(Gaye Levy) This is the time of year when families travel to visit friends and relatives near and far. When taking a road trip, it is easy to throw a bug-out bag and extra food and clothing into the trunk of your car but what if you are traveling by air? Not only do you have those pesky baggage weight limits to deal with, but you also have the scrutiny and probing eyes (and sometimes hands) of the TSA to avoid.
Can you imagine what might happen if you showed up at the airport with a fully stocked survival kit? I am being just a wee bit facetious; but, these days, you can never be too sure what will happen if someone decides to label you as a prepper.
TSA notwithstanding, today I would like to share a reminder that no matter where you go, you should include some basic preps in your carry-on or in your check-through luggage so that, no matter what, you will be prepared to deal with bumps along your journey.
Here in list form, and in no particular order, is a list of 30 items every prepper should carry when traveling.
1. A wise traveler not only carries a passport, but also a photocopy of the passport and a scanned version on a laptop, CD, or flash drive.
2. Your health insurance or Medicare card.
3. Your driver’s license, proof of car insurance, and the 24 hour claims number for your insurance company.
4. Two credits cards housed in two different places (in case one gets lost or is stolen) along with the customer service numbers for the credit card companies written down and stored someplace other than your wallet. You might want to consider RFID sleeves for your credit cards.
5. A list of emergency contacts, including telephone numbers and email addresses.
6. A prepaid long distance card for making calls when there is no cell phone service or when the calls will be too expensive due to roaming charges.
7. A few blank checks or traveler’s checks plus some funds in the local currency (if you are traveling out of the country).
8. Prescription medications with at least 3 days over and above the number of days you plan to be gone.
9. An emergency first aid kit including bandages, pain medication, instant hot/cold packs, antibiotic ointment, lavender essential oil, an anti-diarrheal, allergy medication, heartburn medication, and anything else that you commonly use.
10. Insect repellent or essential oil alternative.
12. Protein or snack bars.
13. Travel tissues and a travel sized roll of TP (you would be surprised at how often this “essential” will come in handy.)
14. Baby wipes or my favorite, No Rinse Bathing Wipes. You can wash up pretty well with these in the event you can’t take an actual shower.
15. Hand sanitizer plus sanitizer wipes (Those tray tables on planes are horrifyingly filthy – this article says they very frequently are the home for fecal matter.)
17. Pocket knife or Swiss Army-style knife. (This will have to go in your checked luggage)
19. An emergency whistle. This Windstorm Safety Whistle is my favorite.
21. Water purification tabs for ensuring safe, drinkable water if supplies at your destination are compromised.
22. A portable water filter and pouch, like this Sawyer Mini kit. The pouch takes up very little space when empty but would give you a clean container for your filtered drinking water in an emergency.
23. A small roll of duct tape and some tie wraps (also called cable wraps).
24. Mylar emergency blankets.
25. A pocket poncho for every member of your group.
26. Protective masks to wear when seated near obviously sick people (coughing and sneezing) while using public transportation.
27. Batteries (or rechargeables plus a battery charger).
28. Your cell phone charger or a USB cable to use as a charging cable.
29. Key passwords to access email accounts and online financial data.
30. Pre-printed labels with your home address, home phone number, and email address. Include one or more of these labels in each checked bag.
Extra Credit Bonus Items for the Traveler
As a proponent of essential oils, I travel with a small pouch containing my most important oils including Shield (a thieves like protective blend), lavender, and melaleuca (tea tree). I also carry some DIY Cold and Flu Bomb and DIY Anti-Viral Sanitizing Spray.
Something else I carry with me is a tin containing a portable survival kit. This portable kit contains a number of the items I would normally have in my travel kit but has the added advantage of allowing me to throw it in my pack or handbag while I am out and about at my destination. You can put your own emergency kit in a tin together. You will find some ideas in the article 8 Essential Items: The Perfect Portable Survival Kit.
Another bonus item is solar lighting. I throw both a solar lantern and my SunJack LightStick in my bag. They are not as small and portable as a flashlight, but they operate without batteries and can be used in a variety of situations to provide an abundance of light as well as emergency signaling.
Since everyone’s needs are different, you might find some additional ideas for your travel kit in the article Don’t Fly Without These 20 TSA-Approved Items in Your Prepper’s Carry-on Bag.
Here some some air travel tips from Daisy Luther, the author of that article:
Pay attention to the flight attendant. Aren’t you going to feel kind of stupid if the plane crashes and you have no idea where the nearest exit is? Take 2 minutes out of your life to listen when the flight attendant goes over the safety information.
Dress appropriately. Whenever I see fellow passengers wearing flip-flops, high heels, or other inappropriate footwear, I cringe. You should always wear shoes that are sturdy and comfortable enough for a long distance hike. As well, clothing items made from natural fibers are less flammable and more breathable. Cover as much of your exposed skin as possible by wearing long pants and sleeves.
Wear your carry-on bag. That well-packed carry-on bag isn’t going to do you much good if you don’t have it with you. To keep your hands free for other tasks, I recommend a backpack or cross-body bag for your most important survival items.
Bring snacks. I always pack things like Clif bars, nuts, and dried fruit. The more snacks you have, the longer you can wait before eating your fellow passengers, Andes-soccer-team style.
The Final Word
There is nothing remarkable about this list and, as a matter of fact, it is fairly mundane and undoubtedly includes things you routinely pack along as a matter of course. Still, if there is just one item you have overlooked – and you need that item – you will be happy to have it along to help you out of a jam or to make your journey more secure.
And just for the record? I pack all of these items and a whole lot more when I travel. I can get by with just a couple of pairs of shoes but not without my preps. You just never know.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!