It is important to follow the guidance below so you can avoid any potential mishaps that may occur with international travel. When preparing your bags for travel, it is better to pack light and practical items.
The time has come to pack for your adventure abroad. It may sound simple, but it can actually be one of the toughest steps in the process. Trying to stuff your whole life into a single suitcase is daunting, especially since you don’t really know what awaits you when you step off the plane. Packing is more than shoving miscellaneous items in a suitcase. There are a lot of factors you need to take into consideration when packing for study abroad.
Each airline has different policies on the amount and weight of baggage you can check, what can or cannot be packed, and any associated fees. This information is available on the airline's website.
Be sure to label your luggage so that it can be returned to you if it is lost during the course of the trip. It is also recommended to have the address of your final destination inside.
Consider adding unique identifiers such as a bright ribbon or colorful luggage tag in order to easily identify your bag at baggage claim upon arrival.
For your security, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screens all checked baggage. Checked bags should not be locked; TSA will cut off any locks in order to examine the contents. You can find more information on the TSA Security Screening website. However, we do recommend that you pack a small lock so that you can secure valuables in your suitcase during your stay abroad.
Checked Bag Packing Recommendations:
For most international flights, you may carry on one bag and one personal item (e.g., purse, briefcase, laptop bag, backpack, etc.).
Certain items may be exempt from the one item rule, such as assistive devices (e.g., canes, crutches, etc.). Additional information about traveling with disabilities and medical conditions can be found on the TSA Special Procedures website.
A carry-on bag must fit under your seat or in the overhead bin. Check the carry-on luggage size dimensions of your airline before you start packing. Some airlines may require that a carry-on item be checked if the item cannot be safely stowed on your flight.
Carry-On Bag Packing Recommendations:
This generally pertains to students studying in countries with notable/valuable product exports. If your laptop computer was made in Japan, for example, you might have to pay a duty on it each time you bring it back into the United States, unless you can prove that you owned it before you left on your trip. Documents that fully describe the item (e.g., sales receipts, insurance policies, jeweler's appraisals, etc.) are forms of proof.
To make things easier, you can register certain items (e.g., watches, cameras, laptop computers, MP3 players, etc.) with Customs before you depart as long as they have serial numbers or other unique, permanent markings. Take the items to the nearest Customs office and request a Certificate of Registration (CBP Form 4457). This certificate shows that you had the items with you before leaving the United States and all items listed on it will be allowed duty-free entry. CBP officers must see the item you are registering in order to certify the certificate of registration. You can register items with Customs at the international airport from which you’re departing. Keep the certificate for future trips.