How do you travel?
With the uncertainty of the world traveling today and preparing for travel is paramount for hour safety.
This summer I took a quick family vacation to the Bahamas. Now let’s start this by saying that I’m not a huge fan of going to the Bahamas or on a cruise for that matter. I hate the idea of being herded like cattle with a lot of variables that I cannot control! Call me a control freak, but it is what it is. That being said I took one for the team, aka the family, and agreed to it. We were leaving out of our home port of Charleston, SC and headed to Bimini, Bahamas.
Before leaving for the trip I did my normal planning. After all I’m dad and it’s my job to make sure that we get from point A to point B then back to point A safely. For many they don’t put a lot of thought into the planning process. They really don’t think of it as necessary because after all it’s a vacation.
To start with I looked at the Itinerary. When and where are we leaving from. Is there anything specific that we need to worry about on these dates. Any specific holidays or recent events that may cause conflict. I look at this because of an incident we had several years ago with a travel volleyball tournament. This was during some of our most difficult times as a country with riots and civil unrest. We were headed to Atlanta, Ga. There were locations where there had been documented demonstrations and issues. I couldn’t control the situation, but I could control how we reacted to it by not being involved and finding hotels, restaurants, etc away from that crowd.
I looked up the location that we were going to. What was the demographic and crime rates of Bimini, Bahamas? What was the typical crime rate and types? Again, I can’t control the situations, but how we react and prepare for them.
What and how was I going to pack? I knew that we were getting on a cruise ship. This is like getting on an airplane so I knew that carrying any weapons wasn’t an option. So the best weapons would be our minds and how we think through the process. Just like we teach in all of our Concealed Carry Classes, I used the thought process of the best defense to a fight was to not be in one! Be the ultimate Grey Man and not stand out to be a potential target.
To accomplish this we packed our normal luggage with clothes and other tourist stuff and checked it in. But I wanted a certain amount of “kit” with me in case the luggage got delayed or lost. It’s travel…stuff happens! My normal everyday carry pack is an older Osprey Day Pack. I like this pack because it doesn’t have the tactical look with a lot of Molle webbing or anything that screams “TACTICAL”.
During normal EDC with this pack I would keep an extra knife and ammunition for my EDC handgun, but again I knew I couldn’t have any weapons with me on the cruise ship or off at port. I removed all of these items from it. I kept the thought process of having a way to communicate, barter or buy something, and sustainment.
On my person I kept my iPhone with me and some money on me in case I got separated from my bag. This is a common mistake I see with clients when they travel throughout the day. Especially the ladies. They place all their items and means of sustainment in their bags or purses, but what happens if you become separated from the bag? You’ve lost all your goods. In the bag I kept a charged battery pack with the appropriate charger cord. I kept additional cash in my bag in the event I needed more than what I had on me. In my bag I kept a protein bar and Nalgene bottle with water I got off the ship. I did the water off the ship in case I couldn’t find trusted bottles of water. Again, we were going to an area of a country we have never been to before.
I also keep an IFAK in my bag. This IFAK isn’t a commercial one that I purchase. I have found that there are some great one’s out there on the market, but sometimes they are limited by what the manufacturer includes in them and typically do not have the feel good items that you may want. So to create my IFAK I use a gallon Zip Lock bag and add the items that I think is important to us. This includes bleeding control and your typical trauma related items, but also Tylenol, Bandaids, Benadryl, etc. Once in the bag you can squeeze the air out of it to reduce its profile and it fits in the front pocket of my pack.
This trip the IFAK actually proved necessary. As we were in Bimini and Littlefoot managed to cut her finger on something. Again, this is not the cleanest environment on Earth. We used the IFAK to clean the wound and cover with some bandaids to keep it from getting dirty. This may seem as trivial in the immediate, but infection isn’t immediate. There are lots of nasty stuff out there that can cause big problems that begin with a simple little cut or scratch.
So this was our trip to Bimini. Whether traveling locally or Internationally and regardless of the gear you take, I feel Situational Awareness is the most important piece of gear you can take with you. Avoid using your gear by recognizing and avoiding the problems in the first place. You do this by proper planning and training!
We returned home to port and back to the normal hustle and bustle of life without anything other than a sun tan and memories.
So what is in your travel plan and gear package?