Happy Monday everyone! That time is already upon us... that's right, it's interview season. For tips about medical school interviews, read my post here, but today I wanted to share a bit about packing for interviews! Whether you're traveling by car or by plane, I hope this post can be of use!
The number one rule for interview travel - keep your suit with you! Do not check any baggage, if you can help it. And you can help it. So don't do it! A close tie for number one rule is to pack light.
With those two out of the way, let's get to what you need to bring with you.
To cut down on what I pack - I like to have a designated "travel outfit" that I wear on the way to and back from my destination. This is usually something super simple like leggings, a tee shirt, a light cardigan, and some travel flats. I've heard amazing things about Tieks but they're pretty pricey and don't really fit in my budget - these travel flats by Ugg (two) are a good mid-price option, and these leather flats from Target are a great find at $40.
My hands-down best travel bag is the O.G. by Lo & Sons (one). Fits absolutely everything and is well-organized and simple. Had I not gotten it for a Christmas gift, though, I likely would not have it as it too is a bit on the pricey side. Recently for travel I've been using this diaper bag that makes for an amazing travel bag (even without baby)! Both of these bags make for great carry-ons; my must-haves include outside pockets, two straps, and a zippered top - these both fit the bill!
Inside your carry-on you'll pack all of your goodies. Make sure you have your interview suit (some people hang the suit instead, but I just roll it up neatly and compactly in it's own bag and put it in my carry-on, ironing later if need be). For residency interviews this year I'm going with this suit jacket and these pants, both by Loft (six). Keep your shirt simple. Make sure you've also got some comfortable interview shoes. Don't forget your phone, phone cable (four) and charger (five). I love using a phone case that doubles as a card-holder so that I can keep one thing out while getting through gates - no digging through my wallet each time I need my I.D. or debit card - this Kate Spade case (three) is amazing! It's up to you whether you prefer a portfolio (eleven) to carry throughout the day or a handbag - if you go with a bag make sure it's clean, subdued, and professional - this bag is perfect (ten). You don't want anything too large or flashy. Make sure to bring other seemingly random life savers like a lint brush (seven) and cash in small bills (good for cabs and public transportation).
Important things to bring with you interview day include copies of your CV and publications (I've literally never had anyone ask for these on interviews, but I don't want to be empty-handed if I ever do), a small notebook for jotting quick notes and names, water and small snacks, and a couple of key emergency goodies - ibuprofen for the potential headache, stain remover, breath mints, floss, and oil blotters. Someone did most of the work already and made a perfectly packaged little emergency kit with all of these goodies already inside - thank you!! I always carry this on me - it's even got double-sided tape (which I had to use once when a shirt button broke)! Lifesavers I tell you!
Equally important is to have all the information you'll need for the day - emails from programs, maps, questions you had in advance, hotel information, etc. Some people like to carry physical copies of all of this with them - I prefer taking a camera shot on my phone of all of the important details - you can then organize it on your phone into albums and have all that information in easy access at all times!
Above is a checklist for packing that I hope you can find useful. Would love to hear about travel necessities and things you bring on interviews in the comment section! Good luck on all of your interviews - you'll wow them all!