USA Travel Checklist – Items to Carry & Things To Do

Planning to travel or migrate to the USA? No better time than now.

Of course, the pandemic has made it difficult for all of us, but folks who were holding on to their plans have begun to consider traveling to the USA, ever since the change in the White House.

We’ve put together a list of documents you must carry to the USA for a safe stay, as well as items to have a convenient trip.

Tip: Consider getting travel insurance for Coronavirus. It’ll help.

Checklist for First Timers Visiting USA

India USA Travel Checklist

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Passport & its copy

Make sure you carry your passport along at all times and keep a copy of it with your luggage or in electronic form. Mail it to yourself or save it in your Google Drive.


Your purpose of travel to the US defines the category your visa will belong to, so make sure you carry the appropriate visa documents. You can check the US Governments Directory of Visa Categories to find out more.

Flight Ticket

Be sure to book your tickets in advance to get the lowest possible price. Carry them with you all the time or their soft copies.

Boarding Pass

Collect your boarding pass when you check in, online or at the airport, and keep it handy through your journey.

Soft Copies of Documents

It always helps to email yourself soft copies of all documents, including passport, identity proof, address proof, contacts in America, etc., in case of loss or theft.



You can carry paracetamol tablets for the common cold, fever, body ache, etc. However, carrying medicines for special ailments to the United States entails various guidelines and restrictions.

For details, read these 5 tips for traveling to the US with medicines, given by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


The United States government has a set of vaccinations it requires all entrants to get prior to their visit. These include Hepatitis A & B, Polio, Measles, Rubella, Varicella, and more.

India USA Travel Tips

Clothing & Accessories

  • Items such as belts, wallets, sunglasses, and eyeglasses should be carried from India, as these are expensive in the US.
  • Regular clothing items can be found cheap and bought there.
  • If you are planning to stay for long, do not carry woolens from India, since they might not be sufficient for the low temperatures in America. Plus, you might find them cheaper in the US.

Food & Utensils

  • If you’re going for a long trip, it is advisable to carry Indian cooking masalas with you like the ones available there are not as good.
  • Carry a pressure cooker if you use one often, they aren’t available in the USA.


  • Travel insurance – This is a must-have (not mandatory) for traveling overseas. Here is a list of best travel insurance for short-term visitors to the USA.
  • Foreign Travel Card – Along with getting currency exchanged to US dollars, get a forex card issued from your bank.
  • International Calling – You can buy an international SIM card from Uniconnect or download a low-cost international calling app like Ringo.

When in the “world’s greatest country,” you’re guaranteed to have a great time. Just make sure you have all the necessities for a smooth experience.

And more importantly, remember to respect the nation, its customs, and its people, so that they can respectfully welcome you too. Blend in to avoid trouble and enjoy to the fullest.

Are you planning a trip to the US soon?

Let me know in the comments when you’re traveling and if you have any questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the essential travel documents needed for a trip to the USA?

The most essential travel documents include your passport, visa, return ticket, hotel booking confirmation, travel insurance documents, and a copy of your itinerary.

Should I carry cash or cards on my trip to the USA?

While it’s always good to carry some amount of cash for emergencies, relying on credit/debit cards is usually a safer and more convenient option. Make sure to inform your bank about your travel plans to avoid any potential issues with overseas transactions.

What type of clothing should I pack for the USA?

The type of clothing depends on the region and season of your visit. Generally, comfortable walking shoes, jeans, t-shirts, a light jacket, and formal wear (if required) are good to include.

Are there any specific items that are prohibited from bringing into the USA?

Certain items such as fresh fruits and vegetables, meat and animal products, plants, certain types of medications, and items infringing copyright laws are restricted or prohibited. Check the official U.S. Customs and Border Protection website for a detailed list.

Should I purchase a local SIM card for my visit to the USA?

Depending on the length of your stay, purchasing a local SIM card could be a cost-effective way to have mobile data and local calls. Many airports have kiosks where you can purchase SIM cards upon arrival.

Do I need travel insurance for a trip to the USA?

While it’s not mandatory, it’s highly recommended to have travel insurance for any unforeseen circumstances such as medical emergencies, trip cancellations, or loss of belongings.

What kind of plug adapter do I need for the USA?

The USA uses Type A or Type B plugs. Make sure you have the correct type of adapter for your devices.

Is it necessary to tip in the USA?

Yes, tipping is customary in the USA. A general guideline is 15-20% for restaurants, $1-2 per bag for hotel staff, and 10-15% for taxi drivers.

What items should I pack in my carry-on bag for the flight?

Essentials like travel documents, wallet, phone, charger, essential medication, a change of clothes, travel-sized toiletries, a book or entertainment device, and snacks should be packed in your carry-on.

How can I prepare for jet lag during my trip to the USA?

Start adjusting your sleep schedule a few days before your trip, stay hydrated, and try to get some sleep during the flight. Once you arrive, try to adapt to the local schedule as soon as possible.

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Mani Karthik

About the Author

Mani Karthik

Ex “NRI” and Founder of the “Back to India” movement. I share my experience about immigrating to USA here.

  1. Interesting and informative, Thanks for giving this piece of bread.

    A small suggestion, I didn’t see any icon to share this article to other social media platforms. If you can add some share buttons, that will be useful to fellow readers to share your articles among our friends. Time being i am copying your URL for sharing.

    1. Mani Karthik

      Thanks Krishna. The buttons are below the post.

  2. Sejal

    Thank you so much , is it mandatory to take. Vaccines if we are going for a 12 day trip to US?

  3. Mridul

    Hi, Karthik

    in your segment on medications and vaccinations, the list for vaccinations is specifically for immigrants. what about people travelling for a short while on the non immigrant visa types?

    1. Mani Karthik

      You will need to carry whatever medicines you need with a Doctor’s prescription. However, there is no guarantee that they will be allowed to the US. It is solely dependent on the officer.

  4. Sree Rao

    I am Indian Citizen., currently living in China., i have a B1/B2 visa for USA., and planning to travelling., vaccination certificates prepared., do i have to get prior approvals or anything before taking flight. Please advice.

    Thank you.

  5. Ranjeet Kumar

    My wife has gone to India to visit parents . Her Indian passport will expire on 02/24/2024 . Her return ticket to the USA on september 10th . She is on a USA H4 visa and visa is valid until 10/10/2024 . So at time of entering the USA her Indian passport will have 5 month 14 days left on expiry .
    Is there any issue on the port of entry? Our plan is to renew her passport once she is in the USA from the Indian embassy . Please advise.

    1. Mani Karthik

      Yes, that could be a problem. According to the documents, you need 6 months validity of the passport when entering USA. They might take deviations but just to avoid any confusion and anxiety, it might be a better idea to get the passport extended, before she re-enters USA.

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