1. Take note of the luggage allowance details provided by the travel agent or by the airlines you are taking.
2. If you have a weighing scale in your house, step on the scale and record your own weight. Then hold your bag and step on the scale again and record the weight again. Minus the difference and you will have a more accurate weight for your bag. If you put the bag only on the scale, you may not get an accurate weight.
What about locking your check-in bags?
Use locks that are approved by Transport Security Administration (TSA). Why? Read on.
"TSA screens every passenger's baggage before it is placed on an airplane. While our technology allows us to electronically screen bags, there are times when we need to physically inspect a piece of luggage. TSA has worked with several companies to develop locks that can be opened by security officers using universal "master" keys so that the locks may not have to be cut. These locks are available at airports and travel stores nationwide. The packaging on the locks indicates whether they can be opened by TSA.
Not sure where to get a compatible lock? Try these Web sites: http://www.safeskieslocks.com/index.php and http://www.travelsentry.org/en/index.php."
At the Airport:
Check your bags in all the way to your campus.
At your first point of entry into the USA, you will have to collect your bags from Baggage Claim.
Then you will go through Immigration and Customs, and check your bags in again if you have a connecting flight. This can take some time, so if you have a connecting flight to your campus from your first point of entry into the USA, it is wise to allow about four hours in-between flights.
If you are breaking journey rather than continuing on to your campus on a connecting flight, you can expect to pay around $25 USD for each check-in bag within the USA unless you have lots of travel points or are travelling Business or First Class.