Luggage and packing

Luggage is the essential thing one has to buy. This has to be done after proper planning as luggage is an expensive item and is to be retained for years, now that you will be doing lot of traveling in flight. You need 2 large size suitcases. Most airlines allow two baggages whose total dimensions should not be more than 100 inches and when filled should not weigh more than 23 – 25 kg each. Contact your travel agent regarding this.

What kind of luggage to buy:

  • Start your packing well in advance
  • Buy two good suitcases – they should be able to withstand a lot of mishandling. They should be as large as possible within the size limitations.
  • Put identification marks and labels on both the inside & outside the boxes. Apart from this, the airlines will also provide you with adhesive labels.
  • Suitcases with independent top & bottom are preferable.
  • Cabin baggage: In addition you can carry a bag with linear dimension not exceeding 115cms or 45″ (varies with airlines) on board that fits beneath the seat. Preferably buy a good quality back pack as you be using it most of the time here carrying books and stuff.

Things to be kept in the suitcases:

  • Copy of all the certificates/documents (originals in hand baggage)
  • Important application materials (Personal statement, Letters of Recommendation etc.) if you are planning to transfer to another university at a later date. (Soft copy)
  • Necessary book/notebooks (some suggested books are – Clarks Tables, a good dictionary/thesaurus, a booklet for units conversion)
  • Copy of address book/telephone book/diary
  • Some stationary and related items suggested (not absolutely necessary) – just for the first few weeks are: common items + air mail covers + few Indian razor blades for cutting work + screw driver.
  • Medical history files.
  • Non-technical books (fiction/religious).
  • Wear your shoes to save space in the box. If needed buy only leather shoes (other types of shoes are cheap in the US). For some weather conditions, Indian leather shoes may crack.
  • Don’t worry yourself if you can’t bring any of the stuff listed above – most of the items are available pretty cheap in the US (Made in China). Exceptions are leather goods, formal wear. In a month or two you will be able to get anything you want.

Things to be kept in hand baggage:

  • Some medicines (including for air-sickness)
  • Novel/magazines/books for in flight reading
  • Sweater
  • Original important documents (I-20, passport, tickets.). Being a little paranoid, I kept my passport in my pocket while coming to US.
  • Small money in cash (in case you drop your wallet somewhere, traveler’s checks, DDs
  • Address book/phone book (Indian & US)
  • Copies of your photos (passport size)
  • Enlisted steps to be followed in case of emergency (accident, theft, etc.)

Things to be kept in person:

  • Shorter extract of contact addresses – especially of people coming to pick you up.
  • Receipt got along with traveller’s’ checks – in case you lose the TC’s.
  • Cash
  • Keep some coins (quarters) if you need to make calls from a public phone.
August 27, 2013