Connecticut to DC in 7 hours?

I’m just wondering if any East Coast people can tell me how realistic it would be for me to drive from Connecticut to Washington DC on a Monday night. I am trying to schedule 2 interviews back to back. The CT one would get done at 3pm on Monday, and then I’d drive down to DC, stay with a friend, and be at an interview there the next morning at about 9:30. I hate to be rushed, but doing it this way means I’d miss less work and save on a plane ticket.
Last time I used Yahoo to calculate travel distances they wer WAY off, so I thought I’d check! I’m not sure how bad the road construction and travel are on I-95, which I guess is the road I’d be taking.
Thanks, and like always, I appreciate the wonderful advice people give on this forum! If anyone has driving questions about the Midwest, I’m your source.

I’m not 100% sure on how long it “should” take but at the time you’re leaving you will definitely encounter traffic. I would add at least 2-3 hours to the time that mapquest would say. I think it’s about 6 so perhaps 8-9 would be a better estimate. The assumption is that you would leave at 3pm and arrive in DC around 11 to midnight.

Can you get a train instead, or is that too pricey or too slow?

That would be my preference, but I can’t tell how close the town where I’ll be interviewing (Farmington) is to a station. Also if I missed the 4:30pm train from Hartford I’d have to wait for one that doesn’t arrive in DC til 1:30am.
I’m not even sure whether to fly to Boston or NYC. I don’t really want to rent a car in NYC because that’s such a hassle. Maybe I can fly into Providence? Oh wait, on Northwest airlines that will cost $7000, and there aren’t many other options from the Twin Cities. I’m not sure what to do. It might be nice to have a car since I’ll be going to a smaller sized town. I’ve had the thought of driving all the way out and flying back, but that’s a lot of driving.

doesn’t Southwest fly to the Twin Cities? They definitely fly into Providence, and also into BWI (Baltimore-Washington).
You can definitely do the Connecticut drive in about, hmmmmm, 8-9 hours I’d say. However, unless you really LIKE to drive in unfamiliar places, it’s a kind of lousy way to prepare for your interview the next day. I’d strongly suggest that you keep investigating options where someone else is steering if you can.

No, Southwest doesn’t fly here, unfortunately. Air Tran and ATA do, but they go through Atlanta, meaning a whole day’s travel. Even United, Continental, Delta and American only fly a few planes from here per day it seems. NW is in with our metropolitan planning board and has a monopoly. There is always the dirt cheap IcelandAir which goes here and to most of the Eastern Seaboard–it’s just that layover in Reykjavik that’s a problem, but if I’m pressed I might consider them in the future.
You are right about needing the time to prepare for the next interview. I’m going to check out the greyhound, except that might leave me feeling kind of wiped out. I haven’t given up on Amtrak. If I do have to drive I was thinking of preparing for both interviews really hard the week before.
Wow, I am so excited about these interviews though! No matter how I get there, I just can’t wait!

Farmington? Is that MD or VA? We have 3 airports here so I’m sure you can find something to fly in on. The train, while not the fastest, would allow you plenty of time to relax and nap. Plane is faster but as you stated very expensive, well at least last minute they are.
Anyhow the airports are:
BWI - Baltimore
DCA - DC (Reagan National)
IAD - Dulles, VA

Hi there,

I would greatly caution you about trying to schedule medical school interviews close together. First, you need plenty of time to get into the city, get settled, plot your transportation to your location and make sure that you have everything ready for your interview. The worst thing that you can do is show up rushed, tired, cranky, nervous and blow the interview.

I always arrived the day before my interview and I left the day after. That gave me plenty of time to get all of my materials together and rest. I also used the time to go back to the school after the interview and speak with some of the students. If you are going to invest thousands in tuition, you need to make sure that you can stand to be in the place for four years.

Rushing in or rushing out of an interview is always a bad idea. Avoid this situation if at all possible. Try to make your intineray with as much time as possible so that you can get the best idea of where you want to be. You can potentially save yourself years of headache in the long run.

Beware, a hotel strike in DC is looming on the horizen. Try to log onto The Washington Post and follow the progress of this strike so that it does not ruin your interviews. You may end up having to fly into Baltimore and drive from Baltimore or Bethesda into DC because of this strike. Plan, plan and do some more planning for these interviews.

Good luck!


Thanks so much for all this advice, especially about the hotel strike. I wish I hadn’t scheduled these two interviews so close together, but it’s already a done deal.
I think my situation’s unusual in that I applied all over the US, but live far from most of the cities the schools are in, in a place that’s costly to fly out of. Also, I have limited vacation time. I just HAVE to combine travel where possible. I wonder if anyone else has dealt with this and how they did it? I hate to be smug and assume I’ll get future interviews! If I don’t, I know I’ll regret being such a cheapskate on the ones I did get.

Oh, I think you’re likely to get more interviews so don’t beat yourself up. You can certainly make this work - while more time would be ideal, the reality is that you don’t have that time. You’ll have a lot to process in a short time but you’ll be able to do it.
Since the interviews are set, your key move now is to work very hard to ensure that your travel is glitch-free and gives you time to rest. One thing I don’t think I’ve heard you mention is checking with the school in Connecticut to find out their suggestions for getting to the train station (or whatever) in plenty of time. Use that admissions office as a helpful resource/travel agent. They should be able to give you some good local advice.
Similarly, for the interview in D.C., go with the suggestions for hotels that are very close to the school. To the best of my knowledge, the hotel strike isn’t going to shut hotels down because management has vowed to replace the striking workers. (You would have the uncomfortable situation of having to cross a picket line, potentially - which would be tough for me to do but I probably would do it under the circumstances.) I’m also not sure WHICH hotels will be affected; it’s been my impression from listening to the local news that they are going to target some high-profile hotels but I could be wrong about that.
You’re right, this isn’t the time to be a cheapskate because your mental health and your performance on these interviews is worth more than you can quantify in dollars. So even if you normally look into buses and subways, take a taxi if it’ll save you time. Take the train if it’s the best way to get you to your destination in an un-frazzled state. Do things that would normally seem extravagant to help keep you in a good mood and ready for those interviews.
And do ask those Admissions offices for help. I think that we as OPMs tend to be self-sufficient to a fault sometimes - but think about it, they are used to fielding “how do I get to your school?” questions. Ask for help, it’s okay!



And do ask those Admissions offices for help. I think that we as OPMs tend to be self-sufficient to a fault sometimes - but think about it, they are used to fielding “how do I get to your school?” questions. Ask for help, it’s okay!


Have you tried explaining your problem to one admissions office or the other to see if you can change your interview date by 24 hrs? Often they can make accommodations. My mantra: "If you don’t ask, they can’t say ‘yes.’"

Thanks again everyone for the additional input. Don’t give me too much credit for self-reliance though. Here I am asking busy OPMers for advice on basically, how to read a map or get a flight. I mean, I ought to have known DC and CT were not 4 hours apart like I was hoping.
I don’t mind calling admissions offices, although I was just concerned that if I seemed in a rush of any kind, they might not like that. Oh, and for both these schools I already got a date change, so I really would feel bad changing things yet again.
I wasn’t kidding about IcelandAir being cheaper than Northwest either for some of these flights. I just looked it up and indeed it is. I could leave at 5pm, arrive at 7am, and pick up gifts for my student hosts in the duty free shop on the way. But what a dork I’d feel like arriving that way.
The biggest problem here is my job. Boy do I feel bad about missing so much work. I’m doing biochem research, and I really feel like, if I’m going to tell med schools why this work is important, than I should honestly be devoted to it. This research is not getting furthered one bit by my incessently checking the greyhound bus schedule. I really have been distracted lately.
To make this a little easier, I cancelled an interview with the University of Sydney Australia in San Francisco. My roommate is from Sydney and I just know I’d have so much fun living there. But moving to Australia in February just seems a bit extreme. A part of me was hoping to get NO INTERVIEWS just so I could go to Australia in a big huff of righteousness. But alas the drama seems to have shifted from which hemisphere to live in and is now focusing on whether I’ll go with Avis vs. Budget.
Well, I will most likely drive from CT to DC. I love road trips anyway so it should be ok. I’m staying with a friend, not in a hotel. I just couldn’t cross a picket line anyway.
The great thing about this thread though, for everyone who’s responded, and for anyone who (thank you) is reading this far, is that I almost always take the advice people give me. So next time around, I won’t be schedule totally distant cities one day apart! And yeah, I’ll keep in close touch with admissions offices for their info about dates and logistics.

You know what, it’ll probably work out fine. In Connecticut, you may find that you get out a little sooner than is currently projected - I know that was my experience with both my interviews. In an ideal world, you’d hang around and further check out the campus there. But in this circumstance, you’ll hit the road, enjoy your trip, and collect your thoughts about the merits of each place after you get back home.
I am sure that each metropolitan area has a news station with dedicated traffic report slots. In the metropolitan Washington/Baltimore area, it’s WTOP. They have FOUR different spots on the AM/FM dials, check them out at for the details. I don’t go a mile in my car without checking on the traffic around here.
Have a fun trip!


Thanks again everyone for the additional input. Don’t give me too much credit for self-reliance though. Here I am asking busy OPMers for advice on basically, how to read a map or get a flight.

Naw, that was a consult!

So if I read your post correctly, you have decided to turn down the interview for the school in Australia. Is that right? I know a few individuals who have done fellowships “Down Under”. I am assuming you have been there before. Although it is best not to assume… you know what they say about assuming. Australia intrigues me, but then I have never been there, and I love to travel.
Keep us posted. Positive vibes for your interviews!