<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1144091829361392&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

What to Pack, Ship, and Buy: A Comprehensive Guide for Coming to America

Studying abroad is an exciting opportunity, but...

Erica De Silva

Erica De Silva

January 22, 2024

Studying abroad is an exciting opportunity, but preparing for the experience can be stressful. Even after finalizing your travel and housing plans, there are a few important steps to complete before you leave. Most notably, packing can often get overlooked or put off until the last minute.

If you have concerns about what to pack or not, this guide can help you. Here are some of the most essential items to pack and other homestay tips for students coming to America.

A Homestay Guide to Packing: Items to Consider

Important Documents and Photocopies

Documents like your passport and visa will be absolutely essential as you travel. Make sure these documents are packed and secured, along with photocopies, just in case. You should also be sure to have physical copies of other important documents you might need during your time abroad.

Some examples of these might include a driver’s license, university transcripts or enrollment confirmation, and a list of emergency contacts. Having digital backups of these items can also be useful if the physical copies are lost during your time abroad.

Appropriate Clothing

People often talk about culture shock when visiting or moving to a new area. But you don’t often hear about climate shock. Make sure you research the climate in the area you’ll be living in before packing for your time abroad, especially if you are coming to the United States.

America is a large country with a lot of variation between the climates from one state to another. If you’ll be spending time in a region with cold winters, be sure to pack plenty of warm clothes. This means a winter jacket and some sweaters, but also a winter hat, gloves, and perhaps some snow boots as well. On the other hand, if you’ll be studying in a warm weather state like Florida or Arizona, you may want to pack plenty of summer clothes.

Also, be sure to read up on what clothing items are culturally appropriate in any region you study. Some areas may dress more conservatively than others, and it’s important to know this whenever you are traveling.

Essential Electronics

For most students, a smartphone and laptop are essential to their studies. When studying abroad, these items can also help you stay in touch with friends and family back home.

Make sure you save enough room to pack these items and any other equipment (like chargers) that you’ll need.

Basic School Supplies

Your professors will assign things like textbooks and other important resources you’ll need once the semester begins. However, certain school supplies will always be needed. You can save yourself time and trouble by packing items like a couple of notebooks, pens, highlighters, and more.

Of course, you can also use a backpack during your travels and have that double as your backpack for school as well.

Other Essential Travel Items

You will also need to devote some luggage space to other items that may be essential during your travel time. Small toiletries like a toothbrush and toothpaste, for instance, are a must-have for long trips. Any medications should also be prioritized while you are packing.

Also, you might want to pack items like a travel pillow, a few small snacks, and a book for entertainment. Just be sure not to overdo with these items, as you don’t want to take up too much space with too many books, for example.


As mentioned above, you can pack a few small snacks to enjoy on your flight. However, you should limit the amount of food you pack for your travels. It’s fine to bring a few favorite items to remind you of home. But, for the most part, it’s better to shop for food once you’re settled into your new home.

Not only does this make it easier to pack, but it’s also an easy way to explore new flavors and cuisine in your new region.

Additional School Supplies

Any extra or specific school supplies that are assigned as part of your curriculum can be bought easily in America. This will highly depend on what discipline you are studying and what items are assigned.

Regardless, you don’t need to worry about packing everything you’ll need before leaving home.


Larger toiletries, like soap, shampoo, and mouthwash, will take up too much space in your luggage. These types of items are inexpensive and extremely easy to find in America. So, wait until you’ve settled into your new home to purchase them.

Don’t Forget About Shipping

If you forget something essential or don’t have space in your luggage, you can always have the item shipped to you in America. This option can be expensive, so you should not rely on it for many items. However, it can be highly convenient in case of an emergency or if you’ve forgotten something important.

Homestays for International Students

Want more homestay tips for studying abroad in America? StudentRoomStay can help students find their homestays and prepare them for a great and memorable experience abroad. Starting your journey today is just one click away.