Packing Tips

Pre-Arrival Session Video for ISO 2023

What to Pack

General Clothing: The dress at Wesleyan, like most U.S. universities, is very casual. Students often wear t-shirts, jeans, sweatshirts, and sneakers to class. You do not need to pack formal clothes for everyday use.

The weather in Connecticut ranges from very cold in the winter (-10 Celsius, 14 Fahrenheit) to warm, sunny, and humid (32 Celsius, 90 Fahrenheit) in the summer. Temperatures will fluctuate considerably in the autumn and spring. You should prepare for cooler days starting in early October and have sweaters, light jackets, and long pants ready in case the temperatures are cooler that day. Bring a few items for each season but know that you will be able to purchase whatever does not fit in your luggage while in the U.S.

Winter Clothing: Cold temperatures usually come to Connecticut before the winter season begins, with chilly days starting in late-October/early-November. You should consider packing a good coat, warm socks, and boots (for snow and rain). These items may be more expensive to buy in the U.S., so bring them if you have them. Remember that you can carry the coat with you onto the plane (or wear it if they limit carry-ons).

If you do not already have winter clothes or cannot fit them into your luggage, you can buy them when you get to Connecticut, either in-store or online. In October, the Office of International Student Affairs schedules a winter clothes shopping trip where you can get advice on what to buy and have someone show you where to shop within your budget.

Household Items: You will be able to buy most necessary items at stores in Connecticut or online at websites including Amazon, Target, Staples, and Bed Bath & Beyond.

If you are bringing electronic items from your home country, you will likely need a power plug adapter and voltage converter. In the United States, the power plugs and sockets are of type A (flat blade attachment plug) or type B (two flat parallel pins and a round grounding pin). The standard voltage is 120 V and the standard frequency is 60 Hz.

Pack in Your Checked Luggage

Be sure to include your name and your new address on your bags in case they are lost in transit. Also, avoid packing monetarily or personally valuable items in your luggage. Check the weight and size restrictions of your luggage for the airline you will be traveling on. If you are traveling within in the U.S. after your arrival, please check the domestic travel requirements, too (as they are often different).

  • Casual clothing, keeping in mind Connecticut’s four seasons
  • One semi-formal outfit for special occasions. During the International Student Orientation, there will be one dinner when you will be encouraged (optional) to wear traditional clothing from your country.
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Shoes to wear in the shower (flip flops) (optional)
  • A towel and washcloth (for your first night in the U.S.)
  • A set of bed sheets, which will fit the dimensions for extra-long twin size bed, approximately, 39" x  80" (99.06 cm x 203.2 cm). You can order these online and have them delivered as well.
  • Blankets (will not be provided, but can be bought after you are here)
  • Follow the TSA rule about lithium batteries. Lithium batteries with more than 100 watt hours may be allowed in carry-on bags with airline approval, but the quantities are limited. Loose lithium batteries are prohibited in checked bags.

Bring some things with you that will make you feel at home and that you can share with your new friends. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Things to decorate your room that remind you of the people, places, and things important to you
  • Digital pictures of interesting places from your home (or access to them)
  • Music by your favorite artists (access to them digitally)
  • Your favorite recipes (you can make them during the annual PANGEA international food fair)
  • Snacks that you might have a hard time finding in the United States

Pack in your Carry-on Luggage

Here are some important things to pack in your carry-on luggage. Please look at the carry-on luggage restrictions on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website. Make sure to follow the liquids rule for your carry-on bag.

  • Towels and toothbrush
  • A set of clothing, in case your checked luggage gets lost and does not arrive
  • Medication and prescriptions – translated into English
  • A laptop computer (optional). Laptops are not required, but can be useful. There are plenty of computers in the library and at computer labs on campus, if you need a laptop/computer for assignments and such.
  • Phone charger (important to have at the airport)
  • Spare set of prescription eyeglasses (they can be expensive to buy in the U.S.)
  • Extra masks and sanitization items

Documents to Carry with You

The items listed below should be carried with you (a spare photocopy packed somewhere else is a good idea, also). Do not place important documents in bags that you check on the plane. You will need to present several of these documents to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent, which will happen before you are able to claim your checked luggage.

  • Form I-20
  • Passport (valid for at least six months beyond your arrival to U.S.)
  • F-1 visa document (with the exception of Canadians) if in a different passport
  • Original supporting financial documents (Wesleyan financial award letter, Freeman Asian Scholars award letter, bank statements)
  • Wesleyan University letter of admission
  • Contact information for Wesleyan University: Name, address, and telephone number of the individual(s) at Wesleyan University to contact in case of a travel delay or an emergency. Include the contact phone number 860-685-2345 to reach the Office of Public Safety at Wesleyan. 
  • Contact information for a person in your home country: Name, address, and telephone number
  • Contact information of your country’s embassy/consulate in the United States or another entity, such as an educational mission or sponsoring agency: Address and telephone number

Carrying Cash on Your Trip

It is not advisable to travel with large amounts of cash. You must declare it at the border if you are carrying more than $10,000 USD in cash. However, you still need to carry some U.S. currency with you when you leave home.

$200-$250 per person will suffice for emergency needs and for shopping during the ISO shopping trip. It is also a good idea to have some one-dollar bills in case you want to rent airport carts to carry your luggage, buy food from a vending machine, or to give someone a tip for their service, such as a taxi cab driver.

For more information about money, please see the Money & Finances page.

On the Plane

Traveling for hours (and sometimes days) on an airplane can be exhausting. The following items and suggestions may help you be more comfortable on the trip and recover from jetlag a little easier: 

  • Set your watch or phone to Eastern Daylight Time. It will help you prepare mentally for the new time schedule.
  • Drink water to stay hydrated.
  • If you have a long and/or overnight layover, it might be useful to look into places to stay at the airport.
  • Bring some snacks in case you get hungry between meal service (optional).
  • Earplugs, an eye mask, and airplane pillow to help you sleep (optional).
  • Wear masks and sanitize all surfaces before touching or sitting on them.

Once you arrive at Wesleyan, try to sleep and eat at the local times so that your body can begin to adjust to the new time schedule.

Ordering Items Online to be Delivered to Wesleyan

Since luggage has size limitations and your transportation options are limited, online shopping can be very useful. Some things can be ordered online and delivered to campus in advance. If you order far enough in advance, items will be available for you on arrival day. Please note that all mail and packages will be delivered to your Wes Box address at Wes Station, the Wesleyan campus mail room. These deliveries cannot be made to your on-campus accommodation address.

  • If you are an incoming internationational student beginning your studies at Wesleyan in the Fall 2023 Semester, the earliest date that mail can be delivered to your Wes Box address is August 17, 2023.
  • Send deliveries to yourself at your Wes Box address.
    • To look up your Wes Box number and combination: Log into your WesPortal and click on Enrollment Checklist and Addresses listed under My Information. Your Wes Box number and combination will be listed in the lower right corner.
  • Students can sign up for a 6-month Amazon Prime membership, which offers some shipping for free and delivery in approximately two business days. Wesleyan’s campus has Amazon lockers where items can be delivered throughout the year.
  • The Wesleyan RJ Julia bookstore has all your dorm and school supplies stocked and ready for arrival day! Make your first day on campus easy by purchasing items like linens, command hooks, and appliances ahead of time and picking up your order at Cardinal Tech in Usdan. The Cardinal Tech Campus Store (a branch of the RJ Julia Bookstore) is a required stop during the initial orientation check in. Our linens come with a 4 year warranty through the manufacturer, so if your sheets get damaged or worn, you’ll receive a replacement for free from the company! Shop online here and choose Pick Up At Cardinal Tech for a stress-free dorm shopping experience.