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.
Tip: Consider getting travel insurance for Coronavirus. It’ll help.
In this article…
Checklist for First Timers Visiting USA
Passport & its copy
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.
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.
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.
For details, read these 5 tips for traveling to the US with medicines, given by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
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.