Cut off all old luggage tags from your suitcases no matter how sentimental they may be. Put your Yale address, or Yale department address and contact information on a tag outside of your bag, and on a card that will go somewhere inside your bag as well. Once you have finished packing, zip up securely, but do not lock any of the compartments on your bags, so that they may be opened if chosen for security inspection. Locks will be broken if additional inspection is required.
The weather in Connecticut can range from very hot and humid in the summer to quite cold and freezing in the winter. You need to plan for all four seasons – fall, winter, spring & summer. For the summer you will need light casual clothes, and a bathing suit (the beach is a 20 minute bus ride from Yale). To plan for the changing weather from fall through spring, you will probably want to have at least one heavy coat or jacket and a light jacket or sweater to start with. If you are from a warm weather country and don’t yet own a winter coat, the OISS can recommend nearby places to buy a good winter coat at a discount.
You might want to bring some traditional dress from your country for festivals and/or special occasions, and it is recommended that you bring at least one formal evening outfit and a semi-formal outfit.
You will need an assortment of footwear. Sandals for summer, heavier boots/shoes for winter, something for a formal occasion. You'll probably want to bring comfortable sneakers or flat shoes for walking around campus and New Haven. When the snow arrives, typically in December through February, you will be glad you have a good pair of boots.
Bring photographs of friends and family. Some familiar objects to make you feel more at home might seem like a silly thing when you are packing, but can make you feel a lot better when you are feeling blue and missing home. Consider bringing some small significant items to place next to your bed or hang on the wall. In addition, you may want to consider bringing small souvenirs from your home country to give as gifts.
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 may want to bring a set of sheets and towels from home to get started. You can always purchase what you need at second-hand or discount shops. There is an Ikea store and other good choices for discount shopping located in New Haven.
Make sure you don't pack anything valuable into the suitcase that you are going to check through in case it gets lost. Carry all your important documents, medications, toiletries etc. in your carry-on luggage, and in case your checked luggage gets lost, you will want to also have a change of clothing with you. Sometimes it can take a couple of days to locate misplaced luggage.