Saturday, August 07, 2010

The way to the USA

So finally the day of reckoning where the call to set sail to the shores of USA has been answered.

Set the ball rolling

My trip was kinda short tight squeezed setup up trip with a long term intent. I wanted to capture my to did list for others who are first time travellers like me.

1. Luggage 23kgs x 2 bags + 8 kgs check in luggage.

- Typically the baggage restriction is relaxable between +2 kgs. The carry baggage was not really weighed and typically allowed 2 pieces of carry luggage - I had carried a laptop and a back bag

- Suggest to pack the clothes and non-clothes in 2 different bags.

Basics to pack - Clothes, including a dozen pairs of inner wear (frenchie cut are not available in US), One skip a cooker as one could buy one here for 30-40$ here. Include essential leather items like belt, purse and may be a leather coat. Also include sufficient amount of Masala (Chole, Sambhar, Garam, Rajma, Kitchen King) if there is a specific brands one prefers. Carry a few 6 packs of Noodles like Maagi or Top Ramen, and may be instant Pasta. They will be handy for initial days.

Have passport and tickets and few foreign currency while one travels. Carry luggage can have 2 pairs of clothes, travel tooth brush and paste and soap as minimal.

2. Airport Formalities

Rajiv Gandhi Airport, Hyderabad International Airport - Well lit and spacious and nicely maintained. One can get away with checking in 2 hrs before the departure time

- Pack the bag

- Visitors are not allowed beyond the entry gates of departures., but the glass panes allow enough in terms of communicating till you get pass the security

- After getting the boarding pass, one could proceed to immigration area for getting the passport stamped at the Airport immigration

- Security Check requires removing watches/ belts/ check in baggage and sometimes footwear as well. If enough care is taken care in packing the checking baggage it should be easy.

- Post the immigration clearance and security check-in. Its to the waiting lobby to board the flight.

3. Change Over Flights

- One needs to disembark and find the connecting flights by themselves. One could seek help of local airport authorities on the same

- One has to go through the same process of boarding check-in & security check-in at the connecting airport

- The luggage transfers of checked-in luggage is handled by the authorities

4. Final Flight / Port of Entry Forms -

- While still in flight one will be handed over the Homeland security forms I-94 immigration form and I-20 customs declaration form. Both of which will be handed over at immigration and Customs respectively on arrival.

5. On arrival - Retrieve the baggage, one might need to pay around 5$ for using a Trolley, the service is not free unlike India. Then quickly proceed to Immigration else there would be long queues. Wait for turn to be called then submit the I-94 form.

Proceed towards Customs and handover I-20 form and adhere to checks (if any) Exit for your domestic flight / airport exit.

At the domestic terminal get the boarding pass, and wait for the flight. Once at destination one could either book a cab, get into a shuttle, use a public transport system or get someone to pick you up. Wallah !!

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