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In my Travel Bag Scholarships The Fulbright Scholarship Travelogue

Fulbright – The Ultimate Packing List

Well well well! So you have been awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship and have now been placed at a university in the US after all those excruciating days of waiting. Exciting times!!

You are now about to face the ultimate challenge before you even board the plane: packing everything you need to live in a different country in one hand luggage, one carry-on and just two suitcases. It is a very detail oriented step and one that is extremely important. You do not want to freak out and therefore, I am bringing to you, the ultimate packing list.

Take a deep breath, fellow Fulbrighters of 2019. This list will ensure that you have almost everything you need to ensure you have the best time of your life. Of course, to live in a foreign country for more than a year, your first instinct is to pack up your whole life, but the trick here is to understand that you need to take only the “bare necessities” (I mean the bare necessities, that’s why a bear can rest with ease, with just of the bare necessities of life : D).

Before you rush to the airport, use this list to ensure that you have everything you need for your new home away from home. There is also a printable checklist at the end of this document which you can download and then physically check-off at the time of packing.

In-Flight Essentials

Whether or not you have been on a flight before, the following items will ensure you have a comfortable trip. For long journeys, like Pakistan to the US (which is usually 12 – 14 hours long), staying buckled up in a cramped up space can leave you un-nerved. Here is a list of items that can make your journey more relaxed and enjoyable:

  • Anti-Bacterial Wipes (to wipe of the seating area, arm rest)
  • An empty water bottle (you can have the flight crew fill it up with water for you)
  • A shawl/blanket (even though for longer flights, one is provided)
  • Compression Socks
  • Ear Plugs or Noise Cancelling Head Phones
  • Travelling Pillow
  • Eye Mask
  • Sanitizer
  • Baby Wipes (for any emergency or cleaning needs)
  • Music on your phone
  • Comfortable Headphones
  • A book
  • Face Moisturizer (to ensure your skin stays hydrated. Airplanes have very dry recycled air and you might not feel it at the time, but it can certainly ruin the skin so ensure that you moisturize well, men & women!)
  • Hand Moisturizer (again for hydration purposes, there is nothing like the feeling of dried skin on the hands getting caught in blankets or shawls)
  • Snacks (sweet & salty)
  • Medicine for motion sickness
  • Chewing Gum
  • A Pen
  • A Book-light

 In your carry-on bag

The purpose of having a well organized and fully stocked carry-on luggage is to ensure that incase of any emergency, such as a situation where you do not have access to your main luggage pieces, you will be able to sustain. Furthermore, since you have your carry-on luggage in sight through the entire journey, it is essential that you keep all important documents as well as the majority of your tech stuff in your carry-on luggage.

  • Documents:
    • Copy of your birth certificate
    • Copy of your National Identity card
    • Emergency contact list (email a copy of this to yourself, your family and your host – keep one printed copy for yourself)
    • Health insurance card
    • Vaccination Cards
    • Passport
    • Copy of the Passport
    • Travel itinerary
    • Copies of the Itinerary
    • Travel tickets
    • Copy of the Tickers
    • Boarding Pass
    • DS-2019 for J-1 Visa Holders
    • Proof of Sevis Fee Payment
    • NOC for Government Employees
    • Travel Wallet
      • It is easier if you invest in a travel wallet especially one that has a zipped closure. From personal experience, I can tell you that a travel wallet will be your ideal and safe travel companion and will ensure that you are not going on a treasure hunt every single time you have to present a document at an airport counter or at some other place.a
    • Cell phone and charger
    • Cash (bring American dollars, the currency of your host location or money you can exchange for it—enough to use in case of an emergency, but not more money than you can afford to lose)
    • Credit card (notify your bank that you’ll be abroad beforeyou leave to avoid your account being frozen)
    • Debit card (notify the bank that you will be using international ATMs)
    • Deodorant
    • E-reader or book
    • Prescription medication(s) you usually take (make sure you bring enough refills to last your entire trip—but future prescriptions can go in your checked luggage)
    • 2 Spare outfits (in case your luggage gets lost or delayed)
    • Wallet
    • Sun-glasses

As we approach departure time, I will also upload another article which will include packing hacks and efficient organization techniques to ensure you pack well. It will also include a list of items that  you can buy to ensure you are more organized as well as a list of places you can buy them from.

Toiletries/Makeup/Skincare

Keep these in a plastic bag at the top of your checked suitcase.

Tip: To save room in your suitcase, buy standard items such as shampoo, conditioner and body wash in your host country.

  • Acne medication/cream
  • Face lotion/moisturizer
  • Makeup
  • Mini shampoo & conditioner (until you get the chance to get full-sized bottles in your new country)
  • Mouthwash (small)
  • Soap (mini bottle if you’re using a body wash)
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Cotton Swabs
  • Cotton Rounds
  • Makeup Removers
  • Nail Polish Removers
  • Nail Polish
  • Hair Oil (if you use any)
    • It is a general recommendation that you should carry all these items in small portable tubes and bottles. All hair care and skin care products are readily available in the US markets and these small containers of essential items are only so that you do not have to worry about shopping for the initial week or two of you residence.

Miscellaneous Supplies

Tip: Because of the voltage differences in many electronic products, you may want to wait until you’re in the US to buy items such as a blow dryer, a curling rod or a hair straightener.

  • Bobby pins
  • Comb
  • Contacts, solution and case (again, make sure you have all the contacts you’ll need for your time abroad)
  • Glasses and glasses case
  • Back-up Glasses (go to you nearest optician, purchase an economical glasses frame and have them fitted according to your eye sight so that you have backup pair incase the main one breaks or is lost)
  • Hair ties
  • Hairbrush
  • Headbands
  • Nail clipper
  • Razor(s)
  • Sunscreen
  • Personal Hygiene Items
  • Tweezers
  • Hair Straightener
  • Hair Dryer
  • Curling Rod

Accessories

  • Bangles/Bracelets
  • Rings
  • Necklaces
  • Jewellery Organizer Box
  • Headbands
  • Head Scarves
  • Handbags (2-3)
  • Tote (1-2)

Laundry

You will most probably have the facility of a laundry wherever you choose to live, i.e., whether it is an apartment complex or a multi-tenant house. However, again, to ensure that you do not have to go through the hassle of buying everything on your first day.

  • Laundry Bag (cloth Metro Bags are ideal)
  • Downy Wrinkle Release spray (available at Al-Fatah outlets)
  • Towels (1-2)
  • Portable stain remover pen
  • Travel bag (optional)
  • Bed Sheets (1 Set to ensure you do not have to sleep on pre-used hotel/hostel linen)
  • Pillow Covers (1 Set to ensure you have a pleasant experience – till the time you buy new ones)

Kitchen/Food

  • Cup Noodles (for the initial few days)Necklaces
  • Joshanda (some sachets if it is something you like)
  • Lipton Teabags
  • Everyday Milk (powdered tea whitener – known to be unavailable in the US)
  • Any Spices that you really like
  • A set of Spoon, Fork and Knife (just to get you through the initial days
  • A Small Pan
  • A Mug (preferable plastic)
  • A couple of dinner plates (preferably plastic)
  • A Tea Strainer (optional)
  • A Hot Water Kettle
  • Snacks
  • Nimko (optional)
  • A Flat Pan (tava) and a Rolling Pin (bailan) – if you absolutely cannot survive without roti for the first few days.

* I would recommend not taking a lot of cutlery, pots and pans. Reason being that you can find very reasonable kitchen ware sets from Amazon delivered directly to your place of residence once you are settled in. Explore such sets on the link here and decide if you want to burden yourself with this excess luggage or not.

Clothing

Tip: Mixing and matching outfits and layering saves a ton of space in your suitcase! Make sure you check the predicted weather of the country you’re traveling to so you can dress appropriately. Don’t bring anything you’d be devastated to see ruined!

-Daily Wear For Men:

  • T-Shirts (5-6)
  • Long Sleeved Shirts (1-3)
  • Jeans (2-3)
  • Dress Shirts (4-5)
  • Dress Pants (2-3)
  • Casual Trousers (2-4)
  • Jacket (1-2)
  • Sweaters/Jumpers (1-2)
  • Quarter Pants/Shorts (2-3 depending on the weather conditions
  • Comfy Clothes (remember to bring whatever you are comfortable in)
  • Shalwar Kameez (2 pairs)

Daily Wear For Women:

  • T-Shirts (optional)
  • Long Sleeved Shirts (1-3)
  • Jeans (2-3, optional)
  • Shirts dresses (4-5)
  • Dress Pants (2-3)
  • Casual Trousers (2-4)
  • Jacket (1-2)
  • Sweaters/Jumpers (1-2)
  • Long Skirts
  • Comfy Clothes (remember to bring whatever you are comfortable in)
  • Shalwar Kameez (2 pairs)
  • Shawl/Mufflers (1 or 2)
  • Fancy Dresses (traditional 3-4, for events)

Activity Wear:

  • Workout Clothes
  • Bathing suits (1-2)

Weather Wear:

  • Boots (1-2)
  • Down Jacket (preferably to be bought from the US)
  • Hat (1-2)
  • Gloves
  • Raincoat
  • Rain Boots

Personal Clothing Wear:

  • Undergarments
  • Boxers
  • Tank tops
  • Night Suits
  • Leggings/Jeggings

Shoes:

  • Socks (4-5)
  • Flats (1) (in-house walking)
  • Flip-flops (1) (beach)
  • Heels (1-2) (party wear)
  • Joggers/Sneakers
  • Walking Shoes
  • Mid-heeled pumps (official wear)

Electronics

Remember that most of your electronic items will need an outlet converter in order to work!

  • Camera (remember your case and USB cords)
  • Cell phone (keep in mind that you’ll be able to buy an international phone or SIM card when you arrive at your destination)
  • Primary Chargers (laptop, phone, camera, e-reader, etc.)
  • Portable Charger
  • Flash drive
  • iPod
  • Laptop
  • Laptop case
  • Outlet adapters (2-3)
  • USB cable
  • USB Hub
  • Headphones
  • Noise Cancelling Headphones
  • Extension Cords (1-2)
  • Ethernet Cable (to attach your laptop to WANs for internet access)
  • HDMI Cable
  • A Portable Webcam (so you can Skype with your family)
  • Any extra bourgeois tech accessory you want to take along 😀

Medical

Tip: Remember to check if the medications you take are legal in the U. Some over-the-counter medications are illegal outside of the United States.

  • Adhesive bandages
  • Allergy medicine
  • Cold and flu medicine
  • Eye drops
  • Motion sickness medicine
  • Over-the-counter pain medicine
  • Vitamins
  • Vic Balm
  • Wintogeno Balm (I use it for migraines)
  • A Hot Water Bottle

 Entertainment

  • A Pack of Cards
  • A Couple of Board Games (optional)
  • A Sudoku Book
  • An Adult Coloring Book
  • A Novcl
  • Your Journal
  • Uno

Books/Stationery

  • Pens (2)
  • Pencils (2)
  • Book Light
  • A notebook
  • A Planner ( I would recommend buying this in the US)

Gifts:

  • Gifts for the women you have been corresponding with; gifts can include:
    • Traditional Embroidered Throws
    • Embroidered Runners
    • Embroidered Pillow Cases
    • Embroidered Bags/Purses
  • Gifts for the Men you have been corresponding with; gifts can include:
    • Decoration Pieces
    • Wooden Chess

Décor Items:

  • A Couple of Pictures Frames
  • A Throw
  • A Light Wall Hanging
  • Cushion Covers

Sentimental Value Pieces:

  • Pictures of Family
  • Pictures of Friends
  • Maybe a picture of your pet/s
  • Any other sentimental item such as a photo album
    • These items are important simply because getting a little home sick in a foreign land is but natural. You should ensure to carry some things with you that you can scatter in your living space and that will provide comfort to you.

Emergency Supply Items:

  • Swiss Army Knife
  • A portable Torch
  • A can of pepper spray
  • Map
  • Language Dictionary
  • Travel Guide
  • Portable Umbrella
  • A Back Pack

You can download the printable checklist here: Fulbright Packing List

Disclaimer: the main image of this post has been taken from this link.

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2 COMMENTS

  • Farooqe Azam

    Should be very useful for Fulbright fellows; good thing

  • SADAF KHURSHID

    Very well devised, capturing every minute detail…….

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