Never pack essentials (documents/medicine/forms of money) in your checked luggage; they should go in your carry on bag.
It is recommended that you not carry large amounts of cash. Taking some travelers checks is a better idea. We recommend that you make more than one copy of your travelers checks and your credit/debit cards and keep them separate from the originals. If they should be lost or stolen, you will have the copies to contact the company to cancel your cards and make a claim on the checks. You should always keep cash and traveler's checks in your neck wallet when traveling.
Mark all luggage, inside and out, with your name and address. Mark your checked bags in some distinctive way, so they are easily found. Travel light; it is safer and easier. Current flight regulations prohibit you from putting locks on your luggage; they will be cut off at the airport if you try to use them. Due to recent changes in regulations, a variety of items, including liquids are prohibited in your carry-on luggage. You should check with your airline provided for full details on these restrictions.
It is recommended that you take enough medication to last the duration of your study abroad program. Be sure to take a copy of your prescription(s) with the generic name of the drug(s). Leave your medications in the original packaging. Take a prescription from your doctor in case you run out of medication. A note from your doctor, particularly for controlled substances, is important to carry with you to prove that you are legally in possession of the medication. If you wear glasses, it is also recommended that you take an extra pair of glasses and your lenses prescription with you.
Make several copies of your passport and leave one copy at home. If your passport is lost or stolen, you should report it to the local police immediately. Go immediately to the nearest U.S. consulate to apply for a new passport.