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You may be a little awed by travelling alone to a city in the United States which is not as famous nor as easily accessible as legendary cities such as San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles.  This section will show you how you can get to Madison from your home country for your IAESTE internship.

IMPORTANT: Get the contacts (phone numbers) of whoever’s coming to pick you up, just so in case of accidents at the airport and amid the confusion, you’re totally lost!

Purchasing a round-trip plane ticket

• You should purchase your plane ticket at a local travel agency or over the Internet.

• Try to purchase your ticket as soon as possible, as the price of air tickets increase very rapidly especially in the few weeks close to summer (April - June). Sometimes they may even increase by as much as USD$200 over a few days, so make sure you do not let the opportunity of a cheaper ticket slip. (What with the skyrocketing oil prices and all...)

• Do some research before purchasing a ticket if price matters; buying e-tickets online (such as Orbitz, Statravel, and the airline's respective websites) is often cheaper than buying them from a travel agency or calling the airlines directly.

Important: Leave at least 3 hours' interval between flight changes so that you will not miss your next flight due to unforseen delays.

• Tip: It is usually cheaper to fly during mid-week.

Dealing with the U.S. customs at your port of entry

• With the new travel regulations in place, you are much more likely to get hassled by the custom officers at the passport control than before. So definitely remember to have your passport, visa, various forms that you are required to fill in and your I-94 form ready.

• There are often huge lines at the passport control (some of which can take 1½ hours or more to clear, especially if you’re flying first into a major airport) so be prepared for delays if you are transferring to another flight or vehicle.

• A few questions will be asked by the officer, such as your purpose of entering the U.S. and for which employer you will be working for. It is important to appear as relaxed as possible and answer them all in a truthful manner. (Appropriate smiles and humour will also save you trouble.)

• Your fingerprint and picture will need to be taken, which will all be done at the counter.

Getting from Chicago O'Hare International Airport to Madison

• By car: If someone from the IAESTE Local Committee has volunteered to pick you up, be sure to make arrangements in advance as it takes about 3 hours from Madison to O’Hare by car.

• By coach/bus: This is probably the most common way to arrive in Madison. The Van Galder coach offers trips to and from Madison to O’Hare airport at all times of the day. You can obtain a round-trip ticket for $37 (if you have a valid student ID) or a one-way ticket for $27. The Van Galder bus stops at terminals 2 and 5 in O’Hare and is very punctual so missing a bus will delay your arrival in Madison for around 2 hours.


Flying directly into Madison Dane County Regional Airport

• This is the simpler but more expensive option to flying into O’Hare Airport. Call your IAESTE LC contact as soon as you arrive at the airport.

• Madison has a small airport of its own. Domestic airlines such as United, Northwest and American Eagle will usually have flights incoming from larger airports, most notably Detroit and Chicago.

• Get someone from the IAESTE Local Committee to pick you up by car.

• You can also book or hail a taxi to pick you up at the airport. There are a few cab companies in Madison, all of which need to be booked in advance, but sometimes there are vacant taxis waiting for passengers at the airport that you can easily hail. The local numbers of the main cab companies are as such: Badger Cab  at (608)256-5566, Madison Taxi at (608)255-8294, and Union Cab at (608)242-2000. Be sure of where you’re going though, as detours can get very expensive very quickly!


Arriving at your residence and settling down, then going out to meet our cool IAESTE members!