Packing for Residency Interviews

Once you have decided what to wear for your interviews, it’s worth putting some thought into how you pack for your trip.


Always pack your suit in your carry-on luggage. A few times a year in each specialty, someone’s bag gets lost and they end up interviewing in the sweatpants they wore on the plane. I’m sure there are people who can make that work for them, but really, garment bagis it worth the added stress? The limit for carry-on bags is 9x14x22 inches.

You can bring your suit in a dry-cleaning bag or a basic garment bag if you want – the flight attendants will usually let you put it in the closet up front. Then pack the rest of your belongings in a carry-on duffel. The garment bag is your “personal item,” so you can’t bring garment bag and duffela purse or laptop bag, just the garment bag and the duffel. If you don’t have either of these things at home, you can buy a combo set like the one on the right (also at Target) for $50.

You could invest in a garment bag that also has room for the other things you need to bring on your trip: dress shoes, socks, toiletries, whatever you prefer to sleep in. You can get the blue garment bag on the left at Target for $30, or a fancier version from Samsonite like this one for $130.

rolling garment bag openThere are also rolling options. You can get one at Target (just trying to pick a chain store that you can find just about anywhere) for $60. Probably not the greatest quality, butsmall enough to go in the overhead bin and not too expensive. I found a Samsonite one on sale, and it’s impressively durable, but they run about $120-200 depending on features. And be sure to check the dimensions to make sure it will qualify as carry-on. They have space for your other stuff too, but not as much space as if you packed a separate duffel.

Remember to put your liquids in a baggie following the 3-1-1 rule, in a convenient outside pocket.

If you are a military member, remember to enter your DOD ID# (found on the back of your ID card) as your known traveler number when you buy your plane tickets, for TSA pre-check. Getting to keep your shoes on and leave your baggie of liquids in your luggage is really nice.


If you’re driving, you can just hang your suit in your backseat, and pack the remainder of your belongings in a convenient duffel bag. I know a few people who bought a hanging rod to hang clothes in their backseats. They run about $10 on Amazon.


What questions do you have? Any tips to share?


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