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Travel & Places to Stay

Most people preferred to travel by Bus - Grey Hound. This is the most economical method of travel. A two month pass which costs around 600 $ can be bought at grey hound centers.
www.greyhound.com This website provides information regarding tickets, bus schedules and deals on tickets.

For those who know how to drive, getting an international license made before going to the States might be a good idea. I am not suggesting that you travel all over the place in a rented car, but it is a good option to keep open.

Traveling by air isn’t all that expensive as it is made out to be. And if you know your way around, you can get pretty good deals on tickets! If you have gotten most of your interview calls while in your home country, you can buy the ‘Limited Coupons Confirmed Ticket’. This ticket is sold by various airlines like United, Continental, etc and has to be bought before you leave your country.  You can issue a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 8 to 10 coupons. You have to tell the travel agent the origin and destination for each coupon, but you don’t have to specify the date and time except for the first coupon. You need to check with your travel agent regarding the coupons… since the rules keep changing with each season.

            Following are useful websites for buying cheap tickets in the United States:
www.kayak.com, www.cheaptickets.com, http://travel.yahoo.com, www.orbitz.com, www.travelocity.com, www.expedia.com, www.southwest.com, www.hotwire.com

Most airline ticket websites require payment by credit card. The tickets are mailed to the billing address of the credit card, so one needs a credit card with a US billing address. Return tickets are cheaper than one-way. Make it look like you are spending at least a week at your destination.  Also, the tickets need 5 business days to be processed and sent. On the other hand, you can purchase e-tickets at the airport, but those might not always be cheap.
The best thing to do is to use a combination of air and ground travel. You should also try and schedule the interviews at places in geographical proximity in such a way that you can do them in one go.

The programs usually provide a list of hotels which have subsidized rates for interview candidates. It is always good to check the rates for a particular hotel on the internet. Sometimes, the rates on the internet are lower than the advertised ‘subsidized’ rates. You should stay at a hotel that is close to the interview place or one which provides a shuttle service. Also, if you know anyone in the area, you should definitely get in touch with them well ahead of time. They might invite you over. And that will save you bucks.

How much money to take? Estimates vary but 3000$ is a safe figure. Carrying a lot of cash is not recommended - carry cash in the form of traveler cheques. I would very strongly recommend to get a Bank of America account and get a credit card if you can.

A few comments of update:

•    Do not hesitate to contact your seniors. Usually they will be more than happy to help in any way they can. They may provide you with a place to stay, with transport, with food and (perhaps most importantly) a sense of belonging. You see, all your seniors realize how trying a time the interview trail is. They have all been through it. They know how difficult it was. They are able to appreciate all the help which they received when they were roaming. And they know how much you, in turn, will need it. Interacting with your seniors will cut down your expenditure immensely. Hotel stays cost about $80-100 a night. If you do your homework, you will not have to spend a single dollar on accommodation.
•    Make good use of www.mapquest.com – a website which provides information regarding how to get from one place to another. It’ll give you an idea of how far the greyhound station is from the hotel which you are staying at, how far the hospital is, etc.

Note: This article has been derived from "Roadmap to Residency" authored by AKU graduates, with permission from few of the authors. Name of the original author, has purposely not been mentioned on request of one of the authors, for privacy reasons. If you are the original author of this article and want your name to be mentioned or wish this article to be modified/ removed from this website, please contact us and we would be more than happy to entertain your request. We fully respect your privacy, acknowledge your efforts put in authoring this article and appreciate your hard work involved in it.

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