Perhaps the Holiday Season puts you on the road or in the air to visit family, friends and loved ones. This is a time when situations may strike that are not handled the same as if you were in more familiar surroundings, with more familiar equipment or facilities that you find closer to home.
Whether it’s over the river and through the woods or all the way around the globe, there are several tips to well prepared travels – both domestic and abroad – that are important to take into consideration.
Everyone knows that international travel can be a daunting experience, even for the seasoned traveler. A traveler may not know about the information that is made available to them through multiple resources regarding international travel, starting with the traveler’s chosen airline. Depending on where you are going will determine what you need to take and what you should watch out for. Some common items to reference prior to departing on your international flight include (but are not limited to): Travel Maps, Weather, and Currency Calculator. More definitive and required items include: Passport, Foreign Entry Information, Travelers Health, and Travel Warnings. The latter items are extremely important due to increased security threats throughout the world as well as illnesses that may be caught or spread from visiting other parts of the world.
As an international traveler, you may want to make a list of items you are required to take with you. This list will assist you to make sure you limit the speed bumps that can easily occur in international travel. It is also recommended that any traveler have a map, any warnings, and even U.S. Embassy information as electronic sources are not always reliable in other parts of the world. Can you think of the last time you could not pick up a wireless network prohibiting you from gaining needed information? Having this type of situation occur in a foreign country can instantly make the situation more undesirable.
Please do your research before your international travel and remember to be vigilant at all times. Here are some International Travel Resources:
- U.S. Citizens Traveling Abroad www.usa.gov
- TripResource www.tripresource.com
- U.S. Department of State www.state.gov/travel/
- Department of Homeland Security www.dhs.gov
Our friend, Joe Alton, M.D., aka Dr. Bones of DoomandBloom.Net wrote about Traveling & Survival while on a trip abroad as well. Here are some of his tips:
Be the Gray Man: The “Gray Man” is a person who can blend in anywhere without attracting attention; someone you would pass on the street and not remember. This is a highly useful quality to have in a survival setting, and helpful when you’re on the road in an unfamiliar city. You’ll be approached less by street vendors, pickpockets, and other ne’er-do-wells.
In Europe, this means wearing black. Black is “the New Black”, as they say in fashion circles. Hawaiian shirts, shorts, and flip-flops = Tourist (which equals ”target”). When in Rome, do as the Romans do. If you want to know what they’re doing, use technology if it exists. Webcams are a great way to reconnoiter the surroundings.
Be aware, not scared: Be aware of travel alerts that indicate certain areas might not be safe at night. This is pertinent for survival scenarios also. You wouldn’t travel into raider territory without taking precautions. The same goes for dark alleyways. Situational awareness is the key to staying safe on the road and in times of trouble. Know where you’re going, and appear confident as you go there.
Prepare for the environment: In travel, whether while bugging-out, on wilderness outings, or to another country, you must be ready to function in the environment you’re entering. If you haven’t taken the environment into account, you have truly made it your enemy. If you’re underdressed, you’ll expose yourself to hypothermia. If overdressed, you may overheat. Check out expected weather conditions before you head out.
Wear the right shoes for the terrain and make sure they’re broken in, so you can avoid blisters. If you can’t trust the water in a survival setting, have water sterilization tablets available. If you’re traveling on vacation, you might consider bottled water.
Pack light, but pack the right stuff: If you going to be doing a lot of walking, whether it’s foraging for food in an apocalyptic wasteland or visiting museums, you don’t want to carry too much weight. I can tell you something about travel that is different from survival: In leisure travel, you will overpack. Period. You probably need half of what you put in your suitcase. We have traveled for a month in other countries with nothing but a carry-on bag, and you could too. In survival, you’ll need everything you’ve packed at one point or another.
Still, you want to have what’s necessary. You’ll want to carry enough clothes for the weather, but not so much that it’s a burden to carry. You’ll want to have access to food and water and have planned out considerations for shelter, whether it’s in a cave or a Holiday Inn. First aid items come in as handy in travel settings as they would in survival settings. Expect an article in the near future by Amy Alton, A.R.N.P., aka Nurse Amy, on exactly what that kit should contain.
Start off healthy: As I often mention, one of the keys to survival in a disaster is to be in the best medical shape possible BEFORE the event. While traveling, you’ll do a lot of walking and it makes sense to get in decent physical condition before you embark on your journey. Take regular walks and build your stamina.
Know how to deal with simple medical issues: If you’re a regular visitor to our website (DoomandBloom.net), you’ll have learned quite a bit about dealing with medical problems when advanced care is unavailable. In other countries, you will benefit from not just having medications and supplies on hand, but knowing how to use them.
Obviously traveling abroad means the high potential of air travel, but so does domestic travel. There are some things unique to air travel that require your attention for safety.
Your EDC needs an update for Air Travel.
Often if you have an every day carry list of items, many of them may not be allowed on the plane in the cabin iteself, overhead compartment or even in your luggage. You may need to update what you carry and have alternatives that are on the list of allowed items that you can use in different ways. Learning to use some ‘non-leathal’ items in ways to protect yourself is a vital skill when many EDC items are not allowed.
Be very aware in Airports.
Now is not the time to be hunkered into a corner with your nose burried in your cell phone or tablet. Keep your eyes open for any suspicious behavior or sudden changes around you. Keep your carry on items close to your side or attached to you. This is especially important if you are carrying a typical/non-descript bag.
Don’t board a plane (train or bus for that matter) without making those you love aware of certain criteria such as flight number, arrival and departure times. Often cell service is not as reliable in airports and they will want to know you are fine. We often use Flight Aware to keep tabs on our loved ones in the air and landing so they are not being called when they cannot answer or having to answere (thus not being fully aware of their surroundings) in a crowded airport while juggling luggage and gates.
All in all we hope these tips will help you to change your surroundings while feeling well prepared in unfamiliar ones. Wherever your journey may take you, we hope that you remain diligent to know that unforseen things can still occur and when you are best prepared, you’ll be the least affected and the most helpful – no matter where you are!