I travel frequently, both around the United States and Internationally. There are many things the prudent prepper should consider when traveling, whether by auto, train, boat, or the silver stagecoach in the sky. Experience is the best teacher, but it helps to be prepared before you get those hard lesson small or great.
Summer is here, and many folks are traveling on both business and vacation. There are a number of considerations and preps you should do before hitting the happy highways or the friendly skies. You need to be properly prepared whether visiting Aunt Martha in Glendale Arizona or nailing down that business deal in Brazil.
One of the first things any prepper should do is always keep the maintenance up on your vehicle. Frequent oil changes and services as recommended by the manufacturer go without saying. Make sure those tires are properly inflated with good tread and that includes your spare. Many people have a full bug out bag in their car all the time, and others opt for a smaller get home bag. You should have a least three days of emergency prep items in your bag to tide you over in case of a breakdown in a remote area. Food, water, shelter, emergency bedding are all things the well prepared person will keep in their auto for a long trip. Don’t forget a good first aid kit. You should have a good set of maps or road atlas to the location you are going or a good GPS. Plan your route ahead of time and figure on sufficient rest breaks. There are a lot of things you may want to take with you on a long car trip depending on your personal and family situation, but here are some important considerations:
- Insure your driver’s license is valid, and have proof of current auto insurance. (claims number for insurance company)
- Medical insurance cards and copies of current prescriptions
- Sufficient supplies of any medications you are taking.
- Two credit cards kept in separate locations if possible.
- Some traveler’s checks or extra cash.
- A list of emergency contacts to include telephone numbers and e-mail addresses.
- Cell phone and phone charger for the vehicle power outlet (they used to be called cigarette lighters)
- Toys or games for the kiddies and all necessities for your pets if you bring them.
- An emergency auto kit including tools, spare serpentine belt and a quart or two of oil.
- Your every day carry (EDC) items for when you are out of the vehicle
- Personal protection: If you are going to be traveling armed, insure you are familiar with the laws on firearms in any jurisdiction you travel through. Sharing a jail cell with Bubba is not a good vacation.
Traveling overseas has its own set of issues to stay on top of. The first thing you need to do is insure your passport is current and valid through at least the length of your trip. Make a photo copy of it to keep in a separate location. Depending on the country you plan on traveling to, you may need a visa from that country. If you are unsure, contact the embassy of the country you are planning on traveling to. Make sure that you have any and all required inoculations. Make sure you are aware of any restricted items that you destination prohibits. In some countries, a copy of Playboy magazine or a Christian bible can get you into trouble. TSA and foreign airlines and governments have restrictions on items that you can carry on aircraft. These tend to change frequently so insure you understand what restrictions are current. And no, regardless of what the ads say, the little credit card knives cannot be snuck through!. Don’t try!
Arrange your financial details ahead of time. Do your research depending on what country you are traveling to. Change your money at your local bank before you go, if you can, or arrange to use a local bank when you get there. The exchange rates at airport currency exchange kiosks are outrageous, but if you just need a few dollars in pocket change, then O.K.
Security when traveling overseas is a serious consideration. You will not be allowed to be armed in most of the countries you travel to unless it is in conjunction with official business approved by the local government. If you are traveling in most of the civilized word such as Europe, Canada, the UK, or Australia, the same common sense you use at home will be appropriate. But if you are traveling to a potentially dangerous area check the US State Department Travel Warning web page for current information. It is always a good idea to register with the local U.S. Embassy when traveling in doubtful areas. Make sure your medical insurance is valid where you are going or purchase traveler medical policies.
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself overseas is stay alert. Don’t travel alone, know the local bad spots and avoid them (having a local contact is extremely helpful), and just use good common sense.