges, pay for TSA pre-checks, and other perks.
- Leverage your friend network – in medicine, chances are you have colleagues training at institutions all over the country, whom would gladly open their doors for a night or two. Pro tip: if you can’t remember where everyone is, try searching “friends who live in [city]” on Facebook next time you get an interview somewhere. Think of it as a chance to reconnect with old friends, save money, and provide an offer to do the same if they needed a place to stay.
- Travel with people – once on the interview trail, you’ll probably meet dozens of fellow applicants, many of whom will be interviewing at the same places as you. If you find people with similar schedules to yours, you can split a hotel room or rental car when traveling together.
- Book your interviews geographically – If possible, group your interviews geographically to save yourself time and money on the interview trail. For example, set aside one week for your west coast interviews, one on the east coast, one in the midwest, etc. In addition, if you know you will be interviewing in a region with programs whom you haven’t heard back from yet, it doesn’t hurt to reach out to them to let them know you’ll be there. You may be able to score additional interviews without having to adjust your travel plans.