What to Pack

Packing well can make your travel and arrival much easier

Although most of your necessities will be available here in the U.S., there are some items that you should bring from home.

Carry-On/Hand Baggage

Here are the items that you should pack in your carry-on bag, so they are with you at all times.

  • Important Documents

    You should keep the following documents with you in your carry-on bag:

    • Documents required at the port-of-entry for immigration/customs inspection. See a full list »
    • Original academic documents and letter of admission
    • Flight itinerary
    • The address and phone number of where you will be going when you first arrive in Indianapolis.
  • Comfort and Entertainment

    There are also items that are good to bring for your comfort on your long flight.

    • Items for entertainment: a book, music/headphones, etc.
    • Toiletries: toothpaste/toothbrush, comb/brush, lotion
    • Travel neck pillow
    • Light sweater
    • Bottled water (purchased after going through security)
    • Snack foods for between meals
  • Money

    You should bring with you at least U.S. $1,000-$1,500, even if you will be receiving IUPUI funding. You will need this money to pay for temporary housing, moving-in expenses for long-term housing, food, transportation, books, supplies, and other necessary items during your first few weeks in the U.S. (Payments to graduate students on assistantships and visiting scholars begin about four to six weeks after arrival).

    • If you are bringing a bank check, have it made out to yourself — not the university — so that you can deposit the funds in a bank account here and then arrange for tuition and other payments. The University cannot accept checks greater than the amount of the first semester's tuition. At some banks these funds will not be available to you for over one week after deposit.
    • Bring some cash — U.S. $100-$200 in small bills ($10 and $20 bills). Automatic teller machines (ATMs) frequently have a $300 per day limit on cash withdrawals.
    • Carry your money and valuables in several places on your person, such as a wallet or purse, a separate pocket, and a pouch worn around your neck, waist, or under your clothing. That way, if your bag, wallet, or purse is stolen, you have not lost everything.
  • Health Records and Medications

    IUPUI requires proof of immunizations for all new students. Non-English documents must be translated into English.  The following immunizations are required:

    • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (commonly called the MMR vaccine),
    • Varicella (Chickenpox),
    • Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis (commonly called Tdap vaccine).

    To verify your medical records:

    • Use your IUPUI University Username and Passphrase to log into One.iu.edu.
    • Type "Immunization" into the search box, then click on the "Immunization Compliance" icon that appears. 
    • Now you will need to upload proof of immunizations for each item listed above. You must upload English translations. If you have one document showing all of your immunizations, upload it again for each required item.  If you have not already received these vaccinations, our Campus Health Services offers these once you arrive at IUPUI. If you are in the U.S. and need a referral to a translator, please contact OIA.

    Additionally, you will be asked to upload proof of a tuberculosis (TB) test taken in the United States.  If you do not have this, then TB screening will be administered by IUPUI Campus Health. You must visit the Campus Health office and get your TB test within 5 weeks. 

    After you have uploaded proof of immunizations and a TB Test, submit the form. 

    Students in health-related programs which include patient care may be required to show proof of immunizations to their academic department. Please check with your department to see if any immunizations are required.

    It is advisable to bring any current medications as well as any medical records that you might need during your stay in the United States, especially if you have any serious health conditions. If a U.S. medical doctor will need to see your records shortly after arrival in the U.S., make sure the records are in English, or obtain a translation.

Checked Baggage

Your checked baggage should contain mostly clothing. Make sure to prepare appropriately for the weather . If you are starting in the Fall semester, the weather will probably be hot. Students arriving in January should be prepared for very cold weather.

See average temperatures for Indianapolis »

Almost everything you need will be available in the United States. Pack the items you will need immediately, and purchase other items later.

  • Clothing

    If you are arriving in the summer, bring:

    • Short-sleeved shirts
    • Shorts
    • Jeans
    • Light jacket and/or sweater
    • Pair of sandals and a pair of comfortable walking shoes
    • Socks and underwear
    • Sunglasses

    If you are arriving in the winter, bring clothing that you can layer. This will keep you warmer, and you can take off layers as it gets warmer.

    • Long-sleeved shirts
    • Sweaters and/or sweatshirts/hoodies
    • Long pants and jeans
    • Winter coat
    • Winter hat and gloves
    • Warm socks
    • Water-resistant shoes/boots
  • Electronics

    Electronics you may want to bring:

    • International Adaptor (U.S. uses 110 V)
    • Cell phone
    • Laptop
    • Camera
    • USB drive

    IUPUI students can buy laptops from the campus bookstore at a discounted price. Additionally, many software programs (such as Microsoft Office) are available at a deep discount or even for free.

    Learn about free and discounted software »

  • Other Items

    You should avoid purchasing too many household items in advance, because it may increase your luggage costs, and will make your travel very difficult. If your housing does not provide basic household items, then you may want to bring these items:

    • Bath towel
    • Bed sheets and pillow case
    • Basic toiletries (bring travel sized items and buy full-sized items in the U.S.)
    • 1 Plate/Bowl, fork, knife, spoon, chopsticks
    • Spices used in your home cooking
    • Favorite decoration to remind you of home

    When packing any food items, it is essential to find out first if you are allowed to bring that item into the United States.

    Learn more about the Port-of-Entry »

Shipping Items

Because almost everything you need will be available in the United States, it is not recommended that you spend a lot of money on shipping items here before you travel. It is best to arrive in Indianapolis and check out items and their prices here. Later on, if there are items that you miss from home that you can't find in Indianapolis, then ask your family to ship them to you.

Please do not ship items to the Office of International Affairs, as we do not have storage space to hold boxes.

When shipping items, please make sure to follow U.S. Customs and Border Protection rules regarding restricted items, or else you may not be able to receive your package.

Purchasing Items Upon Arrival

All the items that you will need for housing purposes can be purchased here in the U.S.  OIA will have shopping trips available before and during the Welcome Week to help students buy the items they need. 

To learn more about suggested items for your new home at IUPUI, see the What to Bring Move-In Guide on the Housing and Residence Life website.  Although this list is specific to on-campus housing, you can get good ideas about what you will might need for off-campus housing.

 You might also consider having items shipped to you if you are without transportation. Search online for "student dorm packages" and you will find several companies that will deliver start-up sets straight to your housing address. Sets come in many varieties, and can contain bedding, household items, bathroom necessities, kitchen items, decorations, and so on.