Traveling for your interview can be one of the most challenging aspects of the entire job-search process. Spelman Johnson search associates travel more than half a million miles a year. Along the way, we have learned the following valuable lessons:

Plan ahead… But stay flexible

Even the best-laid plans might not make for a smooth trip. Planes have mechanical issues. TSA lines can be long, and parking can be difficult to find. The one aspect you can control is your attitude. To alleviate some of the stress associated with traveling, sign up for text-message alerts from your airline so you will know if there have been changes to your flight. Also, be sure to arrive on time for your departure if your flight has not been canceled. We have found that the best way to make it through your travel day is to have a great attitude when things do not go as planned.

Never check a bag

Checking bags is a huge risk for a two-day interview. We strongly recommend that you secure all of your items in one piece of luggage that will fit in an overhead bin. Carefully attend to all liquids and gels to ensure they will not leak. One of our candidates had a bottle of nail polish leak all over her suit. She had to wear the suit the entire day with a large red nail polish stain on it.

Remember: the trip is for an interview

We encourage you to explore the area and see if you can picture yourself there, yet this is not a vacation or a site-seeing trip. It is an interview. Stay focused on the outcome of the trip. Sleep well the night before. Drink lots of water. Finally, borrow some noise-canceling headphones from a friend.