The Chronicle of the Horse
MagazineNewsHorse SportsHorse CareCOTH StoreVoicesThe Chronicle UntackedDirectoriesMarketplaceDates & Results
 
Results 1 to 15 of 15
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2006
    Posts
    1,820

    Default Business travel and flying cheaply?

    As some COTHers may remember from a previous OT day, I'm in my last year of medical school and applying to residency programs. The applications are in (finally, hurray!). Now I'm waiting anxiously for interview invites, which I will probably get sometime in the next month. Between mid-November and mid-January, I expect to be doing 6-10 interviews, most of which will require flying (1 will be at my current school). And no, the programs generally do not pay travel expenses. I'm starting to go at the thought of all the expenses.

    All the travel I've done previously was for things I knew months to well over a year in advance, like weddings and graduations, so I had plenty of time to shop around. And if the ticket was slightly more than I wanted to spend, it was ok, because I generally only flew once or at most twice a year. But now I'll have more flights in 3 months than in the last 3 years. And for residency interviews, people are often offered interview slots last minute, only a week or even a few days prior (someone else cancels, and they go down their list of who they want to interview). People tolerate this madness because if you've spent 4 years (in my case 9 years, since I did MD and PhD) and a gazillion dollars on school, what's another 500 bucks if it gets you into the dream hospital for training.....

    So jetsetting COTHers, tell me the secrets to scoring cheap flights, especially semi-last minute. Any advantage to a AAA membership (I have one)? Any other hints and advice for business travel?

    Also, any suggestions on luggage? I'm starting to think that my aging (falling apart really) rolling carry-on is not sufficient for getting an interview suit from point A to B in a wearable condition. My school has repeatedly told us that checking bags is a BAD idea. You know the horror stories about having to interview in casual clothes because you went to Chicago and your suit went on a plane headed to Timbuktu. I've heard people talk about carry-on suitcases with built-in garment bags, but have no idea where to start, or what brands are reputable. I've already suggested to my parents that a new suitcase would be a great early bday present (mine is in December).

    Thanks in advance!
    BES
    Last edited by BlueEyedSorrel; Sep. 11, 2011 at 11:42 AM. Reason: typo
    Proudly owned by 2 chestnut mares
    Crayola Posse: sea green
    Mighty Rehabbers Clique



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul. 20, 2007
    Location
    Rising Sun, MD
    Posts
    3,571

    Default

    Book your flights on Tuesdays (I mean the actual booking not the day that you are flying). For some reason, prices seem to be cheaper on Tuesdays esp in the afternoons. Also if you have any control over what day of the week the interviews are, try and go midweek.
    For hotels, check places like cheaptickets.com and then call the hotel and see if they will beat that price. They almost always will. If you are in an area that's "off season" for that area- check with BandB's as they are usually happy to have business in their down season.
    And, yes, if you can do everything as carry-on your life will be much easier.
    “While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats.” Mark Twain



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep. 5, 1999
    Location
    Central FL
    Posts
    4,415

    Default

    Samsonite luggage. Ten year repair guarantee that has great customer service. I fly over 35 round trips every year, and i recommend hard sided luggage because the insides do NOT get wet if left in pouring rain!

    You can do al the common sites - priceline, travelocity, hotwire, orbitz, etc. Also check directly with the airline websites.

    Join an airlines ff club. You get better service, seats, and boarding. I sat in so many crappy coach seats on Delta that i am now a gold member and am usually upgraded!!!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 12, 2011
    Posts
    349

    Default

    OptionTown.com

    Granted there are only a few airlines at the moment, but it's been awesome everytime I've used it! Make sure you sign up as close to your departure date for better results.

    Also join a FF club, as well as getting a GOOD "points" card.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun. 12, 2007
    Location
    Westchester County, NY
    Posts
    5,856

    Default

    I always start with Sidestep- which has now merged with Kayak since it searches lots of different sites at once.

    As for luggage, I have a Briggs and Riley 22" carry-on with a built-in suiter. I can get up to 3 suits in there, and still fit everything else I need. I'd definitely recommend it.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr. 7, 2005
    Location
    With a dog named Rockstar
    Posts
    2,988

    Default

    Put your tuition/expenses on an airline credit card, then pay it right off. You'll probably get one round trip ticket anywhere in the world per year



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug. 3, 2009
    Location
    Camp Creek, WV
    Posts
    326

    Default

    Use Kayak.com and Priceline. Last minute unrestricted fares are absolutely the most expensive--but if there happens to be some excess inventory you may get a good deal this way. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays are the cheapest days to fly and staying over a Saturday night is still a way to get a cheaper fare, but I imagine you would only need to be gone for a day or two at the most and most of your interviews would be on weekdays. JetBlue, once a year, has offered a travel pass that was a flat fee for a certain number of flights but I think they only sell them around Christmas and it will only benefit you if you live somewhere near a city they serve. Look into deducting your travel expenses on your taxes--that may be the only big benefit you get!



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    8,618

    Default

    At the container store they have hard sided, roller luggage with 4 wheels that rolls like a dream and it guaranteed eligible for carryon. The last time I was in the container store they had a sale (and a fun demo), and since then I've seen tons of these at the airport. They are in wild patterns and really bright colors and you certainly could get your carry on stuff in there just fine. To check hotel prices for a bunch of places at once then go to hotels.com-they have a description, prices and availability on there. It might be cheaper to call the hotel direct, or try one of the other sites for a cheap price, but the array of pictures and hotel information is very good for hunting for lodging. With B&B's make sure if you are getting a private bathroom or not, and if there's somewhere close by to eat for dinner.

    And a few years ago when I had to fly last minute I ended up with a good fare on Expedia, but I had to take four planes each way, and not the best flight times either, but the price was good (and I now know where to eat at so many airports).
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    The rocky part of KY
    Posts
    9,433

    Default

    I Pricelined my rental car the last time and got a better deal than through the rental car agency. I use a duffel and roll up my clothes but I've never had to take interview clothes. Polyester is tacky but it was invented to be drip dry, that's why it was so popular when it came out.
    I use Expedia but I've used the airlines before, I tend to think Expedia offers the better deal, if they have a seat.
    Get the airline credit card, they always have blackouts and whatnot but for flights to non vacation destinations they have value.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr. 11, 2002
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    1,348

    Default

    If you can, try to find out which airline(s) "own" the route that you'll be flying. I had 3 "business trips" when I was going to school in Boston and had interviews in DC. In my case, JetBlue was the major carrier and offered the most flights, and I booked through their website for the best prices. I got pretty spoiled by JetBlue (free DirectTv and XM radio, free snacks, and their flights were generally on-time).



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 27, 2004
    Location
    Yonder, USA
    Posts
    2,561

    Default

    Definitely shop around, including checking the airline web pages since not all of them participate in sites like Orbitz. I've had good luck with Southwest. Compared to most, they aren't jerks about baggage and have been very reasonable about fees for changing flights, including the cheap fares bought online.

    Definitely read the fine print. Some airlines have recently decreased how much checked bags can weigh without extra fees, are starting to charge for ALL checked bags, etc. Also consider the size of the plane you'll be flying--the little commuter jets have teeny tiny overhead bins that won't accomodate some regular carry-ons.
    ---------------------------



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov. 30, 2006
    Location
    CA
    Posts
    613

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by WildBlue View Post
    Definitely shop around, including checking the airline web pages since not all of them participate in sites like Orbitz. I've had good luck with Southwest. Compared to most, they aren't jerks about baggage and have been very reasonable about fees for changing flights, including the cheap fares bought online.

    Definitely read the fine print. Some airlines have recently decreased how much checked bags can weigh without extra fees, are starting to charge for ALL checked bags, etc. Also consider the size of the plane you'll be flying--the little commuter jets have teeny tiny overhead bins that won't accomodate some regular carry-ons.
    Ditto Southwest, JetBlue, Virgin America. I feel better treated on many of these "budget" airlines than I do major carriers. Their websites frequently offer really competitive travel deals, and for Southwest, if you have to change your trip, it goes into a "travel fund" account that you can apply towards a future ticket.

    I recently had to cancel a trip I had booked on Southwest and used the fare for a different trip a month later. I didn't lose any money. I also found that their flights were much more reasonable for getting to less popular places in the middle of the country, at least in terms of scheduling. There was no, "take the redeye, spend 3-6am at the airport, and connect on the 6am flight." Who needs THAT?!



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep. 1, 2007
    Posts
    651

    Default

    Kayak.com is great! AAA memberships get you discounts at a lot of places; check out their website for all the places you could benefit from.

    Keep all your reciepts for taxes too!



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2005
    Location
    dur-Ham, NC
    Posts
    492

    Default

    My boyfriend used Kayak when he did his residency interviews. He keeps singing its praises.
    Have YOU ever looked into the eyes of a rich white child who has just lost a jumping competition?




  15. #15
    Join Date
    May. 22, 2006
    Posts
    160

    Default

    I have been in a similar position (student flying around for school interviews on own dime). It sucks! But I got pretty good at saving money.

    1.) Search Kayak for flights, hotel, and rental car if needed

    2.) Check studentuniverse.com to see if there are better student fares (sometimes there are great savings, usually it's $10-20 more or less expensive)

    3.)Check Southwest - they are the only major airline (at least that flies into my local airport) that does not show up on Kayak.

    For last minute fares (less than 2 weeks from date of departure) I've had some luck with travelocity's last minute packages (usually includes either hotel or car rental). But by and large, last minute fares kind of suck.

    4.) Whenever possible, avoid hotels. Think through your friends, or post on your facebook wall if you have it - anyone you know in the area? Most people are willing to host you (buy them dinner/bring a gift/be super-duper greatful and gracious). You might also network with fellow med students (fb group? bulletin board?)...maybe you could trade a night at your place for someone interviewing at your school for a night at their school? I imagine most 4th years are in similar financial positions? Or is med school too cut throat for people to help each other out?

    5.) Whenever possible, avoid renting a car. Public transit can often work well. It sometimes takes digging to find routes and details, but only tiny airports will lack some sort of public transit option. I once had a PI insist I take a taxi from the airport to the lab I was visiting ($45) when the public transit train I took back to the airport was only 10 min slower ($2.50).



Similar Threads

  1. Marketing/Business Plans for the Equine related business?
    By two sticks in forum Hunter/Jumper
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: Jun. 13, 2012, 04:44 PM
  2. Replies: 1
    Last Post: Jun. 12, 2012, 06:03 PM
  3. Where to find a solar fence charger - cheaply?
    By Paige777 in forum Around The Farm
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: Dec. 18, 2011, 06:39 PM
  4. Matting a run-in cheaply?
    By chaos theory in forum Around The Farm
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: Sep. 19, 2011, 12:58 AM
  5. Air travel with your dog?
    By MKW in forum The Menagerie
    Replies: 13
    Last Post: May. 24, 2011, 03:37 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •