How Much of Your Possessions Should You Bring to the USA?

You’ve been accepted for a job in the USA, you applied for and got your visa. You let go of many things that you own in the Philippines, now it’s time to pack your bag or boxes as you travel to the United States.

How much stuff can you bring?

Most airlines traveling to the USA will allow you to check two big bags or boxes that weigh up to 50lb or 23 kg. You are also entitled to bring 2 carryon bags. That sounds like a lot, but it really is not, especially if you are a family of three or more going to the USA.

Excess baggage fees are expensive! If your bag or box weighs more than 50lb or 23 kg, you will pay $75 or more! If you are bringing more than two checked bags, the third box will cost $200 or more! If you’re willing to pay that amount, I won’t argue with you.

How much stuff SHOULD you bring?

Because you are traveling a long way, it is better to be wise in packing your things and deciding what to let go and what to bring with you. Heed these tips:

1. Pay attention to size and your airline’s weight restrictions.

2. Bring the memorabilia and heirloom items that you cannot part with. This includes photos and possessions that you really hold dearly because of their sentimental value to you.


3. Bring the things that are difficult to buy in the USA. This includes tabo and a few food items that are hard to look for in the USA. Make sure to wrap your favorite dilis and tuyo in plastic or paper so they won’t affect the smell of your clothes and things.

4. Bring basic things you will need within the first week of your life in the USA. This includes your clothes, towels, one pillow for each family member, bed sheets, blankets, towel, some plates and eating utensils, and maybe even some cooking tools.

5. Leave behind the things that you can buy in the USA: bed, pillows, breakable things, hangers, and a lot more. You will need to buy almost ALL the things you already have in the Philippines. Remember: if you can buy it in the USA, leave it behind!

6. Maximize the spaces in your luggage or box. Watch the following videos for help in packing your things.


7. If you are carrying boxes, please use duct tape or packaging tape to seal them. You wouldn’t want your possessions to be spilled somewhere in the airplane in the middle of the flight.

8. Consider wrapping your bags and boxes in plastic. You can do this at most airports.

9. Put your name, address and phone numbers in your bags and boxes. You don’t need to put them in very big, bold letters. If you have a business card, tape it in 4 sides of the box, or in a noticeable part of your bag.

Going to the USA is like pushing the Restart button on your life. I remember what it was like to be a young couple after getting married. My wife and I moved into an apartment together. We bought a lot of things–tables, chairs, bed, and everything that a young couple needed to live in a city.

When we moved to the United States 4 years after being married, we had to do it all over again. After letting go of about 60-70% of our possessions, we bought a lot of the things we needed to live comfortably in the US. Maybe even more than when we were starting out in our married life.

Don’t be afraid, it’s fun and it can strengthen your relationship as a family.

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