Are You a Tactical Traveler?

15
194
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Often we think of prepping from our own immediate sphere that we travel inside, the perspective of the relative safety of our homes and local area. We have all of our prepper gear around us or close at hand, nicely organized and stored away, waiting to be called into action to help us survive some disaster or to render aid in an emergency situation to one of our neighbors. When we commute to work or run errands around town, we have our EDC gear to fall back on or our bug out bags if they are stored in your vehicle. This works well if you are in close proximity to your home, but what about when you are traveling? Do you leave your preparedness at home or do you remain prepared at some level for situations that may arise?

I think many preppers are able to easily keep focus on some of the more tactical aspects of our lives when we are near home. We go to work and know immediately if something is out of the ordinary. When you pick up the kids, you know 3 different routes to take should one way be blocked. You know who your neighbors are and quickly identify anyone different walking down your street. Unless you are living in a major city, the odds of some terrorist attack are highly unlikely so your awareness of suspicious activity or movements is lower commensurate with the risk in your area.

But many of us leave both our survival mindset and a good amount of our critical preparedness gear at home when we travel. You are on a leisurely vacation at some beach, amusement park or in a foreign city hundreds or thousands of miles away from home. You aren’t checking your phone for news because you are “on vacation”. You aren’t aware of your environment as much because everyone around you is vacationing too. You don’t have all of your gear because you are in swimming shorts and wearing your big 5.11 tactical belt would just look silly. You are in the moment; enjoying yourself with friends or family and this is precisely the time that you could find yourself smack dab in the middle of a life or death scenario. If this happens will you be completely unprepared or are you a tactical traveler?

Adjusting your situational awareness to the situation

The term situational awareness simply means you are aware of your surroundings. How many times have you been walking down the street looking at email on your phone? Have you ever checked sports scores sitting at a red light? How many of you have been sitting in your car while your spouse runs into the store and start surfing the web, checking Facebook for updates?

All of these actions demonstrate an almost complete lack of situational awareness. When your attention is focused elsewhere, usually on that device you carry with you all the time, you could miss cues. While you are checking email, you might not see the group of kids walking towards you ready to try their hand at the knock-out game. When you check your sports scores at the red light you might miss that vehicle swerving over into your lane and become completely blindsided. While you might be up to date on the latest happenings in Facebook world, you could miss armed men running into the mall your wife and kids are currently inside.

If something were to happen in your local area, your training and resources might enable you to quickly react once you are actually aware of what is happening, but when traveling out-of-town, some of us shut off our situational awareness and relax. Situational Awareness is key to surviving any disaster because seconds could be all the time you need to move or react. When your attention is elsewhere, you are robbing yourself of those precious seconds.

A good road atlas is a dirt cheap simple prep that can show you the route to safety. Every car should have one.

I am not expecting anyone to be outfitted in full on tactical gear and clothing if you are at the beach, but you can still be focused on where you are. What are the people in your group doing? Where are they? Who is walking towards you? What is the weather doing? If you are at an amusement park, do you know where you parked? Do you have the keys where you can get to them quickly? Can you escape if you have to? Could you jump a fence if needed? Do you have a weapon if you need it? What around you could provide cover from bullets?

Traveling By Land

In addition to having a mindset that is aware of what is going on, there are ways you can bring an extra level of preparedness with you wherever you go. If at all possible, I am driving when I leave home because I can carry many of the supplies I need inside my vehicle. If we are on vacation I have options for food, shelter and security in my vehicle and on my person at all times.

When loading my vehicles, the luggage is the last thing I consider. I make sure my bug out bag is up to date with food, a water filtration system that can support my entire family and the other items I recommend for a good bug out bag. I always travel with at least one firearm, usually several. I do leave things like my bulletproof vest home and I am not carrying thousands of rounds of ammo, but enough to deal effectively with a whole mess of problems should we run into them on the road. Now, it should go without saying that if your vehicle has equipment like this inside, you should take extra care when you are away from it to ensure none of those supplies are stolen and wind up in the wrong hands.

When we are away from home, whatever vehicle you are in becomes your bug out vehicle by necessity if not by choice. Make sure the maintenance is up to date. Keep your tanks full and have alternate routes planned. A good road atlas can come in handy if you need to get out-of-town and take the back roads.

TravelByCar

Traveling By Sea

Many people take cruises to get away, eat delicious food and travel to distant tropical ports, but traveling by sea brings along its own set of risks. I am not suggesting you pack your own life raft, but there are ways you can be more prepared when traveling by ship. Sideliner wrote an article earlier this year that documented the horrible conditions that people faced on a cruise ship and the preparations you can take with you to prevent some of those conditions.

But luxury cruise ships aren’t the only place your preps need to be with you. Ferries can capsize like the MV Sewol did early in the morning killing hundreds. Going back to situational awareness, if you are on a ship and it feels like it is going over, but they are telling you to stay safely in your cabin, what would you do? Sometimes being prepared is acting in the face of what sounds like bad advice. Use your gut and listen to it.

Traveling By Air

There isn’t much you can do or have on your person when traveling by air these days. Virtually all of my EDC gear and certainly my knife and firearms when flying are located where I can’t get to them. But assuming you land safely, your luggage can bring preparedness with you wherever you travel. Yes, checking a bag seems like a hassle to some of you. You do have to wait for it at baggage claim and there is a risk of lost luggage but I am not sacrificing my preparedness for convenience.

When I fly I bring survival gear with me so that I have a knife, headlamp, firearms (to most locations) and a host of other survival gear that most traveling on business leave at home. So far my luggage has only been “lost” one time and they brought it out to me the next day. Even if my gear is limited, my survival mindset can’t be taken from me. Customs can’t prevent me from entering with it and I can rely on it to help me view things from a different perspective.

This perspective can save your life and shouldn’t be left at home when you travel.

Leave a Reply

15 Comments on "Are You a Tactical Traveler?"

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
northern raider
Guest

Great article as ever, international travel is very common today for both preppers and the public alike, Often depending on my destination I either do as Pat does or I post / Courier my gear to some safe location for collection when arriving in country ( it saves humping huge great loads of kit with you) in the past I have had stuff dellivered to Hotels for collection or Parcels DEPOTS for collections or even to my friends and clients homes and offices. I like to have plenty of gear available when I am foreign soil.

Pat Henry
Guest

Thanks for those great tips and the compliments Northern Raider. Have you ever had any problem with shipping gear to your destinations?

northern raider
Guest

Not really but on occasion at the collection point or Customs I have had explain to Customs what all the gear s for and I usually get away with just saying its for Exploring and Expeditions sometimes I add a book on say on butterfly collecting or fish species to make it appear more legit

Pat Henry
Guest

Pith helmet and net are optional I guess? 🙂

northern raider
Guest

Very droll 🙂 and an English middle class accent helps 🙂

EgbertThrockmorton1
Guest

I have tried to NOT be a “foreign traveler” and even then in only in countries “friendly” to we Yanks. (that number is decidedly dwindling)
I have on occasion here in the Estados Unidos, FedEx’ed packages to myself at the hotel/s we were staying at, so we could be better prepared. Now, I would just rather drive if at all possible, it’s easier in the long run, and I’m sorry, but TSA can’t frisk anyone CORRECTLY to save my butt or anyone else’s. Just my own observations. They are a “feel good” ILLUSION and nothing else in my opinion.

northern raider
Guest

Yup I have read of more than a few American traveller putting Canadian passport covers over their own passports

Pat Henry
Guest

I know what you mean Egbert. I’d rather spend a day in the car than a day in airports putting up with the hassle.

old timer
Guest

I used to drive 18 wheelers for a living and was always prepared ,just not as not as much as now that I am retired but with regulations being what they are you can’t “legally” protect yourself while on the road even though you are maybe carrying hundreds of thousands in cargo maybe millions with no protection , but……

Pat Henry
Guest

The cargo should be insured, but there is no way I wouldn’t have some method of protection driving on the road like that. I may have to get creative, but it is possible I think.

Sideliner1950
Guest

As always, Pat, excellent information and advice, so well thought-out. Thanks. Important and useful comments so far, as well. Sending your gear to the distant locations you intend to visit is a great idea and could hugely enhance the quality of your remote experiences. Just remember to plan ahead, whether simply checking baggage to your destination or mailing/ Fedex’ing your gear separately.

Pat Henry
Guest

Thank you very much Sideliner!

RDPaul
Guest

Interesting timing for this article as I am on the beach in southern Europe. Shipping gear all over the world does not seem like a good use of resources. Instead I pack a small EDC survival kit, do so research before, recon the area I am staying in when I arrive

RDPaul
Guest

One last thought…if you leave your prepp behind make sure your loved ones know where they are and how to access them, if the SHTF back home while you are safetly away.

Pat Henry
Guest

Great suggestions RDPaul! Hope you enjoy your trip and make it home safely.

Pat

wpDiscuz