Complete List of Things to Carry to USA For Students (with Checklist)

I have a created list of things to carry to the USA for students (F1, J1 and M Visa) who are traveling for the first time.

I have been here in the United States for over 13 years, and had traveled several times from the U.S. to India and from India back here. Not to mentions my visit to 41 U.S. states and 6 countries in Europe.

In our recent trip to India (and back to USA), we took 8 suitcases, one stroller, and 3 carry-on bags. I used my experience over the years to create this list of things for students flying to USA.

I did researched on the list of items to carry from different Indian Students Associations’ websites, but it’s not updated to clearly say what things to buy in the U.S. and while still preparing in India.

If you have specific questions about items not listed here, write a comment in this article and I will update the list.

List of Items to Pack to USA

 

Dress/Clothes
Jeans4India
T-Shirts10+India
Shirt – Casual4IndiaI like T-shirts more than shirts. So, less number of shirts.
Shirt – Formal2India
Coat and Suit – Formal1IndiaCoat and Suit are expensive in the U.S. compared to India
Shorts/ 3/4ths5India
Pants4IndiaI don’t like to wear pants. I will go with Jeans
Belts2IndiaLeather is expensive in the U.S.
Formal Shoes1 PairIndia
Winter WearU.S.Don’t buy winter wear in India. Sweater, Jackets, etc. are cheap when on sale.
Leather JacketPrefer winter jacket over leather. Jackets – $20 to $75
Sports Shoes +  Socks
1 Pair + few moreU.S.Nike, Adidas, Rebook…are cheap. I got Adidas for $18; Socks are very cheap.
Sandals1 PairIndiaIt’s cheap here, but you will need it when you reach here.
Wallet1IndiaGet a new one before you travel
Personal Care
HangersNoU.S.Don’t water your suitcase weight carrying hangers. You can get 13 Hangers for $1 from Walmart
Tooth Brush2India
Shaving Kit1IndiaBring what you are using now
After Shave1IndiaBring what you are using now, if not buy when you arrive
Soap1U.S.One soap to use in the first few days.
Wash DetergentU.S.Please don’t carry detergents from India. You are wasting your space/weight.
Combs1 or 2India
Hair Oil50 to 200mlIndiaPack it well, so it doesn’t leak.
Nail cutter1IndiaPack in Check-In Bag
Small scissors1IndiaPack in Check-In Bag
Safety pins, Sewing kitNoI had never used it nor did my friends.
ShampooNoUSAGet it in the U.S. Avoid any cosmetics product. They’re cheap there and saves weight.
Towels2-3India1 – Thick cotton towels. 2 towels light in weight.
Napkin/Hand Kerchiefs6-10IndiaDepending on your need.
Perfume – Deodorant
1IndiaYou can get it here for cheap after you run out.
Tooth Paste1IndiaGet small one. Same brands (Colgate, Close-up, etc.) are available, but have different taste.
MirrorYesIndiaYou can carry a small mirror.
Razor BladesFewUSAShaving kit is cheap.
Blanket2India1 – Bed Spread. Get Comforter or Plush blankets in the U.S. ($20)
PillowU.S.Pillow costs $4 each at Walmart
Songs CDNoYou can download songs here, don’t add unnecessary additional weight.
Back PackYesIndiaTo carry books and on trips.
Alarm ClockYes/NoIf you are bringing your cell phone, you will not need one.
Cell PhoneYesCell Phone Buying Guide.
Pen, Pencil, Glue, Cello TapeFewGet some pen, pencil, highlighter, but you can find them in plenty here.
Calculator NoScientific calculators look different in the U.S.
Kitchen/Cooking
Pressure Cooker1 (3 to 7 liters)IndiaDon’t forget to bring pressure cooker, also get extra weight, valve.
Indian Masala/SpicesIndiaTry to get as much as possible. Masala items are available, but doesn’t give same taste as your mom’s cooking.
Rice, Dhal, etc.U.S.Don’t carry any rice or other dhal items. They’re available here in Indian stores.
Frying PansYou can get one or 2 pans that are light in weight. A set of pan costs $30.
Serrated Knife1US/IndiaKnife isn’t cheap in the U.S. Get a small one.
Spoon, ForkU.S.Spoons, forks are cheap
Vegetable Cutting BoardU.S.It’s additional weight.
Cups and BowlsU.S.Get one or 2 small bowls, but not many.
PlatesU.S.Plates will be used in a microwave. You can bring 1 plate, but don’t bring more than one.
PeelerU.S.
Instant Food Packets (Noodles)
FewIndiaCarry a few packets of instant food items, that will come in handy for your first few days until you get settled in your own apartment.
Elachi, Clove, Cinnamon, FewIndiaAvailable in Indian grocery stores in the U.S.
Garam MasalaSmall packIndiaAvailable in Indian grocery store in the U.S.
Chilli Powder1-2 kgsIndiaAvailable in Indian grocery stores in the U.S.
Medical Files/Medicines
Fever/Cold Tablets20 to 30 tabletsIndiaTylenol for fever costs about $4. You can buy in any pharmacy or Walmart.
Eyeglasses/Contact Lens2 PairsIndiaEyeglasses are very expensive here. With an Eye Insurance, I paid $225 for one pair of eyeglasses. The same would have cost Rs4,000 in India. So if you do wear glasses, make sure you get at least 2 additional pairs.

Please don’t not pack the following items while flying to America. You will just be wasting your precious luggage space because you can readily get those things here.

  • Tamarind Paste
  • Glass (Big mirror)
  • Dal and Flours
  • Pencil Box
  • Ink Pen
  • Heavy Winter Jackets
  • Plain Rice
  • Lots of Books

USA Travel tips

USA Flight Baggage Allowance

The following will be the usual baggage allowance in flights to the U.S.A.

  • Two Suitcases for check-in. Each 50 lbs (or 23 kgs)
  • 1 Carry On Cabin Bag (8 kgs)
  • 1 Personal Item (Laptop Bag or Purse)

In certain airlines, students with I-20 visas are allowed to check-in 3 suitcases each weighing 23 kgs. It might be worth paying a bit extra in ticket cost if certain airlines allow 3 suitcases. So, check the baggage allowance and shop items as per allowed weight.

156 Comments

  1. sunita on August 6, 2018 at 9:15 AM

    when we carry indian masala,how do we declare it in the customs

  2. sameer on May 6, 2018 at 10:50 PM

    nice tut. thanks

  3. Rashi on September 14, 2017 at 4:46 AM

    Do we need to carry some sort of plugs for charging as the points in US differ from that in India? Also what all preparations we need to do for currency, bank accounts , credit cards and driving license to make them valid in US

    • Curious on February 8, 2018 at 9:12 AM

      You can get adapter for the plug point conversion.
      Carry some dollars, some Indian money ( no note value above 100) and use VISA credit card to access lounges in India, cheap food too at certain airport. Get Driving License after arriving. Normally , Indian license is valid for a year in the USA

  4. sandeep on May 22, 2017 at 10:08 AM

    all have told or advice that need not carry rice as its aquire more space and easily available in Indian stores, but still can i carry rice along me as i the place where i go there is no Indian store

    • Curious on February 8, 2018 at 9:10 AM

      You cannot carry rice, CBP will ask and threw the rice out from a friend’s bag

  5. Shreyas on April 12, 2017 at 4:20 AM

    Should I buy a laptop in India or in the U.S .I am planning to buy a Mac book. Please look to it and send me the reply as soon as u can!! Keep smiling guys!Cool:)!!

    • Raghu on April 17, 2017 at 11:20 AM

      USA! and Check the Travel Guide for USA.

    • Siddharth on May 14, 2017 at 5:39 AM

      Buy It from there , It’s cheaper and made of better quality

      • Sai on August 6, 2017 at 1:57 PM

        Better quality ? really do you believe that? Say better customer service and warranty not quality it’s same throughout the world. If we buy here in US we can finance it i.e, downpayment and mostly payments, which would not be that easy in India

  6. MrChefToday on March 13, 2017 at 7:28 AM

    You really make it appear so easy along with your presentation however I to find this topic to be really one
    thing which I feel I would by no means understand. It sort of feels too complex and very huge for me.
    I’m having a look ahead for your subsequent publish,
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  7. Rakesh Reddy on March 2, 2017 at 4:15 AM

    Hi Raghu,

    My bro sent an Tab from USA, but I forgot the password when I try to unlock it in outside they had installed some other android version, can Carry out that in Laptop along with 2 Mobiles.. I am not carrying any laptop I am just carrying my B1 Folder where I had attended at the time Interview…????

    • Raghu on March 3, 2017 at 7:32 AM

      There was an announcement that if your electronic devices can’t be powered on, it maybe not allowed. So, rad about it if it still applies.

  8. Ajinkya Gulhane on August 9, 2016 at 1:28 AM

    I am a B.E graduate and i am looking forward to do MS in the USA. I don’t have friends there so how can i manage to rent an apartment after reaching there i such short notice. Is there any Indian community or any group that helps the Indian students coming to the USA??

    • Raghuram Sukumar on August 13, 2016 at 8:51 AM

      Join Pre-Departure Orientation course, You can learn more that what you had asked 🙂

  9. mani on July 15, 2016 at 3:07 PM

    Is stationery (like NoteBooks and Pens) cheap in US or India…

    • Raghuram Sukumar on July 21, 2016 at 9:46 PM

      Don’t carry them. It’s waste of suitcase space.

  10. Sai on February 7, 2016 at 11:53 AM

    I have to get some Ayurvedic Medicines.What measures should I take ?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on February 8, 2016 at 7:38 AM

      How much quantity? Get a prescription from your doctor.

  11. injected on December 29, 2015 at 5:51 AM

    Thanks a million again!

  12. Dia on December 10, 2015 at 9:25 AM

    Native US citizen here. Here is my advice on the list you posted:

    jeans : bring 4 with you, they are not cheap here.
    pants: bring at least 1 khaki or black pants, they are not cheap here and you can’t wear jeans everywhere.
    shorts: at least 2, again, not cheap.
    T-shirts: around 7, you can buy more here
    collared shirts/ polo shirts: 2 *may want to buy here, because shirts fashionable in India may not be fashionable here. though, if you just bring solid-color shirts they should be fine.
    Long-sleeved, button-up shirts: 2. best to bring solid color only- no pattern or stripes. *may want to buy here, because shirts fashionable in India may not be fashionable here.
    Suit and coat- 0. Yes they cost more here, but as a student, you won’t be going anywhere that would require formal dress. -unless you know someone here who is getting married. after you are here for a year or two, you can find a good deal on a suit, for job interviews.
    Belts – 2
    dress shoes- 1 pair, black
    sneakers- 2 pair adidas/reebok/nike. these will get dirty quickly, you can buy more here, later at a discount price.
    socks- 7 pairs. you can also buy cheap at walmart.
    underwear: 7. bring boxer short type or boxer brief type. if you don’t own these, buy them before you travel. don’t wear bikini-type or regular brief type. just trust me on this.
    if you need more, you can buy here.
    Winter coat: definitely buy it here. winter coats from India will not be warm enough for US winters, and will not be fashionable.
    DO NOT BRING: rice, daal, spices, or any kind of food. it is a waste of valuable luggage space and anything can be bought here. Go to an Indian grocery store here, they have anything you want. DO NOT bring a pressure cooker !! – its heavy and a waste of space. For sure, other Indians will have a pressure cooker and would let you use it, or you will find people cook together and share food alot. If you want your own, buy one on craigslist.com or at an Indian grocery store, or Walmart. DO NOT bring any pots/pans, for same reason. …DO NOT bring any knives!!! They are very cheap here! and if a knife is found in your luggage, you will have a hard time to go through 🙁
    Everything like soap, shampoo, towels, deodorant, toothpaste, etc. is cheap to buy here.
    BRING from India: Glasses and contact lenses, and many extra!! Very expensive here..
    Medicines: If prescribed by a doctor, bring extra.. it may take some time to get refill of your medicine here. Any herbs or ayurvedic medicine, bring with you. You may be able to get these here, or not, depending on the area.
    DO NOT bring things like cold medicine, pain reliever, these are easily available and very cheap here.
    Do not bring pillows- waste of space. very cheap here.
    Blanket- 1 only, will be good enough, and u can buy later.Do not bring clothes hangers, as mentioned above.
    >>> Go to the store to buy the thing you need, as soon as possible after unpacking your stuff in your apartment.<<<>One more thing, if you are a girl, be very careful of the guys here. Do not go to a guy’s apartment alone. ..when you are outside of your room, Do not EVER leave your drink unattended. If you go to the bathroom, bring your drink with you.
    >> Guys, feel free to talk to girls, but don’t follow girls around. If you have a girl’s phone number, don’t call repeatedly. Allow her to answer your call in her own time. Do NOT assume that just because a girl goes on a date with you, that she would sleep with you. You may have heard stories about American girls, but you should not believe them to be true. If you are around a girl who is drunk, be a gentleman and watch out for her.

  13. nandhini on July 6, 2015 at 5:12 AM

    hi

  14. Raja on July 6, 2015 at 1:44 AM

    Hi Raghu,

    First of all heart full ” Thank You” for all the above answers / responses to the queries.

    My Bro and Vahi are travelling to US next month along with the Cute little princess, i have a query: ” Can they take the food for the little chap along with them ( Princess age: 3yrs). They are planning to go via British or Singapore Airlines.

    Suggestions please.

    Thank you in advance.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on July 11, 2015 at 10:38 AM

      ​We have travelled ​several tiems with our son and there will be extra check, with 3 year old, airline food will be also good, make sure they asked for specific food request.

  15. Akash Jani on June 22, 2015 at 2:31 AM

    Thank a lot for this Information…!!!

  16. Madhu K on June 1, 2015 at 1:33 AM

    Since our electrical equipment doesnt works there.. So can we take laptop with ous ?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on June 1, 2015 at 11:07 AM

      Laptops shouldn;t be an issue. Power Adapter will support 110 to 240.

  17. Sonia on May 27, 2015 at 10:54 AM

    Hi,

    I have a query regarding ayurvedic medicines. I need to carry a months supplies of ayurvedic as well as allopathic medicines to USA for asthmatic conditions. The allopathic medicines have the labels on them indicating the components. But my ayurvedic doctor gives medicines in tablet and powder form without any labels. How should I go about it?

    Also, is there any site which specifies which medicines are allowed in USA and which are not?

    Would really appreciate your advice.

    Thanks

    • Raghuram Sukumar on May 27, 2015 at 12:14 PM

      Bring the prescription and depends on quantity.

  18. suji on March 10, 2015 at 8:49 AM

    hi raguram.. i have a doubt, if i carry my laptop in my backpack along with my docs ,books… will it get add in the 7kg weight

    • Raghuram Sukumar on March 10, 2015 at 10:46 AM

      Yes you can. It take a separate laptop bag in addition to cabin suitcase

  19. Manali Parashari on February 12, 2015 at 4:34 AM

    Hello Raghuram, you have such a great blog…I have read all the posts of your blog and it is awesome and very helpful…keep it up!!!!!!

  20. praveen on January 16, 2015 at 11:10 AM

    I will be travelling to USA in Air india on 22 jan. The baggage dimension limit in air india website for economic class is ” both combined 107 inches” I have two bags whose dimensions combined has 125 inches. Are they particular about dimension or is it ok to carry two bags whose combined dimensions is 125. Please help me on this.

  21. Anil on January 14, 2015 at 12:48 AM

    Dear Raghuram,
    Really nice and very helpful article.
    I have a question here is, I don’t have laptop instead can i carry my camera bag(DSLR camera and few lenses ) as a personal item ?

    • Raghuram Sukumar on January 14, 2015 at 5:36 PM

      Yes, you can. But, I would say, put it the cabin suitcase. Easier to take it with you.

  22. Sohrab on December 15, 2014 at 3:25 AM

    Thanks for your article

  23. pranav on July 14, 2014 at 12:08 AM

    Hi,

    want to know about the boots

  24. Kumar on May 9, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    Thank you for the comrehensive list. It’s really helpful for first time travellor to US. I may tavel this year around December(Winter season) with two kids(1.5 yrs and 4 yrs old) and my wife. Please suggest me what should I carry especially for kids at least for initial days.

    • Raghuram Sukumar on May 9, 2014 at 11:59 AM

      I will ask my wife to write an article about this.

      Get a jacket for everyone, but you can get good ones after you come here.

      Get apartment booked before you come with help from friends here. That will make your life easy.

      It will take sometime to settle, and initial few weeks will be tough, but manageable.

  25. Varsha on April 29, 2014 at 1:07 AM

    I carried a 110v mixer juicer grinder from India during my last visit. It occupied most of the space and weight in my baggage. Is there any other alternative, where I can purchase the same from the U.S?
    Please reply

    • Raghuram Sukumar on April 29, 2014 at 10:37 AM

      Yes, Amazon.com sells Preethi and other Indian Brands.

  26. akash manoj on April 9, 2013 at 1:35 AM

    thnks for the information. it helped me much. And Iam going to U.S for an educational trip in May 2013.
    is 550$ enough for the pocket money????
    i am visiting these places:
    *washington
    *niagra falls
    *new york(top 10 places)
    NASA
    *Disney
    and other top places in the U.S…….
    pls reply me as soon as possible!!!!!!*****

    • Raghuram Sukumar on April 9, 2013 at 2:50 AM

      Depends on how much you will spend. Make sure you have cash is accessible when required.

  27. Hans Garre on March 18, 2013 at 12:06 AM

    Thanks for sharing the comprehensive list of items that students have to carry to the USA. But the list does not include some of the commonly used gadgets like smart phone and tablet. As a student has to stay connected with his loved ones, you should have included these gadgets in your list.

  28. Abhijeet Kumar on September 3, 2012 at 10:27 PM

    Some portions of the list are not that reliable. I mean unless you are picking up sports shoes at a donation center, forget about anything good under 30-40 bucks.

  29. imtiyaz on July 30, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    how about BLANKET and IRON BOX….?????

  30. ANIQUA JAFRI on July 16, 2012 at 4:01 PM

    hi .

    my flight is on 23rd july, 2012. I am leaving for Texas, USA. I want some suggestion regarding packing. I am bit confused about food items. Do i need to pack those in carry-on -baggage or check in baggage? Are they going to check food items?

    can we carry scissors , stapler and knife?

  31. Jui on July 13, 2012 at 1:50 PM

    You forgot undergarments! Lol

  32. Rashmi on April 18, 2012 at 1:52 AM

    Hi,

    Very useful information.
    Can you please provide details regarding the items that can be carried
    while returning back from US. There might be some rules or constraints on the goods that can be carried back.. Please share.
    Thanks.

  33. venkatesan on April 9, 2012 at 8:23 AM

    It is nice to know before going to US for the first timers.

    Thank you
    P.Venkatesan

  34. munna on March 26, 2012 at 7:50 AM

    remember to utilise carry-on capacity. a small suitcase with 9-10 kilos can come with you in cabin. make sure to read the airlines rules thru their carry-on capacity. some airlines allow one laptop bag also besides that. some airlines allow only one carry on item and you are supposed to put laptop also in that bag only. note that if you are bringing items like shawl, jacket, books, camera dont put it in valuable space, carrry it separately with you.

  35. devi on March 25, 2012 at 5:01 AM

    thanks for the informaion.
    I am going to US in the next month.
    can I carry my gold necklace and set of earrings in my baggage during travel.
    please suggest me.

    • HSB on March 25, 2012 at 10:07 AM

      Take it with you in the carry on baggage.

  36. suraj on March 18, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    Good list provided here i wold say

    Absolutely necessary things you must carry:
    Medicines
    Pressure Cooker
    Extra Pair of eye Glass/Contact lenses(very expensive here)
    initial supplies(few clothes/brush paste etc.)

  37. Sheajad on January 1, 2012 at 5:18 AM

    Its good, Thanks… Thanks for list.

  38. abhi on December 31, 2011 at 1:14 PM

    I have laptop can i carry it to US without any customs problem or is it more advisable to purchase a new one in US?

    • rohit on December 31, 2011 at 3:59 PM

      It is absolutely fine to carry your laptop with you.

  39. Mina on December 20, 2011 at 5:28 PM

    If you’re planning to visit US first time:
    – remember to get your health check up, dental and eye check ups done in India and also carry your medical records for any future reference.
    – be careful with your belongings during security clearance etc. i had lot of stuff in my hand, important papers and my laptop and had to go thru London airport for transit…i was advised to watch for my laptop to arrive safely other side of the security belt and take my belongings carefully by officer there
    – when u reach US it’s usually confusing to call someone u know…ask for help from someone at the airport preferably security officers or travel info desks for help on how to call. Have phone numbers handy with you so u can call them.
    – as soon as i reached US i had to first get my social security number before i could get my cell phone. if you have contact info of any seniors in ur univ they will help u with social security….for cell phone my class mates used http://www.amfones.com. it was cheaper but they asked for social security info to buy a phone.
    – first few days of reaching US is taxing…but take it slow…we have all gone thru it…so dont get too stressed. if u have relative or friends in US talk to them to know how to get around things once u reach here. Good Luck!

  40. kumar on October 23, 2011 at 2:28 PM

    Can we take electronic gadgets like External hardrives and pen drives to US or will it be problematic when we arrive near port of entry in US.

    • Rohini on October 28, 2011 at 3:50 AM

      Yes, you can take external hard drives and pen drives with you. It won’t be a problem.

      • Sudharsan on July 2, 2012 at 4:56 AM

        Hello,
        Can we take external hard drives with unlicensed $oftware$. Will they look into our computers for these files.

        • munna on July 2, 2012 at 5:20 PM

          you can take it and nobody will check it. but my sincere advice is that once you reach university, you can get original software. universities have arrangement to sell original softwares for very cheap prices like MS-Office, SPSS etc. for like 20 dollars or so for their enrolled students. if you are research student, then you can get softwares from your professor.

  41. Manas Das on September 16, 2011 at 9:08 PM

    Please let us know how many baggs can be carried on the plane and weithg
    thanks
    Manas

  42. NH on July 21, 2011 at 2:41 AM

    Hi, I am just wondering if it is expensive to buy a back pack in US? Because I don’t plan to bring one actually.

    • Raj on August 23, 2012 at 5:14 PM

      get a back pack from India.. its very costly here plus u dont wanna spen money in ur initial days..

  43. sq115 on July 11, 2011 at 5:33 AM

    I’m guessing the food items are for grad students who will live on their own. Other than that, the list is very comprehensive.

  44. Prassanth on July 7, 2011 at 1:21 PM

    Baggage limit is set by the airline, not by USG.
    I got 3*23 kg in British airways when I flew a month back. That’s 3 check in bags apart from the cabin allowance.

  45. RB on July 7, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    Hi,
    We have confusion over baggage allowance with Luftansa Flight. As you had mentioned here about check in as 2*23kg each, dont seems to we are allowed to do so. As per the plociy they had mentioned, we can carry only upto 23 kg of luggage all together is that true can you please get back to us on that. As there site had given details but have confuison with regards to USA flights from India
    2 suitcase for check-i. Each 50 lbs (or 23 Kgs)

    Regards
    RB

    • Sdhingra83 on August 25, 2011 at 1:49 PM

      Lufthansa and most other airlines allow only 1 baggage of 23 KG, starting July. I come in month of July

      • ANIQUA JAFRI on July 16, 2012 at 3:49 PM

        lufthansa allows two baggage each weigh 23kg for student plus carry on baggage…you need to personally ask them about baggage.

  46. munna on July 7, 2011 at 2:03 AM

    Clothes, Electronics are cheaper in USA. stuff like jackets, shoes, Levis jeans better buy here in USA. on the other hand, do your dental work in india, dentists are horribly expensive here in usa. also bring your eye glasses as many as you can.

  47. munna on July 7, 2011 at 2:01 AM

    Keep some dollars (5) in hand to get a Cart if you are landing at Newark Airport to carry your suitcases. On the other hand, airports like chicago, Dalals, Houston have baggage carts for free.

  48. Sai charan on June 30, 2011 at 2:55 AM

    Heay are the luggage rules not changed can u check with that

  49. Uzma Arjuman on May 27, 2011 at 3:24 PM

    Hi,
    Thanks for providing so much info 🙂 I am headed to OSU in fall this year, planning to buy a laptop from US. I want to ask you whether should I buy the laptop bag also from US? would it be more expensive there?

    • Chetan on June 30, 2011 at 10:46 PM

      You can get laptops (+bag) for a lesser rate (+better quality) in US.

  50. Prassanth on May 24, 2011 at 12:05 PM

    I’m just curious.. What is the weight/dimension limit for the “1 personal item”?

    • HSB on May 24, 2011 at 12:21 PM

      For Men usually – Laptop bag and Purse for Woman something like hand bag.

    • Chetan on June 30, 2011 at 10:49 PM

      Depends on the airways in which you book your ticket.
      For example, in Air France they allow you to carry laptop bag + personal item totalling < 12 kg. The same is not available in say Etihad Airways.

  51. Prassanth on May 16, 2011 at 1:21 AM

    Extremely Comprehensive. I’m a 1st time student traveller to the US, and this is just what I was googling for 🙂

    A Question:
    I’m planning to buy my Laptop in the US. So, can I carry a laptop bag on the flight, and NOT have a laptop inside? So, my question is can my carry-on luggage be 1 back pack + a laptop bag (with no laptop inside) ??

    • HSB on May 16, 2011 at 1:28 AM

      Yes – one backpack ( I recommend small suitcase) + laptop bag can use taken with you. Either buy a backpack in US or pack it within suitcase.

      • Prassanth on May 16, 2011 at 3:58 AM

        Any reason for recommending suit case over backpack. Because the backpack that I have is quite decently sized and can fit 8KG.

        • HSB on May 16, 2011 at 9:28 AM

          Always prefer to get something that can be rolled over, not carried. Sometimes transit will be pain to carrying around 8 kgs on your backpack. This suitcase will come in handy for domestic trips where you want to carry more than 8 kgs and 50 lb suitcase is not required.

          • Prassanth on May 17, 2011 at 9:22 PM

            makes sense.. I’ll get one.. Thanks!



  52. Prabhakar reddy on May 15, 2011 at 5:41 AM

    It’s great HSB…………………….I think there’s no need to ask anyone about this US process……..coz HSB alone is enough. 😉
    Helping us all in everything………….I’m a bit surprised to see even list of items to carry to US 🙂 🙂
    Thank you !!

    • HSB on May 15, 2011 at 11:39 AM

      I have faced all the situations you gus are going to face. So, it makes it easy to write to prospective students.

  53. Ramya on May 10, 2011 at 4:22 AM

    Hello Sir,

    Are we allowed to carry Rice, Dhal and other Indian spices to US? We’re visiting US for the first time and would like to know from you regarding this. I’m flying with my husband and my child (1.5 years old son) to US.

    Thank you

    • HSB on May 10, 2011 at 8:21 AM

      Bring Indian Spices. Don’t waste your baggage space bringing rice and dhal. Since you are coming with 1.5 year old son you can carry some foot items.
      Trust me its lot easier to deal with baby food items in USA than India. My son is 17 months old 🙂

  54. priyanka patel on April 7, 2011 at 10:36 AM

    Hi,
    It has been very wonderfull post.
    My query is that..i want to know about the clothing prices over ther like jeans t shirt?is it ok if i buy some pairs there only inUS.
    Does the same applies to other women accessories

    • HSB on May 10, 2011 at 8:22 AM

      Levis Jean is $28 (they never have sale) but other Jeans are cheap Lee, Wrangler from $10 (both men and women).

  55. sita on April 1, 2011 at 2:10 AM

    missed socks for leg

    • HSB on May 10, 2011 at 8:28 AM

      Thanks. Added.

  56. T.S.Ramakrishnan on March 20, 2011 at 5:51 PM

    My wife and I are senior citizens. We want to visit US to stay with our son for six months. We are under medication for BP and heart. Can I carry six months medicine. Where to keep the medicines, in checked baggage or Cabin bag. Can I carry some Ayurveda medicines powder for Diabetes for my wife and some liquid tonics for my grand children. Will you please reply by email

    TSR

    • HSB on March 20, 2011 at 7:03 PM

      Yes, you will be able to carry medicines for 6 months, but get prescription from the doctor for all the medicine. Depending on how many tablets and amount of medicine, you can either keep them in cabin bag or in checkin bag. Don't keep all of them in one place, try to split it.

  57. Koonal on February 15, 2011 at 8:30 PM

    Great guidance list.

    To add a few, you may want to include Intl Calling / SIM cards (available in India now), Intl plug converter (one plug, can be used in over 6 countries), socks, sandals, chappals, etc.

    Just curious to know if anti biotics are allowed to be carrind in US.

    • HSB on February 16, 2011 at 5:08 AM

      Take tablets and get prescriptions form the doctor to be on safe side.

  58. AB on February 11, 2011 at 8:21 PM

    I really think the basic tenet of your approach is wrong. You are trying to see how much you can bring without beating the weight limit. It's the WRONG approach.

    Let's see: the limit is 23 x 2= 46 kgs + hand luggage + personal item. That's 50 kgs. That's a crazy amount of mass to be dragging around when you invariably get lost/badly confused on your first trip outside India. In other words, you will be carrying the equivalent weight of a 15 year old boy on your shoulders. The experience is tense and scary enough as it is… 50 kgs of luggage can make it overwhelming.

    The focus should be on staying LIGHT. Carry 1 SMALL suitcase (only little bigger than briefcase) and a carry on bag. Dont bring anything that is not absolutely essential. The first 2-3 months are rather survivalistic.

    • HSB on February 11, 2011 at 8:53 PM

      How many times in your international trip you had to carry all 50kgs in your hand? All the airports have something called Baggage Carts.
      You load the bags in the carts in India at the airport entrance, check in the bags. Checkout the bags at port of entry and each and every airport in US will have baggage carts. Clear the customs and walk out or check-in the bags for your destination.

  59. Yogesh on January 14, 2011 at 10:30 PM

    It would be more useful if this list is categorized and should me excel sheet format. Also differ for short term and long term US stay.

    Thanks!

  60. Tapan Shah on December 21, 2010 at 1:33 AM

    How many Dollars should I bring there along with me? How to adjust for money transfer? Also, should I buy a laptop here in India?

    • HSB on December 21, 2010 at 7:37 AM

      Buy laptop in USA. First sem fees + living expense of $4000 to $6000.

      • Tapan Shah on December 24, 2010 at 7:53 AM

        But living expense is only about 500 $ par month! Should I need to carry 4000 to 6000 $ even then?
        What about subsequent money transfer from India to US?

  61. ganesh on November 26, 2010 at 1:28 AM

    Hi,
    Its a very exhaustive list. Thanks for putting it on internet. Its really handy.
    Even few suggestions below are good.
    LOL

    • Uday Kiran on July 4, 2011 at 12:29 PM

      Hi everyone, could you pls tell me whether we should carry our lugage in large bags(a bit heavy…~2 to 3 kg) like American Tourister, Samsonite etc… or can we carry that in our own bags(made of canvas) which weigh not more than 0.5 kg. I’m asking this because my relatives abroad say that there are no particular restrictions and it depends on our convenience to carry our lugage in which ever type of bags.

      Pls Reply

      • Angelo Kurian on July 24, 2011 at 3:02 PM

        Each flight has restrictions on the size of the baggage, if the baggage you are carrying within the stipulated dimensions (length *width*height) you should be fine,there is no restriction on the type of bag,as long as it is within the dimensions, but its better to buy samsonite(american tourister) or VIP, because its more durable. I once send my luggage in a locally made suitcase, at the port of entry when i collected my luggage,there was nothing much left of the bag (handle and wheel broken,and pieces of metal sticking out).So, its your choice 🙂

  62. Pradip on November 21, 2010 at 4:34 AM

    My GUITAR …. 🙁 🙁

    Can't leave my epiphone behind… I've spent 30 grands on it .,… I guess I'll buy the amp there…

  63. ricky on November 2, 2010 at 10:48 AM

    nice suggestions for those who traveling to us. really helpful and solutions for questions.

  64. Kovid on September 22, 2010 at 8:31 PM

    I would like to add a few more things:
    1. Medicines: Take some antibiotics.. preferably Amox, Ciplox, and Augmentin. They are very costly in US and need a prescription from a Doc, which is more costly.
    2. Also carry some laxatives (Kayam churna, Dulcolax) as u will eat a lot of junk food in early days, as it is cheap.
    3. Antacid tablets, pain killers
    4. Get a dental checkup done before you go.. as it is not covered in US health insurance.
    5. Take plain papers. Printing is cheap in US but papers cost more than here.
    6. Indian coffee and tea leaves.
    7. some snacks will be good to take for early days.
    8. If your family is not well versed with using internet… please make skype or gtalk autologin on your home computer before you go.

  65. Nabeel on August 19, 2010 at 1:53 AM

    Nice article.

    Well, I know that this blog is dedicated for students goin to the West but I would appreciate if the same article is re posted for students going to UK.

    Thank you

  66. Dharmendra on July 4, 2010 at 8:35 AM

    Please add umbrella as well , its costly here.

    • Ankit on July 16, 2010 at 7:02 PM

      Agree 🙂

  67. Rajiv Dutta on July 2, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    I hv a laptop to carry. Is it counted in the carry in luggage in Air India? Obviously it will effect the price limit for the items to carry.Is it better to buy one in US? Are there any restrictions on the data in the laptop?

    • HSB on July 2, 2010 at 6:49 PM

      Laptop bag will be counted as personal item in addition to 1 allowed carry on bag.

  68. bhavani ravindran on June 30, 2010 at 3:50 AM

    hi

    it is very nice and will help all..thanks..

  69. Krishnendra on May 17, 2010 at 7:12 AM

    Hi,

    Good work man. This post will be of great help for prospective students especially those like me who would want to prepared in every way right from the beginning.

    Cheers

  70. Ankit on May 16, 2010 at 6:00 PM

    Hi,

    Thank you for wonderful information. I'm traveling on B1 Visa and want to know lots of thing but don't know to whom 2 ask i got my all answer here.

    But i feel one thing is missing Declaration part, I heard when you are going from india they give you one declaration form which content what are the things you are caring with you and value of goods. If you can share that details then it will be gr8.

    Thank you so much for the info.

    • Angelo Kurian on July 24, 2011 at 3:06 PM

      you can find the form by searching “US customs Declaration form” in google

  71. nishant on February 19, 2010 at 8:49 PM

    gr8 post dude

    it will surely help me

  72. Kaustubha Raut on January 7, 2010 at 7:39 PM

    Nice Post. All credits to the author.

    I'd like to add that phone connections usually come with a free handset (basic models) and if you want a better phone its around $100 extra. So donn't buy a phone just before coming here. Its a waste.

  73. Mohan on September 11, 2009 at 3:58 AM

    Hi,

    it gives me fine idea to gather things and for the preparation. Thank you so much buddy. what about the inner wears. is that costlier there. pls suggest

    • HSB on September 11, 2009 at 4:35 AM

      Buy underclothing that will last for 15 to 20 days, before you can do laundry. Your must not try to spend money within first 3 months on clothes (other than winter wear) when you reach US.

  74. TEJAS on September 7, 2009 at 1:49 PM

    thanx..!!
    its really good info. for students…
    can u help me in getting the same list for UK…?

  75. swati on August 7, 2009 at 4:33 AM

    Hey.., wonderful forum for clearing d minute details dat many ppl usually leave out. Thnx a lot..!!

    and btw, i'am flying by jet airways nd they hav an option for an extra baggage, ie, 23*3. I'am not sure if this includes the carry on baggage weight too! if u have any info bout dis, pls let me know.

    once again, wonderful job!!!

  76. KUNAL on July 5, 2009 at 1:35 AM

    WONDERFUL JOB MAN. AMAZING… DONT HAVE WORDS TO EXPLAIN IT. JUST WOW.

    • HSB on July 5, 2009 at 8:13 PM

      Glad you liked the article.

  77. Sumida on May 20, 2009 at 9:12 AM

    Toothbrushes large pack is a good idea. I use a specific type which I wasn't able to get here.

  78. harish on January 1, 2009 at 6:13 AM

    really awesome dude…. very useful 4 1st timers….

  79. viswanath on December 25, 2008 at 2:12 AM

    it was really helpful….u really gave a good n clear info regardin about the baggage…..thnx a lot….

  80. satish on December 6, 2008 at 7:50 PM

    i think the info u have given is very useful to the us aspirants . and i'm appreciating you for your important &useful info.

    thanking you for helping the students like me……

  81. Prashant Sarna on September 9, 2008 at 10:04 AM

    Lots of important and useful information…..a very good checklist….must for every student coming to U.S.

  82. Maitrik on August 11, 2008 at 9:08 PM

    Hi,

    Very nice information and check list given..Thanks.

    Regards,

    Maitrik Gandhi.
    http://www.maitrikgandhi.co.cc

  83. Darpan Garg on July 24, 2008 at 7:29 PM

    Hi,

    is there any limit to how much liquid I can carry in check-in luggage.actually I need to carry 1 liquid medicine for complete 1 year.

    also I have to carry tablets for complete 1 year . Shall the security object if I am carrying with me so much medicines . Is a doctor prescription needed and if yes , then will it suffice ?

  84. Darpan Garg on July 24, 2008 at 7:29 PM

    Hi,

    is there any limit to how much liquid I can carry in check-in luggage.actually I need to carry 1 liquid medicine for complete 1 year .

    also I have to carry tablets for complete 1 year . Shall the security object if I am carrying with me so much medicines . Is a doctor prescription needed and if yes , then will it suffice ?

    • Kovid on September 22, 2010 at 8:00 PM

      HI, Medicines can be carried in check in luggage but you should have a proper prescription from a doctor about the generic name and the quantity you are carrying with it. Please request your doctor not to use brand names of medicines in prescription. Tablets and properly sealed liquids are allowed.

      Regards,
      Dr. Kovid

  85. shanky on July 14, 2008 at 3:55 AM

    Only 1 word dude u really rockkkkkk…..this info is really very much usefull for each and every 1 who is plannin for masters in any foreign Country…thanks a lotttt ( 1 small compliment kaka nuvvu kekaaaa kevvvvvv)

  86. Roopa on July 13, 2008 at 7:01 AM

    its a gr8 work……..it is so useful for ppl who r going to US for the first time……plss tell me abt money transfer and u didnt specify abt creams for skin protection…

  87. Aditya on July 11, 2008 at 5:34 AM

    gr8 wrk has been posted out here……….thnx a lot…..kp up dis gd wrk ….!!!!!!!!

  88. priya on July 9, 2008 at 8:55 AM

    Hi,
    Very useful list yar.do update more.
    will forward to my friends also.
    can u also post abt the way of transfering money to US account from India,n which bank charges less n things.

  89. Raghuram on July 8, 2008 at 4:13 AM

    @ Vijay General rule for Carry On bag is that it must fit within the top airline shelf. I have seen so many types of Carry on Baggage. Get the suitcase type with stroller. It will be easy to move around with tat. Carrying 8 Kgs within airport will be very tough. As far check in bag size is concerned, I haven't seen any airline measuring the exact size. I have traveled 3 times in Lufthansa, Couple of times in Delta and also in Cathy Pacific. My brother have traveled in Emirates and Jet Airways. He came back from India in June 1week and Lufthansa allowed to carry 32 Kgs with no additional charge. It all depends on the person at the counter helping you check-in. If you happen to know any one whoring in airport, it might help too.

  90. Kannan on July 8, 2008 at 2:25 AM

    Kudos dude .. I find this website extremely useful ..

    @ Vijay: Dimensions are extremely important for hand luggage ( But i m not sure abt the measurements . A rough calculation is, it must go under your flight seat also). For check-in luggage, most airlines adhere to weight ( 23*23*8) whereas certain airlines like lufthansa check dimensions of your suitcase rather than weight . Anyhow chk with your travel agent for more specific details. If that travel agent has influence and if you inform him a week prior your travel, then he can also get special permission for you to carry above 23 kgs/luggage

  91. Raghuram on July 7, 2008 at 5:05 AM

    @ Kilaru: Pressure Cooke – Must; electric Cooker is not a substitute for pressure cooker. If you have space carry Jeans overcoat.

    @Avinash: Yes, you can carry sharp items, but not in Carry On Bag. It should be in checked luggage. Make sure you leave your suitcase unlocked or use TSA Locks.

    @Vijay: Dimension dosen’t really matter. Don’t for the largest suitcase. Get the medium sized suitcase.

    • Harish C S on February 20, 2010 at 7:12 AM

      Why do u say pressure cooker is a must? Then we should have cooking stove also isint it?

      • HSB on February 20, 2010 at 7:26 AM

        Why do you need a cooking stove? Apartments comes with cooktop ( electric or gas). You will be going to developed country 🙂

        • akshay on August 9, 2010 at 3:51 AM

          hey dude.. its not "You will be going to developed country". Its "You will be going to a developed country such as america". Need to improve on ur eng first. loser!1

          • PRASHANTH M on June 29, 2011 at 12:34 PM

            @Akshay: Whats the difference between the two??!!



  92. kilaru on July 6, 2008 at 10:49 AM

    what about the jeans overcoat….is it necessary???

  93. kilaru on July 6, 2008 at 10:38 AM

    hey its good seeing all the items that r required for a US gng student…….as im one of them…..so, is the cooker necessary???can we have a electric rice cooker in US….as the electronic items r cheap…..is it true??and can we get it there??plz suggest me…..

  94. ankit on July 5, 2008 at 4:07 AM

    xtremely useful 4 first-timers.. gud job mate 🙂

  95. Avinash on July 3, 2008 at 10:23 PM

    Sir, Will the airport authorities allow to carry sharp items like Knifes, scissors, nail cutters, shaving blades etc.

    • Kovid on September 22, 2010 at 8:22 PM

      They allow this in check in baggage

  96. Anup on July 3, 2008 at 2:13 AM

    Its very nice to know that people like you do such things and show great altruism.

    Thanks,
    Anup

  97. ashwini jain on July 2, 2008 at 4:00 AM

    Dear Sir,
    my daughter who wishes to attend BBA course in some good USA university has unfortunately scored only 1670 in both the attempts she made. What do you suggest . She informs me that she is allowed only one attempt more and is afraid to take one more attempt without being sure. is she correct. We are in Delhi.And she is now studing in 12th standard and shall be applying for BBA course starting August 2009.
    Regards
    AK JAIN

    • Bivek on July 5, 2010 at 8:58 PM

      Are you talking about SAT I? she's allowed to take SAT as many times as she want. and 1670 is not that bad untill she gets 500+in CR and 600+ in Maths. so better know about her score and let she be proactive. explain her about this Blog and let she gather information for herself. To inform you I have also received the same score around 1670 in SAT but yet received FULL Scholarship. But its true that I struggled pretty hard to search the university. So explain her that hard work at any stage and any thing pays off in great manner.

      so let her to take the initiation and support her at back,.

  98. vijay on July 2, 2008 at 2:43 AM

    Hey,
    u didn’t mention about the dimensions of the baggage.
    Does it matter alot?

  99. Deepan on June 30, 2008 at 9:39 PM

    its really much needed info for students going to US for first time. thanks a lot !!! keep posting your further experiences !!

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