Your first flight is always tough. Especially if you are a first-time flier, and that too in your later years. Quite evident from the clenched fists, wide-eyes and profuse sweating, those with a fear of flying can find take-offs and landings quite frightening.
Parents in India, however, are willing to face their fears and fly to the US to meet their children settled in a foreign land. Of course, the children settled in America also do their fair bit to bring their parents to the US, as mentioned in my earlier article on Tips for Indian Parents Visiting USA. By all means, it is not an easy task to bring your elderly parents to the USA and it does require a little preparation. Moreover, parents traveling alone and unguided need to pay attention to the smallest things they witness during the journey to make it easy and comfortable.
Here is a step-by-step guide for all the parents flying alone to the US for the first time.
Tips for Parents Traveling Alone to the US
1. Buy Visitors Insurance:
Whenever you plan an overseas trip, a visitor’s insurance plan is the first thing that needs to be considered. Medical costs in the US are very high and a medical emergency could put a hole in your pocket that might be difficult to refill. Visit this link to find quotes on various affordable and comprehensive International Health Insurance policies that can protect you against medical and travel emergencies while you are traveling away from your home country.
2. Reach the Airport Early:
Since you are traveling internationally, you’ll need to check-in at the airport at least three hours before the time of departure. This time is needed for you to complete all the immigration formalities without being stressed about the time.
3. Keep Contact Details Handy:
Other than having the contact details of the person you are visiting in the US, keep handy the details of other people you can reach out to both in the US and in India. When you reach America, use calling cards to contact your children, whom you are visiting.
4. Take Care of Your Passport:
Passports are highly important for identification, proof of citizenship, and travel protection liberties that a traveler should possess. The US authorities can ask you to present your passport for you to be able to prove who you are and where you are from. It is advisable to keep passports in a sealable handbag or in your shirt pocket so that it can be easily produced when asked for. Do carry a copy of the passport in another bag, since passport thefts are common at airports.
5. Keep Other Documents Safe:
The B1/B2 petition approval, proof of residence, including the utility bill, copy of sponsorship letter and tax papers, are documents that you might have sent for visa approval. Keep these documents in a separate bag. The immigration officer might ask for them when you enter the US.
6. Get Wheelchair Assistance, If Needed:
Wheelchair assistance is a highly useful service provided at airports. If someone is truly disabled or is suffering from an ailment that makes walking difficult, they can ask for a wheelchair. The airport assistant will take you through all the formalities and even help you with your luggage.
Keeping these tips in mind can ease the journey and make it a smooth one.