Today’s article answers a good and important question asked by Robert S. of Texas. Below is Robert’s question regarding travel…
I travel quite a bit, and while I’m at the airport or sitting on the plane, I spend quite a bit of time thinking about how well I am prepared if something goes south while I am away from my family. I leave my weapons at home or in a vehicle, I don’t have any of my EDC knives with me. My travel is usually a Mon-Thu travel so I try hard not to check a bag. As much as I travel, I have learned it’s better to keep my bag with me, rather than lose it in travel.
I am wondering if you could really take this topic of air travel and expound on it more? I don’t imagine I’m the only one with these questions. So here are the two scenarios that I have considered that sort of over-arch the main considerations I see.
Scenario 1: I get stranded at my client or some point in between and have to make it back home, or to an alternate location, but air travel is not possible, but I can travel by car, so I in my mind, I need at least a 24 hour kit.
Scenario 2: I get stranded at my client, and I don’t have any self-propelled means of transportation. I know that could be a far-reaching scenario, but I learned as a soldier it’s best to at least entertain as many scenarios as possible (if afforded the time) to minimize being caught with your pants down.
So is it even possible to create a decent kit that can make it through TSA? Or should I start checking a bag? I almost feel that is my only viable option. If I do decide to check a bag – what should that kit look like? I have always been hesitant to check my firearm as luggage because I am concerned it is going to turn up missing. Have you checked a firearm before – more frequently than not?”
Like Robert, I spend a significant amount of time flying around the country teaching training courses and I understand wanting to feel prepared even when you can’t have your usual supplies with you.
I also understand not wanting to check a bag so that flying is as easy as possible and you don’t have to wait for your bag or worry about it getting lost.
So, if you fly and never want to check a bag, here are my recommendations:
First, always have some food and water with you. Since you can’t get a lot of items through airport security, simply buy these in the terminal. You can also bring an empty water bottle and then fill it up at a drinking fountain once you get through security to save money (airport bottles of water aren’t cheap). If you’ve got multiple legs of your trip, just keep filling up the water bottle during your connections.
As far as supplies, there is a lot of gear that you can take on airplanes that is perfectly legal. My favorite item is the tactical pen, which I carry with me every time I fly. I also carry paracord (about 20 feet.)
For a unique improvised weapon consider a sock full of pennies. (Have a bag of pennies and a sock and then when you get through security you can go to the bathroom and combine them.) If you ever have to strike anyone with this sock it will not be a good day for them.
The critical thing to remember is that it’s more important to have knowledge and skills so that you can be resourceful in whatever type of situation you end up in. I also encourage taking some hand-to-hand self-defense such as Krav Maga.
So, for a 24-hour type of emergency, a carry on bag with a little food and water and a tactical pen, paracord, and some duct tape, combined with knowledge should be plenty for you to survive if you get stranded.
Now, if a long-term crisis situation is more of a concern to you then you would definitely want to check your luggage.
In your checked luggage you would want to have knives (at least one fixed blade and one folder) and a gun. Checking a gun in your baggage is very easy to do and I’ve never had a problem (even when I fly in and out of the terrible state of Maryland.)
All you have to do is have the gun unloaded in a hard side case that can be locked. When you walk up to the ticket agent you tell them, “I need to declare a firearm and ammunition” and they take care of the rest.
Also, I am not worried about the airline losing my bag with my gun because that’s the last thing in the world they want. They take a checked bag with a gun very seriously and I’ve never had a bag lost that contained one of my guns.
In addition to knives and a gun, you can also throw in some hiking shoes and some MREs, a flashlight, multi-tool, and water filter. (The water filter I like is the Sawyer PointOne.)
Obviously, you and I can’t predict the future and we don’t know when a crisis situation is going to occur. If you’re flying somewhere