Tuesday, February 09, 2016

How to make your parents stay pleasant and less boring in USA

My parents are going back to India this weekend. This was their fourth trip here. I have learned few things in my efforts to make each of their stay as pleasant as possible. Here are some notes that can help if your parents are visiting you first time:

1. Make a good plan to deal with Jet-leg:
Parents (especially ones who travel infrequently) will experience this in the form of excessive fatigue and odd sleep hours.
 Here are few thing you should tell in advance before they board their flight
 - Food preference - if your parents are vegetarian then put the meal request and make sure it shows up online.
- Try to avoid caffeine and Alcohol in flight; and consume more water and juices
 - Sleep as much as they can during the flight
 - Ask them not to shy in taking frequent walks up and down the aisle to keep blood circulation moving
- Once they have landed, expose them to sunlight, barefoot walk in the park really helps in reducing the jetleg faster

2. Plan to Tackle boredom:
Once the jet lag wears off, it is difficult for people to sit at home and do nothing. Some ideas to mitigate this:
  • Nearby parks are an attractive daily location for them to meet other fellow visitors
  • Indian TV channels could be subscribed to for the kind of entertainment that they are used to back in India
  • Local libraries are a great place for parents to read newspapers, magazines, books and borrowing movies. 
  • Let them accompany you to local events and enjoy some of your lifestyle. 
  • If you have a local Indian community center nearby, enroll them in any of their programs of interest as that is a good place for them to socialize with other fellow Indians
  • Local gym or yoga classes are another interesting place when they can spend good time and get health benefits from exercise 

3.  Educate more about US culture- things like how to walk or drive safely on roads, how to buy stuff in a super market. Make sure they always have enough cash while you are not home so that they can buy something if needed. Educate them on how to dial US phone numbers and India phone numbers so that they can reach out to you or other family member in india whenever they like.

4. Make list for place to visit- Keep in mind the interest of your parents before planning a trip for them. Do not be in a hurry to make hectic domestic travel plans. For example malls are interesting to lots of people, but my parents always preferred to visit a park, temple or Gurudwara. Taking parents to local religious places will help them relax and enjoy the programs

5. Talk to them everyday -I know we get busy with office and kids. But make sure you sit and talk to them everyday for at least 20-30 minutes. Give small update about what happened during the day and ask them what they did. Talk about some other family members or relatives to get the conversation started.

6. Invites friends and relatives- Engaging in such social activities makes them feel included in the surroundings while also giving them an opportunity to chat with others besides yourselves in an informal setting. This is important if your parents are visiting you for extended period of time

7. Insurance coverage
 A good travel insurance policy that protects you while your parents travel and stay in USA is most important part of US travel plan. You can read about available options here travel insurance for US .

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