Survival Kits for Travel

Generally, when designing a survival kit, you figure out potential situations and how big/heavy it can be, then cram in all the important survival gear which could be needed and will fit.  However, there are times when you are traveling or otherwise restricted in what you can have with you.  Particularly if flying (via commercial airline) or going though customs or other security checkpoints.

The first step is to find out what is allowable and what is forbidden and what is questionable at each place where you might be checked.  Currently, as these tend to change over time.  This requires some research on your part; it is best to document what you find out by printing out screen shots, keeping copies of paper handouts, and the names of people you talk with, and having this information with you.  Break your survival gear into categories: cannot be taken, requires special handling (such as ok if in checked baggage), potentially a problem, and not a problem.  Make a note of any in the first three categories which is commonly available for sale at your destination(s) or which has a usable alternative or which can be adequately disassembled and/or camouflaged.  Also, any item whose only risk is of confiscation, and which is cheap enough and replaceable enough that this risk is acceptable.

Areas of most concern will likely be knives and edged items, weapons, other tools, things which can be used as weapons (I once was prevented from going into the courthouse while carrying a tape measure), highly flammable or explosive stuff, and things which appear to be chemicals, particularly liquids.  Be aware that wire or rope might be a problem in some cases.  Pack your remaining gear accordingly – special handling separately, possible problem stuff separately or “hidden”, and safe stuff normally.

The next step is to expand your (remaining) kit to consider “non-emergency” situations which can happen when traveling.  Basically, if something happens to transportation and you are “stuck” somewhere.  This is always an annoyance, but sometimes can be more serious if the place you are stuck is not capable of supporting all the people who are stuck there long term.  Or takes the opportunity to gouge the people stuck there by astronomically raising prices.  Keep in mind that these events are more likely than emergency situations, but usually less dangerous.  Surviving is critical, but why not prepare for unpleasantness mitigation as well?

Thus, food and water are a bit more important than normal.  When flying, they may not allow you to take water through security, so have some empty containers (bladders may be most convenient) which you fill at the fountain after making it through security.  Plus at least one ready-to-eat meal or equivalent.  This can help you through being stuck on the plane many hours waiting to take off.  In addition, you will want to have a water filter and/or purification tablets, plus some additional compact food in case you are stuck someplace with questionable water and/or limited or vastly overpriced food.

Of course, “extra” money is good to have to deal with unexpected expenses.   Not only a credit card, but travelers checks, local currency and possibly small amounts of silver and even gold.  Variety is good to be able to handle the widest range of possible situations.  Good identification is important as well.

Furthermore, be aware of the potential for disease in crowded conditions.  Having virus resistant masks and surgical gloves is a good idea.  A good general purpose first aid kit, including common remedies and extra of your critical prescription items is also suggested.

When you are in your “home” area, you know where to go to eat, for entertainment, to shop and handle medical issues.  It is wise to research your destination(s) before leaving, particularly local customs which can get you in trouble, and medical resources.  Plus where to shop to replace survival items you were forced to leave behind or which were impractical to bring.


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Filed under Emergency preparedness, travel

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