Parents visting US things to take care

Parents visiting the US? It may be exciting and daunting at the same time, especially for those who travel for the first time. Here is a checklist to make the trip as smooth as possible,

  • Buy health insurance in advance. You can buy it in the US or from the home countries. And the ones that cover them during the travel is better. Keep them handy during travel.

  • Necessary medicines along with doctor’s prescriptions.

  • Arrange for sufficient US dollars. Carrying small denominations will be useful if renting a cart in the airport etc. Carrying a prepaid credit/debit card can also be considered as a backup

  • Consider buying a cell phone with international roaming. This could be from their home countries. Or alternatively, a sim from the US with roaming can be activated and mailed to them. A simple full sized sim on a feature phone is more reliable than a smart phone. And they are cheap too!

  • Blankets can be handy, to be used during the flight or even in the airport when the situation arises.

  • Cheat sheet: One of my colleague creates a cheat sheet with common requests printed like “I need water”, “I am flying to New Jersey”, “I need vegetarian food” etc. This is handy for people who are not fluent in English. They can point at the appropriate requests depending upon the situations

  • Flight reservation should have at least 4 hours for transit. Otherwise, there is no room for error.

  • It’s better to avoid the last flight of the day during a transit. Worst case, when a flight is missed, airlines try to arrange for next flights. And that may happen to be the on the following day. Then one is forced to spend the night in the airport. Not a pleasant experience :(.

  • Try to get a travel companion who can assist at least during the transits at the least.

  • Wheelchair assistance can be added during flight reservation and the same can be confirmed a day before the flight from the airlines.

  • Arrange for appropriate meal preferences during the flight.

  • Arrange for preferred seat options like aisle, window etc for all the legs of the trip.

  • All the necessary visa documents, passports and supporting documents should be carried. This one is obvious.

  • Flight tickets, boarding passes and baggage claim stickers are the ones not to forget.

  • Port of entry: Familiarize them with the process, and be ready to answer about the class of visa, purpose of visit, destination etc.

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