“All my bags are packed
I'm ready to go
I'm standing here outside your door
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye”
You will most probably be singing this song inside your head very soon. All set to pursue your higher studies abroad, won an admission into a leading college, scored a visa, booked your flight tickets, made a detailed packing list…the only thing left now is to pack. Well, if you think you have done it all and finished the hurdles, think again!
Packing everything you need for the next one and a half years of your study in the US into two suitcases and a carry bag which should necessarily weigh 23, 23 and 7 (in that order) can be more challenging than answering the question “What do you propose to do after your course” at the visa interview!
Here are some tips to help you pack sensibly and avoid overpacking:
Go easy on the formals and stock up on the informals. One formal suit to wear at career fairs or internship interview, a tie, two full-sleeve shirts and two pairs of trousers will do. The rest will be informals. Pack just 2-3 denims and 4-5 T shirts as you are more likely to buy these in the US.
Pack good leather shoes as these are expensive in the US. You can buy the casual shoes abroad as they are cheaper there. Taking a pair of slippers or sandals is a good idea. Woodlands shoes for winter wear are the best.
Any winter wear you buy in India will most probably turn out to be insufficient in the US as winters can be quite extreme. So just pack one heavy jacket, sweater and scarf if you are going for the spring session. If you are going in the fall session, you can purchase them there once you settle down a bit. Thermals can be rolled up and packed. Even better, wear all your winter wear while you leave home- that way you can reduce the total luggage weight!
Inners and socks
Take loads of these as firstly they might turn out to be expensive in the US, you might be choosy about the brand and may not find it there, and you can do laundry less often. Pack enough of each item to last you a week without doing your laundry.
It’s best to purchase your laptop in the US as it’s cheaper there. Buy a laptop bag though, and stuff it with clothes, gadgets, etc. The idea is to make good use of the seven kilos permit on the laptop bag!
Watch the weight
Each weighing machine tells its own tale. So though it’s a good idea to buy some scales and weigh your bags at home, don’t rely on them completely. Leave yourself a buffer of two kilos and pack on the lighter side. You don’t want your things thrown out at the check-in counter!
Food and kitchen items
Try to connect with those travelling from India to the same college and plan your needs as a group. You can find a wide range of Indian condiments and food in the US, so take only those items like rice and dal which you will need to cook up a meal on your first day there. Your parents can always send you parcels of your favourite snacks later, if required.
Pack at least three sets of clothes and your essentials in the cabin baggage so that you can survive in a hotel for three days if you happen to miss your baggage!
If you plan to work in the US after your study, you will most probably have to relocate to another state for the job. While travelling from one state to another, baggage is restricted, and you need to pay quite a bit for extra baggage. So keep what you take from here to the minimum and purchase the rest in the US.
You will most probably visit your home country to get a work permit if you plan to work in the US after study. So do keep this in mind too while packing.
Image credit - Flickr