Students attending university studies in the U.S. for Spring 2009 are now busy preparing for their air travel.

Here are some tips when packing your cabin baggage (carry-on bag), the one you take with you in the flight.

There are some students traveling for the first time who don’t know the difference between a check-in baggage and a carry-on luggage.

You must have read how to pack the suitcase for Air Travel.  Here’s some tips to pack your carry-on bag ( also called cabin bag).

How to Pack  the Cabin Bag

Airlines allow passengers 8 to 10 kg carry-on cabin baggage for international travel.

Care should be made when packing cabin bags. There are a few reason for that, such as:

  1. An airline could misplace your checked luggage.
  2. Checked baggage will be available to you only after you have cleared immigration.

Things to Pack Cabin Luggage

  1. Original important immigration documents (I-20, admission letter,  air tickets, passport, etc.)
  2. Travelers checks, demand draft, cash, and the like
  3. Prescription medications in original, labeled containers to avoid security questions.
  4. One or two pairs of clothing
  5. Small sizes of toiletry items.
  6. Extra eye glasses
  7. A change of underclothes
  8. A sweater or a jacket in case you encounter inclement weather on landing
  9. Light weight towel
  10. Your valuables, such as jewelry and electronics, are safer in your carry-on.
  11. Copies of your photo (passport size)
  12. Enlisted steps to be followed in case of emergency
  13. Address and phone numbers of people whom you can contact in the US in case you need any help upon landing
  14. Address and phone number of the place where you will stay. If address is not known, you must have the university’s international office address and contact details.
  15. A pen to write

Bonus Tips

  1. Stow the bag in over head bin inside the flight in front of where you sit ( not right above)
  2. Don’t buy  over-sized cabin bag
  3. Carry extra small bag within the cabin bag

If you are travelling via an airplane for the first time, it will be a very good experience.

Also, the fact that you are travelling for first time in flight going to the U.S. makes the event more special.

Stay safe and enjoy your trip. If you have any thoughts and comments, write a comment below.

See Also : How to buy suitcase for your trip to the USA


  1. Shanz on June 8, 2018 at 4:57 AM

    What is the difference between a handbag(purse/haversack) and a cabin bag? And can you tell in detail as to wat can be carried in these bags?

  2. ANIQUA JAFRI on July 16, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    hi HSB

    I want to know while travelling to USA do we need to have prescription of medicine with us. the one which we use normally(crocin, disprin, etc….Are they going to check those medicine?

  3. Subham on August 8, 2011 at 12:41 AM

    Hello HSB…
    I would appreciate if u enlist the docs that are ABSOLUTELY NEEDED for the flight… i mean…passport, visa, i20, ticket and anything else..and what are the docs that they will issue (like I94..right? ) and where.

    By the way do we carry our original marksheets and certis?

    Finally, regarding the post about Hard Disc’s here, i am carrying a HD loaded with films, music and a few softwares….would it create problems?

    Thank u for all the help regarding my application and post application phases…Im leaving for New York on 11th August…and except for the University technicalities, 70% of the credit of my US appli and journey information, starting from tips about right choice of university, to payment of fees, application, visa, right to orderly packing of bags, goes to HSB…..keep it going..and the 2011 “veterans” will always be there to mete out suggestions (if allowed 😛 )

  4. Sagar on July 25, 2011 at 11:49 AM

    About the HDD, I would also like to know whether carrying stuff like movies, etc downloaded off the web create any sort of problem…just to be sure

    • HSB on July 25, 2011 at 12:08 PM

      Customs have right to check anything you carry. They don’t check most of the times. Most Indian Movies and Songs are available, but English Movies, Songs, Software – think twice before bringing them.

  5. Nagarjun on August 1, 2010 at 10:36 PM

    Hi HSB,

    ur blog is totally awesome !

    I will be carrying an external HDD 500 GB. its very small in size (fits into my denim trousers) It mainly has songs ,movies and some application softwares. The songs and movies were downloaded from the net. should i put this into my check in baggage or the carry in baggage ?

    please reply asap. my flight is on 3rd aug night !

  6. srinivasgumdelli on July 29, 2010 at 1:53 AM

    hello HSB,

    can we carry our external HDD in carry on luggage??

    • HSB on July 29, 2010 at 3:05 AM

      How big is your external HD and what kind of (data) softwares do you have in that?

      • Vijay Sankar V on August 15, 2011 at 11:33 PM

        Dear HSB,

        If I have an external HD (WD Passport) and too with around 8 windows 7 images, 240 english films (all torrentz), and a hand full of other softwares. Will this be a problem? 🙂

        If YES,>> while in the US, is it ok to download pirated softwares (like MS office, adobe)?

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