On November 13, 2015 130 people were killed by a terrorist attack in Paris, France. Another 468 people were seriously injured as well. This is alarming because Paris is a major tourist city that brings in hundreds of thousands of people per year. As a prepper this makes you aware of the danger that accompanies traveling.
Of course terrorist attacks are not the only major threats that target tourist cities. Some of the biggest crimes that are committed against tourists are theft, burglary and scams. This further shows that traveling is not always safe. Of course we look to have a fun time or may even be out of town on business. As a prepper we need to be aware of threats and prepare for them.
To me traveling as a prepper has been one of most challenging things that I have had to face. We get so wrapped up into building bug out bags, stocking up our preps and practicing our skills that we totally forget about how to be prepared on the road.
When you are traveling you can’t always bring your weapons with you. Especially if you are going to places like Communist California where they have some of the strictest gun laws. There are even strict laws against carrying knives as well. Then lastly of course you will probably have a wonderful experience meeting TSA and sharing your beautiful tools with them. So on my latest trip I collected notes that will be helpful for a prepper when traveling.
10 Things Every Prepper Should Do Before Traveling
- Research the conceal carry laws
Airports are some of the safest places in the United States. When you first arrive you will need to check in with the clerks to let them know that you are carrying. You will also need to keep your concealed carry weapon in a lock box and hand it over to them to board on your flight.
Now I am not giving you legal advice. I highly encourage you to learn about the gun laws when flying. Even if you are boarding a train there will be some rules that you will need to follow.
You also need to study the conceal carry laws of your destination. Places like California have some of the strictest conceal carry laws. Some of them don’t even recognize conceal carry permits of other states. So you definitely need to study so that you can be prepared to travel safely and legally.
- Don’t reveal travel plans to everyone
Now you may be super excited that you are going on vacation to a place that you have always dreamed of visiting. I know that you can get so caught up in the excitement that you are telling your co-workers, friends and even neighbors. I’m sure there are others that just as excited as you because then see an opportunity for some free stuff. Next thing you know your experience has been ruined because your house has been ransacked.
So you don’t want to tell everyone and their momma that you are leaving. Traveling details on are on a need to know basis. Only the important people like family members should know of your traveling plans. I would even recommend providing them with an itinerary. That way they know when to expect your return. If you aren’t back in the time that you planned then they can take the necessary next steps.
You also don’t want to be sharing your plans on social media. You may think that your information is private and can only be seen by you. That is false. Your private information can be seen by any low level hacker on Facebook or Twitter. There are even people who create troll accounts to add you as a friend and monitor your activity.
- Research the area you are staying
As a prepper you need to be aware of the crime rate in the area where you will be staying and even tourist attractions that you will be visiting. This can help you to plan routes to stay away from high crime areas. This is also good for if you need to bug out while you are there. You should plan a bug out route and plan to get back to your house or bug out location if SHTF.
It will also be helpful to know of areas that have a high population density. If SHTF in those areas it will be a nightmare trying to get out of. If you absolutely have to visit those areas then put together a route on your map if you had to get out of their quickly.
You will also want to research the local news for that area. A lot of the mainstream media filters things out that are happening at tourist cities because this will discourage tourism. Even places on the internet like Facebook and Google News will censor out news that they don’t want to get out.
So I would recommend finding the local newspaper for that area along with the news channels. You should also check out websites like Reddit and find posts about the locals for that area. For example, you will want to know if there have been riots going on in that area. This will help you to determine where to stay or to even stay there at all. That is only one example but you get the drift.
It should go without saying but you should know the weather for that area. This is especially important if you had to bug out while you were there. If there are going to be freezing conditions then you will want to be able to keep yourself warm. Remember you can only survive 3 hours in rough weather conditions.
Other helpful things that you should research is important emergency numbers such as the US consulate/embassy, local police, fire stations, hospitals cab companies, etc. You should also learn the key phrases of the local language such as “help.” Finally, research if your cell phone provider has any connection in that area. If not you should look into purchasing a pre-paid cellphone.
- Pack the essentials and keep it light
As a prepper there are the necessary things that you should bring along with you that you already have in your EDC. I don’t recommend bringing your full out bug out bag. You will want to pack as light as possible with a maximum of two bags per person. One bag should carry the critical items that you absolutely would need to survive. This way if you had to get out of somewhere quickly you could still do it safely with one lightweight bag.
I won’t go over all the necessary survival items that you need because each situation will be different. However, you will at least want to have your everyday carry gear or “EDC.” If you are not sure of what should be in your EDC then I would recommend download my checklist HERE. However, there are a few other things that I would highly recommend such as:
- Extra cash (keep this separate from the cards that you are carrying)
- EMP proof essential electronics with this Ska Direct Cell Phone Privacy Protection Bag
- Portable door alarms
- 3 copies of important documents such as passports, itinerary, tickets and identification (2 hard copies and 1 digital split between your 2 bags)
- RFID blockers
- Become the gray man
As a prepper you don’t want to dress as a tourist and you don’t want to dress like a prepper. You don’t want to give any reason for people to suspicious of you. You also don’t want to get the attention of local looters.
Black Scout Survival gives some great information on how to become the gray man at http://www.blackscoutsurvival.com/2014/01/how-to-become-gray-man-urban-survival.html. I would also highly suggest not to wear any clothes with symbols or sayings on your shirt. Don’t wear anything that has bright colors or might indicate that you are wealthy. This will make you an easy target.
Even though you are a tourist you don’t want others to know that. I would recommend researching the local customs and culture. What type of clothing do they wear? Don’t carry the traditional luggage and fanny packs that tourists wear. I REPEAT DON’T WEAR A FANNY PACK! They are just nerdy anyways.
Instead invest in a nice backpack that is highly water resistant and durable. Try to find one with a lot of pockets so that you can stay organized. The bag should also stick close to your body and not have to be adjusted frequently while you are moving. Beat it up a little bit before traveling with it so that it appears used and/or old.
- Get into shape
Getting into shape as a prepper is something that Survival Sullivan harps on a lot. He has a lot of content about getting into shape that you should go check out. This is an absolute must for a prepper. If you are truly a prepper then you will need to be in shape for when SHTF.
This not only applies for SHTF scenarios but even for when you are traveling. Traveling can take a lot out of you. If you notice a suspicious person following you then you will need to be able to move quickly and possibly for even long distances. This is impossible if you are out of shape.
- Take self-defense training
Now I mentioned earlier that you should research the local conceal carry laws for the area that you are visiting. On top of that you should have some self-defense skills. This is especially helpful if you are unable to carry a weapon with you. Having self-defense skills will at least give you a fighting chance.
- Get vaccinated
Now this may be controversial for some preppers. There are some of who us who believe that vaccines actually poison us. However, for the rest of the crowd of preppers I would remind you to get vaccinated. If you have done your research then you will know if there is anything going around in that area that you should be vaccinated for.
- Enroll for STEP
If you are a citizen of the United States then I highly recommend that you sign up for STEP. This acronym stands for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. If you are traveling abroad they will text and email you alerts for the place that you are traveling to. This will help you stay informed of what is going on locally in that area or if you need not to travel there.
- Book your room on the 3rd or 5th floor
If violence ever erupts into your hotel or is invaded by robbers most of the time they will only focus on those on the first floor. This is because they will want to get out of there quickly. Usually they are not going to take the time to invade each floor.
Now if those on the first floor are being held hostage you will want a safe way to get out. If it is a hostage situation or even if there is a fire the local fire department is able to reach up to the 5th floor on most buildings with their truck ladders. For other buildings they are only able to reach the 3rd floor. So when booking a room make sure it is on the 3rd or 5th floor.