Things to Carry

There are so many things one needs to carry, while going to the US for the first time. You have to make a new place to live, a "home" away from your home. If you have a friend who is going to the same university, for the same semester, it is better to share few things. This saves space as well as money.

This post lists the most common things you should carry while traveling to US. One must ensure to take along all essential items one would need for a comfortable stay in the United States. Many commodities like clothes, foot ware, leather items, and other miscellaneous things are expensive in US. Also, you would need to take your important academic and legal documents as they may be needed from time to time. Therefore it is a must that you go through the entire section and make a note of these things in the form of printout as a checklist to ensure that you don’t miss anything.


  • Passport, I-20, visa.
  • Driver’s license.
  • International Driving Permit, if possible.
  • Medical certificates and proofs of vaccination.
  • Transcripts.
  • Degree certificate or provisional certificate.
  • Letters from university.
  • Passport size photos.

  • You should have enough money to arrange for housing, etc. and to survive at least the first month (until the first paycheck, from your job arrives).
  • Bring $1500 - $2000 in travelers' checks.
  • Bring $100 - $150 in cash. $10 bills or the smaller.
  • $1 bills will be required to pull out trolleys in the airport.
  • If you cannot get cash, travelers' checks can be encashed at the airport for a fee.

Depends on the place where you will stay. Few common advices, no matter where your university is:
  • Do NOT bring heavy winter clothes – as you won’t require that in fall and spring and it will occupy a lot of space in your luggage. You'll need to buy winter clothes in late September or early October. Winter clothing is pretty cheap here. You will get a good winter jacket in around $50.
  • A raincoat and/or casual jacket, umbrella, woolen gloves, cap would be very useful.
  • Get a few of pairs of shorts, towels (3-4), socks.
  • You could also get traditional Indian dresses for special occasions.
  • It is advisable to get around 15 pairs of undergarments as it helps in reducing your trips to the laundry (though most apartments have laundry machines right in the basement of the building).
  • About three pairs of formal wears for career fairs and interviews. Two blazers will do.
  • You can get a decent pair of jeans for around $20 to $30 here. T-shirts will cost around $10 to $20. Shirts will cost around $20 to $30.

Food Items:
  • Indian spices of your choice, though you can get most of them here.
  • Home-made items like pickles etc.
  • Bring a few noodle packets. Get a few Instant food packets; these become handy many a times in first few weeks.
  • You can bring few groceries – Rice, Dal, Salt, Sugar, Tea/Coffee in case you are going to move to new apartment right away just enough to survive few days so that you don’t have to run for grocery shopping the next day.
  • There are many Indian stores around most of the well know universities. Then too it depends on the location. If you are able to find one Indian store around, you will get all kinds of things there. You even get Indian cold drinks and Indian chocolates there, costly though.

  • Being with three or four roomies, you will have to cook for atleast 4 people. So try to get large vessels.
  • If your roomies are decided, collaborate and bring vessels according.
  • Try bringing all the vessels you need, vessels are costly here
  • Bring utensils which are preferably microwave safe.

Other Stuffs:
  • A few pens, pencils, ruler etc. just to get started. Stationary is pretty cheap here. Do not overload your baggage with notebooks and paper.
  • A scientific calculator that you might have used in your undergraduate course.
  • A small sewing kit.
  • A good book for cooking.
  • Don’t get many CD’s of movies and songs. You will get everything online, most of the times for free.

Things not to get:
  • DO NOT GET ANY ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES FROM INDIA. It is 110 volts AC/60Hz in the US, so Indian electrical appliances does not work.
  • Do not get a digital camera, it’s very cheap here.
  • Do not get a laptop; you will get a good deal here.
  • Don’t get too many clothes. It’s cheap here.
  • Do not get too many pairs of shoes.


Keep the passport, I-20, all the certificates, Marklists (your folder), medical records etc. in your handbag. Very rarely airlines misplace your luggage. Ofcourse they refund you for the same but as you can see, some documents are too important for any refund.

You will complete your customs formalities at your first port of entry. ENSURE THAT YOU HAVE SUFFICIENT TIME (at least 2 hours, considering the queue) BETWEEN YOUR FLIGHTS AT THAT AIRPORT.

Carry a few quarters (25c coins) in case you have to call anyone from the airport.



July 2, 2009 at 8:36 PM

Thanks for this list. Its really helpful.


July 5, 2009 at 9:34 AM

Nice list.


July 20, 2009 at 1:36 AM

That was real good info... solved lots of my queries....


November 30, 2009 at 2:41 AM

Can i carry a LCD TV to USA which i recently purchased in India.


April 9, 2010 at 7:48 AM

chup gadhey

  Rohan Nate

June 2, 2010 at 12:51 AM

hey should i carry cell phone from india???


November 1, 2010 at 5:50 PM

Are bhai isko US ka visa kisne diya.....


March 5, 2012 at 1:39 PM

I Agree one should make wisely the list of things to carry to US
Absolutely necessary things:

Pressure Cooker
Extra Pair of eye Glass/Contact lenses(very expensive here)
initial supplies(few clothes/brush paste etc.)
for details go to


November 15, 2013 at 10:47 PM


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