Staying away from you family in a foreign land can be painful and getting to meet them after a long time offers unparalleled joy. However, traveling 8,431 miles on a 15-hour flight can be a tiring experience, especially for elderly parents.
Before the Journey
Here are some things one needs to do before leaving home:
- Passport – Make sure that your parents have their passports handy and also have a copy of in their luggage and in electronic form. They could mail you the copies in advance.
- Visa – Your parents will be issued a B-2 visa for their visit. Ask them to fill Form DS-160 and prepare well for the visa interview. If your parents are over 79 years of age, they are usually not required to appear for an interview.
- Tickets – Book your parents’ tickets together to get preferable seats and also book them well in advance to get better prices.
- Flight – Being in a confined space for over 15 hours can be very hard to bear. Your parents can take tips from the Matador Network to make the journey less tedious. Also wearing comfortable clothes on the flight is more important than it sounds.
- Travel Insurance – The risk of incurring a medical expense is higher for senior travelers. Be sure to get your parents insured under a good travel insurance policy to avoid those hefty American health care bills.
- Medication – Passengers are allowed to carry prescription medication in its original packaging, except for medical marijuana (even if prescribed). If your parents are on regular medication, advise them to bring the medicines along and even carry surplus and the prescriptions, if possible.
- Assistance – If either of your parents has a disability, speak to the officials of the airline they are traveling on to make sure they can provide the necessary assistance. Also, ask your parent to interact with a co-passenger and ask for their help, if needed.
- Language – If your parents are not fluent in English, teach them basic commands and phrases that will be needed on their way to the US, until they’ve met you and don’t have to worry about it anymore.
During the Stay
Let’s see what are the things to consider once in USA.
While in the US, here are some things that parents should be aware of:
- Jet lag – A disruption in the sleeping pattern can be a major inconvenience in old age. Educate your parents about jet lag and give them ideas on how to deal with it and avoid ruining their trip.
- Familiarize them with the culture – The United States has a very different culture from that of India and can be overwhelming for your parents. Take them around and inform them about the customs, etiquette and the general way of life, to make their stay smoother.
- Maps and public transport – Teach your parents how to use public transport and cabs, while also equipping them with maps of the subway, bus routes and the city, for them to able to go out independently. For instance, you can find a printable PDF of the New York Subway here.
- Emergency contacts – On a piece of paper, write down contact numbers your parents can get in touch with in case of an emergency and ask them to keep these contact details with them at all times.
Now that we’ve simplified the process of getting your parents to the United States, you can use your time and faculties to plan out an exciting itinerary for them and enjoy their company to the fullest before it is time for them to return.
All the best!