Packing Your Bags

We know that deciding what to pack for your time at Yale can be overwhelming given baggage allowances. Here are some tips on what you should bring from home and what you can plan to buy in the U.S.


Pack as Lightly as Possible

  • You can always have your family mail you a box or pick up what you need during a visit home.
  • You can buy the bulky necessities when you arrive, such as household items (kitchenware, cleaning supplies, etc.), toiletries, and seasonal clothes.
  • Remember that anything you forget to bring can be purchased at nearby stores or online stores.
  • Familiarize yourself with items prohibited or restricted by U.S. Customs.
  • You may want to consider packing a more formal evening outfit. You may also want to bring your traditional dress for special occasions. 

Carry-On Luggage

  • Carry all your important documents (including passport and immigration documents DS-2019 or I-20) prescription medications, travel-sized toiletries, and few extra pieces of clothing in your carry-on luggage in case your checked bag gets lost. Sometimes it can take a couple of days to locate misplaced luggage.

  • To find out what you can take with you on the plane or put in your carry-on luggage, contact the airline you intend to use or visit the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) website.

  • Do not pack anything valuable in your checked suitcase in case it gets lost. 

Preparing for the Weather

  • New Haven has four distinct seasons – hot and humid in the summer, chilly and windy in the fall, cold and snowy in the winter, and rainy in the spring. While you should plan for all four seasons, It is easier to buy what you need in New Haven (particularly bulky cold weather clothing) than at home.
  • For the summer, you will need light casual clothes. Think about bringing a bathing suit, as the beach is about 20 minutes from Yale.
  • During the fall and spring, you will want a light jacket or sweater.  Consider purchasing a rain jacket and waterproof boots for wet days.
  • You will need a heavy coat and multiple layers for winter, which is December though February. OISS can recommend nearby places to buy a good winter coat at a discount if you don't have one. Be sure to also review our Winter Resources page.
  • You will need an assortment of footwear: sandals for summer, warm waterproof boots for winter, and comfortable sneakers or flat shoes for walking around campus.
  • It is recommended that you bring at least one formal evening outfit and a semi-formal outfit. You may also want to bring some traditional dress from your country for festivals and/or special occasions.  

Mementos from Home

  • Bring familiar objects to comfort you when you are missing home. Consider placing these small, but significant items next to your bed or hang on the wall.  
  • You may also want to bring small souvenirs from your home country to give as gifts.

Household Items

  • Plan on buying most of your household items (small electrical appliances, bed sheets and towels, cooking and eating supplies) once you have arrived. If you have space in your suitcase, you can bring a set of sheets and towels from home to get started.