When I spent a year studying abroad in Lebanon, I brought WAY TOO MUCH stuff with me. With four suitcases, I ended up spending hundreds of dollars for excess and oversized luggage on my flight.
Before you pack for your time in the U.S., learn from my mistakes about what NOT to bring.
1. Hard copies of books
I must have filled half a suitcase with books I thought I would read while living in a new country. I ended up reading a few–but not all–of them. Bringing so many books was heavy and a waste of space. Instead of bringing hard copies of all your favorite books, consider packing an eReader with downloaded versions instead, or plan to use the library at your university.
2. All the clothes you own
When I moved overseas one of my suitcases was completely filled with shoes! I brought so many clothes that my roommates did not see me in the same outfit twice! Instead of bringing my entire wardrobe, I should have just picked a few of my favorite outfits, as well as clothes appropriate for all weather and seasons. Keep in mind that when you get to the U.S., you will have the option to buy new clothes.
3. Incompatible electronics
It is easy to use a travel adapter to charge electronics that need a different kind of plug, but some electronics are built with certain voltage needs, and a foreign voltage system might ruin them. My laptop battery lost its ability to hold a charge from using Lebanese voltage and the first time I ever plugged in my nebulizer (a specialized medical air pump), it sparked and was completely ruined. Research which electronics you’ll need to buy that are specifically designed for American voltages.
4. A year’s supply of shampoo and conditioner
This might seem obvious to you, but I was new to living abroad and worried I wouldn’t be able to find the kinds of soaps and toiletries that I like. I ended up wasting a lot of space and weight in my luggage bringing a year’s supply of shampoo and conditioner, when really I should have just brought enough to get settled in for the first week or two, and bought more when I got there.
To sum up: think of how much you are going to pay per suitcase to transport items to America. Will it be cheaper to just buy new clothes, shampoo, and books when you get there? Bring the things you really love and need, but otherwise pack light!
To get tips on what items you SHOULD bring, check out my next post, What to Bring to America