There are a number of traps which are part and parcel of prepping and actually quite easy to fall into. One of these is fear; we can become so focused on the disasters that can befall us that we are motivated by fear. We can also go to the opposite extreme, becoming so comfortable with the idea of our own preparedness to face anything, that we become careless. When that happens, we do things like leaving home without being prepared.
Somehow, we all seem to develop this image of a disaster happening when we are at home and ready for it. I doubt that it will really happen that way. Most likely, whatever disaster any of us have to face will happen at a time not of our choosing. It may not even happen when we are at home.
Like many people, I travel from time to time, either for my work or for personal reasons. But unlike most people, I don’t take a vacation from survival, just to go on vacation. As far as I’m concerned, there’s just as much of a chance of an emergency happening when I’m away from home, as there is when I’m at home, if not more.
On top of that, I’ve found that survival equipment I carry with me on a trip can often be useful for other non-survival purposes. When I’m home, I don’t need that equipment, as I have a whole house and all the resources inside available to me. But when I’m away, I don’t have all that.
Deciding What Bag to Carry When Traveling
Trying to decide what to carry with me when I’m traveling can be more of a problem than packing my suitcase is. The biggest problem is usually one of space. When traveling by car, the trunk is usually full of luggage anyway. Fitting in a survival kit in an altoids tin can be a challenge, let alone a bigger pack. When traveling by air, the problem is even worse.
However, now that my kids have grown up, I find myself with more room in the trunk of the car. When possible, that space is taken up by my bug out bag. While that isn’t the proper use of a bug out bag, it does ensure that I have everything needed to survive for several days. If I use anything in it on the trip, I make sure that I restock it when I get home.
When traveling by air, taking a bug out bag would mean paying for an extra suitcase. Since I’m just as stingy with my money as the next guy, I leave the bug out bag at home and shoehorn an everyday carry bag into my suitcase. I made a point of buying a suitcase that’s big enough for both the EDC bag and a gun case as well.
If worse comes to worse, I can survive with just my EDC bag and gun. While I may not have everything I’d like to have, I’ll probably be in an urban environment, so I won’t need all my wilderness survival gear.
What You Have to Have
Creating an emergency kit for traveling really isn’t any different than creating one for use at home or anywhere else for that matter. You have the same survival needs wherever you are. There are only two real differences. The first is that I focus on urban survival in this case, rather than wilderness survival and I like to add useful things that might be needed, but really don’t count as emergency equipment.
Basically, the idea of an emergency travel bag is about the same as an EDC bag or get home bag. It’s supposed to provide you with what you need for surviving a couple of days, in an urban environment, while you work out how to get back home. So, it needs to cover the basics of shelter, water and food, as well as providing some basic first aid and personal hygiene supplies.
How deep you get into the survival equipment has a lot to do with where you are planning to be. If I’m going on vacation out in the wilderness, I’m going to have camping gear with me anyway. On the other hand, if I’m going on a fishing trip where I’ll be staying in a lodge or motel, I won’t have that camping gear. In that situation, I’ll need to have more survival gear with me. But even then, that’s totally different than being in an urban situation, such as going to a conference in another city. If a disaster were to hit then, I’d be looking at urban survival, not wilderness survival.
One of the assumptions that I work under is that even in the case of a breakdown of society, there will be a transition period. That period might not last more than a few days, but it will be very real. During that time, there will be some communications in place and money will still be accepted. So, if I find myself away from home and needing to make a cross-country trek, I will have some time to get what I need where I am, so that I’m ready for traveling.
With that in mind, I always make sure that I carry a few special things in my bag, in addition to the basic survival equipment that’s there.
Those items include:
- Five hundred dollars – Okay, maybe you can’t carry that much, but that’s how much cash I try to have stashed away. That’s enough for me to buy a backpack and gear for traveling, if I have to take out across country. I won’t be able to buy the best, but I’ll be able to get what I need.
- A disposable phone – Cell phone service may not last long, but it will last until fuel runs out for the generators. During that time, I’m going to have to coordinate my plans with my family. That phone will hopefully give me enough that I can call them and let them know where I am and how I’m planning on traveling back home. That way, they won’t have to be wondering.
- Medications – I’ve reached the age where I take some prescription medications to help me maintain my health. I always travel with 30 days worth of everything I need, even if I’m just going away for the weekend.
- Maps – Regardless of how I’m traveling, I make sure that I have maps which cover the entire route back home. Even if it’s just a highway map, it will provide me with sufficient landmarks that I can use to track my progress.
- Good walking shoes – You don’t want to start a long survival trek with freshly bought hiking boots; they need to be broken in. While I don’t always have room for a pair of bulky hiking boots, I can usually find room for some good tennis shoes. That will do in a pinch.
Keep in mind that my intent is to augment what I’ve got, with what I can get in that brief transition time between awareness of the disaster and things totally falling apart. In order to do that efficiently, I also have a list of what I have and what I’ll need, as well as what stores will be likely to have it. That way, I can save time in putting my pack together, while everyone else is looting the grocery and liquor stores.