What to Pack

General Information and Tips

  • Stay within the check-in baggage allowance of your airlines. Excess baggage charges are expensive.
  • Make sure that you have your I-20 and your passport with you, not in your checked-in luggage.
  • US Customs Transport  Security Administration  (TSA) conducts random inspections of checked-in luggage.  
  • Use TSA-approved locks to secure your luggage; or
  • Do not lock your luggage (else it may risk being cut open)

What not to Pack

  • Electrical appliances that run only on 240V (Unless you own an electrical transformer)
  • Fresh/wet foods
  • No to vegetables, plants, fruits, soup, pork products, milk and freshly-caught seafood. (US Customs is especially strict with the agriculture thing and meats.)
  • Bulky Items (Limited luggage space and dorm space.Things ie. Pillow/body pillow can be bought easily at Target, Walmart, or Bed, Bath & Beyond in Ithaca)

What to Pack

Travel Documentation

  • Passport 
  • Visa (in passport)
  • I-20 Form
  • Declaration of finance etc.

*Make sure these important paperworks are with you during your flight, not in your check-in bag


Health Booklet


A Level/ IB Certs

  • Originals or certified photocopies to apply for advanced placement (AP) credits, you know, to get exempted from classes.


Spare cash

  • Enough to tide you over until you can open a bank account
  • Recommended: About US$500 is good, for trips to the mall, food and other expenses. Keep at least $100 in small notes within reach for buses and tips.



  • US medicine are expensive and you might not be familiar with their application
  • Load up on SG medication, always good to be prepared


Electrical Adaptors

  • For your laptop/ related electrical devices.
  • Check that the electrical devices you’re  bringing runs on 110V as well as 240V, or else it’s best  to leave it at home.
  • Universal adaptors come in handy if you intend to do some travelling (i.e. to Europe).



  • Same notes as ‘Medication’ above

Food that you won’t be able to get in Ithaca

  • Bring food that reminds you of home (ie. Milo, prima packs, snacks)
  • Don’t overdo this; You will probably not be cooking much in your first year as you will be staying in your dorms.
  • Small Asian provision shops around, like the new Korean store in Collegetown which sells prawn crackers, rice crackers, maggie mee etc.
  • Can also buy online from Amazon (you will be amazed at what they have)

Items of sentimental value (for homesickness)

  • Things that remind you of home (Ie. Soft toys, photos of friends)
  • Avoid bringing bulky stuff/too much stuff however as they take up space in your luggage and dorm room

SOME warm clothes

  • A small amount of thermal underwear (Heat Tech from Uniqlo works very well) to tide you through early autumn.
  • By small amount we mean as judged by you and your luggage, not your poor worried mother, because you will have time to buy thicker down jackets ie. over breaks
  • Winter here is BRUTAL (down to neg 20 C) so in case your jacket fails you, buy your thick down jackets here, as they’re cheaper and better.

School Notes (Optional)

  • Bring if they seem relevant for your intended major
  • They can be really useful in understanding some of the concepts taught here
  • Ie. I brought my JC statistics notes and I have never been so grateful

If you are attending PREPARE (pre-orientation for International Students)

  • Optional: One set of bed linen to tide you over until the PREPARE staff bring you to Target to do your necessary  shopping (after 1-2 nights). Cornell dorms use X-Long Twin, which is hard to find in Singapore, so just get non-fitted sheets if you intend to get them.