WELCOME TO US of America Coming to the US for the first time?? Welcome!! This is a list of things that I had compiled from various such lists and added/deleted some of the items to suit my requirements. Hope this would help you plan your travel. Most of the places here in US have Indian shops, so even if you forget anything, u need not worry at all. But, it is better to identify the thing u need to carry in advance. This would make your stay during the first couple of months very comfortable, sometimes even longer. Above allMost Important MAKE SURE YOU DONT GIVE YOUR PASSPORT AND ORIGINALS TO ANYONE IN THE WORLD AT ANY COST. This is true before, in between and after your flight. Without valid documents in a foreign country you become an illegal immigrant. Also make sure that you know every bit of the things that you carry - no mysterious packets at all. If someone's sending a packet with you then insist on knowing the contents - better be safe. Also do not accept any packets in a jiffy on the airport etc... It goes without saying that you should keep an eye on your luggage at airports - even when you are going through the XRay machine, keep a lookout on the other side of the belt, if you don't want someone to make off with your hand bag. See that you reach US on a weekend so that there are better chances and more possibilities of somebody receiving you... else u will be stuck. Do NOT move out of the airport without a friend. If none try and get something done on phone. If nothing then approach the airport authorities - always talk to someone in a recognized uniform. Carry all the Documents (Passport, ticket, other work related papers,) in your HANDBAG and not in the suitcases. Keep a copy of the passport and your tickets in each of your suitcasesin worst cases they may serve the purpose of an identifier. It is better to have some change with u to pay to the cab or a porter. ..ten 1$ dollar bills and some $5, $10 and $20 bills. BTW there is a limit on the amount of luggage that is to be carried. Its 60kg. Preferably make it 30-30 in both the suitcases. I know of some airlines creating problems even if one of them exceed the 30kg mark (though the total is less than 60). The usual luggage limit of 30 + 30 kgs is more than enough for one guy. Refer to ur airline ticket for the luggage details. A good idea is to check the weight at a grocery store near your house. Kitchen A pressure cooker with spare gaskets, safety valves and a whistle. Idli stand is optional. Couple of spoons of various sizes Steel plate and a glass Some flat bottom non-stick dishes/pans All the utensils should have flat bottom because in most of the apartments there are electric stoves, the heating element of which is flat. If u have flat bottom dishes the heat would spread equally. Try to get only those, which u might use often, do not unnecessarily load the suitcases with utensils. Knife Do not get Microwaveable dishes - they are cheap here. Keep some eatables in your hand bag.. sometime waiting for planes is very tiring. Just get things that'll last for a month or two. U get all the things here and they aren't very expensive. Don't get any eatables that u think don't last beyond a month. get only non-perishables. pack eatables very well ... go for already packed ones.. Sambhar powder Rasam Powder Turmeric Red Chillies Jeera Coriander Cummin seeds Mustard seeds Asafetida Methi Pappads Tamarind paste Pickles (Make sure that all are sealed and have a brand names) Bring whatever you'll need if you are going to cook for yourself. You can get all that stuff in the Indian markets, but in the beginning, you'll be reluctant to spend $3-4 for 100gm of Chilly powder:)) At least I was. No need to carry salt, sugar, oil, rice, wheat, pulses etc. as these things are not costly here. Tea powder/ coffee. The taste of the Tea and Coffee is different, so get some with you till u get used to this taste. Tea/Milk Stainer Grater Don't carry fresh agricultural produce e.g. potatoes, apples. U will get copped at customs! Bathroom No need to carry bath soaps, soap for cleaning utensils etc. You get real good stuff out here sometimes at even better price. 2 toothbrushes 1 Toothpaste Get 1 Gillette sensor Excel Razor Carry good number of sensor excel blades(they are expensive over here). Here u get only shaving foams, in case u r not comfortable with foam, get large stocks of shaving creams. 1 Towel 2 Hand towels 1 pair of rubber slippers Scissors Wardrobe Don't buy too many jeans, they cost just about the same here, and are a lot better. Good number of formal Shirts (pref. plain) Good number of formal pants (even light color pants are part of formal dressing) Good number of Handkerchiefs 12-15 pairs of underwears and banians. (Note that here you will be able to wash clothes once a week or fortnight. So you must have sufficient number of sets of clothes that will last for a week or a fortnight. It is not possible to wash clothes in the bathrooms at home. You have to use washing machine, which costs around two dollars for one washing and drying.) Suits(Pref. single breasted) if needed, they are very expensive out here. Good number of Ties Lots and lots of Casuals (T-shirts with collars, cotton shirts,) They are very expensive out here. Remember we use washing machines and dryers so u can expect the T-shirts to shrink a bit. 2 pairs of pyjamas and couple of shorts for home wear. Couple of sweaters for winter Rain proof jacquets for monsoon season. It is a good idea to get a Leather Jacquet with a hood and internal lining of fur from India as they are very expensive out here but most of the guys had problems with the Zip, in such case u wont find anyone to repairso think over it twice. 1 pair of hand gloves. 1 winter cap Leather Belts Formal and Casual. Office leather bag A pair of leather shoes with liquid polish. Avoid taking shoes with leather sole if you are expected to stay in a cold place. Shoes are very expensive out here but have a good choice. A shoe brush. A pair of shoe laces Not too many socks, they are quite cheap here. try and get more cotton socks rather than nylon things. thick cottons are very useful. Couple of bedsheets/blankets. Pillowcases(Big ones) 2 pairs of thermal wear Sewing kit-Needle, thread, buttons, hooks, Medical Get prescriptions & medicines for all common ailments (the technical name of the medicine along with Indian/US brand name). Before coming here get your eyesight check and carry a pair of spectacles Get a dental checkup done before you land here. Both these treatments are wildly costly here and many health insurance do not cover them. The following are the list of medicines that would be very handy, however u can drop some depending on your need. 1. Crocin tablets - 3 strips - For fever, bodyaches, headache - One tablet three times a day as necessary 2. Erythrocin 500mg tablets - 2 strips - One tablet twice a day when necessary, as advised by a doctor 3. Actified tablets - 3 strips 4. Cosovil tablets - 2 strips - For common cold & cough - One tablet three times a day. 5. Avomin tablets 1/2 strip - For airsickness - One tablet as necessary. 6. Digene tablets 30 - For diarrhea & stomach discomfort - One tablet of each three times a day. 7. Dorstal tablets 10 - For nausea & vomiting - One tablet three times a day. 8. Electral powder - 2 packets - One teaspoonful mixed with drinks to make up loss of electrolytes after vomiting or diarrhea. 9. Novalgin tablets - 2 strips - For headache & bodyaches - One tablet as necessary. 10. Stomatil tablets - 1 strip - For vertigo (giddiness) - One tablet three times a day as necessary till relieved. 11. Isogel (Glaxo) - 1 box - For constipation - One teaspoonful in a little of water at bedtime. 12. Avil tablets - 1 strip - For allergy - One tablet as necessary. 13. Sepmax tablets - 1 strip - For sore throat - One tablet twice a day after food, till relieved. NOT TO BE TAKEN WHEN ONE IS ALLERGIC TO SULFA DRUGS. 14. Relaxyl ointment - 1 tube - To be applied as a pain balm. 15. Band Aids assorted 6 16. Soframycin skin ointment - 1 tube 17. Vicks vaporub, Vicks inhaler, Amrutanjan/zandu balm 18. Cotton (small pack) 19. Ear buds 20. Some vitamin tablets 21. Smyle Gel for ulcers in the mouth Miscellaneous 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 (however most airlines are not very strict about baggage size). Put identification marks and labels both inside & outside the boxes (apart from this the airlines will also provide you with adhesive labels). Boxes with independent top & bottom are preferable. Alarm clock Wrist watch Leather wallet Umbrella Torch light(optional) Nailcutter Half-a-doz. passport photos A note of your/parent's bank A/c details Lots of Cassettes, esp. English they are very expensive out here. If you know to drive, get International Driving Permit from RTO. It is easy to get it if you have permanent license for 4 wheeler. Unless u have a very fancy hairstyle cut ur hair short. A hair cut would cost u anywhere above $10 and sometimes u also have to give a tip to the barber. Photographs of your family and friends. Since it is going to be a long flight wear something comfortable (cotton dress + full hand shirt). Wear your shoes in-flight you can remove them ( some airlines give in-flight shoes else relax in socks) Be at the airport 3-4 hours before flight departure Relax during flight, sleep as much as possible For vegetarians - watch out before you eat - you may get non-veg even if you had asked for veg. Veg. food is generally bland - fruits/juice are good choices. (Before ordering anything on board check if you have to pay for it separately for it). Don't hesitate to ask questions, usually they will answer all your queries properly - very different from India. Cabin Luggage Passport Tickets H-1 papers and all other certificates/documents Address book/telephone book/diary Some stationery and related items suggested, few Indian razor blades for cutting work and a small screw driver Medical history files some medicines (including for air-sickness) IT Clearance form novel/mags/books for in-flight reading Sweater Enough money (little cash, traveler's checks) Copies of your photo (passport size) Things to survive for a week in case luggage gets misplaced (two sets of clothes, valuables like calci, addresses etc) Receipt got along with traveler's' checks - in case you lose the TC's Things to be left at home List of addresses/phone numbers at which info about you can be obtained one copy of all your important documents a copy of all relevant parts of Medical History files Arrange to collect/redirect mail from your room/hostel Arrange to apply/collect/mail your transcripts (about 20 in number preferable) Your tailoring measurements a few blank signed papers - so that your parents can be authorized to look after anything on your behalf Port of Entry sometime before landing the flight attendant will distribute customs declaration forms & immigration forms as mentioned below. Fill these out on the plane (you will submit them to the appropriate authorities when you land). Do not hesitate to take the flight attendant's help. total value of all your things is less than $100 on the customs form - You can indicate that you have nothing to declare Form I-94 - fill in the plane. After seeing your document immigration officer will indicate length of stay, Client, etc. This will be attached to your passport. Important: note the expiry date and D/S (duration of status). Just before you land the correct local time will be announced - set your watch [dual time watch will come in handy here] Once you are out of the plane go straight to the immigration counter - rush for them to beat the queue. Do not talk loudly at the immigration counter esp. in some regional language. It might take 0.5-1 hour here. Keep your H-1 papers and passport ready. They might ask a few questions like - is this your first time in the US ? Who is the client? Where would you stay in US? Now You are in USA Then go to the baggage are to fetch your luggage. Pick up a cart (you get this at a machine for $1) to carry the bags. Then pick up your bags as they come out on the conveyor (suitable eye-catching labels help here). If you don't get your baggage inform the enquiry section - you may have to wait 0.5-1 hour here. Cart your baggage to nearby Customs. If asked to open the baggage do so slowly - do not mess up the place. If asked about the "masalas" tell them that they are "dried Indian spices" to make traditional Indian food like curry. Rarely they might ask you to go to the agris. dept. nearby - that is a pain. In most cases you will NOT be asked to open your boxes at all & will be simply waved through. Now go & wait at the nearest exit for the guys who are supposed to pick you up. If nobody turns up after some time (say 0.5 hour) make a collect call (at the public phone dial a '0', get the operator & ask for a collect call). Never leave your baggage unattended. Don't go out of the airport until somebody comes & picks you up. If you have doubts about the guy who comes to pick you up, don't hesitate to ask for his ID. [All this is of course being a little extra cautious] Once you reach your friend's house (or other destination) call home & inform them of reaching safely. Post Scripture You get almost everything, believe me almost everything here, and so even if you cant carry something no need to worry. But it will cost you dollars. This is very much true....use ur discretion and get things. its a good idea not to spend lots of $ in the first 2 months in US. Happy Journey !! and have a nice stay in the United States of America !!