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Splitting travel cost while interviewing at two schools


waderpanda

Question

I had a conflicting interview dates situation that I have finally figured out by scheduling the interviews back to back. But now I am working on figuring out my travel details and I'm a little confused on what to do. Since I will be traveling directly from one school to another, what is the most appropriate way of splitting the cost? Both schools have offered to cover travel costs up to a limit and this would fall under the limit for both schools. 

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I did this. Yes, you should fly from one school to another. You should talk to both schools and let them know that you are planning to split the costs. You should probably just propose a split and ensure both schools agree to it. Each school will have its own requirements and rules on what is allowed so ensure you can meet all of that before you make any plans. One tricky thing is if you need to split a single expense but both schools want original receipts! Fortunately, it is likely that the only such expense would be the airfare between the two schools, and it's pretty easy to just print 2 boarding passes (if they need those). 

I think the best thing to do is to lay out all of your expenses (with estimations of cost for bookings not made yet) and tell both schools what you'll be charging to each school. So you might propose something like this:

Travel from Home to Home Airport, $20, School A pays
Flight from Home Airport to School A, $150, School A pays
Flight from School A to School B, $100, School A and B to split ($50 each)
Flight from School B to Home Airport, $125, School B pays
Travel from Home Airport to Home, $20, School B pays

That would just be an example, for flights and transportation only. You may be able to ask for coverage of meals while traveling too, so add that as necessary. However, note that you probably shouldn't ask School A to pay for expenses incurred while visiting School B. In this above example, I took the most simple case where the flights to/from School A and B are about the same and assumed that both Schools are offering to cover the same amount of cost (or close to it).

Something more tricky would be if you lived a lot closer to School A than School B so the flight to A is a lot cheaper than B. Then the schools might not be happy with evenly splitting the airfare between A and B. Even if this is not the case, I highly recommend that when you make your actual flight bookings, immediately get a quote for the roundtrip flights to A only and to B only (i.e. pretending that you are only visiting one school). In the first step, when you ask them about their requirements, they might already ask you to do this. But if not, get it just in case. It's normal for reimbursements like this to ask for a quote in the single-school visit only and then they'll reimburse your multi-school visit up to the cost of the single school visit. Also, having this documentation will help you in the case that School A is a lot closer and therefore they only want to pay for a smaller portion of the A-to-B airfare and this can justify to School B why you are asking them to cover more of the airfare. 

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Thanks for the response. Now that you've laid it out this way, it makes a lot of sense and seems so obvious :). Since both schools are equally away from me (I'm on the East coast and both school are on the West), I don't think I'll have the issue with one school being closer than the other. But I really appreciate how thorough your response is. Thanks again !!!

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