New York suitcase: The essential documents and objects
Passport and identity card
Of course, the first thing to remember is your passport, in which case you will simply be denied access to your flight.
However, I recommend that you also bring your identity card, which you will keep with you during your visits, while your passport will remain at the hotel, if possible in a safe.
Indeed, having an identity document with you could be very useful, especially if you want to enter bars or other nightlife spots, or buy alcoholic drinks in a supermarket.
However, forget your driver's license, especially if it's pink paper like mine. The latter will not always be accepted by our American friends; I have paid the price several times. Indeed, very different from the American driver's license, our friends will have difficulty finding information of interest to them, and could take it for a fake!
The ESTA is the document that you had to fill in beforehand on the internet. This famous form in which you had to specify that you were neither a terrorist nor a former Nazi! You remember ? Reserved for tourism in particular, it gives you the right to go to the United States for a period of 90 days.
You will not normally be asked for it at customs, as all information is available through your passport and their computer system. However, I confess to you that I print it every time I go to the United States. Thus, in the event of a computer or other problem, I have proof that I am authorized to travel in the country with me.
Mutual or insurance card
These could prove to be very useful in the event of a problem of any kind. This will allow you to contact your insurance directly and start a suitable procedure, such as repatriation. To keep with you every day too, therefore.
Your hotel contact details
This point made me stressful a few years ago when I was traveling to Los Angeles. A friend coming to pick me up at the airport, I hadn't felt the need to ask him for his address. Error, since customs will ask you for the exact address to which you plan to go. So print a piece of paper with the necessary coordinates.
Especially since the latter could be of great use to you, if you get lost in the Big Apple!
Please note that you are required to indicate your address of residence when filling in your ESTA form.
Adapter or transformer?
In the United States, the current is 110v, against 220v in Europe. The shape of the sockets is also different in the United States since they are formed of two flat plugs and a round earth.
It is therefore necessary to bring an adapter in your suitcase, which will allow you to use your devices once there.
You can find it on the internet and in many stores at low prices (usually between 5 and 8 €). You can also get them at the airport in case you get dizzy. However, the latter will certainly be a little more expensive than in supermarkets, for example.
However, note that the adapters will only allow you to use devices with a 110 / 230v charger.. Generally, all recent devices have this type of charger (iPhone, Android smartphones, Macs, cameras, etc.). To check that your charger is compatible, you just have to check that the 110-230v (sometimes 100-240v) mention is indeed present on your charger.
Regarding devices with motors such as hair dryers or epilators, you will need a 110-220v transformer, which also serves as an adapter. They are more expensive and above all take up more space.
So make sure you have the right device with you beforehand. I have had bad surprises before!
Finally, my little tip is to take a power strip, which allows me to charge several devices at the same time.
You certainly have a much better sense of direction than I do. However, a little help when in doubt won't hurt you, and you won't waste time unnecessarily.
Also, looking at a map could help you locate yourself much faster. Of course, if you do not speak English well, it will be your holy grail and will allow you to make your New York taxi driver understand where you want to go, for example.
Go to your bank first and order a small amount of US dollars. This will allow you to survive at least the first few hours or days upon arrival and avoid the expensive currency exchange offices at airports!
Note that banks typically take two weeks to be able to provide you with US dollars, so plan accordingly.
Finally, do not take too large a sum in cash; New York is a big city, and like everywhere, very skilled pickpockets circulate!
Although you will of course find all the necessary medical supplies in pharmacies in New York, it may be that some medicines to which you are accustomed are not available in the United States, or that the dosages differ. For ladies, the same goes for your contraceptive method.
For example, you will not find Monuril (to treat cystitis), Angispray or Toplexil (against sore throat) in the United States.
Also, and even if most drugs are generally over the counter in the United States, the prices will be higher than in France.
So take the medicines you are used to, especially if you are undergoing treatment, and do not forget to keep your prescription on you. In fact, certain medications may not be authorized in the United States or in the cabin and may therefore be confiscated from you when going through customs.
Finally, remember to bring earplugs, which you might find useful. New York is a city full of life, and therefore noise!
What clothes to put in your suitcase?
What to pack depends on when you plan to be in New York.
The average summer temperature in New York normally alternates between 20 and 25 ° C, but can sometimes reach as high as 29 ° C.
So bring light clothes without forgetting sunglasses or even a hat, which will prevent you from sunstroke at the end of the day! You can buy sunscreen on site, which will save you a bit of space in your suitcase.
For the winter period, temperatures are generally between 0 and 3 ° C. So don't forget your big sweaters, as well as a coat and a pair of waterproof shoes like boots. You will also appreciate gloves, a scarf or a hat, although you will be spoiled for choice once there.
Finally, and in all circumstances, plan a pair of sneakers or comfortable shoes, even if you will undoubtedly have the opportunity to buy a new pair at a lower price than in France!
New York suitcase: what you CANNOT bring
For reasons of hygiene and health, our American friends generally refuse that we introduce perishable foodstuffs on their territory.
The rules are sometimes vague: Camembert would be authorized (for personal consumption only) while Roquefort or mimolette are considered unsuitable for consumption. I know, my arms fall for me too.
If in doubt, if you want to bring edible gifts like foie gras, forget about the fresh section and prefer canned food. Don't tempt the devil by carrying a sausage in your purse (or eat it before boarding).
You can also get more information on the US Customs page dedicated to this purpose.
Do not hold a grudge, you will find many products in New York that will satisfy you. And then, you will enjoy your cheese platter all the more when you return!
Checked suitcase and hand baggage: be organized
My last recommendations concern the organization between suitcase in the hold and hand luggage.
First of all, put your bulky and heavy items in your checked baggage, as hand luggage will generally be limited to around ten kilograms. Do not forget to label your suitcase in the hold by entering your details.
Also have your papers, medications and devices handy by storing them in your hand luggage. A sweater will also be highly appreciated, as the temperature can be low once in flight.
Also, in general, any fragile or valuable object (financial or personal) should always be with you. This will prevent you from any unpleasant surprises such as breakage or theft. Airport staff are not always kind when loading / unloading checked baggage.
Finally, plan in your hand luggage some underwear and change of clothes as well as a small toiletry kit including a toothbrush. The latter must, however, meet safety standards. Any liquid product should not exceed 100ml and be stored in a plastic bag that you will be given at the airport.
In case of loss of suitcase (yes, it happens), you will have a few less worries while waiting for the rest of your personal effects, and can devote yourself to your vacation!
Don't overload your suitcase for New York
You probably know it, New York is a shopper's paradise. It is inevitable that you will come back loaded with more than you left. Indeed, you will inevitably bring back clothes / shoes / souvenirs for you and your loved ones and all this takes up space.
So do not overload on departure, otherwise you risk not closing your suitcase for the return or having to pay for excess baggage, because your suitcase has exceeded the maximum weight allowed by the company (often 23kg).
You are now ready for an imminent embarkation! Relax, and enjoy the view that will be offered to you during your flight. Have a nice trip !